All The Questions You've Ever Wanted to Ask Your Doctor
Here at Health, we’re always tapping top doctors, psychologists, and nutritionists for their wellness advice. But we’ve decided to try something new by asking our favorite experts to join us in our studio this time, in an effort to get them to open up about 13 specific health topics. From how they stay fit to the unhealthy habits they struggle to beat to the questions their own patients are most embarrassed about, they didn’t hold anything back. Here are their answers—the doctors will see you now.
What’s your exercise routine?
The answers here ran the gamut. Some said they prefer more structured classes like yoga, dance, and SoulCycle, while others opt for less regimented workouts such as running, hiking, and cross-country skiing. Walking dogs, playing sports with kids, and running up and down the stairs at home may not be things we immediately associate with a sweat session, but the experts on our panel do them and said they totally qualify. They reminded us that these day-to-day activities get you up and moving, and that’s the point of exercise.
What’s your anti-aging routine?
It’s never too early to tweak your skincare regimen so you prevent signs of premature aging. So what did we learn? Our experts are all about keeping it simple; some said they used moisturizer and retinoid products (which help with fine lines). Others focused not on skin products but habits such as getting enough sleep and eating healthy. Three of our experts swore by sunscreen. Our psychologist suggested that the best approach to anti-aging is acceptance; she advised that we embrace growing older. We love this fresh and empowered take!
What health advice do you find hard to follow?
Health professionals are surprisingly just like us—they too sometimes find it difficult to make smart choices, like avoiding refined carbs. They struggle with things that we can totally relate to, like planning meals ahead (hello, meal prep Sundays!), reapplying sunscreen, achieving a work-life balance, and doing kegel exercises after giving birth. Our experts also expressed that they find it hard to get enough sleep. Sound familiar?
What is the most common health question you are asked?
The answers to this one vary depending on area of expertise. “Is hormonal contraception bad for me?” “Can I eat cheese?” And “How can I avoid sun damage and skin cancer?” are among the most common, as well as “what changes will happen to my body during pregnancy?” All questions we want to know the answers to as well!
What is the most overlooked area of health?
That would be mental health, according to these health pros. What we feel like on the outside is a big concern, but our thoughts and emotions on the inside takes a backseat, unfortunately.
What’s the top advice for hypochondriacs?
When we get sick, we’ll admit that Dr. Google is our go-to source of information. But our experts warned us away from seeking advice on the internet. Other bits of wisdom include to calm down and relax, listen to what your body is really saying (rather than jumping to conclusions), and remembering that the human body is very resilient, it takes a lot for long-term damage to set in. and of course, find a doctor or speak with a healthcare professional who you trust!
What has seeing patients taught you about life?
One of our docs told us that every person who walks into her office has a story and a strength, and she feels honored just to treat them. Some said that they believed their patients helped them in some way just as much as they helped the patient. The biggest takeaway? We should appreciate every single day that we have. We are so not crying right now.
What are patients most embarrassed about?
Questions concerning bodily functions—like pooping, burping, discharge, and bad breath—were among the answers. Sexual history and eating behaviors can be very personal, they told us, making them also hard for people to share. Just remember that health experts are not here to judge you; they only want to help you get to the bottom of everything . . . and help you get well again.
What’s your advice for patients afraid of seeing a doctor?
Many of our experts actually confessed to being scared of going to the doctor themselves, so they know exactly how some people feel. Their advice for overcoming the fear is to write out your questions ahead of time, and bring a pen and paper to your appointment so you can jot down the answers.
What is one thing you want patients to know?
The health experts on our panel recommended doing small, common-sense moves. When it comes to nutrition, it’s wise to not focus on the scale, food, and calories. Adding activities into your life that you enjoy is a great way to de-stress, and they encourage their patients to find balance—whether it’s with your diet and sleep schedule or a sweet spot between work and play. They also want us to know that we’re not alone, and we should feel okay reaching out to others when we need a hand.
What’s your top advice for living well?
Our experts encouraged us to laugh, exercise, and be proud of what our bodies are able to do. One pointed out that while most of us find enjoyment in our personal lives, she urges everyone to find fulfillment in their careers, since so many hours of the day are spent at work. It’s important to enjoy what you do—and we cannot agree more!
What’s your secret unhealthy behavior?
From junk food obsessions to using tobacco to overdoing it on the salad dressing (hey, it happens), they all have a bad habit they struggle with. Good to know our health experts aren’t perfect—but they’re trying. (The smoker just quit—hooray!)
How has the health field changed since you were a kid?
The doctor used to be a white man in a white coat, and now, anyone can be a doctor. #Progress. One expert said that when she was a kid, she went to a pediatrician for every health issue, but now medicine is much more specialized. A different doc added that the medical landscape has changed because of the internet and Google, and another shared her surprise with how involved patients are with their own health care.
On the downside, doctors and patients used to have much more intimate relationships, and this has changed. In response, one expert told us that she makes sure she and her patients have open communication and consider themselves partners in health. That’s something were here at Health are totally onboard with!
Credits and special thanks to: Dr. Shree Chanchani, Ob-Gyn NYU Langone Health; Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, Cardiologist and Go Red For Women Spokesperson; Lisa Ganguzza, Registered Dietician, NYU Langone Health; Dr. Rabia de Latour, Gastroenterologist, NYU Langone Health; Dr. Mary Stevenson, Dermatologist, NYU Langone Health; Dr. Laura Price, Psychologist, NYU Langone Health; Dr. Susan Chon, Dermatologist, MD Anderson Cancer Center; Dr. Nina Brochmann, Author, The Wonder Down Under.