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Embarrassing Bodies

Season 1 2008

  • 2008-04-08T20:00:00Z on Channel 4
  • 45 mins
  • 3 hours, 0 mins
  • United Kingdom
  • English
  • Documentary

Channel 4 in the United Kingdom hosts the television show, Embarrassing Bodies. There's also a website providing health information that is detailed, audacious, graphic, and absolutely engaging.

On it, you'll see close-ups of breasts, testicles, vulvae, and most other body parts in Grey's Anatomy that are suitable for self-examination.

The show launched in April 2008 and was watched by over 12 million people. Since there, Embarrassing Bodies has seen countless downloads of health videos, page views on every topic of consumer health care,

The website houses self-check videos that help people learn about conditions from A to Z (er, zed), from "acne" to "zits," from the esoteric xanthelasma (cholesterol deposits underneath the skin under the eyes) to the more common genital herpes (both, graphically illustrated).

As Adam Gee, Commissioning Editor of Channel 4, said, the program, "helps people to avoid literally dying of embarrassment."

4 episodes

1x01 We're Coming to Get You!

  • Series Premiere

    2008-04-08T20:00:00Z — 45 mins

The Embarrassing Illnesses doctors have decided to up sticks and take their clinic on the road! In the first of four special programmes, the three straight-talking doctors – Christian Jessen, Dawn Harper and Pixie McKenna – begin their tour of Britain in the city of Leeds, with a PR offensive that Victoria Beckham would be proud of. And to ensure that no fungal feet, problem penises or bothersome boils slip through the net, the EI team have chosen a location bang in the heart of Leeds, on Briggate – one of the city’s busiest shopping streets. With the high street transformed into a slalom of stalls, information boards and games, there will be nowhere for the people of Leeds to hide. The doctors are back…and the time for excuses is over! Kicking off proceedings is Kali, who has embarrassment written all over her face. She’s suffering from a common inflammatory condition of the skin called Rosacea, which causes redness that looks like a flush or blush. Often afflicting the fair-skinned, there’s no cure for the condition, but Dr McKenna should be able to treat it effectively. Then there’s David who has a skin condition. But it isn’t fungal, bacterial or viral…there’s just too much of it! After growing to a staggering 28-stone, David managed to lose half that weight over the course of a two-year diet. However, the weight loss has left him with huge rolls of excess flesh. Dr Jessen subsequently books him in for a breast operation, which will hopefully give him a body to be proud of. And from breast operations to wedding day preparations – Dr Jessen also sees 54-year-old Christopher, who’s worried that he might not be able to rise to the occasion on his wedding night. We’ll see whether Christopher’s nocturnal nuptials will be a flop or not on Thursday’s show, dedicated entirely to men. Sometimes even a little bit of extra skin can go a long way…to causing major embarrassment. For newly single Alyson, her enlarged labia has made her anxious about exposing herself to a new partner, so visits the clinic to see what her options are. Alyson’s story continues on Wednesday, when the Embarrassing Illnesses team will be discussing labias, vulvas and all things vaginal. Meanwhile, Dr Jessen visits a school in Rochdale to talk to its 130 teenagers about acne. Eight out of 10 of us will suffer from it at some time in our lives, but it is largely viewed as an affliction of the teen. Dr Jessen dispels some of the most popular myths about the condition and also explains that, like many medical conditions, acne can be effectively treated. However, Haleigh didn’t receive the right treatment for her acne. It’s now 28 years since she got her first spots and she’s still living with the effects. Dr Harper subsequently sends her to a private clinic for four treatments of a relatively new process called Fractional Laser Resurfacing. The treatment will be intense, but it might just be the answer to her problem. Another patient with a skin condition is Rachel. She was struck with psoriasis after her father died in 1996, when she was just 11 years old. But despite constant treatment over the last 12 years, her psoriasis is only getting worse. Dr Jessen determines that a course of UV light treatment might improve Rachel’s condition, but will the results put a smile back on her face? In the UK, over 85,000 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year – more than any other form of cancer. With this in mind, Dr McKenna meets a woman with sun-damaged skin, whilst Doctors Jessen and Harper offer mole checks to anyone concerned, and offer advice on the safest way to enjoy the sun. After all, skin cancer is the only cancer we can actually see with the naked eye before it becomes dangerous. And don’t forget – you can watch our self-check guide about how to check your skin by clicking here, or you can get the guide on your mobile phone by texting MOLE to 84444… Last through the clinic’s doors is Dionne, with a skin condition so rare that for 12 years no-one has been able to identify it. That is, of course, until Dr Harper casts her eye over Dionne’s scaly legs and diagnoses Ichthyosis and a cellophane and cream treatment. Dionne has seen dozens of specialists over the years, but is hoping that Dr Harper’s miracle treatment will finally give her the relief she’s been searching for.

