To be fed up of the nurse making a comment on my weight at every single pill check

(70 Posts)
thelongandwindingroad Thu 11-Apr-13 15:31:25

I have to have a pill check every six months during which the nurse checks my blood pressure and weight.

When I first went on the pill after my DC's birth I was overweight - it was mentioned at my pill check. Fine, I knew my BMI was overweight and went on to do something about it. I didn't mind it being pointed out to me.

I lost about 2 stone and at my next pill check the nurse commented on it positively. Ok, fair enough.

But EVERY time I go for my pill check the nurse (and there are a couple of them at the surgery so not always the same one) ALWAYS mentions my weight.

One time it was "oh, you've put on 2 kilos". I was wearing winter boots and coat at the time and weighed on different scales to the previous time so hardly thought it was worth mentioning. ESPECIALLY as my BMI was still in the normal range.

Another time it was "your weight is perfect, don't lose any more and don't put on any more".

Basically every time I go they mention if I've lost of gained a few pounds.

I HAVE A HISTORY OF EATING DISORDERS which I have managed to overcome in the last 5 years or so by eating well, exercising a lot and not weighing myself too often.

I find it incredibly stressful when comment is passed on my weight and I appreciate it wouldn't bother other people. But I am due another pill check soon and seriously considering coming off the pill and switching to something else as already I am worried about them commenting on the 4 pounds extra I weigh since last time they weighed me.

I realise this is MY problem. But is it really necessary for them to pass comment on my weight when it is in the healthy BMI range and has been at every visit except the first one?

EndoplasmicReticulum Thu 11-Apr-13 15:33:36

They probably don't realise they are being insensitive, comments like "your weight is perfect" seem fairly reasonable to me.

Last couple of times I went it was "ooh, you're getting a bit old aren't you".

Well yes. Not much I can do about that really.

DinoSnores Thu 11-Apr-13 15:34:41

I'd guess she's just making conversation, like when the midwife would take my blood pressure and say whether it was high, "Ooh, a bit stressed today?" (generally taken after wrangling my toddler in the waiting room!) or low, "make sure you drink a bit more."

EasterHoliday Thu 11-Apr-13 15:34:59

since she has to assess you for risk factors associated with taking the pill, your weight is relevant.

thelongandwindingroad Thu 11-Apr-13 15:35:04

I have to admit, I didn't mind the 'your weight is perfect' bit so much grin it was more the "don't lose any more don't gain anymore" bit that I found stressful.

The "you've put on 2 kilos one" actually made me cry (stupid f*cked up eating disorder brain sad )

HumphreyCobbler Thu 11-Apr-13 15:35:20

Just say briskly that you would appreciate not discussing weight as you find it stressful. Do this when you walk in through the door.

I asked the midwife not to tell me my weight the other day, she agreed but then said it out loud when she wrote it down! I find it very triggering and am trying not to stress about it so I was annoyed with her. I am in a normal BMI range as I am a size 10, but I get very hung up on actual numbers and find it really negatively affects my perception of myself. So I know what you mean.

nethunsreject Thu 11-Apr-13 15:35:44


It is totally unnecessary as you are within the healthy range anyway!

It's worth saying to them - they probably don't realise how these comments can impact on someone who has had an eating disorder.

StiffyByng Thu 11-Apr-13 15:36:57

YANBU. They are being crap. Are you doing this at a Family Planning Clinic? Could you switch to your doctor's surgery? Or vice versa.

I am overweight and went to a FPC for contraception at the start of a new relationship. It was a weekend service and I suspect they don't have the best staff then. The doctor was handed my file, which had all the stats the nurse had collected, and she laughed, and asked 'has she asked you to shave a few pounds off yet'? When the mortified nurse gestured to the open door, and me sitting there listening, she just shrugged, and went on to tell me I was killing myself, shouldn't really use contraception apart from barrier, and, when I objected to an implant on the grounds that I was hoping to have children within the next 2/3 years, asked if I was sure that my partner wanted to have children with me rather than just wanting to 'have fun'?

