How to talk about difficult subjects
If you want to talk to your doctor or nurse about something sensitive, you might want to think about how you will do this. You could practise a few things to say, until you feel comfortable
Some people use slang words when talking about sex and their body. But this can lead to confusion or misunderstanding. If someone uses words that you don’t understand, it’s okay to ask them to explain – that’s better than going away feeling more confused than you were before.
You could write down your questions before seeing your doctor or nurse.
Many people find it useful to take their boyfriend or girlfriend, a family member or a friend with them when they go to appointments. They can write notes about what was discussed, so that you can read them afterwards. It may help to ask for the professional’s telephone number or email address, in case there’s anything you want to ask later.
What sort of questions can I ask?
You may wonder which questions are okay to ask. But you can ask about whatever is important to you. No one will think that your questions are silly or weird, and nothing is off-limits.
If you don’t want anyone else to know
Whenever you seek professional help – whether from a doctor, nurse, social worker, psychologist, counsellor or anyone else – it will usually stay confidential.
Your family and partner are not allowed to know that you’ve been to see someone and what you discussed, unless you want them to. This is true even if you’re under 16. The only time a professional can tell someone else what you’ve said to them is if they believe you have been harmed or are at risk of harm. This is very rare though. If the professional feels that they have to tell someone else, they should tell you what they are going to do.
Sometimes, a professional may ask your permission to talk to other people who are seeing you. For example, a counsellor may want to tell your doctor that they’ve seen you. But it is your decision.