1x02 Breasts

  • 2008-04-29T20:00:00Z — 45 mins

In this second of four specials, the Embarrassing Illnesses doctors will be concerning themselves with breasts and all matters mammary. In an effort to encourage women to bring their breasts out into the open, they’ll be taking their medical expertise to the capital and setting up drop-in clinics in the East End and West End of London – in the imposing surroundings of Shoreditch town hall, and conveniently, in a bra shop in the heart of Covent Garden. First through the clinic’s doors is a huge pair of double ‘J’ breasts, swiftly followed by 40-year-old Alyson. After 20-years of back pain and misery from carrying around a whopping 5 kilos on her chest, she is desperate to see if Dr Harper can reduce her burden by referring her for breast reduction surgery. Former breast cancer sufferer, Cheryl, whose breast removal and problematic reconstructive surgery left her with only one breast, also visits the clinic to see Dr Jessen. Her mastectomy is a painful reminder of a part of her life she wants to leave behind. And now, two years on, she feels ready to try reconstructive surgery again. Jacqui seeks Dr Harper’s advice about reshaping surgery for her deflated breasts and inverted, misaligned nipples. Now approaching the menopause, Jacqui’s breasts have started to sag. However, breast reduction surgery in her thirties means that her nipples have not quite succumbed to gravity in the same way, remaining artificially high. Anna, whose once buoyant bosoms lost their fullness after childbirth and breast feeding, also visits Dr Harper to see if she can put some bounce back in her life. Anna has lost so much volume from her ‘C’ cup breasts that she is down to trainer-bra size. And with her dwindling chest now impinging on her relationship, she has finally been spurred into action. On the subject of motherhood, Dr McKenna receives a visit at the Shoreditch clinic from a support group for British mothers who discuss how the long term benefits to mother and child from breastfeeding far outweigh short term discomforts. However, in Anna’s case, her breasts and her spirits are in need of an urgent lift. Among the clinic’s many patients seeking breast reduction, reconstruction and reshaping, there is 22-year-old Keelie, who simply wants her breasts to be the same size. And after years of teasing and unhappiness, Keelie decides that surgery is the only option to correct her markedly mismatched asymmetric breasts. The procedure isn’t for the faint-hearted, but it’s surgery that will transform her life for the better. Sometimes it’s simply the pursuit of bigger or more attractive breasts that can cause problems. Women seeking breast augmentation may be searching for a confidence boost, but sometimes the results leave a lot to be desired. It’s this that brings Ruth and Mina to the Covent Garden clinic in search of advice. But it’s not just misshapen breasts that the doctors are presented with. The much-feared breast lump is also a prominent concern, which sees broadcaster Tracey Cox making a surprise visit to the Shoreditch clinic to get something off her chest. Meanwhile, Chloe visits the clinic to see if the doctors can actually remove something from her chest…a growth! Unfortunately for men, women don’t have the monopoly on breast problems. In fact, having breasts at all is a big problem for a man, which is why Abdul Ahmed brings his man boobs to the clinic in the hope that they can be removed. Abdul might feel out of place attending a clinic dominated by women’s problems, but we’ll get to see the results of his consultation in Thursday’s programme, which is dedicated entirely to men. To mark this ‘breast special’, Dr Jessen also dons a special suit (complete with fake breasts!) to show women in a London market exactly what to look for when checking their breasts for lumps. Women of the capital – there is nowhere to hide! And don’t forget – you can watch our self-check guide about how to check your breasts by clicking here, or you can get the guide on your mobile phone by texting BOOBS to 84444…

