How to Be Less Ticklish During Medical Exams
How to Be Less Ticklish During Medical Exams
Medical exams are important for doctors to do in order to help figure out what's causing your problems or symptoms. They involve the doctor touching your body, either directly with their hands or through diagnostic instruments. However, a significant proportion of people get ticklish when touched on their abdomen, feet and other body parts, which makes it difficult for doctors to get meaningful findings from the exams. Use some helpful tips to reduce ticklishness during your medical exams.
Dealing With the Mental Aspects of Ticklishness
Get over your nervousness.Being ticklish is determined by your brain, not your skin's touch receptors, and nervousness is a significant factor in triggering your brain to think that a person's touch is ticklish.As such, try to control your nervousness before a medical exam. Convince yourself that medical exams are not painful and they will help the doctor find your problem and make you feel better.
- Deep breathing, meditation, positive visualizing and listening to calming music within an hour of a medical exam can help reduce your nervousness and anxiety.
- Caffeine can make people more jittery and cause their minds to race, which tends to make nervousness worse. As such, refrain from drinking coffee, black tea, colas and energy drinks at least 6 hours before medical exams.
Request a nurse be present.In addition to nervousness, feeling uncomfortable being confined with your doctor in a small exam room can also make your muscles tense and more susceptible to being ticklish.Request that a third person be present in the room during your medical exam, such as a nurse or assistant of some sort.
- Having a third person of the same gender in the exam room with you can greatly ease your issues with having to wear a gown and expose some of your body.
- This strategy might be particularly important if you have a history of sexual abuse or trauma.
- If a nurse or assistant is the same gender as you, it can help diffuse any sexual tension that may exist between the doctor and you.
Don't be embarrassed about disrobing.In addition to potentially making patients shiver, examination gowns also make some patients embarrassed or feel vulnerable about exposing too much of their body. Like nervousness and anxiety, embarrassment and vulnerability can increase a person's level of ticklishness.Either come to terms with your embarrassment or ask if there's any way not to wear a gown or robe for the exam — not all exams require gowning.
- Make sure to choose a larger-sized gown in order to cover as much of your body as possible to reduce your embarrassment.
- Some people prefer to cover their faces during exams to reduce their embarrassment, but then they won't be able to anticipate the doctor's touch, which can reduce ticklishness.
Reducing Some Physical Aspects of Ticklishness
Go to the bathroom before the exam.One of the symptoms of a full bladder (and bowels) is lower abdominal pressure and tightness, which can feel uncomfortable or ticklish if touched, palpated or probed by a doctor during a medical exam.Having to go to the bathroom urgently can also make you very anxious or nervous, which can heighten ticklishness. Therefore, empty your bladder (and bowels) before heading to your scheduled medical exam.
- Avoiding caffeine, a diuretic that triggers frequent urination, for a few hours prior to the exam is also beneficial in this regard.
- Going to the bathroom prior to a gynecological exam is especially important because the bladder and urethra may be pressed upon directly.
Keep yourself warm.Being too cold causes shivering, which is your body's method of warming itself up.However, while you're chilly and shivering, your muscles are either contracting or at least under more tension, which can trigger ticklishness when touched, poked or prodded more easily. Thus, dress appropriately for your medical exam and plan for the office being a little too cool.
- If the office is exceptionally cool, ask the doctor or nurse if the temperature can be turned up for your exam.
- If you have to wear an examination gown or robe, ask the doctor what you can leave on to remain warm — such as your socks, underwear, undershirt, etc.
Rub or pinch your skin while being examined.While your doctor is palpating various parts of your body to figure out what's wrong with you, distract your brain a little by rubbing or lightly pinching another part of your body, such as your hand. Distracting your brain by giving it different sensations to process is an effective tool to help reduce pain, sensitivities and even ticklishness.
- While your brain is focused on processing the rubbing or pinching sensation that you're creating, it will have trouble registering the doctor's touch (palpation) as ticklish.
- Even just rubbing your fingers together might be helpful, or scratching the side of your leg. Apply enough pressure to your skin that it's not lightly ticklish, but not too much to cause pain.
