Enlarged breasts, incontinence, sweating: Don’t hide from conditions that embarrass
Doctors warn that there could be serious medical conditions behind such symptoms, and easy cures for them too.Updated: Nov 05, 2017 08:51 IST
There are some conditions seen as so embarrassing that people are hesitant to discuss them even with their spouses — with results that range from the painful to the disastrous.
For Mumbai-based banking executive, Sheena Tripathi, the delay in consulting a doctor led to her cancer progressing to stage three.
The 25-year-old took six months to admit to her parents that she had a problem with incontinence. “I finally had to,” she says, “when, on our way to Shirdi, I wet my pants.”
It turned out to be bladder cancer. “I had seen the signs all along, but chose to ignore them. If I hadn’t, my cancer would have been detected in the first stage instead of the third,” she says.
Because of the late diagnosis, Tripathi has needed six cycles of chemotherapy, after surgery to remove her urinary bladder. Doctors had to make her a new bladder from her small intestine.
“I haven’t gone to work for over a year,” Tripathi says. “And my brain no longer receives the signal, so I have to forcefully empty my bladder every hour.”
Dr Sonal Anand, a psychiatrist at Mumbai’s Wockhardt Hospital, says, “Men tend to stay silent also because they’ve been brought up to be strong, bear pain without complaining.”
“Women typically don’t want to burden the family with problems, ‘especially when they have big enough problems of their own.”
IT executive Samarth Mehta (name changed on request), 28, suffered for nearly 15 years from enlarged breasts caused by a hormone imbalance. “During office picnics, I couldn’t go swimming because I didn’t want to take off my shirt,” he says. “I spoke to my parents about it for the first time last year and, with surgery and medication, the situation is much better.”
Don’t stay silent, says Dr Vinod Vij, cosmetic surgeon at Mumbai’s Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital. “Never hesitate to talk about a problem, if not with family, then at least with a doctor. It’s our job to listen and advancements in science mean that there is often a solution to the problem too.”
Sometimes the problem is clearly visible, and acute, but the patient cringes at the thought of discussing it.
Delhi-based architect Saru Arora, 25, had severe acne since her early teens.
“Almost everyone I met had some expert advice to offer — you must be eating extra oily, spicy food. Stop eating sweets completely. Don’t touch the pocks or you’ll ruin your face. It was as if it was my fault that I had acne,” she says. “And in all that time, nobody told me I could see a doctor; they dismissed it as teenage problem that would go away with time, and so did I.”
Despite being a topper, Arora says she was relegated to the background in college.
“During office picnics, I couldn’t go swimming because I didn’t want to take off my shirt. I spoke to my parents about it for the first time last year and, with surgery and medication, the situation is much better.” — A Mumbai IT executive who suffered from enlarged breasts
“I’m not even on the magazine cover for our batch. I had become so uncomfortable in my own skin,” she says.
Last year, she finally met a dermatologist who told her the acne was a result of a severe hormonal imbalance. After a year of medication and treatment, Arora’s skin problem is nearly cured.
“Acne is treatable, so don’t suffer in silence,” says Dr Deepali Bhardwaj, the dermatologist who treated Arora. “If acne doesn’t subside within six weeks, despite trying gentle home remedies, then you should see a doctor.”
Excessive sweating is another issue that people tend to live with, often ridden with embarrassment, without realising there is a solution.
Delhi businessman Kishore Behl, 55, says he feels much more confident after he got a botox for his excessive sweating.
“I don’t know why but for years I suffered from this chronic problem. I would get embarrassed but I wouldn’t do anything about it,” he says. “I now speak up when I see others with a similar condition, and recommend my doctor to them.”