It’s not always easy to talk about what’s bothering you but keeping it bottled up is always going to end in grief, particularly when it’s a health issue that has you worried. Talking about uncomfortable health issues, whether physical or mental, is painful but essential because it not only provides the sufferer with potential help but removes the stigma around them.

If you’re suffering from something then chances are someone around you will have or will know someone else who has suffered. In fact, it’s probably a lot more common than you’d think. For example, more than half of all men will need treatment for erectile dysfunction at some point in their life so if you’re worried about talking to your friends about it, it’s more than likely they’ve struggled with it too.

Of course, it’s not something you should be too cavalier about but with the right guidance, to the right people and in the right environment, sometimes talking about it can feel like lifting a weight off your chest. With that in mind, here are a few ways you might want to broach the subject.

Vent to a friend

Sometimes you just need to let it all out. Speaking to your friends about a health problem can help you to feel like you’re not so alone and friends are going to be less overly invested in your problems than your family. You could also perhaps find a more relaxed time to discuss it. Maybe when you’re sharing a few beers at the pub or on the way home from work on a Friday when everyone is feeling relaxed and open. Just try to only share with friends that you know and trust. Not the office blabbermouth.

Talk to your family

If you are very close to your family and have a healthy relationship with them, it’s best to be open with them about what you’re going through. If you’re suffering from something such as alcohol dependency, for example, a strong support system can be vital to your recovery.

Bring it up with your partner

It could be an issue that affects your other half too and they may not have noticed how it is affecting your life or may not have even realised you’ve noticed. If they have noticed, they might even feel as though you’re not comfortable sharing with them. So always keep them in the loop, if you can and you feel safe with them.

Speak to a health professional

Whether it’s a doctor, a therapist or even a nutritionist, a health professional could be able to prescribe something to help with the problem. Or to provide you with a note for your work if you need time off. They will also be able to provide legitimate and considered health advice regarding how best to proceed and will do so in a completely professional and non-judgmental capacity.

If you do decide to talk to a doctor. Make sure you’re prepared.

Make a list of things you need to talk about beforehand, so you don’t forget.

Have an appointment with a doctor of the same sex if that makes you feel better.

Be specific and to the point, they deal with this daily, remember.

Tell them you feel nervous, and they will probably make it easier for you. They are only human, after all.