A study of 1,016 adults found 36 per cent prefer not to confide in others over anything they consider to be ‘personal’, or ‘embarrassing’ (28 per cent).
Other taboo topics kept off the agenda are menstruation, old-age, personal hygiene and menopause.
This is despite celebrities including Lady Gaga, Davina McCall and James Argent, opening up about issues such as mental health, menopause and obesity.
When quizzed about their secrecy, one in 10 claim to have confided in someone in the past and been hurt by their response.
While 23 per cent are concerned about being judged and 18 per cent were brought up to keep personal matters to themselves.
A fifth worry others can’t keep secrets, 16 per cent fear being made fun of and 15 per cent want to be considered as ‘normal’.
The figures were revealed as part of an international study by hygiene and health company Essity.
A spokesman said: “The sad reality is that although we live in a society where the majority of people try to encourage openness and acceptance, there is still a long way to go in order to break down the barriers that prevent open and honest conversations.
“Many people fear being treated differently, whether they have a mental or physical ailment.
“And unfortunately, there is still a lot of education needed.
“It can be so easy to judge others on something you don’t understand but encouraging people to talk, particularly with a healthcare professional, is the first positive step you can take.”
Embarrassment of personal issues leads to missed days of school and work
The study found Brits have been so embarrassed about their issues they have even missed days of school or work.
It emerged adults are most likely to take time off due to mental health – with one in four needing to take a break to look after their own well-being.
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