1x03 Vaginas

  • 2008-04-30T20:00:00Z — 45 mins

The penultimate programme in our week of specials sees the EI team rolling into Norwich to set up a clinic in the heart of one of the country’s busiest shopping centres. This time the Docs are getting stuck into the Vagina, and there’s no room for coyness ladies! The first patients in the EI clinic are a group of teenagers who want to find out more about the embarrassing consequences of thrush. 75% of women get thrush at some point in their lives, and it affects everybody – from babies to grannies and a few fellas on the way through. Then there’s 42-year-old Debbie, who’s come to see the Doctors after giving birth to a bouncing baby boy. Baby Samuel’s doing fine, but Debbie’s having to deal with the embarrassing consequences of a painful childbirth that delivered much more than just a bundle of joy… The Docs are next putting periods under their medical microscopes, looking at the causes of period pain as well as the painful condition Endometriosis, where cells from the womb find their way into different parts of the body, with unpleasant consequences. We’re then reacquainted with 45-year-old Alyson from Monday’s programme, who’s all in a flap when it comes to exposing herself to her new partner. Fortunately, a consultation with Dr Pixie leads to a welcome resolution to her elongated labia. The menopause is something that every woman must eventually go through. However, the period just before that, the perimenopause, is less understood, but can be taste of things to come. With hot flushes, night sweats and weight gain among the symptoms, Dr Dawn discusses some of the treatment options, including Hormone Replacement Therapy. There’s also a case of vaginal dryness for Dr Dawn to examine as well, with a novel treatment involving a vaginal oestrogen pessary. Thanks to the treatment, Susan and her husband can resume normal service in the bedroom. Back in their London clinic, the Docs have a case of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, which affects over a third of British women, including high profile sufferers like Emma Thompson and Victoria Beckham. Jenni’s in the clinic to be rid of the hair that’s constantly appearing on her back and chest, and a course of laser treatment sees her much improved. They also have a woman whose overactive bladder is making her life a misery, but there’s a novel solution more commonly associated with the world of cosmetic surgery… Dr Dawn makes a house call on a women whose been suffering from a prolapsed rectum for years, and fortunately there’s a solution to her plight – but it’s certainly not for the faint hearted… Finally, Dr Jessen is running a smear campaign in Norwich! He’s targeting the 20% of British women that don’t attend a regular cervical smear test. And he’s not taking no for an answer…as three volunteers discover when he persuades them to have theirs done there and then! And don’t forget – you can watch our self-check guide to how to check your vulva by clicking here, or you can get the guide on your mobile phone by texting VULVA to 84444…

1x04 Men

  • 2008-05-01T20:00:00Z — 45 mins

Having waged war on the Vagina yesterday, the EI Docs turn their attention to the GP surgery’s most elusive creature – the ‘MAN’. From baldness to man boobs, and troublesome testicles to problem penises, the Docs are hitting the streets of Gloucester, searching for men who are in desperate need of a health MOT… In the climax to our week of specials, the Embarrassing Bodies clinic sets up camp at Gloucester Rugby Club. And it’s not long before they’ve got their first eye-watering case: a man whose manhood has been mangled by a piercing. Fortunately, Dr Harper is on hand to give some advice on how to keep it clean, before she heads out to a local pub to quiz the locals on how much they know about their health – with predictably poor results… Back at the club, the next patient who appears is suffering from the classic symptoms of an enlarged prostate. With 1 in 4 men over the age of 60 suffering in this way, Dr Jessen heads out to talk to pathologist Dr Jarmulowicz about how it affects men, and why so few know about it. This is all brought into sharp focus by 53-year-old Barry, who was struck down by Prostate Cancer 3 years ago. With his symptoms worsening, Barry comes along to the clinic to see Dr Jessen about the options open to him, including surgical removal, which carries with it the risks of incontinence and impotence. Most men would like to laugh off their illnesses, but the Docs have discovered that going bald can be no laughing matter. They’ve brought four balding blokes together to test out the latest hair loss products, including light technology; natural trichology, minoxydil lotion and even a full 6-hour hair transplant operation! Dr Jessen also gets to grips with a case of gynecomastia (man-boobs to most of us), when we catch up with 33-year-old Abdul from Tuesday’s programme, who’s looking to put 17 years of discomfort behind him. After a two hour operation (and the removal of three pints of fat!) Abdul’s very happy to show off his manly new chest. With surgery nearly over, Christopher drops in with a problem penis. The Docs decide that a chemically induced erection is the only way to find out if the problem will require a circumcision… As last orders are called at the Embarrassing Bodies bar, there’s a final patient to be seen. John’s acne had given his confidence a massive knock – but with the aid of dermatologist Dr Chopra, John was able to avoid plastic surgery and get on the road to recovery. And don’t forget – you can watch our self-check guide to how to check your testicles by clicking here, or you can get the guide on your mobile phone by texting BALLS to 84444…