I went to another FPC the next time and found she had prescribed the wrong dose of pill for me. And I am NOT that fat.

thelongandwindingroad Thu 11-Apr-13 15:39:14

Thanks all.

Stiffy - it's at the Dr surgery. I could switch to the FPC I guess, but the Dr surgers is a 20 second walk from my house and the FPC is a drive. Since I have to take the DC with me it's a lot more faff to go to the FPC.

Will look into whether they have evening appts though.

YANBU I know a lot of people who have this issue. Including when they go for completely unrelated issues i.e. my Dad has arthritis in his hands, without fail the doctor will mention his weight when discussing treatment options. How does weight affect arthritis in your hands!?

ShowOfHands Thu 11-Apr-13 15:44:46

I wonder if there is a facility for them to record somewhere that you prefer not to discuss your weight. I know they do have to weigh you as part of your pill check so it's unavoidable from that pov but they have the ability to be discreet and sensitive to your needs.

It sounds to me like you're doing absolutely brilliantly with regard to you EDs. Do you still receive help with them?

Have you thought about a coil? Condoms? Implant?

bigkidsdidit Thu 11-Apr-13 15:46:25

I think it is now recommended to family doctors that they bring up under / over weight at every appointment, even if unrelated. I heard about it on the news recently, I'm sure. Because people don't tend to make appointments with their doctor about their weight.

Startail Thu 11-Apr-13 15:46:29

I wouldn't worry, I don't believe my nurse's scales anyway.

I'm sure I'm heavier than last time. My clothes are tighter, but her scales said I'd lost weight confused

Seriously HP should shut up about peoples weight. My DMum's knees are beyond redemption and she never did anything about them when she was younger in part because she said the Dr. will just say I'm too heavy.

Yes, she is over weight, but she honestly doesn't eat a lot or have a sweet tooth. Yes she didn't take any exercise, what SAHM does unless they own a dog. She needed help with her knees not a lecture on something she was well aware of and for which there was no quick fix.

comfysofas Thu 11-Apr-13 15:47:12

A nurse always told me I should not be taking the pill at my age.

Im 44 and take it [not for contraception ]
to calm my crazy periods. I check with my doc every year she is happy, and she is.

Last time I went and saw the nurse she said it again, so I told her the doc is more qualified than her and I see her for the prescription not medical advice for that I go to the doctor.

And when i book an appointment i tell them i want to see another nurse.

bigkidsdidit Thu 11-Apr-13 15:47:21

that was to gruffalo btw, doesn't apply to you as you are not overweight now.

StuntGirl Thu 11-Apr-13 15:48:40

Well its directly relevant so she has to check your weight.

Just point out you have a history of eating disorders and you'd prefer her not to mention your weight as it is a trigger point for you. Ask her to put it in your notes.

angelos02 Thu 11-Apr-13 15:49:05

YANBU. I think if people are outside the healthy BMI range (either way), it should be pointed out but they shouldn't pass comment on it at all otherwise.

CabbageLeaves Thu 11-Apr-13 15:51:41

I was all ready to defend HCPs professionalism in tackling obesity related health issues but this is a completely different scenario to someone saying I don't want to know about the health risks I'm taking...

Nurse probably has no idea of the effect of her casual words. Just refuse to be weighed next time? Any interaction with a HCP is voluntary. Common sense should dictate if it's an issue in terms of health risks assoc with losing or gaining. It's obviously not and therefore her remarks are idle careless personal comment.

If you commented back about her weight it would have the same value. Not required, personal and unmerited.

thelongandwindingroad Thu 11-Apr-13 15:51:47

Thanks all.

I really don't feel comfortable with telling them I have a history of eating disorders (I think it's quite common for people to be secretive about eating disorders?)

In fact, I'd rather go through the weight comments than look someone in the eye and tell them something that private.

