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."
In this first episode the team takes to the streets of Cardiff, with the help of dentist extraordinaire James Russell, rounding up ailments left, right and centre but first Dr Christian has a visit at the clinic from ambulance technician Keith. Keith’s got a rather sensitive penis complaint that he’s keen to sort out. Dr Christian soon diagnoses Peyronie’s disease. Realising the severity of this particular case Dr Christian sees surgery as the only option, and refers Keith on to a neurological surgeon who he hopes can straighten things out. Keith meets consultant urological surgeon Mr. Paul Anderson to discuss options. With advice from his surgeon Keith opts for a Nesbitt’s procedure which removes tissue from the unaffected side of the penis so that things balance out when sewn back up, even if slightly shorter. After a two-hour procedure Keith’s penis is corrected, with Dr Christian recommending that he waits a few months before seeking further treatment for his excess foreskin.
The doctors hit the streets of London to investigate how stress affects so many people's health and their sex lives. They also treat night terrors and problems with recurring mouth ulcers.
The doctors visit Brighton, where they get to the bottom of a bleeding anus and some pus filled tonsils. There's also advice for stag and hen parties on personal hygiene and safer drinking. And Dr Christian meets a patient who wants to have a realistic nipple after losing hers to breast cancer surgery.
The doctors head to Hull to set up a breast check clinic. Dr Christian recommends a radical new cure for piles. And Dr Pixie meets a woman who has suffered from sweaty feet for over 20 years.
It was the busiest day so far for the Embarrassing Bodies mobile clinic as it parked up in the centre of Nottingham. First in to see Dr Dawn was Summer who was being plagued by a thick build up of ear wax. After examination, Dr Dawn notes the excessive build up and advises that cotton buds may be making the situation worse by aggravating her ear canal. She advises a course of ear drops with possible ear syringing if needed.
Kirstie, 21, dropped in to see Dr Dawn concerned about her inverted nipples which she’d been suffering with since puberty. Kirstie’s inverted nipples meant that she had been unable to breastfeed her baby and the thought of going through the same pain again was putting her off having more children. Dr Dawn sent her to see breast specialist Dr Yannis Alexandrides who advised a surgical procedure which would give Kirstie a 90% chance of being able to breast feed. Surgery was successful so Kirstie returned to the clinic to show Dr Dawn the vast improvement.
Bridgid first came to see Dr Pixie in October 2008 with a large vagina caused by excess skin following dramatic weight loss. On examination Dr Pixie also diagnoses the signs of vaginal prolapse. These symptoms were having a severely negative effect on Bridgid’s life – even causing her husband to sleep in a different room. After consultation with specialist Dr Slack, Bridgid’s previous notion that a hysterectomy would fix her problem was proven to only solve part of her discomfort. After further discussion the decision to prescribe a series of injections relieved the symptoms dramatically, however they can only be taken temporarily. Bridget is still consulting her doctor in regards to the best long term treatment options available to her but was feeling far less discomfort and was much happier.
The first case for this episode was Ed, who dropped into the clinic to see Dr Christian about an embarrassing problem that was preventing him from having intercourse. Losing 18 stone and undergoing a tummy tuck had left Ed with a vast surplus of excess skin and fat in his groin, almost completely burying his penis and thus limiting his ability to function sexually. Dr Christian sent Ed to a surgeon for further discussions, and he advised a procedure that would lift the excess skin up, effectively freeing the shaft of Ed’s penis which was buried under the folds of excess skin. Having undergone the surgery Ed returned to show the marked improvement in his condition.
23 year old Claire came to the clinic to discuss her embarrassing problem with Dr Christian. She has a sore labia that has previously swelled up to four times its normal size, and Clare was desperate for some professional advice. On examination, Dr Christian found the right labia minora was much longer than the other so referred Clare to a specialist. Cosmetic surgeon Dr Angelica Kavouni suggested surgery to remove the excess skin and reduce the labia in size. A few weeks later, with Clare rapidly recovering after the successful surgery, she returned to show Dr Christian the results.
