Psychological Harms of Pelvic Exams

There is a lack of research on the harmful psychological effects of pelvic exams.  The lack of research highlights how the harmful effects from pelvic exams have largely been ignored, or have been considered not important enough to warrant investigation.  The small amount of research that exists has mainly been conducted with the goal of addressing women’s “anxieties” with the exam, and has been done for the sole purpose of learning how to harness women’s compliance.

In spite of the lack of recognition given to the psychological harms of pelvic exams by the medical community, many of us do experience harm.  Many of the comments from women on this blog and on other sites have revealed that the psychological effects are often significant and can have a detrimental impact on our lives.  In addition, the psychological effects can be difficult to understand, clarify, and articulate.  This post is a compilation of my own and other women’s experiences of pelvic exams presented in a way that attempts to clarify an issue that warrants more attention.

Psychological Harm #1: Trauma

A woman’s first pelvic exam can be traumatizing, especially if she is unaware of the exam’s invasive nature and/or is coerced into the exam while seeing her doctor for a different reason.  In these cases the woman is unprepared and is not expecting an invasive exam to take place.  In addition, many doctors do not fully explain what the exam involves, explain the reasons for the exam, or offer the woman a choice prior to proceeding.

Here is what one woman has to say about her first pelvic exam:  It’s humiliating, degrading, and painful. The first time I had a pap smear done, I was so traumatized, I now have to take prescription Xanax to avoid having panic attacks when I get pap smears done now. And I’m only 24. How many more am I going to have to have for the rest of my life? What am I going to do when I want to have children and every doctor wants to shove his/her fingers and tools inside me? (Scared Guest)  via Women Against Stirrups – What’s your opinion on the pelvic exam/gynecology?.

Psychological Harm #2: Loss of Control

I can think of no position more vulnerable and undignified than naked with legs wide apart, feet up in stirrups, and a fully clothed doctor standing over me.  Feelings of vulnerability and a loss of control in this position are intensified when I am asymptomatic and do not wish to have a pap test/pelvic exam – but have been aggressively pressured and coerced to the point where I feel I have no choice.

Here is another woman’s thoughts on loss of control and vulnerability:  I am 21 and today i went for my first smear..UGHH i freaked out, cried and had to leave with a vicodin prescription…which is pretty straaaaight. but, the point of my frustration is that I, like you, feel as though i am being violated, and sexually assaulted. I feel overly anxious due to the vulnerability of the situation . . . Its not even like ive never had sex. it is just that i have trouble being prodded and fingered by a metal prong. (Anonymous)  via Awkward Things My Mother Never Taught Me: Just How Violating a Pap Smear Really Is….

Psychological Harm #3: Dissociation

Women have been led to believe that a pelvic exam is a vital part of their health for so long that many no longer question it, or feel they have a choice.  When a woman feels she has no choice but to undergo a violently invasive exam she will often develop a sense of detachment, or numbness, in an effort to distance herself from what is happening to her own body.

Here is what Claire T. Porter has to say:  “Closely connected with the absence of self is the dispensing of existence experienced by women… Women undergoing these procedures report a sense of nonbeing” (Raymond 1993, xv). I cannot help feeling that my body, especially the most private areas of it, has been taken away from me. This surgeon and the horny resident both assess my pubic area. Now the vision of my genitals is held in their brains. I feel I possess my sex less and less and feel them both smug in the fact that they own it. What a power trip for them. Bastards.  via Women Against Stirrups – I’m Taking Back My Pussy!.

Psychological Harm #4: Invalidation

The value women place on the privacy of their vagina is in no way reflected by many practitioners’ attitudes.  There is an expectation that we are supposed to be fine with this type of exam.  Yet have we not always been taught to keep our legs together, sit with our legs crossed, and to not let strangers touch us?  The role we are expected to assume during day to day life versus the role we are expected to adopt during a pelvic exam are vastly different.  How a pelvic exam feels and how we are told it is supposed to feel presents a gap of huge proportions.  The lack of acknowledgment for how we feel confuses us, belittles us, and invalidates us. We lose a sense of stability, trust, and safety.

Chrissy (UK) says: This all goes with the ‘get used to it, you’re a woman’ attitude, or ‘I’m a doctor and therefore entitled to see and touch your body’. I don’t know what they are taught when they are medical students, but there is no way they understand what it is like for a woman to be exposed and spreadeagled on an examination table whist they rummage around in the most intimate part of our body. I still remember my first pelvic examination. I was 17 and the (male) doctor forced my knees apart, as I wouldn’t comply with his verbal instructions to spread my legs. I felt violated – I WAS violated . . .  October 2, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Psychological Harm #5: Dehumanization

All women have a right to privacy and dignity, except of course when they are in the presence of a doctor.  The name assigned to the “pelvic” exam is carefully nonsexual and yet what takes place during the exam is something more intimate than most women would allow a spouse or lover to do.  It is cruel to expect women to ever become used to this type of extreme exposure, and it is inaccurate to assume women will become desensitized over time.  To expect women to get used to the exam is cruel and dehumanizing.

Yazzmyne says: . . . I also believe that these gyn exams are rape even when a woman consents to it. She may verbally and rationally agree to it, but her body screams NO and most women do not listen or respect their own bodily feelings in this context. With all the fear mongering about cancer and the fear for the exam itself, she can’t even make a rational decision (and not that it has to be a rational one, because rationality is used to justify the whole ordeal and rationalize her feelings of violation away) because the mind is locked in fear and can’t think clear anymore and this is exactly what doctors want. There are so many benefits for them to keep using the medieval pelvic exam:

to satisfy their sexual lusts
for the powertrip
for the money
and the fear this exam generates in women also keeps them traumatized, in fear, unable to think CRITICAL about the so called need for them   October 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Psychological Harm #6: Distrust

A lasting, pervasive sense of distrust is likely to form when one is violated by someone in a position of trust.  The distrust that results from negative experiences during pelvic exams can present a lasting barrier to a woman’s access to health services.  Women who are traumatized by their physician’s practices related to pelvic exams are far less likely to trust the medical system as a whole.

FerretGirl01 says: I have a terrible fear of the OB/GYN mainly because my very first pelvic exam was so traumatic. I was a virgin and it hurt so much that I cried. And even after I told the doctor to stop, she kept trying to collect the sample after telling me she would stop any time. I felt violated…scared…and I hurt so bad I had to take pain relievers. I was bleeding when I got home and discovered my “cherry” had been popped because the doctor was too rough and rushed with the exam. That made me terrified of ever getting one again . . . via Fear of Gynecological Exam – Women’s Health – MedHelp.

Psychological Harm #7: Fear

There are all kinds of fears that go along with this exam.  There is fear of the consequences of refusing, fear of the consequences of complying, and fear of the consequences of speaking out.

Anonymous says:  I’m 22 and I haven’t been to the gyno! Every time I even think about it I get so freaked out and sick. I’m not scared of being in pain – I’m scared of personal intrusion, of being on my back and not having control. Every time I think about it, it makes me feel like it would be some kind of assault, because I really **don’t want** it to happen, and going would just be me trying to get over my fears and knowing that it’s something I need to do. I’m terrified of anyone touching me when I know that I’m forcing myself to let them and that I feel so insecure and invaded. I haven’t been sexually abused . . . But I’m just SO.TERRIFIED. via extreme exam anxiety.

AVEN Member says: Doctors are always pressuring their patients to get it done, and instilling fear of cancer to those who refuse. I think they insist more on a pelvic exam than they do on quitting smoking. Yes, I am doing the ‘unspeakable’ and questioning doctors . . .  I think the procedure is inhumane. If you think I just need to suck it up, please listen. This is ranting towards people like that. People that think women just need to “suck it up” or “get over it”.  Rant on Pelvic Exams – Asexual Visibility and Education Network.

Psychological Harm #8: Despair

When women repeatedly have their way of understanding the world ignored it can lead to feelings of despair.  When their understanding of what is occurring is discounted and invalidated; when their fears, trauma, and other experiences are ignored, then their place in the world and sense of self can shift.  Women are often left with pervasive feelings of hopelessness and despair.

Anonymous says:  I got my first pap smear yesterday. I’m not a big crying type, but I cried like a baby. It was the most traumatizing experience of my life. I’m 18 and I’ve only had one partner for the year I’ve been sexually active . . . The metal “spectrum” upset me and that was bad enough. But the worst part for me, that has left me horrified and with nightmares, is what came next. Nobody told me going into this that the doctor was going to shove her hand all the way up to basically my stomach. EXCUSE ME?! Why does nobody see this as completely violating!! I cried so hard. Today being the day after, I keep reliving it and I don’t want anyone to touch me and I just feel disgusted . . . I should not be subjected to this, especially at my age I don’t think. Not to mention that I was pretty much forced to get one if I wanted birth control. That just seems wrong to me. I try to be save and prevent a child at this time and my life and what am I forced to do? Be humiliated, violated, and traumatized.   via Awkward Things My Mother Never Taught Me: Just How Violating a Pap Smear Really Is….

Elizabeth says:  On one blog a young woman was so stressed about pap tests she wanted to be knocked out…it’s shocking, she should be told to forget about it and enjoy her life – this testing has robbed so many women from the pleasure of being healthy, young and female and often takes our peace of mind, bodily privacy and dignity, damages our health and lives, destroys relationships and takes the shine off sex, especially after traumatic “treatments” and when women are unable to access the Pill without forced testing…and at age 30 if she’s worried about cc, she could test herself for HPV, but that would be too easy and make too much sense…actually doing what’s best for her, she’ll probably end up being sedated for a pap test…so depressing.  http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/unnecessary-pap-smears/comments-page-175/#comments

In conclusion I would like to say that if you find you have “anxieties” regarding pelvic exams you can take heart because, as you can see, your concerns are valid.   On a brighter note, more women are becoming aware that they have the right to informed consent for screening.  In addition there are now alternative ways to test for cervical cancer, such as the Delphi self-screener, which is available in some countries.  See Singapore – Dutch Collaboration:  http://www.delphi-bioscience.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/Media%20Release_March%2026,%202012.pdf

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About forwomenseyesonly

Hi. My name is Sue and I am interested in promoting holistic and respectful health care.
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220 Responses to Psychological Harms of Pelvic Exams

  1. toni says:

    Thank you for writing this. Thank you for acknowledging the trauma.

  2. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    Yet there is article after article pointing out the futility of the routine pelvic exam AND it’s harmful, it carries risk to your health, you may even face unnecessary surgery. I posted a link on another thread – yet another study and the reasons given why these exams are still being performed or “required” are disgraceful…profits, because women now expect a pelvic exam, (whose fault is that?) for false reassurance and because so many in the medical world STILL believe it’s a screening test for ovarian cancer – WRONG! So, incompetent medical practitioners, NPs etc…and I’d include perverse reasons in that list.
    One of the most repulsive and confronting exams in the book…of poor clinical value with lots of risk, study after study confirms those facts, yet nothing is done to actually stop these exams. The harm and distress continues and what exactly are they doing to address/stop the coercion that has always existed to force this exam onto women…that is still going on. The profession is not doing enough to change the system, to get rid of the routine pelvic exam. Can you imagine the same cavalier attitudes if we were doing the same thing to the healthy penis?
    IMO, when a doctor coerces a woman into an exam that is unnecessary, unhelpful, irrelevant and harmful, it amounts to an assault and should see the doctor in serious trouble. Time to stop the studies and chatting…and take some real action to stop this medical abuse.