Gingerandhibiscus Thu 11-Apr-13 15:52:17

i've never been weighed by a doctor, I'd say no I'm within normal ranges thank you if I were asked to stand on the scales I think.

comfysofas that's interesting. I sound like you. I could use it. I did wonder if they'd prescribe it for me. 43, a period every 21 days now confused some heavy, some light. I should ASK anyway. Has taking the pill sort it out for you?

trinity0097 Thu 11-Apr-13 15:53:14

I find that the doctors themselves are more laid back, why not see the doctor not the nurse?

Startail Thu 11-Apr-13 15:54:53

Xposted - Yes bigkids I heard that too.

I shouted something very rude at the radio. As the OP and the above about my DMum indicate it can be very, very counter productive.

Over weight and people with ED aren't stupid they know they have a problem.

However, they also have other things they need/want to discuss with a doctor, but don't because they can't face the 'weight' talk again.

DontSHOUTTTTTT Thu 11-Apr-13 15:57:02

I think they should mention people's wieght. Especially if people are over or under wieght. I would hope it would always be done in a sensitive manner though.

Some people never wiegh themselves at home so it can be useful to let people know if they have gained or lost weight.

thelongandwindingroad Thu 11-Apr-13 15:58:29

trinity, thanks, I hadn't though of the Dr. The Drs there are all lovely, I wonder if the receptionists would let me book it with them.

DontSHOUTTTTTT Thu 11-Apr-13 15:58:33

In future, can you just decline to be weighed?? I am not sure if that is possible.

thelongandwindingroad Thu 11-Apr-13 16:01:09

I'm not sure if I can decline to be weighed as presumably that's part of what's required for them to dispense the pill?

Wannabestepfordwife Thu 11-Apr-13 16:01:59

Yanbu at all. I'm on the injection when I kept losing weight and went down to bmi of 18 the nurse never commented on my weight but the minute I put a couple of pounds on she made a huge deal out of it.

Btw you are doing fantastic my sister is a recovering anorexic and she would have had a meltdown if someone mentioned her weight. Even though it bothers you and rightly so, your so strong not to fall back into old habits.

Have a word with nurse or practice manager next time your in and request they don't tell you your weight unless it's dangerous for your health

CabbageLeaves Thu 11-Apr-13 16:04:43

You can refuse to be weighed.

If your weight was in the realms of 'risky' they might need to discuss if your refusal was safe. Since its not then just refuse politely. Say no thank you

CabbageLeaves Thu 11-Apr-13 16:07:16

I think HCPs are expected to conduct a full check so weight should be part of a discussion if it can be related to health of that person.

They have a duty

You have a choice

Sensitivity is a plus on both sides! Polite consideration of each others position on this is vital

OhLori Thu 11-Apr-13 16:08:33

Agree, declined to be weighed. For a nurse to say "your weight is perfect" is stupid and meaningless to me. I am weighed once a year for medical reasons also. I always say, don't tell me my weight, and they never have.

thelongandwindingroad Thu 11-Apr-13 16:11:38

cabbageleaves - sorry to be thick, but when you say i havea choice what do you mean? a choice not to be weighed or a choice to stop taking the pill?

armagh Thu 11-Apr-13 16:14:12

Would it be on your notes about food issues and they feel they must mention weight to you. I think you are being ultra sensitive.

Mumsyblouse Thu 11-Apr-13 16:14:13

This is now standard practice for nurse appointments, they weigh you even if you went in for something else and then, if appropriate, discuss healthy eating etc with you. However, it is clearly NOT appropriate for you, so next time it is raised, or before they weigh you, say I don't want to be weighed or discuss my weight thank you, and get them to put that on your notes. They do this with everyone and will carry on doing it unless you say something.

thelongandwindingroad Thu 11-Apr-13 16:15:36

amagh it is not on my notes, no. i cant speak for anyone else who has had an eating disorder though.

