PEOPLE in Swindon are too shy to talk to their GPs about conditions that could put them at risk.

Almost half of people in the south west suffer because they are too embarrassed to discuss things like erectile dysfunction, depression and incontinence.

There are more than 20 million Briton who could be putting themselves at risk by not seeking help according to Pharmacy2U.

Some of these conditions are erectile dysfunction, vaginal discharge, haemorrhoids, thrush, incontinence and depression.

In the region 28 per cent of people have self-diagnosed their problems using the internet rather than going to see a doctor.

Dr Sarah Bruen, a GP and clinical chair of Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Talking to your doctor or other healthcare professionals about some health topics can be hard.

“Things like sex, vaginal discharge, incontinence, bleeding from the bottom, memory problems or depression may feel embarrassing to discuss, but doctors see patients with these issues every day and are very happy to discuss them with their patients.

"They are trained to deal with sensitive issues and to be aware of the different needs and cultural backgrounds of the people in their care. Talking with your doctor about your sensitive issue will help you get the care you need.

“It is important to remember that whilst symptoms like bleeding from the bottom can be due to haemorrhoids it can also be due to more worrying conditions like bowel cancer so it is important to see a doctor.”

Behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings explained: “Medical embarrassment has two distinct factors, self-consciousness at the condition and concern at being judged. It’s important to understand that medical professionals will have seen all these stigma conditions many times before, and they are also trained to be completely impartial and totally confidential.

“We are perhaps most embarrassed by those conditions that involve personal hygiene like body odour or bad breath, or concerns ‘down there’ like erectile dysfunction, vaginal discharge or thrush. However, while many of these conditions are easily and swiftly treated, it can feel awkward both to visit your GP in the first instance and to collect prescriptions from your local pharmacy.”

Among the reasons given for feeling red-faced are that other people they know might overhear if patients talk about them out loud.

At the moment 15 per cent of people are suffering with a medical condition that they refuse to see a doctor for. NHS and Pharmacy2U GP Dr Nitin Shori suggests writing down the symptoms before an appointment to help talk about the medical condition.