    • Ornery says:

      OB GYN exams are more intimate than even sex, may last longer and are as one-sided as rape when it comes to accrual of benefit and distribution of harm.

      One reason OB GYNs assume consent and pressure reluctance, refusal and delay is that the tactic works to assure compliance and avoid questions be asked about efficacy, frequency and provider motivation. Sound like an accomplish date rapist?

      Benefits accruing to the provider:

      1. Money. Very lucrative given the volume. Pelvic exams grossly over-reimburse actually ($75 cash for 5 minutes)
      2. Power. A huge stroke to demand and receive submission, dole out humiliation, insist upon a relationship vs. a dispassionate transaction, etc.
      3. Titillation (for males). Playing around with sex organs and “OPP”.

      No wonder 7 out of 10 males ob gyns continue to tell women that a pelvic exam is an ovarian cancer screen… carefully omitting that it’s not uncommon to not be able to palpate the ovaries, poking anything isn’t a medical screen and that ovarian cancer, rare but deadly, occurs most often in women that are in their 7th decade of life.

  3. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    Add to that: simply recommending this exam (no coercion) or performing it because the woman expects it is not good enough, by miles. Our doctor has a higher responsibility and should be putting our interests first. If a teenager asks for a mammogram, the doctor has an ethical obligation to properly advise her, it’s not a good idea, it would just risk her health. The pelvic exam falls into the same category as far as I can see…the benefits are not there and the risks are real and serious.
    A woman brainwashed by the system needs to be helped to understand the exam is unnecessary and carries risk. The medical profession created this mess and they have a responsibility to clean it up.

    • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

      So many women have been traumatized and harmed by these exams. Lots carry guilt, fear and anxiety too if they can’t face the ordeal again. Some/many women consider the pap a must and so it feels like they’re avoiding something…that eats away and affects our peace of mind, we might avoid doctors and some finally find a way to do something they feel they must do…
      I wonder how many women consider this test mandatory…no choice involved, the only reasonable action is to test.
      I was looking for a place to post this interesting account…what happened to this woman was inexcusable, and I wonder whether the doctor violating the privacy of the exam room did so deliberately. I’m not surprised this woman was badly affected by this experience.
      This is her story…
      http://searchingforxenophon.blogspot.com.au/2013/03/horse-training-and-pap-smears-by-kris.html

  4. Can you imagine being a pregnant girl illegally incarcerated in one of the thousands of maternity “homes” which operated in Canada and the US post WWII until 1985? These pregnant girls were systematically rounded up by government and Children’s Aid social workers, all because they were unmarried and pregnant and had a commodity. While confined to these institutions they were subjected to frequent and repeated forced pelvic exams where there was NO CONSENT of either the patient or her guardians. Then their newborns were literally abducted from their legal mothers on the delivery table to be trafficked for adoption purposes.

  5. That dissociation point is what concerns me the most, because I believe that’s the brainwashing that the medical community actually encourages in women who have a crippling fear of pelvic exams to begin with. Women are encouraged to suppress their feelings because the procedure is supposedly “nothing to be afraid of”.

    While it’s true that with enough effort you can suppress your feelings about just about any unpleasant circumstance in life. The question is whether a person should do this, since it kind of turns a person into an empty shell, a sort of robot.

    I’ve heard that people who are sexually abused as children exhibit a similar phenomenon. They suffer a lifelong detachment from their own bodies, a defense mechanism to protect their minds because the abusive situation was so shocking and overwhelming.

    • agoldengrove says:

      So do prostitutes, Matthew. I read several accounts of brave women who were able to exit the industry and they speak of dissociation primarily, even more so than the rape, beatings, etc., and how they can never have a normal sex life again.

  6. I should rephrase that. What really concerns me the most is a woman leaving a gynecologist’s office with tears running down her face because she was suckered into this inhumane treatment that society thinks is normal. Or maybe it happens in her car on the drive home. Or maybe it’s not until she gets home and the trauma sets in.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Women have “put up and shut up” with things for decades. Cultured to feel soft, vulnerable and even helpless, many of us go right along with that suggestion. It keeps women oppressed and without a voice. Thanks for those women who now take up the right to think and process and speak out about their feelings related to this awful practice.

  8. Sia says:

    Great article Sue, I’m glad you’ve summed up the psychological harm this screening causes, it’s so true that much of the research questioning the validity of cervical screening primarily looks at the physical damage to women and not the emotional trauma women suffer. It’s appalling and ironic that we as feminists do so much great work to raise awareness and work to protect women from rape, sexual harassment and abuse, yet medically endorsed pelvic exams are not questioned and in fact encouraged by many of these feminist collectives because they’ve bought into the fear mongering.

    It’s hard to believe ethical intelligent people with strong humanitarian values can sanction this practice, it’s like there’s an unconscious partition that separates reason from the spooked herd mentality. If a women is traumatised by rape she is validated and cared for, but if a woman is coerced into medical rape and is traumatised and not coping, there’s no support for her, her feelings are questioned and invalidated and she is told she has to allow it to happen again.

    Vaginal exams are still part of the way we do gender, there’s a lot of unhealthy aspects to doing femininity, unrealistic beauty standards and body image, routine body modification (hair removal, makeup), high heals and the hypersexualisation of feminine identity we’re all greeted with, every time we look at a magazine, tv or in the mirror. Adhering to the gynaecology directives is as many have said, part of being a woman, just as compulsory marriage and pregnancy is in other parts of the world.

    The message I keep hearing is women don’t really own their bodies, they’re just caretaking them until someone else needs them, the medical profession has institutionalised bad mother shaming by reminding pregnant women that without this or that intervention and screening their child is at risk. Women without children are pre pregnant and therefore need to make sure their reproductive organs are properly supervised, and menopausal women pre and post are a great source of revenue for gynaecologists to manage and then claim their hysterectomy trophy.

    It’s really frustrating to try and change sexist deep-rooted beliefs instigated by medical hegemony and fear mongering, I can’t help but look at most women and feel horrible for what they’re put through with these exams and worry that they will groom their daughters to submit to them as well. I really appreciate your blog and the small number of others like it, we need to keep this dialogue going.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I think there needs to be a law put into place to protect woman from being forced to have a pap smear or pelvic exams. Hear in the US most woman are told that they can not get the pill with out a pap smear and sometimes breast exam. also some doctors deny all health care or drop the woman as a patient if she refuses to have screenings. I think the first problem with doctors is they have been taught to not see genetal exams as sexuall so they cant see what they are doing is RAPE when they prevent woman from giving concent. they dont seem to understand that they can not force or make a woman feel like she has no choise but to let them put hands and tools inside her vagina. the message has alway been you HAVE to have pap smears. when doctors are forced to take no for an answer this treatmant will get better. also the woman have a right to know about false positves negatevs and what the follow ups intell ie leep and bios. hiding this from woman is a crime.

  10. Anonymous says:

    i whould also like to add that this testing is sexist men are not told they must have prostate exams and refused all health care untill they comply. I do think this is used to control woman. i know fiminists pushed for all woman to have acces to this test but i think its almost became a law in doctors eyes.

  11. OverItAll says:

    “Doctor standing above me”… every OBGYN I’ve EVER seen (26 in my 23 years) has SAT on a stool between my legs.

    I remember I went to the ER after falling out of a truck. I ended up needing surgery 6 years later because they “missed” the break. I kept being pressured into a breast/vaginal/rectal exams and pap smear…at 16. Needless to say, I asked the “doctor” what my reproductive system had to do with my foot and that was it.

    My midwife says I suffer from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) due to 25 OBGYNs doing FULL GYN exams (breast, vaginal, rectal and cultures) and, after 18 months, I finally got what I was told was a pelvic CT scan (it ended up being full body) to find out why my periods were so painful. Never did find out why they were so painful. Since I’m breastfeeding the very baby these OBGYNs said I’d never have, I have yet to have a period.

    Great site. One suggestion: Don’t call them “pap tests” since “test” implies it’s reliable. Great site!! :)

    • OverItAll, that was a good question to ask! What does a woman’s reproductive system have to do with her foot? And at 16 your odds of having cervical cancer were practically nonexistent. I was horrified to hear that 25 obgyns did full exams on you and not surprised it would lead to PTSD. I’m sorry that happened to you. I like your suggestion regarding calling the pap test a pap smear instead, and for exactly the reason you state!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Great site, and very poignant posts.

    I just have a response to one of your commenters who said “Can you imagine the same cavalier attitudes if we were doing the same thing to the healthy penis?”

    We already do, and worse. It’s called circumcision. Infant or child boys in the US routinely have their healthy foreskin (which contains the 5 most sensitive parts of the penis, and is attached to the glans at birth like a fingernail) amputated, usually without pain control, or with pain control that is completely inadequate, like a lollipop. This surgery removes what has been shown to be a very important part of the penis for reasons that are either unsupported by scientific evidence, or actually *disproved* by scientific studies. Although a similar procedure was practiced on female children was discontinued in the 1970′s and outlawed in 1997, it is still legal to cut up a male child’s healthy genitals.

    If the child escapes circumcision as an infant, he will likely face forced retraction of his foreskin before it is naturally separated. This happens because the prevailing medical “wisdom” is that the foreskin should be retractible by age 2, when scientific evidence shows that only 50% of boys are retractible by age 10, with the rest becoming retractible by the end of puberty. This forced retraction can create scar tissue, which then causes the foreskin to become non-retractible (because scar tissue doesn’t stretch very well) and thus gives the healthcare professionals a reason to tell the parents that circumcision is now necessary.

    This whole process is, of course, very profitable to the medical establishment, so it won’t stop soon either.
    Also, those circumcised men are about 4 times more likely to take Viagra than the intact men, so there is even more profit motive…

    In summary: yes, I can imagine the same cavalier attitudes toward male patients’ bodies, but I think it all needs to change. Medicine should not ever be synonymous with hurting.

    • Diane says:

      Yes, but circumcision doesn’t happen to men over and over again, every year from the time they reach puberty. Men are not asked to be circumcised in order to fulfill a work physical, get a medical card. Men don’t get letters from the NHS every year asking them to go in to be circumcised, It’s also now seen as an option, and doctors and hospitals WILL fully respect parents’ wishes not to circumcise. It’s traumatic, it’s wrong and it causes lasting harm but it is not the same at all as what we are discussing here.

    • OverItAll says:

      Also, men/boys are at least given creams/shots to prevent some of the circumcision pain, women are not given anything. Just an FYI: I fought my husband when it came to the circ topic. After 4 months of me constantly sending him links, it simply took him holding his still-bloody baby boy and me saying “he’s absolutely perfect” to convince him NOT to circ. And blame the doctors on the high circ rate. I fought so hard because I believe if you’re born with it, it must be important. Oh and boys only go through it ONCE in their lifetime, not every year from 15 till they’re dead.

      Oh and they use the foreskin in anti-aging face creams…EW!

  13. Diane says:

    One more: PTSD, flashbacks and triggers for survivors of sexual abuse.