thelongandwindingroad Thu 11-Apr-13 16:17:02

mumsyblouse - thanks. that is basically my objection, i didnt mind them mentioning when i was overweight. but the comments on my weight going up or down a few pounds but still witihn healthy range i dont understand

middleagedspread Thu 11-Apr-13 16:21:50

The nurse has a professional responsibility to weight you. I don't know which Pill you take but if it's the Progesterone Only (mini pill) and you weigh over 90kg she would need to prescribe a double dose.

thelongandwindingroad Thu 11-Apr-13 16:25:17

i didnt say i didnt want her to weigh me, middleaged, just not point out when ive put on a couple of pounds

I'm overweight and didn't used to get weighed when getting my checks. They would take bp only

Blissx Thu 11-Apr-13 16:31:23

It does annoy me! YANBU.
I used to be fed up that as soon as I turned 30, every time I went to get a new Pill prescription, the Doctors kept trying to ask if I was going to try to get pregnant and if not, I should consider other contraception such as the implant. They obviously had to ask, but didn't stop me feeling picked on-just as I'm sure you felt, thelongandwindingroad!

thelongandwindingroad Thu 11-Apr-13 16:33:52

sorry middleagedspread, I've just realised you were probably responding to the comments to not let them weigh me, rather than suggesting I thought weighing me was unncecessary. Apologies.

middleagedspread Thu 11-Apr-13 16:33:54

Mmm, she's probably just making conversation. I think that you should mention to her that you feel uncomfortable talking about it. She'll probably be mortified that she's offended you.

Wilding Thu 11-Apr-13 16:37:52

That's so weird - I've been on the pill for over 10 years and I think I've only been weighed a couple of times, so it can't be standard. I always have to have my blood pressure checked for a new prescription but that's it.

RevoltingPeasant Thu 11-Apr-13 16:38:21

OP I totally know how you feel. Once a nurse looked me up and down and said, 'You know it wouldn't kill you to lose a stone or two.' She was probably right, but jeez sad

I also have to be weighed for hospital appts and don't mind it now so much as I weigh myself regularly at the gym these days.

I'd say at the start of the appt, 'I know you have to weigh, but weight is a sensitive issue with me. I'm happy to be weighed but would rather not discuss it unless there is a medical problem. Is that okay?'

That is direct but polite. If she comments after that, write to the practice manager and ask to see a GP for this appt instead.

And no, that is not being precious. EDs are a genuine mental health issue, and you don't push someone's buttons without need.

Sidge Thu 11-Apr-13 16:40:57

middleagedspread not true, the doseage for POP no longer changes depending on weight (used to need 2 of some POPs if over 70kgs but the guidelines have changed).

I'm a practice nurse and the assessment we need to do for pill checks includes weight. There are risks associated with hormonal contraception and these can increase with increased weight, as well as other factors such as age, smoking, medical history and family history.

OP - I can understand your dislike of the nurse mentioning your weight given your history but if the nurse has no knowledge of that then her mentioning your weight may just be conversational. You could tell her next time you go either you don't wish to be weighed, or could she please not make any comment about it.

greenfern Thu 11-Apr-13 16:49:32

YANBU. That would totally stress me out them banging on about weight all the time. Totally agree some nurses have to keep an eye their patients weight but some are so egotistic.

thelongandwindingroad Thu 11-Apr-13 17:40:53

Thank you all, that's really helpful.

I thought you were all going to tell me I was being ridiculous. I don't have a lot of sensible perspective when it comes to weight stuff, unfortunately.

Cherriesarelovely Thu 11-Apr-13 17:46:19

Oddly enough I had a very similar experience to yours many years ago when getting the pill. When I first went on it I was being rather silly about food and was basically eating very little. I weighed 7 stone. The nurse described that as "excellent"! When I came to my senses and began to eat properly again I gradually gained a stone and she kept admonishing me for it!!! In the end I got really snotty and told her that when she first met me I was barely eating.

