It must be twenty years since a group of us sat in a tutorial at medical school, being encouraged by our Sexual Health tutor to tell the group of all the euphemisms for ‘genitals’ that we had ever heard of.
The group moved from embarrassment (willy/ winkie), to giggle fits (woo-woo/ tuppence), to deep concentration (John Thomas?) as we all took up the challenge. The tutorial was a success, and the colourful discussion helped us to take embarrassment out of the equation when dealing with other people’s awkward or disconcerting health complaints.
Here at Student Health we see lots of things that you might feel are embarrassing to mention, but you can be fairly sure we will have seen most of them before. And if we haven’t, well, we like a medical challenge.
The message for this blog is to reassure you that it is better to seek advice for the things that are worrying you, such as bumps on your private bits, as very occasionally they can prove to be a bit more serious, and the sooner we check them out the better. Scrotal or testicular lumps are a classic, with men of all ages being reluctant to seek a medical opinion, but it is vital that you do. If further tests are needed then a non invasive ultrasound scan will be arranged, and that really doesn’t hurt a bit, but can be life saving.
For the ladies, we are used to dealing with issues varying from the after effects of intimate waxing/ hair removal (rashes, infections, folliculitis), to ‘lost’ tampons (our nurses will retrieve them if you can’t), and itchy/ sore vulvas. One of the most effective ways to avoid the latter is to wash only with water, or possibly aqueous cream as a soap substitute, but never to use soaps/ shower gels/ bath oils/ wet wipes etc as they cause havoc with delicate skin.
Piercings are another notorious source of infections in nipples/ genitals, and need careful looking after, or removal, if not settling, as much deeper infection could follow. See us if you are concerned.
And a blog about embarrassing problems wouldn’t be complete without mentioning wee and poo, so if you noticed blood, or pain, or other significant changes when evacuating either of these, then please make an appointment with a nurse or doctor to discuss it. They usually turn out to be caused by minor ailments, but can occasionally be a sign of something more worrying.
So don’t let embarrassment damage your health! The doctors and nurses at Students Health service are here to help, and reassure you. We’ve seen it all before, and if we haven’t, then well done on making our day more interesting!