    Rape and sexual abuse survivors already deal with issues of body disassociation, and a feeling of lack of control over what happens or has happened to their bodies. Vaginal exams are a trauma because they put the survivor into a situation where, once again, things are being inserted into their bodies and they are being touched against their consent. I can’t even begin to wonder at the number of survivors who are horribly triggered, experience flashbacks or have setbacks in their healing due to paps and pelvic exams.

    And yet…this is a group that is especially pressured…women survivors are told that they might have STDs from their abuse so they especially need paps. Never mind that every single STD can be detected by blood test, including cervical cancer.

  14. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    Diane, there is no compassion for any woman, we’re all mere numbers on the way to the target….they don’t give a damn how many lives they destroy along the way. Papscreen are targeting victims of sexuall assault…will they offer them a HPV self-test device? Of course not, they’ll be pressured to have serious over-screening which greatly increases the risk of these already traumatized women facing unnecessary biopsies and over-treatment. As the number of women being screened continues to fall, we’ll see even more desperate measures to shore up numbers.

  15. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    Some interesting articles are appearing at the Kevin MD site.
    http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2013/03/obgyn-perspective-choosing-wisely.html
    This doctor closed a thread on her blog when women started discussing the value, need and risks with pap tests. One of my posts was deleted a few months back, I mentioned the Delphi Screener and she was concerned I was marketing the Screener. (I wish…) It felt like censorship to me, my entire post was deleted, not just the bit that related to self-testing.
    Doctors need to understand they can’t keep the facts and better options from women forever…that’s worked for decades, but more real information is now circulating.
    There is also an article…”Ob-gyns are not primary physicians”…exactly, it’s a huge mistake to see a gynecologist for general care, no wonder the reproductive organs are the focus and 1 in 3 American women will end up having a hysterectomy by age 60…gynecologists are surgeons after all.

  16. Tess says:

    Hello, good site – some very interesting points raised. They’re particularly interesting to me as I’m now in my mid forties, have had smears regularly all my life, and have had no problems with them. I admit I wouldn’t choose to do it for fun, but I definitely haven’t experienced any of the issues listed above. Every doctors that have examined me have been courteous, respectful and informative. I genuinely think that the vast majority of women out there have had experiences similar to mine – at least that’s the case for my friends. Obviously, judging from this site, there are women out there who have had bad experiences, which is terrible. I think this is potentially more of an indictment of the way the procedure was performed rather than the procedure itself, if that makes sense. From my experience its certainly possible to have a smear test performed respectfully and without any sort of lasting damage. Its a shame that there aren’t more women like me who have seen this site, as its clearly a topic of great importance, yet it should be be expressed that there are plenty of women out there who haven’t had bad experiences and I don’t think screening program’s should be written off because of this, as they do save many lives. Perhaps those doctors who perform badly could be encorouged to see it from the woman’s perspective and treat the process with more sensitivity. I hope we can have a good discussion on this, and that more of us can have experiences like mine.

    • Yazzmne says:

      hi Tess,

      on this blog the pap smear screening programs are in the first place written off because there is a lack of informed consent as the moderator already pointed out and the many harms (both physical and psychological) of frequent pap smearing from a young age on are not being communicated to women plus the way women are being harassed and coerced into this testing is unethical and disrespectful, but also sexist as men aren’t treated the same way when it comes to ‘male exams’. Maybe you haven’t experienced harassment as such, because you willingly go along with what the program wants you to do, but that doesn’t mean there is no problem as those who choose otherwise will get to see the true nature of the intentions behind this program, because they will be made to feel they have no choice other than to submit.

      Also, for me and many other women, a good bedside manner isn’t going to do it. I find this exam to be unnecessarily invasive and demeaning no matter who conducts it and even if you would want to test for cervical cancer, I am sure there has always been a better way (non-invasive) to test for the same thing, but that is obviously not in the interest of those who are behind the pap smear programs.

      So despite your good intentions to convince women to see the good in this test and hoping for more women to have experiences similar like yours, I as a woman don’t want your experience. I am happy to say NO to this medieval exam no matter how nice the doctor is, in fact I don’t even want to be asked about it.

      I also wonder how women such as yourself who never had a negative experience from a pap smear would feel about these exams if they would come to know the truth about the rarity of cervical cancer and the inaccuracy and harmful physical risks this test exposes them to. Many women have been conditioned to have blind trust in doctors and put great value in this so called ‘life saving’ test, so I think they are also taught to minimize the vulnerability and the invasiveness this exam requires from them and are trained in allowing strangers to cross their personal boundaries and privacy and be ok with it when they are not even at a health risk.

      This sort of turning-a-blind-eye-to-the-strange-sexual-and-invasive-nature-of-the-exam attitude is also necessary I feel to prevent the age old pap smear from being criticized. Because more criticism and complaints (instead of ridiculing women for being ‘such a baby’ if they see it as worse than ‘just a little uncomfortable’ or giving women the advice to ‘just find a doctor they can trust’) about the test could lead to a more innovative, non-invasive and more accurate test (or the acceptance and widespread use of those that are already invented) which would bring more empowerment to women and at the same time, more info would be leaking out about the current test and the truth about the low prevalency of cervical cancer, making testing alltogether for this disease a lot less important.

      But the exposure of these facts are not in the interest of the system who loves the pap smear’s inaccuracy as it requires women to come back more often (=more money) and the powerlessness required from the patient gives doctors great control over women, so I can’t blame them for keeping up with the lies, who would want to lose out on such a huge powertrip anyway?

    • Cat&Mouse says:

      Tess,
      In the short term, I want to simply say you’re either full of crap; or that you’re one of those “educated” types who think doctors (are you one of “those?…”) know best for all of us. Sure, the test does save lives. Sure, it’s “supposed” to be professionally done, w/o sexual/terroristic invasion, bad feelings, w/o procedures forced despite those “promises to stop” being made…I can go on. I feel your answer totally lacks sincerity. Yeah, doctors paying attention to this site…and “caring?” Really? Verbal discourse so woman can be “reassured” again? Husbands/boyfriends told it’s so “routine;” but they can’t be present? Not so fast! Because the pap and hole probing is necessary and good. But is it? Read on…Maybe and/or maybe not.
      My wife had multiple tests from US Planned Parenthood. However, all they tested for were STD’s but not HPV and cervical cancer. So her first “real” pelvic with a bona-fide md who did all labs resulted in Stage I cervical dysplasia. Next colposcopy plus painful biopsy, the painful cryosurgery, everything was treated as “you’ll *possibly* feel something uncomfortable but most women feel nothing…” BS!!!! Too lazy to offer anesthesia…
      When she was 45, the gyn gave her same story before a uterine biopsy. The most painful procedure “bare” none. He said she might feel mild cramping; then reamed her uterus over & over with a smile while she screamed. Only afterward did he admit how painful this test really is. Months later he almost talked her into another one too (she blocked out painful memory) but I stopped him & said it will be done only in a surgery center w/conscious sedation. After that the test wasn’t so important. Another male md too lazy to offer anesthesia or pain meds or anything responsible…INFURTIATING. Review the youtube video on this procedure. For that matter, review the youtube video on a woman doing a pelvic on a young woman…anybody notice the examiner’s arousal at beginning?
      Luckily my wife INSISTS I now accompany her to every exam. And I sit where I want; including right next to the md. If he/she doesn’t like it? It’s her body. Time to find a new md. She also goes w/me to every exam. She held my hand while I got my vasectomy. Not comfortable in a cold room where I was shaved and small…but she was there. Also there when I get “fingered.” But why do I need that anymore since there’s a blood test for that too? Unless my HMO is too cheap…
      It always made me wonder “why?” when nurses/doctors preferred I wait “outside” the exam room only to see my wife upset, crying, mad, and then they say…”she needs you now.” BS!!! I’m also there when she has her mammogram too…
      I grew up knowing everything about medicine as my mom was a NP. I knew at age 9 all her friends with all their problems. And how their daughters hated these exams. And when I finally asked my mom why the fuss? She got into a rage. Each and every time. Never, could she talk about it. Said an exam is done “…with instruments.” I ask a f/u question. “It’s none of your business!!” So as an adult I have a thorough hang up about these types of exams. My future wife made the decision to take me to exams or face breaking up with me after one of her own outbursts before and after an exam. I did not deserve to face her wrath–the doctors and nurses did. Finally after an exam or two we acted like a team.
      Recently another discussion came up about “what is felt during an exam?” Can it involuntarily make you secrete wetness as a prostate exam can do to a man? This brought up hostilities. After two weeks we discussed it again. It’s amazing to see-do the research-how many different ways a woman can be involuntarily stimulated either rectally or vaginally during an exam. Either the G-spot, cervix, clit, or pinching nipples. Any of these can make wetness occur, or make the vagina clamp down no matter how relaxed a woman tries to be. Is this why some women discuss wanting sex within hours or days after an exam–those who don’t feel violated? OR is this “why” women “do” feel violated by these exams?
      Perhaps this is why so many male examiners are charged with sex assault but so many lesbian practitioners can get away with that “feel-ly grope/probe (vagina & rectum) plus nipple pinch.” And regardless, so many younger good looking women end up “in the rack” vs older women who’ve had kids. If so important, why not older, more stretched and less shaved vaginas being examined?
      Ever ask how many “young women” get pelvics at military hospital ER’s? If you show up there with a sprained finger, expect one.
      And, research very carefully before considering the vaginal hysterectomy…another farce.
      Thanks to USCDC for compiling research that these exams are useless in over 95% cases. Tumors cannot be detected. What’s best? An ultrasound. For breasts and pelvis.
      A friend is an md. He was instructed to make sure to “draw blood” on the cervix scrape that every woman hates. W/o blood, there’s no use in doing the test he explained. Not enough cells can be collected. Check all the sites. Do any of them explain “this” in the procedure? No.
      They tell you just enough. You know slightly more than your animal does when you take it to the vet. Enough to make you submit; allow the invasion.
      Enough to make you feel you will survive. Ask any POW if it was pleasant.

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        Cat & Mouse,
        Welcome to the forum.
        All of that for Stage 1 dysplasia, it wouldn’t even be “treated” at all in most countries. It’s overkill, CIN 2 or CIN 3 are referred, but not CIN 1. Even so we have horrible referral rates, almost all of it is over-treatment, made worse by serious over-screening.
        I think women go through a lot unnecessarily, if you look at the evidence you’ll see routine pelvic, rectal, breast and recto-vaginal exams and visual inspections of the genitals are not evidence based, not recommended in most countries and all of them carry risk to our health. I’d never permit any of them.
        The routine rectal exam and PSA test are not recommended here in Australia and in many other countries. This testing is very controversial, you might like to read articles by Dr Gilbert Welch on the subject. My husband has declined both the physical exam and the blood test.
        I can understand why you’re angry/upset with the medical profession, I think many of us feel the same way. I’m lucky to have escaped (so far) unscathed, but my younger sister was not so lucky, she had an unnecessary cone biopsy.

        We need to protect ourselves from medical abuse…stand guard over our healthy, asymptomatic body. Great idea to offer support to each other…safety in numbers in the consult room. I’ve declined pap testing and more recently, mammograms. I think it’s important for every woman (and man) to examine the evidence for and against screening tests and exams and make an informed decision. We can say NO.
        Almost all routine intrusions on the symptom-free body are unnecessary and do nothing more than risk our health. I think we stand a better chance of a long and healthy life if we’re cautious in our dealings with the medical profession.

