Many people will simply avoid seeking medical advice for their health issues if they are concerned that the condition in question is either embarrassing or dangerous.
By refusing to confront the problem, they believe they won’t have to deal with the prognosis.
Unfortunately, health issues simply don’t work that way. Whether you are embarrassed or scared, it is best to learn more about the condition you may have as well as treatment possibilities before it becomes unmanageable.
Thinking you may have a sexually transmitted disease (STD) can feel embarrassing. It may make you question your choices or the choices of your partner. Many people begin to wonder how other people will react if they find out they have an STD rather than worrying about the associated health risks. In reality, anyone who is sexually active has a risk of contracting an STD. However, there are higher rates of infection in populations who are between the ages of 15 and 24, those who have had multiple sexual partners, those who are sex workers, and individuals who also have a history of drug use.
Many of these diseases can be treated with medication. Gonorrhea and chlamydia can be treated with oral or intravenous antibiotics. Genital herpes can be treated with antiviral drugs. While the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) can’t be cured, there is a vaccination that can prevent infection. Syphilis can be treated with a single dose of intramuscular antibiotic if it is caught within the first year of infection. If left untreated for a longer period, treatment requires a longer course of antibiotics and if left untreated entirely it may result in death.
Considering the potential of effective treatment, it is important that anyone who notices symptoms of STDs in themselves or their sexual partner seek out medical treatment. The development of urgent care phone apps has made it possible for patients who are hesitant to visit a doctor. This type of app allows patients to consult with a physician by phone or video conference to schedule the appropriate lab tests and receive prescriptions if needed.
What if it’s Cancer?
Another reason people will avoid seeking out medical care is out of a fear that the symptoms they are experiencing may indicate they have cancer. For example, swollen and tender lymph nodes may indicate cancer but they can also be a symptom of bacterial infection or parasitic presence. Avoiding the cause of the symptom will not make it go away and waiting too long to seek treatment may make it impossible for medical professionals to implement an effective treatment plan.
The treatment for many types of cancer has advanced substantially over the past decade to the point that many are highly treatable if caught early. Some of the most treatable include some types of breast cancer, prostate cancer, many forms of skin cancer, cervical cancer, and pediatric Leukemia. The reason these are among the most treatable is in part due to the high levels of public awareness surrounding the symptoms and the push for the scientific community to press forward for increasingly more effective treatments.
There are certainly a high number of cancers that are deadlier and far less treatable.
However, according to the National Cancer Institute, the number of new instances of cancer each year is only about 455 out of every 100,000 people and the number of deaths each year attributed to cancer are about 171 out of every 100,000 people. This means the cause of the symptom you are experiencing is less likely to be cancer than you have probably been imagining.
It can be tempting to avoid seeking a medical opinion for a condition that feels as though it could be serious. However, this kind of avoidance of health issues will certainly not improve the condition and it will only increase your stress levels as you worry without knowing for sure what is wrong. A simple medical consultation can, at best, tell you that what you are experiencing is the result of a minor condition that is easily treatable. At worst, it may tell you that you have more serious health issues.
But it is not the seeking out of the condition that causes it to be more or less worrisome. The condition exists in the same state regardless. The only thing that changes is your perception and knowledge which can then be used to actively work towards securing a treatment and optimal health.
By Valerie S.