The episode begins with David, who has come to the clinic to see Dr Christian about a troubling skin infection in his armpit. Dr Christian diagnoses the condition as Hidradenitis Suppurativa, caused by blocked sweat glands. Having already tried antibiotics without success, Dr Christian prescribes a temporary treatment of strong steroids, although these do improve the condition they are not a long term solution and David is sent to see a plastic surgeon. At St John’s Hospital in Livingston, David is given a skin graft which completely removes the infected skin and replaces with layers of healthy skin taken from David’s thigh. We revisit a relieved David four months after his surgery to see the condition completely cured. Next through the clinic doors was a now 9 year-old Nancy, a year earlier Nancy came to see Dr Christian about a large number of warts on her hands. After freezing the warts and prescribing a cream, Dr Christian finds Nancy’s hands are now completely wart free.
The UK has the 2nd highest number of teen mums in the developed world. In 2007, 43,000 teens got pregnant, that’s 118 a day! The Embarrassing Bodies team put down the text books and let teen mums tell their stories – which includes excessive farting, piles and contraception
The Embarrassing Bodies team have been trucking around the nation, in Cambridge they met 18 year old Lucy who was suffering from alopecia, or hair loss. Dr Pixie sent Lucy to see hair loss specialist David Lewis. Her scalp and hair was examined using a camera that magnifies the strands 400 times, this allowed David too diagnose Lucy with a hereditary condition that leaves the hair without any cuticle coating, causing breakages and stopping the hair from growing. As there is no cure Lucy was given a complete hair replacement procedure, whereby a new permanent head of hair is glued onto her scalp. To celebrate Lucy really let her hair down!
First up is Janice, who had breast cancer in 1996 and underwent a mastectomy, leaving her with only one breast. Although her left breast was reconstructed, there is a slight asymmetry and she no longer has a nipple. Dr Christian sent her to Consultant Surgeon Dr Jian Farhardi to have her breast implants re-inserted, and a new nipple from Janice’s own breast tissue. Janice returns to the clinic for a check-up, and Dr Christian is delighted to see how effective the surgery has been.
Jane was upset with her asymmetric and droopy breasts and Dr Dawn diagnoses a condition called tuberous breasts, where the breasts appear to be far apart and unusually shaped. Dr Dawn sends Jane to specialist Mr. Patrick Mallucci who decides that surgery would be a viable, effective solution to Jane’s condition. The operation is complex and involves several stages, including the reshaping of the breasts and the insertion of silicon implants. After 4 and half hours Jane’s operation is declared a success and she returns to Dr Dawn to discuss the results. Visibly thrilled with the outcome Jane’s breasts are healing fast and display a marked improvement in symmetry and shape.
Another group of patients return to the Embarrassing Bodies clinic, starting with 38-year-old Lois who has suffered from persistent thrush like symptoms for over 9-years. Dr Christian suspects that something else might be causing the infection. After a consultation with a specialist, the skin condition psoriasis is diagnosed – but an under active thyroid is found to be the ultimate cause, and treatment quickly leaves Lois on the road to recovery.
Keith arrives in the clinic with a rather sensitive penis complaint that he’s keen to sort out. Dr Christian soon diagnoses Peyronie’s disease. Realising the severity of this particular case Dr Christian sees surgery as the only option, and refers Keith on to a urological surgeon who he hopes can straighten things out. Keith meets consultant urological surgeon Mr. Paul Anderson to discuss options. With advice from his surgeon Keith opts for a Nesbitt’s procedure which removes tissue from the unaffected side of the penis so that things balance out when sewn back up, even if slightly shorter. After a two-hour procedure Keith’s penis is corrected, with Dr Christian recommending that he waits a few months before seeking further treatment for his excess foreskin. After a follow up consultation Keith is sent for a circumcision to deal with the extra skin following the reduction in penis size.