      • Cat&Mouse says:

        Aha! Thanks for catching the typo I missed. I was actually CIN II. The area above my oos (right?) or center of my cervix looked like a little stack of brickwork. So I did have it. And I was lucky to be caught. Back then HPV testing or DNA testing of biopsies weren’t done. Wish I knew. I found out later my ex had cheated… Now, on another website, I read that HPV can come back 20 yrs later as it lays dormant. The woman in question had a positive pap, posted her question, and got her answer from a professional.
        My husband takes testosterone. He “must” have the digital exam yearly, but even I can do that!! The blood test would show trends much more accurately.
        I’m for diagnostic testing and such, but there must be a balance. The patient’s concerns must be taken into account. And that doesn’t just mean pacifying the concerns and then proceeding along.
        Every doctor/health plan proclaims that one must be in charge of one’s own health care. However, just start asking questions and watch the hackles go up…with the “we know better than you do…” responses.
        It’s worse for new families dealing with the absurd rush and number of vaccinations forced on a newborn.
        And if you really want something to consider> try a generic pain med one time and the brand name med another time. You will be shocked at how much better the “real thing” works. Pharmacists, cops, you name it, all refer to brand name meds as “the good stuff.” Counterfeiting, deliberate mislabeling, Red Chinese & Indian imports, health consumers are all being taken advantage of in the name of $$$$.
        Thanks for replying. Would you invite your man/significant other in on your exams?

      • Alex says:

        Just thought I’d mention: Conscious sedation doesn’t mean what you think it does. It’s basically a medical roofy (it tendes to make people more compliant & forget things, also it doesn’t block the pain). Type in Versed & see what you come up with (also hypnovel or diazapem- not sure if the spelling’s right on those, though). They say things like “it’s just something to help you relax” or “you won’t remember anything.” Something to consider, I remember you mentioning it in the first post.

      • Cat&Mouse says:

        You’re right. I also experienced that after a cervical fusion surgery. Don’t know what I was given (it was a small pill), but 10 min later when my husband saw me I was a zombie. My husband told me the nurse afterward was “interpreting” my literal grunts as yes or no answers. He was very concerned. The neuro-ICU nurse was a control-hungry bitch…
        I should’ve been more exact in the conscious sedation I’d have request for the uterine procedure. It’s what I get for my neck spinal procedures. It;s IV fetanyl w/versed, plus local lidocaine injection in my cervix plus the 2% lido catheter injection into my uterus. I have Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. I must be very careful in any procedure or it can and will spread to any body part. My husband has been very patient with this too, and insists my pain be minimized during procedures. I also use US Sch II pain meds. These deplete body’s sex hormones in addition to testosterone and estrogen. Now I’m on topical bio-identical replacements (not Premarin-mare horse urine which has very strong & dangerous estrogen effects). My lower “parts” had atrophied. Now they are healthy and working again. Very scary to watch oneself revert to pre-adolescence.
        No doctor discovered this for me. It was my husband. I had lichen sclerosis, while he was researching this, he discovered the rest. I used brand Temovate (generic useless) at first, then switched to topical hormone replacement along with oral Estro-Tes tabs.
        My female internist told me my testosterone was normal even though it was still not detectable. It was a specialized dermatologist who finally made the diagnosis & Rx’d the testosterone. My gyn wrote the Estrace cream. I can get both compounded locally via bioidentical sources. You’d think the gyn could’ve/should’ve done all the above?!
        My husband goes nuts anytime my vagina is explored by a doctor. Especially if I don’t tell him. How many men have had to put up with their woman’s fury after an exam? I do appreciate his concern. But at times I take it for granted, or feel it’s overbearing. Perhaps I should appreciate God’s Graces in providing me a guy who’d tolerate all this.

      • Alex says:

        I’d very highly suggest that you look into natural treatments for these things you have. One is for the reason that they may actually work without all kinds of side effects (and it is possible to overdose on a common ingredient). Don’t know if you’re getting corralled into all kinds of things over these conditions (diagnosises, treatments, coercion, etc…), but it seems that there’s a lot of integrated problems with this situation (running into controlling bitches, for instance).

        I don’t know how the situation is between you & your man, but I wouldn’t be too quick to see it as overbearing. A lot of men have problems putting it into words, but you’d think something like that would be a problematic methodology, even if it were a means to an end. It’s not really a normal interaction to be having with someone you’re not “like that” with (whether it’s a casual or a serious relationship), and it may very well be a protectiveness thing. Also, keep in mind: If he was making sure his fingers worked by sticking them in some woman’s areas- you’d probably be pretty pissed (same goes for anything else of his). The general sense of being cheated on because it consists of things that go along the same lines might be hard for him to articulate, as well.

        It DOES sound like you have issue with these situations, yourself, and that’s plenty of reason to pursue more self-sufficient care (or alternative methods). He may very well be possessive (I don’t know him, obviously), but it might also be a bit of a language-barrier/articulation limitation. With a massive amount of things in allopathic medicine, the root problem is never fixed. It’s like having a kitchen fire that keeps burning, but the stray embers keep getting put out (or not). Maybe the fire keeps getting grease poured on it, which is designated a “counteraction,” but it really isn’t.

  17. Tess, thank you for your comments. I am happy that you have had nothing but good experiences. As for your comment “they do save many lives”, I can see you believe that pap smears are unquestionably positive. I feel otherwise. Cervical cancer is rare, pap smears are inaccurate, and the high rate of false “positives” leads to further invasive and often harmful “treatments”. However, I feel each woman has a right to decide for herself as I am all for freedom of choice and informed consent for each and every woman.

    What I take issue with is the lack of informed consent being offered to women regarding pap tests. I have had four very negative experiences with doctors which include sexual misconduct and other forms of aggression. I have had a former family doctor refuse to keep me on as a patient when I made an informed decision to decline a pap test. There is much harm being caused by the aggression, coercion, and misconduct in regards to pap tests – all in the chase after this rare cancer. Women are often unable to access health care/medications when they decline pap tests.

    As for your comment “I hope we can have a good discussion on this”, I do hope by “discussion” you did not mean “debate”. Because unless you are against pro choice and informed consent for each woman, and feel each woman should be permitted to make up her own mind – without being denied health care – then there really is no debate here.

  18. Chrissy (UK) says:

    Tess,
    I am pleased that you are happy with the level of screening you are receiving and with the respect shown to you by health professionals.
    However, I am confused by some of your statements. Primarily that you believe the majority of women in general have had the same positive experiences as yourself with regard to cervical screening. This is unquantifiable.
    You also wish that more women with positive experiences could see this site – for what reason? I am aware that there are women such as yourself who are happy with their doctor and with screening. You could produce 100 women such as yourself, but that would neither negate my experiences nor encourage me to go for screening.
    My issue with cervical screening is not just with the invasive, uncomfortable and embarrassing nature of the test, or whether the smear taker is respectful or not, I also have an issue with the lack of information regarding the risks and benefits of the test.
    You obviously believe there are only benefits to screening, but you will find if you read some of the links to medical papers on this site, that this is not the whole story.

  19. Kate says:

    Tess… Have you never heard the expression ‘if something seems too good to be true, it usually is’?
    Personally, I think the medicalisation of the female body has stripped us of our dignity, particular the medical standards in childbirth. I’m not a mother myself but I can’t see how lying on your back like a stranded beetle during labour can possibly be beneficial to mother or baby. Equally, I think many women dismiss the negative feelings they have about intimate exams under the guise of ‘it’s for my own good.’ When the truth of the matter is that many of the things we’re *supposed* to do *for the good of our health* can do us a lot of harm.
    I refused pap smears throughout my twenties – and believe me, I was put under A LOT of pressure to ‘comply’ – simply because the idea repulsed me. I wasn’t raised by nuns, nor have I ever been sexually assaulted – I was just raised to believe that my private parts were exactly that – private – and NO-ONE had the right to demand I spread ‘em under ANY circumstances. Oh yes, I WAS bullied into a pap eventually. Even though the nurse was lovely and did her best to put me at ease, It was painful, it left me bleeding and sore, and I walked out of the clinic feeling violated.
    I have also been with a group of friends talking about smears – the general consensus was ‘it’s not nice but it has to be done.’ One girl admitted that she had never had one and the others laid into her. I did try to provide them with some genuine statistics but I might as well have been talking to a herd of sheep. So, Tess, when you say your friends feel the same way you do, is that true? Or are they just agreeing with you because they’re afraid to be ridiculed and bullied if they reveal their true feelings?
    After all, whenever there’s a survey or study which looks at the reasons for non-attendance, the reasons are always given as; Embarrassment; Can’t find the time; Not really bothered.
    So all of us naughty girls who don’t do as we’re told are lazy, stupid and reckless.
    There’s never any acknowledgement that some women may have psychosexual (or even physical) issues which make smears a no-no. There may be cultural issues which make a penetrative exam unacceptable. Or – perish the thought! – that some women may have researched the subject and decided that the risks outweigh the benefits for them.

    Here in the UK, when the screening program first began the participation rate was around 45%. But the disease isn’t as common as most people think, nor is the test as reliable as we’ve been told. So, in order to make any impact on the disease, the screening program was aiming for 80% participation. (Just like breast screening, funnily enough.) This isn’t just about saving lives. The screening program is very expensive – £130 million per annum was the last estimate, and I’m not sure if that’s just the screening or takes into account all the follow-ups, *treatments* and interventions (during pregnancy, for instance) which this ‘harmless’ test often leads to. Anyway… the program gobbles up a huge amount of funds for very little benefit, and the screening chiefs have to justify it’s existance and the use of such funding (and keep themselves in their cushy jobs, of course) by *proving* to their lords & masters that it’s working.
    Obviously, many women objected to such an invasive exam, so the program wasn’t the roaring success they’d hoped. What then? They whine that they can’t get enough women up on the couch. What does nanny state do? Get scientists working on a test that women would find more acceptable? After all, men can now have a simple blood test if they don’t want an ‘invasive’ rectal exam, right? And the pap smear was already 40 years old when the program started, so time to look for alternatives, right? Wrong. The government decided to award GP’s for hitting targets. That’s right, GP’s get incentive payments – get enough women to agree to a smear test, you get a nice fat bonus!
    And, miracle of miracles, within a very short time the participation rate was above 80%. Now, how did those nice GP’s get all those reluctant women to expose themselves? Bullying, coercion, and blackmail, that’s how.

    • Jola says:

      It’s true Kate

    • WHO is misleading women? says:

      Kate, spot-on, I couldn’t agree more.
      I assume you’re still being harassed by the pap police.
      I don’t get letters etc, I’ve never screened so the pap test register don’t have my details. If a UK-style call and recall system is introduced here, (read harass and keep harassing) to counter our falling screening rates, I’ll make sure I’m permanently removed from the program.
      The pap test program here is more than a decade behind the evidence and has always horribly over-screened women, so we have very high over-treatment/excess biopsy rates…so as the screening rate falls, what does our Govt do?
      Do they Immediately wind back the program, finally following the long established evidence? Do they finally exclude young women from the program?
      No, they increase the target our GPs must achieve before they get their fat bonuses.
      It’s disgusting, they know many women find this test unacceptable for all sorts of reasons, they know we’re seriously over-screening and over-treating women…so what do we do? We carry on regardless…how can this be about women’s health? IMO, it’s about protecting the lucrative industry that feeds off over-screening and over-treating. The healthy cervix is targeted and sacrificed to satisfy vested interests. It also shows how little they care about our rights, health, well-being, bodily privacy and dignity.

