Women, you should not lie especially to your doctor! #3


THE LIE: "I use sunscreen every day."

"Along with 'I'm not tan — this is my natural skin color,' this one's at the top of the list of lies we hear all day," chuckles Bank. "We ask every patient whether they use sunscreen every day, and about 10 percent to 20 percent of the responses we get are false or exaggerated."


Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States; since 1980, the rate of melanoma (the most serious form of skin cancer) has jumped by 50 percent for women between the ages of 15 and 39, according to new research from the National Cancer Institute. If you admit you're not slathering on sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher, applied liberally to exposed areas), your doctor may schedule more frequent screenings — this way, if skin cancer does develop, it'll be caught early. Being truthful about sunscreen use can also help him decide whether to prescribe certain meds, like Retin-A for acne and wrinkles, that can make you more sensitive to the sun.


THE LIE: "I'm taking my medication the way you prescribed it."

Alicia, 31, often used her asthma inhaler up to five times a day, despite her doctor's warnings. When he noted her trembling hands and pallid face, "I swore I wasn't abusing it, because I was afraid he'd take it away," says the Orlando, FL, day-care teacher. "I didn't care about the risks as long as I could breathe."


If you tell your doctor your medication isn't working, or has side effects, he can find one that suits you better (which is what Alicia's new doc eventually did). But if you don't use it correctly, you could end up even sicker. Take a typically misused drug like a routine antibiotic: "If you lie and say you finished your antibiotics, but you're still sick, the doctor will assume the first drug didn't work," says Maurice A. Ramirez, D.O., Ph.D., an emergency-room physician at Florida Hospital-Flagler Division in Palm Coast. "So he'll change the antibiotic. Meanwhile, the bacteria become resistant to the drug we normally use, and they crank along unimpeded, and you can go from a bladder infection to a kidney inflection to a blood infection."


THE LIE: "I'm not taking any medication."

This one's told so often, doctors say, that they always dig deeper when they hear it. Sometimes it's an honest mistake: "People don't classify over-the-counter drugs like Tylenol, herbal supplements, or vitamins as medication," says Gillian Stephens, M.D., an assistant professor of community and family medicine at Saint Louis University in St. Louis. "But they are." Women also keep mum, though, when they've "borrowed" an Ambien from a friend or bought Hoodia online to lose weight.


Your doctor may adjust your dosage of a drug if he knows you're taking something else that could alter its effects. "Hearing that someone's taking ibuprofen, which is a weak blood thinner, is useful if you're adding other thinners," says John H. Alexander, M.D., a cardiologist at Duke University Medical Center. Not to mention, what he doesn't know could kill you. It's not unusual for doctors to realize that you've taken something you didn't tell them about only after they've given you another medication — and the combination has caused you to stop breathing, have a seizure, or go into cardiac arrest.


THE LIE: "I always use birth control."

"The lie I hear day after day is, 'The condom broke,'" says Millicent Comrie, M.D., vice chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, NY. "Women often say that when they get pregnant by accident and don't want to admit that they didn't use a condom." Sound familiar? How about this: "Women fudge the truth about whether they put their diaphragms in or took them out and whether they take their pills every day at the same time," says Bruce Rosenzweig, M.D., director of urogynecology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. "They're embarrassed because they know they should be able to handle these things."

There are tons of contraception options out there these days. If you fess up to messing up with birth control, your gyno can suggest one that might suit you better. "If you hate to swallow pills, you have oily skin and the patch keeps falling off, or the ring comes out when your partner pulls out, I can give you something else," says Rosenzweig. "But if you don't tell me, I can't make the appropriate recommendations."

Coming clean with your doctor only stands to help you in the long run, as difficult as it may be in the moment. So answer her questions honestly — and even bring up issues that she may be forgetting to ask about. When it comes to your health, there's no such thing as TMI.

Women, you should not lie especially to your doctor! #1
Women, you should not lie especially to your doctor! #2


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