CabbageLeaves Thu 11-Apr-13 17:47:02

OP I meant you have a choice about being weighed smile Just politely decline the offer

thermalsinapril Thu 11-Apr-13 17:53:23

YANBU. Most women are well aware of their own weight, shape and size.

Chucksteak Thu 11-Apr-13 17:59:15

OP, as CabbageLeaves has stated, as a patient you have the power and the choice to decline or accept any healthcare offered to you.

In your case, you are perfectly within your rights to decline to be weighed. You can also refuse to see this nurse again - you do not need to do anything or see anyone you are not comfortable with. If you are uncomfortable with any doctor or nurse - you can refuse to be treated by them. If you are unhappy with a course of treatment, it is up to you to decide what is best. It is your body and you decide whether or not to accept or refuse any recommendations made by a HCP. They cannot force you to do anything against your wishes.

This nurse should keep her comments to herself as they are unwelcome and unnecessary.

Don't forget, the surgery get a bonus (Qof) payment for every patient that is weighed.

trinity0097 Thu 11-Apr-13 18:05:30

You do not need to tell a receptionist why you want to make an appointment.

As an aside I moved to a totally new area nearly 3 years ago, neither the doctors or nurses I have seen at the practice have ever weighed me when I have been in about the pill, they only do blood pressure!

InSync Thu 11-Apr-13 18:12:59

I always refuse to be weighed at the doctors. I also have a history of ED which is actually on my medical records, so they'd see that if they cared to look. I just tell them I don't want to be weighed thank you.

Bobyan Thu 11-Apr-13 18:17:17

In England, most people are overweight or obese. This includes 61.3% of adults and 30% of children aged between 2 and 15. People who are overweight have a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. Excess weight can also make it more difficult for people to find and keep work, and it can affect self-esteem and mental health.
Health problems associated with being overweight or obese cost the NHS more than £5 billion every year.

This is from the website.

HCP are damned if they mention your weight and given the health implications of being overweight damned if they don't.

Snog Thu 11-Apr-13 18:17:56

Everyone already knows if they are a healthy weight, we don't need a nurse to point it out.
I would say that you find it patronising to have your weight commented on or else I would make a comment back to the nurse about her weight
"put on a bit yourself, eh?"
In fact I wouldn't agree to be weighed in the first place.

Jollyb Thu 11-Apr-13 18:20:09

I agree she probably doesn't realise the impact of her comments. In my clinics patients are weighed every visit and 9 times out of 10 the patient seems keen to know their weight- asks for me to convert it from kg to stone/lbs and wants to know how it compares to previous readings.

undercoverSAHM Thu 11-Apr-13 18:24:55

WELL DONE for getting to grips with your ED. That is no mean feat and you should be so proud of yourself.

I expect the nurse is just being chatty and I am not sure what you can do about it (sorry) even though I can see exactly why you might find it disturbing. Remind yourself that you ARE actually in the normal BMI range before you go in and feel confident (if you can - sorry, I know it may not be that simple). But really be proud of your journey :-)

Oblomov Thu 11-Apr-13 18:29:06

I think it is standard these days.
For years, no one said to overweight people, that they really should loose some weight or the chances of developing type 2 diabetes are increased.
they should have said something to my dh, but no one ever did. And he did develop type 2 diabetes.
I have been diabetic my whole life and no one has ever mentioned my weight to me before. Mind you, to be fair it was the same, for nearly my whole life. But, Now, every time I go the GP (and when dh does,) she makes a comment about my weight.
I think it is just a change in their focus. And actually I can not see how that can be a bad thing.

SpicyPear Thu 11-Apr-13 18:30:39

YANBU. I have ED history and would also find that awful. Last time I was weighed at the Dr I actually preempted her by saying that I am aware I am overweight but in recovery from an ED. She took the rather large hint and moved on. Is there any Dr you could go to who you would behppy to mention it to?

montage Thu 11-Apr-13 18:45:35

Definitely say you don't wish to know what you weigh/ have any comment regarding what you weigh.