    • Alice says:

      Great discription of the situation Kate! I wish this your post was printed out and distributed instead of that pro-pap propaganda junk we get in doctors’ waiting rooms.
      At least, it should be copied to other web sites for everyone to see. It could really save many women’s cervixes from unnecessary butchery.

    • Cat&Mouse says:

      Oh, how TRUE. Belong to Kaiser HMO here in CA USA, and to get birth control a trip up on “the rack” is a must. What’s so aggravating? We CAN do this at home. And there is a blood test too. Same with men. Men also get the same bullying via Kaiser for prostate exams vs the blood test. Again, I could do the same digital exam on my husband, and in fact have w/o the same objections he’d have at the clinic. He’d trust me over an md.
      Like I can’t be trained to find a bump/lump like any nurse or md can?

      • Alex says:

        For one thing, that’s an invalid mandate. Their attempt is to impose an iatrogenic attack (in this case, sexual abuse- due to it being an imposed interface with sexual areas, specifically a penetrative one). They do not decide how to comport your own medical situations (in this case their are also aggravating circumstances- there are numerous risks & inaccuracies that they have no right to impose). You’re not wronging them to deflect an attack.

        I guess the phrasing would be “your requisitite is dissolved.” “You are not permitted to perform that procedure.” There is the option of Planned Parenthood (that HOPE program is supposed to give them to you without any hassle), a private doctor (general practice or female-specific), or a psychiatrist (a woman on here got them from her shrink).

        Got to ask: why did you do a digital exam on your husband?

      • Cat&Mouse says:

        To answer Alex from 9/2/13. Why did I do a digital exam on my husband? Same reason I’ve let him do the same exam on me that I hate getting at the clinic. He knows my body better than any doctor ever will. In past he found a lump on my breast (benign thank God), and recently told me a mole he’s been watching on my breast needed removing as he thought it’d changed texture. The mole turned out to be precancerous. Likewise, I know his body better than any md ever will for the 10 minutes he’s examined. If he thinks his prostate isn’t right, I’ll be able to tell. No doctor can imagine if his prostate will ever change over a year, but if I check it every 3 months I’ll know. If we don’t have sex, then we mutually masturbate or he performs oral on me and then we together get him off (he doesn’t like receiving oral as he likes to kiss me a lot and coming in my mouth is gross to him).

        We integrate a little physical examining into our sex when we feel. Years ago my husband heard a doctor discussing doing this with his wife; and it makes sense. You could call it caring foreplay intimacy. He insisted we accompany each other to md appts before we even got married. So he is my advocate and I’m his at the md office. Let no man, even doctor, divide what God has put together. He has protected me from getting unnecessary painful procedures and exams. It’s not so “interesting” for any doctor to recreationally do an exam when the spouse is present. Getting through these things has given us tools to work together on other problems too.

    • adawells says:

      This is all absolutely true. I’ve read that about half of the £132, 000,000 that this screening programme costs the taxpayer goes into the pockets of the GP’s as incentive payments.

    • adawells says:

      This is totally true. A very clear description of the UK cervical screening programme.

  20. WHO is misleading women? says:

    That last post is mine, I can’t connect to WordPress for some reason, so I’ve used another provider.
    Elizabeth (Aust)

  21. Domino says:

    I just have to thank you for publishing this article. I’m 18 and have fairly severe PTSD regarding things of this nature. I was recently told by a friend that I should have a pelvic exam, because I was overdue. I didn’t realize that the recommended age has been dropped down to about 13 for a pelvic exam. Some even recommend that it be done at the onset of a girl’s menstrual cycle. Think about that! With the declining age of puberty in girls, that could mean subjecting your ten year old daughter to something even more invasive than sex! I’ve been researching this topic for days now, trying to keep my own panic attacks at bay. Most of what I found were forums full of grumpy middle aged women saying things like “No sympathy here. We all do things we don’t like. We all take vitamins, pay bills, etc” and it floored me! How can someone say that to a fellow woman! Have they blocked out the fear they may have had that well? Do they hold some sort of weird bitter feelings about it, compelling them to force young women into what they were forced into? And I must say, taking vitamins is not the same as what would be considered rape if it didn’t take place in a doctor’s office, and they damned well know that. So, thank you so much for being the first person to actually seem to understand the trauma behind it. And I’d just like to note that there are so many better alternatives to the violating exam. There are self tests, ultra sounds to help screen for cysts, if you’re feel you may be prone to ovarian cancer, and they’ve developed a blood test that is more accurate for detecting cervical cancer. There are so many other options, so don’t let society coerce you into something that feels so wrong to you.

  22. Chrissy (UK) says:

    Domino, it is not possible to be ‘overdue’ for a pelvic exam. It is every woman’s right to decide for herself whether or not to go for gynaecological examinations without coercion, and with her full informed consent. The women you have encountered on various forums have probably been psychologically conditioned to believe that their female parts need constant medical surveillance. I wonder if they consider other parts of their bodies to be a ticking time bomb of potential illness. Do they, I wonder, have a full body scan every year to check for disease elsewhere in their bodies, or is it just the female bits that worry them… I wonder if your friend considers herself ‘overdue’ for any other kind of non-gyn medical exam.

  23. Ashamed says:

    The following might be troubling to some readers, FYI.

    I had a pelvic exam like this over a year ago. I consider it rape. It’s hard not to. I was a minor and not given the option to consent. I was held down. I was dehumanized and talked down to, like an animal. It was the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced and it even burst a cyst on my ovary. I bled. I sobbed and couldn’t breathe and literally begged for them to stop, but they did not. And every day, I feel so awful, guilty and ashamed. I feel like a liar, like other people have had it so worse. I’ve been trained to think that this is normal and acceptable by society and it is NOT. This was nothing short of abuse. All of these descriptions are. A doctor felt entitled to my body in the name of medicine.

    I truly hope we can break out of the cycle of exams when they are not warranted. In my life, I can honestly say that I’ve had two vaginal exams that would be truly warranted and needed. All the others — more than 20, at this point in my 18-year-old life — have been pointless. I realize that most of my doctors believe they were acting in my best interests. But clearly, the doctor I described was not.

    Medicine needs an overhaul. Our society needs an overhaul.

    • Alex says:

      That’s horrible! I’m so sorry that happened to you. If a doctor poisons someone with a needle, it’s still murder! I’m pretty sure it’s called “thinking by analogy” (“it’s not wrong if a priest does it,” wearing someone else’s clothes to try and gain their abilities, someone thinking it’s not an attack because of who it comes from or what it’s designated, etc…). This is a long post, but it might be useful to you (typed this after). There’s a bunch of posts on this site (both by me & by others) that might help in a self-defense kind of way- there’s a lot of illegalities, misinformation, and baseline ideas that people aren’t always aware of.

      I don’t mean to be rude, but I’ve got to ask: how did this happen? I ask because I had a cousin that fell & cut her face at the store when she was little. When she went to the hospital for stitches, they made her take her clothes off (they said that they were suspicious & wanted to check if she had any bruises from being hit at home). Doing worse to prevent (or, specifically, investigate) less, because even IF she was getting hit at home- one trauma’s worse that the other (what kind of test do they have to find out if my uncle was doing something like that?). One has to wonder what kind of situation will develop around you (it’s pretty common for things to turn into a trap).

      Keep in mind that medical quality is determined by patient satisfaction, not academic value. It doesn’t matter if your choice is the “wrong answer.” Your body, your rules. There are also self-testing methods, blood tests, scans, and deduction by related information (ex: high sugar diet causing pH problems). You being a minor just makes that iatrogenic child molestation! Look at something: if a man were to punch his wife in the face, that’s one form of assault. If he were to drag her upstairs by the hair, that’s another form- because of what it CONSISTS of.

      With any attack, it would be called an “iatrogenic variation” when it’s done with a medical methodology (instead of more conventional means). Any interface (visually or physically) with a sexual area as a product of someone else’s decision-making is an attack. I’ve posted that a couple of times, but I don’t know who’s seen what. You’re ABSOLUTELY right in thinking circumstances constitute the situation. Reality doesn’t take a coffee break for doctors. If someone snatched someone else up & decided to do some aggressive role-playing, that’s definitely an attack. Also, not to sound like I’m yelling at you, it doesn’t matter if worse happened in some other situation. Someone getting shot once is an issue, even if someone else was shot twice. It’s a horrible story, but it doesn’t reflect anything low-quality about you. Big difference between being treated with dishonor & being dishonored.

  24. Kaity says:

    There are so many stories about awful experiences here. I feel like I just have to say my gyno is great. It’s usually her and a nurse (I think her being a woman really helps me relax) and they talk to me the whole time, about family or work, and most important: they tell me what they’re doing, if i’m going to feel a push, a pinch, or stretch. If I flinch or gasp she slows down or becomes more gentle. I don’t feel violated.
    I had a bad reaction to an IUD and had to have it taken out by whoever was available at the hospital. The woman who took it out said almost nothing so the pain was sudden and unexpected, which definitely makes it feel worse. I was not happy with her.
    Mostly I see it as a means to an end, much like waxing or orthodontist appointments. Gynos like the one who removed the IUD could really take a cue from people who wax.

  25. I wanted to let you all know that Patty Avery did a radio talk interview about Medical Patient Modesty on a radio talk show in Orlando. FL last Monday. You can listen to it by going to http://americanadversaries.podbean.com/2013/06/17/335-june-17-2013. You will need to click on the icon that says audio mp3 to listen to it. Cathy of East Orlando Tea Party spoke first on this show so it might be about 10 minutes before you all will hear Patty. I believe that you can skip to the interview about MPM on some formats.

    One lady, Diane called in the radio show commenting how her dad refused to go back to the hospital because of patient modesty concerns and that he died. That is really sad. You will be able to hear her on the radio show as Patty talks. I am sure that more people have died because they refused medical treatments due to the fact their wishes for modesty would be honored.

    Please let me know of any radio talk shows you think we should check out to see if they would be willing to raise awareness about Medical Patient Modesty and patient modesty issues.

    Misty

    • Kleigh says:

      patient modesty, Do you know if it is legal for a doctor to with hold unrlated care if a woman refuses to have a pap smear? And how do doctors get wawy with telling some woman that pap smear are a law or policy. How can they legaly say that they will have acces to a womans genitals or she will be denied unrelated health care. in any other setting this whould be blakmal or rape.

