When to see a doctor - 6 symptoms you shouldn't be embarrassed of

Sometimes people avoid going to see the GP because they’re embarrassed by their symptoms.

But don’t put off seeing your doctor – they will have seen it all before. Here are six good reasons to banish your blushes and make a doctor’s appointment. Know the signs and symptoms for when you should seek medical advice.

1. Your bottom’s bleeding

If you notice blood on the loo paper after wiping your bottom or on your stool, don’t panic. In less serious cases, it could indicate piles, a tear (after constipation) or could be a side effect of medication. If bleeding persists for more than 3 weeks, you should have it examined.

Darker red blood or black blood in your stool also needs to be investigated. It may mean bleeding in the stomach or gut. Rectal bleeding could also be a symptom of bowel cancer. It’s always better to speak to your GP than to leave it and they will be very used to examining bottoms.

2. You have unexplained discharge

Postmenopausal bleeding isn’t usually serious, but it needs to be taken seriously as it can be a symptom of cancer. Additionally, bleeding between periods or post-sex can be a sign of a tear or an infection. However, it can also be caused by abnormalities in the cervix, polyps, fibroids or cancer. Book an appointment with your GP - they will be best placed to decide on any course of action and put your mind at ease.

In men, discharge from the penis can be due to irritation or poor hygiene. It can also point to a sexually transmitted infection or inflammation of the urethra. Find out more here. The discharge may be accompanied with soreness and discomfort – or you may need to pee frequently. See your GP for advice and treatment.


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3. Your testicles are lumpy

Most swellings or lumps on the testicles are benign. However, swelling inside the testis can be cancerous. In men under 50, testicular cancer is the most common malignant tumour. The good news is that following early diagnosis and treatment, 95% of men are cured of testicular cancer. The key here is not waiting to see the doctor as the earlier you go, the sooner you can get it sorted.

4. You notice you’re forgetful

Memory problems can be caused by a number of issues – reaction to medication, dehydration, stress, depression or a sleeping problem. It can also be natural to forget names and other details as we age. But memory issues or confusion shouldn’t be ignored. If you are worried about your (or a loved one’s) ability to remember things, make an appointment to see your GP. They may refer you for some further checks - a diagnosis may lead to treatment that can help to slow the symptoms. If you’re concerned, find out more about dementia.

5. You have unexplained bruising

Sometimes finding an unexpected bruise might mean you’ve knocked yourself without noticing. And as we age and the skin becomes thinner, we bruise more easily. However, if a bruise doesn’t go away or you are prone to unexplained bruises, it is a good idea to see the GP. These can also be a sign of an underlying illness. Make an appointment – especially if you’re noticing any other health changes.

6. You feel very anxious or depressed 

Mental health problems are nothing to be ashamed of and you are not alone in struggling. One in four of us will be affected in any year. If anxiety or depression is affecting your day-to-day life and making simple tasks difficult, it’s important to seek help. Long-term anxiety can lead to other health problems, so it’s important to address the issue. Your GP will be able to advise on support available locally as well as treatment.

These are some symptoms which indicate that you should seek medical advice and book a GP appointment. As a Benenden Health member, you are also eligible to access our GP 24/7 helpline and Mental Health Helpline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Click the link to below to find out more about our healthcare.