One of the recommendations the government is considering is "every contact counts" which means every single health care professional is meant to raise the issue of weight at every single contact if they think someone is overweight.

I think this is a a very very badly thought-through policy. It's going to put some people off contact with hcps for starters.

Doubtfuldaphne Thu 11-Apr-13 18:49:24

I had exactly the same problem with the depo injection
She once said 'I can't find your hip bone with all this padding'!
I stopped having the injection in the end.

countrykitten Thu 11-Apr-13 19:19:58

We have an obesity epidemic. HCPs SHOULD be bringing this up with patients and we SHOULD be listening. And snog I am not sure that everyone does know if they are at a healthy weight or not.

And just because it is widely used and very safe does not mean that the pill does not have health issues associated with it - and being overweight is not a good idea if you are on the pill.

countrykitten Thu 11-Apr-13 19:20:24

General post btw - not aimed at you OP.

HumphreyCobbler Thu 11-Apr-13 19:40:29

I know I am not overweight. I still do not want to know exactly what I weigh. It is triggering for me and can set me off on a spiral of negativity. The OP has particular issues that mean she does not want her weight to be discussed and she has every right to insist on that.

Itchywoolyjumper Thu 11-Apr-13 19:45:48

I'm a sexual health nurse and it is important that you are weighed before you take the pill due to the risk of blood clot formation being dangerously high if you are over a certain BMI and taking the pill.
However, if my patient is in a healthy BMI range I wouldn't comment on it past saying everything was fine. I think your nurse is making conversation without thinking how this might affect you. RevoltingPeasant has it right, just tell her you don't want to talk about your weight unless there is a problem and get her to write it in the notes.

StiffyByng Thu 11-Apr-13 20:09:45

I wouldn't complain about being weighed for a reason. I wouldn't complain about a quick chat about healthy eating, although believe me, I'm no stranger to it. I do complain about rude, ill-informed HCPs making personal remarks and threatening comments. (I'm talking about my own occasional experiences here, rather than the OP's.) But if these comments, however unthinking they are, are making the OP upset, then the nurses need to stop. Especially because harping on about being a healthy weight is unnecessary.

Floggingmolly Thu 11-Apr-13 20:32:36

Some pills are dangerous if you're overweight. She has to check.

specialsubject Thu 11-Apr-13 20:43:43

I once saw a doctor who asked me my weight, when I said I didn't know he congratulated me - you can just look at me to see I am a normal weight.

my weight is just a fact about me, like my height,and when I have eaten too much and moved too little I am not worried if it is pointed out. But I haven't had an eating disorder.

OP - if they don't know you've had an ED they can't respond accordingly. But it does seem odd to comment on any weight change of half a stone or less, and even more so if you are a healthy weight.

Josie1974 Thu 11-Apr-13 20:56:41

I would make a complaint to the practice manager pointing out that medically unnecessary comments about weight can be severely triggering for ED sufferers. Many of whom will not have it in their medical records.
The nurse needs feedback on this.

EMUZ Fri 12-Apr-13 00:46:55

I've refused to see a certain nurse over a similar thing. To be fair it was one in a long line of being asked about my weight but she suggested I "cut out the crappy food/takeaways/junk and try some gentle walking"
I told her I eat Paleo, I do circuits, bootcamp, spinning, horse riding, body pump and have personal training sessions and I wasn't too sure exactly what the gentle walking would do for me blush
It was just the way she said it that got me, a doctor had weighed me not that long ago and gone to find different scales as he thought they were broken (no,I really am that heavy)

holidaysarenice Fri 12-Apr-13 02:11:43

Your weight is very relevant to taking the pill - partifularly the progesterone only pill (mini-pill) so I can see why they ask.

Next check up pre-empt the questions, when the nurse asks how you are getting on etc. Comment fine, feel healthy, think my bp is healthy and a few pounds of weight on but still in normal bmi so happy with that too.

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