      • Ro says:

        I’m curious to know the same thing. I’ve heard the excuse that “if a woman does end up with issues involving her female organs after refusing an exam/smear, then the doctor can be held legally responsible so it’s a liability issue”. That doesn’t even make sense. That would be like saying “well since we have the means available to make sure nothing is wrong with your heart, you’ll have to have an ultrasound once a year so we can see your heart to make sure there’s nothing irregular”. Considering heart problems are more common, that would make much more sense. It’s not like they lack the technology – they have the ultrasound equipment and everything else necessary to check for heart problems (but they only use them on people who complain about issue or those they find to be symptomatic). However, doctors never say tests/exams involving the heart are a requirement or that they’ll be held legally responsible if you end up with heart problems. One last thing, screening does not help prevent all cases of a disease, all it does is detect the possibility of the presence of an issue, which can then possibly go on to be cured in some cases. I feel like pap smears/pelvic exams/breast exams are thought of as a cure for the pre-existing condition of being a woman, rather than something that can be used to possibly detect abnormalities in high risk women. I agree with your statement, Kleigh. It is blackmail and it’s completely wrong. Here in the US, colposcopies alone make over a billion dollars a year (Someone on here told me that the US gyno business made over a billion a year, but that’s JUST for colposcopies. Imagine how much they’re raking in from unnecessary smears/exams and unnecessary follow-up procedures in women who are at almost no-risk or low-risk women. I’d venture to say it’s worth at least 2 or 3 billion a year.) , so it’s not too difficult to understand why they take every opportunity to try to coerce women into complying with the system.

      • ADM (Canada) says:

        I’ve heard the same argument about the Dr being liable if you refuse screening. I don’t think it’s true because you can refuse a flu shot and they don’t care yet many people experience severe side-effects, including death, from the flu every year. It’s right there in their ethics that a patient has the right to refuse any medical procedure or testing. And that is what malpractice insurance is for. They also seem to overlook the other side of the argument that using such an argument is coercion and if they force an exam that is technically a sexual assault which is an illegal offense. It’s interesting how that argument only comes up for the intimate screening. And only female screening as men can refuse prostate screening with no issue. In fact it’s not recommended anymore.

      • Alex says:

        It’s an attack by coercion with an iatrogenic twist. They don’t get to elect to attack someone (iatrogenically or otherwise)- so thus it is not for them to decide that their policies will be antagonistic. They do not assume proprietorship of someone’s anatomy or health. They do not annex someone with their decisions (this includes trying to hi-jack someone else’s decisions). A cab driver does not decide that they’re going to drop someone off wherever they feel like- that’s kidnapping. It makes no difference if the act is done through occupational means. The cab driver is not free to select that course of behavior.

        Legalities can be tricky- plenty of things are perfectly legal that are wrong (and run the same lines, actually). The police do all kinds of things to people (themselves & through other people) as well as put people in a situation for these sorts of things to happen to them. Laws mean nothing, you only deal with actions. That said, all kinds of things can fly in court- some of them positive. Interpretation can go a long way, sometimes the jury’s had problems like these (or whatever the case is about) & that swings things in someone’s favor.

      • Kleigh says:

        And it almost seems like doctors know that woman feel violated by pap smears and thats why they present paps almost like a law. Even when I read the Acog guidlines they use wording that implys woman should have paps and not having them by a certain age is not right. This might be why doctors are scared of liability and some of the blame should go on womans health organizations that promote screening like a law doctors should fallow. There is just something not right and scary to me about how these screenings are pushed on woman. And to hide false positves and how invasive the follow ups are. last nite I read about a girl that said her pap smear came back abnormal and her gyn rushed her into a biopsy and she said the pain was brutal and she is still swollin a month latter she feels she will never be the same again. she said the paper she was given befor the biopsy said the pain was minemal and that was a lie . latter after her biopsy her gyn admited that the type of screening they did was very inacurat and caused lots od false positves but she didnt tell her that.

      • Ro says:

        Kleigh: I have never really thought about whether or not doctors think about what a woman is feeling when undergoing these exams and procedures, but you’re right. Surely they MUST know. I’m sure many women have called and complained or called their doctor crying, but nobody would ever dare discuss that publicly. Thankfully, women are becoming more educated and are learning that HPV is the cause for CC. However, that has led doctors to come up with even more scare tactics. This isn’t anywhere on the guidelines, but some doctors are now telling virgins that you can catch HPV and other STDs through kissing (because of saliva) in order to get them to screen. I don’t know much about exactly how infections are contracted, but I’m fairly certain that isn’t how it works. It’s like as soon as we start becoming educated on the matter, they find some argument in order to keep women screening and to try to get every woman to screen.

        I agree that it is scary how these screenings are being pushed on women, especially when you compare it to other countries who rarely screen or screen those only at high risk and have the same or even less cases of any of these female-only related health issues. It’s so disheartening to read stories about women who have suffered without need. So much is being hidden. It’s sick that it takes a traumatic experience in order for a doctor to admit that it may not have been necessary and very likely could have been inaccurate. That should have been explained in the first place, but this is what happens when informed consent is not provided. I had an interesting thought about why women are not given informed consent on pelvic exams/pap smears. While it is a billion dollar business as I stated in my last comment, it has to do with, more than anything I think, women losing control over their body and being treated as an object. I have always been incredibly modest about how much of my body I show to anyone and have never felt very comfortable with the idea, especially concerning complete strangers. Before I came across the blogcritics site and then this, I always had this nagging feeling that at some point in my life, my body would be violated in this way against my will because of HAVING to participate in this screening and exam. Before realizing that I had a choice in the matter or that it could possibly do more harm than good, I tried to talk myself into by saying that at least they were doctors and it wasn’t anything they hadn’t seen before and that it was for my own good (knowing what I know now, those words seem ignorant, but back then I believed them to be true). This is the problem. They do make a lot of money off of it, but my personal belief is that it’s ultimately about control and making women feel like they have no control over what happens to them. I’m not speaking ill of all doctors or everyone in the healthcare profession, but the general purpose, I believe, especially considering there are non-invasive alternatives available (plus they could still make plenty of money by offering these, I’m sure, so if it was solely about money I would think that surely they’d be willing to switch or at the very least provide alternatives for women who do not wish to participate in traditional screening), it must be about making women feel like their bodies are inferior, they have no control over their own bodies, and that they must do what they’re told when they’re told to do it.

      • Alex says:

        Ro- That’s absolutely FANTASTIC that you say these things! It’s very hope-inspiring that a woman can go from one way to the other (a more self-determined way). I honestly respect women with self-governance more than other women. I know that it’s not someone’s fault what gets aimed at them by a third party, and I’m not trying to be cruel, but there’s got to be a push-off point somewhere. You mention a lot about control & that’s an aspect, but keep in mind that some things aren’t that complicated- sheer pervyness & cruelty are reasons, too. They say things lie “rape is about power” and they shouldn’t phrase it that way (it makes it seem like a high-quality thing, power= A+ grade). What, instead, it should be phrased as is “infliction.” I think that’s a bit more accurate & doesn’t encourage things of low quality (what sounds better: “weakness” or “power”? One of those comes off as a flaw.). Another thing is that it should be applied to other situations than streets & stairwells.

        I wonder what someone pictures when they think of an attack of this nature. Maybe it’s not the dynamics they’re seeing, but a particular style of delivery. Maybe that overt, fast-moving, obvious style that would be more common with a more conventional attack is all they see with this sort of thing. It’s an odd thing to be that way, though- since if someone syphons off cash from someone’s account it’s seen as theft, even though no one had a gun aimed at their face. I’ve said it before, but: if a doctor poisons someone with a needle, it’s still murder. The underlying mentality is pretty horrendous. It’s sometimes hard to keep in mind that this is a deliberate action on the part of these people. I still have a hard time believing that other women catch an attitude when a woman doesn’t get pushed around like this & factors in all the risks, inaccuracies, and ulterior motives that make these tests worthless. I bet if someone “dismissed” her as a stupid woman with no ability to contribute to a company & didn’t get equal pay because of that, she’d be pretty pissed off.

        If anyone ever sees the movie Predators, it makes the point in a pretty interesting way. I know it’s a bit of a plot spoiler, but the doctor is a sneaky, conniving, weakling that depends on the other characters for survival. He even betrays the only female character in the movie, who saves his life two or three times in this movie. He relys on her feminine, nurturing way to get her close enough to harm. It’s very much like a sheep with snake’s fangs. There was even a point where she was about to kill herself rather than get ripped apart by the monster-beasts that were on that planet & he screams “No!” at the top of his lungs. Guess he didn’t want her to die- then there’d be no one to torture. Love how he get killed, though.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think it boils down to the fact that gynaecology is still controlled at the top by men. Look at the gender of the tops dogs in all the ob/gyn Colleges – they are mostly, if not all, (often old) men. Even with more women entering the profession, it will take a very long time for the balance to equal out, with hopefully women outnumbering the men eventually.

        I am personally very uncomfortable with male doctors for personal issues, but I know that there are women who are OK with a male ob/gyn and there still needs to be a choice for those who want it. What really irks me is the amount of male doctors inflicted on me when I was in an NHS hospital whilst I was pregnant. No-one ever asked if I was OK with this, I got the impression this was just the way it was and I had to get over it (you know, the old chestnut – ‘he’s a doctor, seen it all before etc). Thankfully my babies were delivered by women as the thought of a man delivering my baby makes me shudder.

        I don’t know why men choose ob/gyn as a speciality. I can’t fathom it out at all. I wonder if they realise that a sizeable amount of their patients will feel uncomfortable and even violated by them. I wonder how well that sits with them, how they justify this in their own minds. Perhaps they say that women have a choice not to see them – that certainly wasn’t an option for me and may not be for many others. Not all women will have proper choice and they must know this. I recall one comment from an ob/gyn in training; he said he was ‘fascinated by female physiology’ and I am not sure what form this ‘fascination’ took, but there is obviously much more to it than that. Some are undoubtedly attracted for perverted reasons, such as the doctor earlier this year prosecuted in the UK for filming intimate examinations on his wristwatch. From my own experiences, I think the majority have a paternalistic attitude towards women and believe they need to be looked after (like children). This is the attitude I find most entrenched. This can range from a firm benevolence to a brusque rudeness. Then there are those who enjoy the power and dominance they are able to wield over women and the ones who can hardly contain their contempt as out and out misogynists.

        Nothing will really change whilst the men at the top control obstetrics and gynaecology. They may understand our physiology but they will never understand our psyche.

      • ADM (Canada) says:

        Ro, don’t you find it freeing to know that you never have to undergo those exams if you don’t want to. I remember dreading the yearly physical and thinking that someday I would “have to” have a mammogram and colonoscopy. I find it fascinating that the propaganda had worked so well that it didn’t occur to me that I had a choice and the ability to say no.

        I went to the Dr yesterday regarding a prescription renewal and it always amazes how they sneak in something that is unrelated to the visit. The nurse informed me that she “had to” measure my waist to calculate my BMI. Don’t even get me started on the inaccuracy of the BMI for someone who is athletic and I am very athletic. Of course my BMI is high. I don’t need the medical system to monitor my weight when I am clearly not overweight at all. The language the nurse used of “have to measure your waist” is very fascinating to me as it was presented as there is no choice. When I asked why she said because your file doesn’t have it so I “have to”. She doesn’t even question this when she is standing before someone who clearly does not have a weight issue. Why do they need to track my BMI and I never asked them to. Of course my informed consent was never asked for them to calculate my BMI. They just informed me that I needed to be measured and weighed. I don’t care but they are supposed to tell people what they are using that information for.

      • Ro says:

        ADM – It absolutely is freeing! I suppose that is the point of propaganda though, to make everyone compliant and to make sure no one questions it. I’ve always been a curious person though and questioned most things. Sometimes it is a bit ridiculous, but other times, it can be incredibly beneficial.

