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18 Truths People Will Tell Only Their Doctor

You might be shocked at what comes out of your loved one’s mouth in the nonjudgmental cocoon of the doctor’s office, as these extraordinary anonymous confessions show.


I eat 10,000 calories of junk food in one sitting

“For most of my life I remember waking up a few times a week surrounded by thousands of calories worth of food wrappers, from foods I didn’t even really remember eating. I was so ashamed that I never told anyone. It was a big reason I never had a boyfriend, I didn’t want anyone to see how much food I ate in secret. But one day my doctor asked me about my eating habits and I just started sobbing. He was the first person I ever told about it and it turns out my problem is binge eating disorder, the most common eating disorder there is. I don’t feel so alone anymore and now I’m getting help for it.” Make sure you never, ever lie to your doctor about these things.


I hate sex

“I’ve been married over 20 years and have never liked sex. It was something I saw as a ‘necessary evil’ to keep my relationship with my husband, whom I do love very much. But it started to build up a lot of resentment and pain. During an exam I told my gynecologist how I felt. I thought I was just making a joke because I thought it was normal. Don’t all women hate having sex? But she told me it doesn’t have to be normal and there are things I can do to make sex less painful. I’m now using an estrogen cream and seeing a therapist. I think it’s helping.”


I use drugs to stay skinny

“To keep my job I have to stay as skinny as I was when I started as a teen. It’s not fair but it’s the reality of the industry I’m in. So I use drugs. It’s mostly Adderall and Ritalin but sometimes cocaine or stuff I order online. I know it’s not healthy but until I started having weird heart palpitations I never told anyone about it. Finally I told my doctor because I thought I was going to have a heart attack! She was really nice about it and told me I’m not the only patient she sees that does this. She wants me to go to rehab but I’m not ready yet. Still it’s nice to know it’s an option.” This is what your doctor is really thinking (but won’t say to your face).


I get all my health information from Dr. Google

“I’m sure it drives my doctor nuts but every time I come in I bring pages of information I’ve printed from the Internet. But I figure I’m the only one who has the time and the energy to really look into my issues. He is good about listening to what I found. He hasn’t kicked me out yet!”


I was raped

“When I was a teenager, a family friend took advantage of me. I never told anyone and tried not to think about it. I avoided seeing a gynecologist for years but I finally had to go. I was terrified of the pelvic exam and sure enough, it was incredibly traumatic. I started sobbing right there on the table in my paper gown. Thankfully she recognized I was upset and we talked about it. I ended up telling her everything. She was the first person I ever told.”


I don’t take my prescription medications

“My wife insisted I see a doctor for my depression and I ended up with a prescription for Zoloft. It helps a little but it feels like a failure. I guess I don’t really believe in all that ‘woe is me’ stuff. I can take care of this myself. So I don’t take my pills. I tell my wife I do but I don’t. But I did tell my doctor when he asked if I needed a refill. He wasn’t too happy about that.” These are the secrets that hospitals don’t want to tell you.

iStock/Sze Kit Poon

I have unprotected sex

“I don’t like condoms, plain and simple. So I don’t use them during sex. Most of my partners either don’t care or feel the same way. I know I’m playing Russian roulette but I haven’t gotten anything major yet. I told my doctor the truth during my annual check-up and he was surprisingly nonjudgmental about it. He said I should come in every six months to get tested for STDs.”


I’m a stripper

“I am very careful with who I tell about my job. But various aspects of it really affect my health so I felt like it was important to tell my doctor. For instance, I have to have a really low level of body fat to look the way I need to so I don’t get a period anymore.”


I hate exercising

“My doctor loves to remind me how important exercise is to my health and I love to remind him that I don’t care, I still hate it. Every year he gives me those fact sheets about it and every year I say thanks and then leave them in my car until I throw them away. Life is too short to spend it doing something I hate.” These are the common lies you tell your doctor—and why you need to stop right now.


I have a scary genetic condition

“You can’t tell by looking at me, but I have a serious inherited condition that has a good chance of getting passed down to my kids if I ever have any. It is something that will also probably begin to seriously affect my life soon. My parents know, of course, but I haven’t told my girlfriend or any of our friends. But my doctor knows and he’s been an incredible source of information and comfort.”


I’m overweight because I eat too much

“You’d think this might be obvious because I’m fat—it’s okay, I can admit it—but I’m a very healthy eater in public and I am really active, doing triathlons and other races. So most of my friends assume I’m just ‘unlucky’ genetically or something and I let them believe it. But comfort food is my vice and I eat a lot of junk—just not in front of other people. My doctor knows about my eating though and she’s helping me get it under control. I hope.”


I’m an alcoholic

“Actually I didn’t tell my doctor this so much as he told me. I was telling him about how much I drink every day, something I wasn’t honest with anyone else about including myself, and he pointed out that it sounded like I might have a problem with alcohol. Once he said it I knew he was right. I’ve been sober and going to AA for seven years now.” Watch out for these hidden signs you’re not as healthy as you think.

iStock/Igor Prole

I still use tanning beds

“I don’t know why I still tell my doctor this because every time I do I get a lecture on skin cancer. Maybe I’m honest about my tanning habit because deep down I know she’s right and one day I’ll be ready to change?”

iStock/Pali Rao

I’m gay

“I came out as a gay man to my doctor before I came out to my family and most of my friends. He brought it up during a checkup when he was asking me about my sexual history. At first I tried to be vague but he asked very specific questions and I realized it was smarter to just tell him what was going on. When I said it, he didn’t even seem surprised, just made a note on my chart and kept going down the list. Because he didn’t make it into a big deal, it really didn’t feel like one. And that was a huge relief.”


I’m sleeping with my husband’s best friend

“I had to confess I was having an affair to my doctor because I tested positive for chlamydia and my husband definitely didn’t have it. We go to the same doctor.” These are secrets surgeons won’t tell you.


I’m dying of cancer

“My family knows I have cancer but they don’t know how bad it is. My cancer is stage four and at this point I’m just continuing chemo to prolong my life, not cure it. But I don’t know how to tell my wife and kids that yet. It’s an impossible conversation and I love that they still have hope every day, I don’t want to take that away from them. My doctor knows the true extent of my illness, of course.”


I have anger management issues

“I have to go to court-ordered anger management therapy after I was arrested for throwing tacos at my ex-girlfriend. Okay, I also threw some dishes. And the TV. Anyhow, my doctor is the only person who knows where I really go every Tuesday night. Everyone else thinks I’m taking a pottery class.”

iStock/brave carp

I fainted at my son’s birth

“During the birth of my first child, a son, I started to feel really hot and nauseous. It was right as he was crowning and my wife was pushing him out. I was holding her hand and then all I remember is hearing the doctor yell, ‘We’ve got a fainter!’ before waking up on the floor. Okay so technically my wife and the nurses also know this ‘secret’ but our doctor is the only one who still teases me about it!” Next, read about these strange symptoms that can signal a serious disease.

Charlotte Hilton Andersen
Charlotte Hilton Andersen, MS, is an award-winning journalist, author, and ghostwriter who for nearly two decades has covered health, fitness, parenting, relationships, and other wellness and lifestyle topics for major outlets, including Reader’s Digest, O, The Oprah Magazine, Women’s Health, and many more. Charlotte has made appearances with television news outlets such as CBS, NBC, and FOX. She is a certified group fitness instructor in Denver, where she lives with her husband and their five children.