Fear is one of the most common reasons a person (AKA “patient”) comes in for an office visit.
Fear of Death would be the top reason for most, right?
Well, here are the top 5 concerns that bring people in after a torrid of internet searches and a few sleepless nights. Unique to these issues is the fact that they represent NORMAL parts of the body that you do NOT have to fear.
You heard that right; no hidden illness or cancer is involved in all 5 instances:
1. Giant Papilla Taste Buds– aka the large mushroom-like lumps in a ‘V’ shape at
the very back or base of your visible tongue.
Often, patients look back there when ill and suddenly notice the bumps and think of the worst-case scenario although they’ve had them all along.
Every once in awhile I will also encounter a patient who had oral sex and fears some horrible STD is in his or her mouth.
2. Xyphoid Process– little cartilaginous protrusion at the center or base of your sternum (the breast bone)
Often people “find” the lump-like area when they have heartburn or are doing ab work and think they have developed a deadly cancer.
3. Hymen– a natural membrane that blocks the birth canal.
Moms bring in their virgin daughters or the latter walks in herself, and ask why they can’t insert a tampon like other women and often I explain to them about this normal structure.
4. Freckles– a common, benign mole.
Many have gotten the message about checking for skin cancer, but mostly all the “funny growing spots” I see in the office are all variations on the all-too-common freckle.
I have a poster of all the harmless skin changes we all acquire over time or are born with in my exam rooms so patients will experience less anxiety and fear.
5. Penile Papules – men and their women come in asking about what the small, seed-like, white, pearly lumps are on his head of the penis. Though there are many things that are not normal when white bumps are present, these distinctive pods are quite harmless and very common.
From my end, it’s always a good thing when I am able to provide reassurance.