        I have never before in my life heard of such a thing. I’ve never heard of a doctor needing to check BMI in healthy people for any reason. I’ve always thought that BMI calculating is unreliable, anyways. There should always be a choice and she should have explained what it was for. That reminds me of a mishap that happened with a nurse when I last went to the doctor. The doctor I had when I went was fortunately very respectful, but the nurses were not. I was not up to date on my tetanus shot and needed to get one (although I’ve found out that tetanus shots might not be completely necessary, however that’s a different subject entirely) and the nurse offered me the HPV injection as well (I believe it was Gardasil, specifically). I told the nurse I did not want it and she was explaining how beneficial it was and I told her that I was not sexually active nor did I plan on being for quite some time so I didn’t think it would be of much benefit to me. There were a few other nurses in the room and they all gave me the dirtiest look (some looked at me like they thought I was lying because obviously every woman must be sexually active or lying about it), but it was completely silent and nobody had a reply. Long story short, I refused to give in and get the HPV vaccine and they ended up withholding the tetanus vaccine. That’s definitely not legal or okay, but it’s what happened. They always try to sneak other things in, and go to extreme lengths to do so. Anyways, having to have your BMI doesn’t make much sense. If you’re healthy then why should it even matter? I remember reading a comment (possibly here, maybe a different site) where someone said that doctors monitor the weight of their female patients more closely. The reason being because of societal standards for what weight and body type a woman should be. So even if you are perfectly healthy, it might just be that mentality. The nurse herself may not have even known why it was required, just that she was told to make sure to check your BMI.

      • Alex says:

        Ro- Wow! That’s pretty bizarre, then not giving you a tetanus shot because you refused an HPV vaccine. Personally, I don’t trust the idea of needing a new tetanus shot all the time (the theory is that you get an immunity to it- you’re body knows how to fight it, basically). That’s not what they say whne they want to sell a new one, which might be made of different things than the old one. Maybe even to infect people (that’s what happened with smallpox in the 1920s- don’t remember the whole story, but it did come out that that’s what happened).

        Why were there so many nurses in the room, anyway? I’d imagine they do feel stronger in groups & makes for an increased intimidation/peer pressure kind of thing. Suprising that they didn’t try imposing something else.

        ADM- That phrasing DOES make it harder to attach a refusal to. If it was in question format, it’s real simple: asked & answered. Just saying “I refuse that procedure” isn’t something that always occurs to people in the heat of the moment (maybe because of how formal it sounds). Also, it tends to be an automatic thing that someone will ask “why?” in that situation which sets the stage of a lie or a self-adjucated decision. Someone’s trying to neutralize the situation verbally (trying to get to the reason & knock it out- a tactic that goes both ways, you might have noticed). Personally, I think they should be physically hit whenever they do stuff like that (they are old enough to know how to talk to people & it’s a deliberate attempt to manhandle someone via social engineering- it’s probably even taught in their schools along with bedside manner).

        I remember reading this one woman’s post (don’t remember where) that fell off a horse & was taken to the hospital for a possible spinal injury (which they are supposed to do abdominal MRI/CT scans for- same for possible internal bleeding, broken bones, etc…). Instead they decided to give her a rectal exam against her wishes (using a female to do it as though it’s non-antagonistic that way instead of just a lesbian attack- plus it’s not actualy viable, anyway). As they were cutting off her clothes & she was in a neck collar the doctor said that’s what they were “going” to do. She refused loudly, and he kept arguing with her saying “you have to have one.” She’s crying & telling them (she’d said there was about 10 “people” around- none of which protected her) “no” & he says “you’re getting one.” She was in a neck collar & hurt at the time, so she didn’t really have the ability to fight back (that’s a scenario that doesn’t generally get thought about in a martial arts class, but fighting from a lying down position against multiple opponents would make sense to have a lesson on). This same type of thing happened to a guy in New York that walked into the hospital for stitches on his head. It’s like trying to get patched up in a crack den, except everyone’s got a reason to want problems for you! There are financial motives at the very least, but apparently a lot of serial killers are attracted to medical professions because of a perceived control of life & death. Pretty spooky thought, huh?

      • Ro says:

        Alex – They did not directly tell me that that’s why I wasn’t given my tetanus shot, however after my refusal for the HPV vaccine, they did not give me the tetanus shot. At first I thought maybe they’d just forgotten, but after everything I read I’m likely to believe that it was to get me to give in to the HPV vaccine (also the fact that I handed the nurse a paper given to me by my doctor stating the information or whatever was necessary for the shot). I wasn’t bothered enough, though, to go back and ask for the shot. I was not in the actual exam room, but outside where you are when you get your weight, blood pressure, etc. checked and there were 4 or 5 nurses filing things or getting different things. Your theory about immunity makes sense. I’m not too concerned about a tetanus shot at this point anyways. In my opinion, it’s more helpful for people who work in very unclean environments or environments where they’re more prone to injury.

        Also, in regards to your first comment (I read it, but forgot to reply), you’re right that in some cases, it outright is what it is. It’s not about control, it’s just about nasty intentions. I don’t think it’s so much that “women catch an attitude” (at least not in all cases, I’m sure in some it really just is an attitude issue) as much as it is that other women aren’t necessarily aware of the facts or why the other woman has made the decision to opt out of screening. They’re scared and repeating what they’ve been told their whole lives. As you said in a previous comment – social engineering. I’ve never seen that movie, but that’s an interesting plot line. A bit dark, but sort of relevant to this conversation.

  26. Kleigh says:

    A male nurse got madd at my great grandmother because she did not want a male bathing her. the rest of her hospital stay was a night mare. The male nurse that was suposed to be asighned to her ignored her when she needed help. She was not rude about her refusel ether she told them that she did not want another man to see her naked espt. for her husband. I think one of the problems is doctors and meadical pple are trained not to see any nudity in a meadical setting as sexuall when that may not be how the patient sees it.

    • Alex says:

      No, they ARGUE that it’s not that way & that the patient’s complaint doesn’t count. The patient trying to deflect/counteract/change what they are doing is something they feel is an attack. They feel pushed around by the patient comporting their own medical situation. It’s a bit like a cab driver saying “I’ll take you wherever I feel like- I’m free & you don’t control me, to try to alter this situation is attacking me, and it’s not an attack on my part because I’m using occupational methods to attack you.” It is kidnapping, using occupational means to do so, and they have no grounds to claim someone is “oppressing” them by neutralizing their antagonistic actions.

      Look at when people say that someone can just go to a different doctor if their way of doing things is unsatisfactory to them (no birth control with this, it’s “our policy” to do that, etc…). The medical personnel are not to elect to attack people, iatrogenically or otherwise. It’s not for them to form their behavior in that way. Someone else does not have to take strides at their expense to circumvent what the doctor shouldn’t be doing, anyway. The patient isn’t responsible for the doctor’s actions- that’s like you paying for someone else burning your house down! You need to defend yourself, but that doesn’t absolve anyone (get them off the hook) for making an attempt.

      It’s like that’s the wrong “code” to get them to stop doing something (as far as they’re concerned, though, their IS no such thing, anyway). They act like someone is bringing up something nonexistant (an issue with something on a sexual level), but they are expressing an issue either way. It doesn’t make a difference if it’s something identifiable to them. What?- they refused something on grounds that they don’t recognize? Someone else’s decisions hinge on THEIR certification? They annex people with their decisions? Seems to me it would do well for the point to be commonly made that they don’t have any self-determination with somebody else’s self. Sorry about the rant (I didn’t mean it to say that you were implying more favorable things about them or anything), I was just thinking about this recently & figured somethings out that I figured would be useful.

  27. Kleigh,

    I am sorry to hear about what happened to your great grandmother. The male nurse was very unethical. If he was a truly caring nurse, he would have gotten a female nurse to help her. Medical professionals should always think about patients; wishes rather than what is convenient for them. Have you read Dr. Joel Sherman’s great article about gender preferences in healthcare at http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2010/11/patient-gender-preferences-medical-care.html?

    Also, I wrote an article about risks of gender neutral nursing assignments at http://patientmodesty.org/genderneutralrisks.aspx.

    Misty

  28. Someone.. says:

    Hi. Im 14 years old. I know im a bit young to be looking at stuff like this i guess.. But i just have a huge fear of these things. I know that in probably 3,4 years i will have to get these exams done, and that time will come quickly… Sometimes, my mom has doctors appointments and she tells me what shes going for. She doesnt mind. But if she says one of these exams, i just feel scared.. Like, i dont know i just feel bad for her in a way.. Ive always had a huge fear of these exams. Even a fear of sex. I know im going to these things eventually. I just have a fear.. I wanted to see what other people had to say about these exams just to kind of visualize what it will be like. Some women have had terrible experiences with these exams and im just so scared about what will happen.. What will they do to me?… Im also very insecure about myself and i absolutely hate thinking about anyone touching me in that way.. Or seeing me.. Naked.. I just hate the idea.. The idea of having a strangers hands all over my most private part of my body… And having some metal piece and many other things.. In there.. Just scares me. Alot. I have anxiety problems too. That doesnt help /: i have fears about everything.. Especially this.

    • Alex says:

      Listen, it’s your body, your rules. If something is a problem for you, that’s the end of it (you could call that something being “antagonistic to your alignment”- it’s against the grain & not something you’re cool with- that also applies to something being against your orientation, since a woman doing things of that nature might just make things worse & she always could be a lesbian or bisexual). There’s also a massive amount of risk & inaccuracy to these tests (and alternatives like blood tests & home testing kits, if you are worried about things that are actually very rare to begin with- you’ve got no cause to sabotage yourself, but a doctor’s another story & a lot of these things are very profitable for them). It’s actually illegal for them to refuse to give you birth control if you decline these exams, but they do it anyway- just in case you want those at some point for whatever use it has.

      By-the-way: I know this post is a little long, but it might be useful in a few ways. A lot of different things come up in arguments & there’s more than one problem in this situation. I do get into these things more in a few other threads (the Boycotting thread & the Sensitive Exam thread, as well as this one- if memory serves), if you’re interested- but one of the women on here (Tanya, I think) phrased it perfectly: You should have bodily autonomy. Also, an action has to be engaged in order to occur- that means these exams don’t just mystically happen (neither does anything else). It’s not just “part of being a woman” (imagine if someone said getting punched in the face was an inherent part of marriage- the argument that it’s an interjected action would come up pretty quick & nobody would be trying to disqualify anything- it’s an attack no matter who it comes from).

      It doesn’t make sense to presume that a woman is likely to get something that is only something a woman can get, either. There are other cancers that are far more common & nobody gets as fanatical about those. There is the potential for ulterior motives, and it’s not immature to factor that into your assessments (it’s what’s there, after all). It is, at least, a potentially extant situation & it’s not something you want to find out is there through experience (maybe someone takes things in a “datelike” direction or does something painful, maybe they don’t stop when you tell them to, maybe they injure you or lie to generate repeat costs- the list goes on & other people here know more about that).

