Every now and again, Lifehacker asks a medical professional the health questions that you wish an expert would answer but you can’t quite bring yourself to ask. Today’s letter writer just wants to take care of their skin health – but one of their moles is in a very private location.
Illustration by Sam Woolley/GMG
My family medical history dictates that I get moles checked from time to time. I think I have one in my buttcrack, but CANNOT bring myself to display it at the dermatology office. Can’t I please just assume it’s totally fine?
OK, first the bad news. The doctors I asked confirmed: You can’t get your mole checked unless you actually, you know, get your mole checked. Australian experts recommend regular skin exams by a dermatologist for people with a family history of melanoma, and there isn’t really an alternative that compares. You’re probably already doing monthly self-checks with a mirror, and you could probably snap a very awkward selfie to get some idea of what’s down there. But eventually you’ll have to visit your doc and reveal all.
Dr Michael Reitano, physician in residence at men’s health service Roman, has a solution that he finds can reduce embarrassment, although personally I would think asking about this setup would make me more self conscious? But it’s something to consider. He says that people often feel better about exposing a body part if they can keep everything else covered. So ask the doctor or office staff if they can give you a gown to change into (ideally one that closes at the front and back).
Then, to keep things even more private, a nurse could have you lay down on the exam table “with the use of carefully draped cloths” and just reveal the necessary area when the doctor needs to see it. “A mere inch or two of exposed skin revealing the mole alone would be adequate for the dermatologist to see, evaluate, and even perform a biopsy.” After that, you will hopefully feel comfortable enough to do the rest of your exam in the usual way.
Whether you ask for this setup or not, it may also help to ask your partner or a family member to come with you. Obviously this should be someone whose presence while you have your butt exposed will make you less embarrassed, not more. I recommend someone with a good sense of humour.
Here’s wishing you a healthy buttcrack in the new year.