Using Helpful Techniques During Medical Exams
Ask your doctor to communicate their intentions clearly.Probably the most important thing a doctor can do to reduce ticklishness in patients during physical exams is clearly communicating their intentions before they do anything.Tell your doctor about your self-perceived level of ticklishness before getting touched. Ask if they use lighter or deeper palpation (touches) while conducting exams so you can prepare yourself for it.
- Ask your doctor to tell you where and when they're going to touch you before they do. Removing anticipation often eliminates ticklishness.
- Ask your doctor to be particularly careful of your highly ticklish areas, such as your underarms, lower abdomen, groin and/or feet.
- Always maintain professionalism in order to prevent any sexual or flirtatious undertones, which can cause nervousness / anxiety / arousal and trigger ticklishness.
Request that your doctor take their time.Although most doctors are busy and don't always have the luxury of taking lots of time for physical exams, it's helpful for making patients feel more comfortable and potentially less ticklish. An unrushed purposeful touch is usually better received than a hurried and clumsy touch. It's also best for your doctor to start your medical exam by feeling less sensitive areas and then concluding with the more sensitive spots.
- The back (spine) is typically one of the least ticklish areas for touching, examining, massaging, etc, whereas the abdomen and feet are often the most sensitive.
- With thoughtful and purposeful sequencing during a physical exam, your doctor can make it easier for you to develop a level of comfort and confidence before having to endure being touched in your more sensitive body parts.
- A ticklish / jumpy patient can waste a lot of valuable time, so your doctor shouldn't mind spending a little more time initially making you feel more comfortable in order to save time in the long run.
Ask your doctor to keep their hands warm and dry.Another cause of ticklish and jumpy behavior in patients is being touched by cold or wet hands. As such, it's important that doctors keep their hands warm and dry during physical exams, regardless of the time of year or temperature inside the clinic. They can rub their hands together or blow on them to warm them up prior to touching you. Clapping them together a few times or shaking them for a few seconds can also improve circulation.
- Using hand sanitizer is great for cleaning hands prior to touching patients, but make sure your doctor's hands are dry before starting the exam.
- Chronic smoking and caffeine consumption often leads to poor circulation to the hands, which tends to make them feel cold.
Place your hands underneath the doctor's while palpating.An effective technique to use on ticklish or hypersensitive patients is called the "hand sandwich," which involves placing the doctors hand over top of your hands while they're palpating sensitive parts of your body.In effect, the doctor is feeling your body through your hands or fingertips. This is most effective for palpating / percussing your abdominal organs, but not really appropriate for finer work such as feeling your skin.
- This technique seems to work because people can predict the movements of the doctor's hand as they apply pressure to the skin, which makes them feel like they are in control more.
- Because it's not possible for people to tickle themselves (the brain doesn't allow it), the "hand sandwich" technique fools your brain into thinking the pressure is coming from your own hand, thus reducing your ticklishness.
QuestionWhat if I really don't want to be touched at all?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou should ask the doctor to touch you as little as possible. If that’s doesn’t help, stay calm and try to relaxThanks!
- It's unclear why people are ticklish. It's likely the brain's reaction to the sensation of an unexpected or surprise touch.
- The more medical exams you go through, especially if it's with the same doctor, the less ticklish you're bound to be because you'll feel more comfortable and know what to anticipate.
- Ticklishness is much more common in kids compared to adults.
- If you start giggling or laughing in the middle, tell them that your just really ticklish, they will understand.
Video: Why are we Ticklish? | How to Be Less Ticklish During Medical Exams
16 Recipes For Easy Entertaining
5 Things You Didn’t Know About Dandruff
The Best Pieces From The Uniqlo x Lemaire Collaboration
First Sneak Peek At Grantchester Series 3
6 Emma Watson Style Tips
The Key To Showing The Right Amount Of Skin
15 Best Benefits Of Arginine For Skin, Hair, And Health
How to Deal With Mean Girls at School
How to Make a Pretty Christmas Village Using Dollar Store Items
The Secret to Mastering Paella: Cooking Over a Wood-Burning Fire