      Your mom may or may not mind what someone does to her (a lot of women bottle up whatever issue they have with things like this, though). Either way, you’ve got to worry about the situation YOU are involved in. Any interface with a sexual area as a product of someoone else’s decision-making is an attack (visually or physically)- there doesn’t need to be any fighting or screaming involved. After all: if a doctor poisoned someone with a needle, it’s still murder- it’s just an iatrogenic (medical) variation . Another point is that people sometimes say “It’s not like that, it’s a doctor,” but it’s not like what? Reality? A situation is what it consists of. Medical quality is determined by patient satisfaction, anyway- not academic value (like when someone acts like your choice is “wrong” & would get a failing grade if it were an answer on a test). Everyone is going to die at some point, so if you don’t choose to include these kinds of things in your life, that’s fine. Whether it’s along these lines or not: Your Body, Your Rules.

      I get into things like social engineering (mind games, guilt trips, scare tactics, etc…) in more depth in other posts, but for this one let me tell you that someone saying things like “need, “must,” ” have to” or something along those lines is trying to convey the impression of a fixed situation (like there exists no capacity for things to develop differently & reality can’t “unfurl” any other way). Saying what you “will be having” or what someone is “going to be doing” is talking in definitive statements & is the same theme. Just because it comes out of someone’s mouth doesn’t make it true, obviously, but sometimes people tend to trust certain people or the situation of certification a bit more than they deserve. This isn’t typically talked about, but it should be. It’s not exactly fighting, but it’s the mental version of what a fight is physically.

      As for a fear of sex, you might not be at a point where you’re ready for such things. People develop at the pace they develop at & some men are not very considerate or skilled, either. As an idea: maybe you’d be on top at first (that way you can adjust things as you please & not have to rely on the guy getting it right at random). Not every interaction is an imposed situation, but if it’s a third-party orchestration it’s a problem (the same can be said of arranged marriages). I’ve tried to hit a bunch of topics clearly, since a lot of things are argued as if it changes the structure of the situation, but if you have any other questions please feel perfectly free to ask. At your age, you probably don’t get much reinforcement with the topic of self-determination (I remember school & it wasn’t too supportive on this subject)- but you should absolutely feel like “queen of the castle.”

    • ADM (Canada) says:

      You do not “have” to have get these exams. You having any medical test or procedure done is based on your informed consent and even if you are having symptoms that the Dr wants to investigate you have the right to say no or to ask for a less invasive test. If you read through this site you will find information on how these tests such as pelvic exams and breast exams and cervical screening are not needed. Pelvic exams are considered of low clinical value and are not an accurate test for finding uterine or ovarian masses as are breast exams, and cervical cancer is rare. Once you are old enough you may look into HPV screening and decide from there what you want to do. It is your body and your rules and if you do not want these tests you don’t get them. It’s as simple as that. If a Dr withholds medical treatment or medication of any kind, including birth control pills, then they are acting unethically and you can report them to the medical board. Despite the wording of the information out there these exams are not crucial to your health. You have a whole body not just reproductive organs. And there is no “have to” or “must” in medical care. There is informed consent and you choosing what you want to do with your healthy body. All of this also includes you having the right to choose your Dr and if you feel more comfortable with a female then you demand that. Far too many young women have been traumatized by these exams and it needs to stop.

  29. Kleigh says:

    Someone, remember that no one has to have any exam if they dont want one. If your not having symptoms I whould avoid gyn exams unless you choise other wise. Dont let any doctor or nurse try to push you into any thing your not compforatble with.

  30. ADM (Canada) says:

    I need to clarify that I meant that breast exams are similar to pelvic exams in that they are of low clinical value in finding masses in the breast. I know that breast exams do not find masses in the pelvic region. Unlike many Dr’s I have a basic understanding of anatomy and know that a broken hand has nothing to do with the cervix.
    Also, someone how you are feeling right now about modesty is normal for your age. You may or may not grow out of that. We all have different beliefs and levels of modesty and that’s okay. Don’t let anyone convince you, not even a Dr, that it’s okay to be touched without your consent.

  31. Hawthorne says:

    I came across this blog/site when I was looking up pap smears and pelvic exams. I’m 19 so the thought of turning 21 in two years has been on my mind along with those exams and I wanted to see other woman’s thoughts and experiences were. I’m a LNA (licensed nursing assistant) so I’ve only read about it in text books since LPN’s and higher level nurse’s help with exams like that.

    Just the thought of someone even a fellow medical professional being ‘down there’ made my blood pressure and anxiety go through the roof. I have issues with being touched since I have been bullied verbally and physically by classmates since middle school so that’s about 8 years of torture. I literally have physical problems with my back and wrist from being hit and twisted in the wrong direction.

    I just thought that it was weird even in school how many females that I knew that were getting pap smears and pelvic exams done. I started to look up the information and went on the CDC website and it said age 21 even if a virgin which made no sense to me at all since HPV which supposedly causes CC would not be in/with someone that is a virgin. It also looked up information on HPV on the CDC website and it came up with some documents that where very interesting. They stated that HPV does not cause CC for almost all of the 100 strains of HPV that there are. It stated that only a small amount deal with the genital region and that of those 40 or so strains that there was only about 5 that caused CC and that’s if it didn’t clear up on its own. The document assigned a number to each strain of HPV so that it could be identified in reference in the documents.

    I got very angry also about what the documents said about Gardasil. That the vaccine wasn’t proven to prevent CC it increased the risk of getting it. It said that it increased the risk of precancerous lesions by 44.7%. That part of the document scared the crap out of me

    I had the Gardasil vaccine in highschool it was required with my booster shots at the time. The nurse said it was at least. Not sure if I believe her or not now.

    I’ve also looked up the risk/benefits and statistical data of the Pap smear. The data and results of the analysis do not support the use behind the pap smear for its intended purpose. It makes the pap smear obsolete as a screening tool in every way. There was also a quote that I read where a doctor stated that the pap smear did not even detect the actual cervical cancer if it was happening.

    I’ve also had a bad experience at a doctors office. Just basic stepping overstepping of boundaries and expecting me to comply. My mother at the time was able to schedule appointments for me since I was below the age of 18 at the time. I have really bad monthlies where I used to almost pass out from the flow. My mother scheduled a consult with or FP (family practitioner) and it was just to talk about options on how to deal with my monthlies. The nurse that I had asked if I was having a pap smear as soon as I walked into the exam room. I just froze up at that and my mother said no in a yelling voice and looked really pissed I was too shocked to say anything, I just froze up. The nurse looked shocked and angry. Its the one in my doctors office that seems to be pap smear and pelvic exam happy all the time. She even admitted that she like to do those exams which I thought was weird beyond weird. My FP thank the gods that he’s smart was totally pissed of at the nurse for even saying anything like that. He knew that all I needed was to talk with him about what was going on and then we talked about options that would help. He’s in his early 50′s so I see him more as a family member than anything else so for that reason I’m thinking of changing to someone else. It just seems hard for me to talk with him in general about issue’s. I usually bring a book and have my face buried in it when I’m talking with him.
    I’ve also had a nurse ask me to undress for a regular wellness check and I know that I don’t have to undress to my underwear and bra for that at all. I use to when I was in elementary school but as soon as middle came I stopped. The nurse and my mother got pissed at me when I said no since its not necessary. It is possible to listen to the heart and lungs, and palpate the abdominal organs with clothes being on. But the nurse got really pissed at me and my mom did too when I refused. Who ever wants to be in a see through paper top and lap sheet that’s made out of tissue paper, that’s how thin it is. No one would.

    As a nurse I’m really pissed at how patients are treated by everyone. I treat and respect my patients and residents as the way I would want to be treated. I also tell them the whole aspect of everything and tell them that they can always refuse and if they want anything done that they have a right to choose who they want to do it.

    It seems that the majority of people don’t follow the rules and have a blatant disregard for patient rights. It pisses me off as a female, a nurse, and at some point occasionally as the patient.

    With respect,

    Hawthorne.

    • Kleigh says:

      I dont know IF you have read my other coments before. But at 24 I was having panic attacks and went to a walk in clinc for zanax. When the nurse took my meadical history and found out at my age i had not been having pap smears she it the roof. she yelled at me and was rude the rest of my visit. her facial exprestion went from shook to anger. I even told her I was a vergin and she said ” that dosnt matter. are female bodies are so complex so many things can happen because we mensturate”. She even asked me to think back every year since I was 18 to see if i could remember having a pap smear. I said no I have never had one. That was like 5 years ago and now I know she didnt have any idea what a pap smear cheeked for. It was like she was traned that all woman had them no matter what. there was no respect for my right to not screen. And now I know how common flase positves are and what the follow ups entel. there is no way i whould ever agree to have me cervix fried.

      • Kleigh says:

        And I am glad to hear your mom stud up to the nurse about the pap smear. so many mothers think there dauthers are going to die if they do not force them to see a gyno.

      • Kleigh says:

        Sorry one more thing. I know its not the nurses falt that they have to ask woman. But who ever started that asking all woman “when was your last pap smear.” really makes me madd. The wording implys that we were expected to have paps and they want a date. it is like paps are imposed on woman and not all woman want pap smears.

  32. Hawthorne says:

    It makes me mad too. I haven’t had to go through that since I turn 21 in approximately two years. I have literally lost track of time on what day it is for anything I’m completely stuck in my studying for school. I’m a double major so it a lot of class work.

    getting back on topic though. It’s mostly a routine question now even though it shouldn’t be (in my personal opinion). Just kinda like its routine to ask if the patient has had any recent health problems. I wish it had never started though. I haven’t heard of a man ever being asked about the last time he had his prostate checked every time he goes in for an exam of any kind.

    There was no need to ask the question at all since the problem that you where having was unrelated. I’m hoping that you told the staff or doctor of her being inappropriate. It seems like to me that she didn’t have any proper training like she should of. She should of had her license pulled for how she acted.

    Did you get the Xanax?
    How’d the rest of the appointment go? I’m just curious so sorry if I over step any boundaries or anything.
    Also if you want to know anything about nursing I’d be happy to answer any questions.

    ( gives hug)

    With respect,
    Hawthorne

    • Alex says:

      I’ve got a few questions (not Kleigh, but maybe the offer applies in general?). Some of these are quite broad, but these situations aren’t always a specific variation.

      One is on the general situation of forced probing. There are frequent imposed situations of this nature (not that it always has to go that far- any interface with sexual areas as a product of someone else’s decision-making is an attack). There’s deception, coercion, physical force, taking liberties while someone’s unconscious, chemical effects, and all manner of social engineering (like guilt trips, rushing people around so there’s no time for thought, word usage to institute a situation, etc…). There are a lot of sneaky situations like with car accidents (apparently, they spring rectal exams on people saying that it’s useful for detecting all kinds of things that it’s not actually viable for & sometimes this goes aggressively- not that imposing something of this nature by deception in non-antagonistic). Someone maybe gets exams practiced on them while under anesthesia, or they just make something up & sound scientific (maybe they just say that they’re going to do something- like I was saying, tact can vary). I suppose my question is on the “layout” of that situation & strategies for counteracting these sort of things (particularly in the more “frenzied” situations like an emergency- real or perceived).

      Another is what runs through these people’s heads? I have my own concepts, but I wonder what they say when it comes up in argument. The subject must come up in classes, so I wonder how anyone thinks this is not a failure (it’s causing a problem, so it’s not productive- like pouring more grease on a grease fire). Maybe the goal isn’t exactly hospitable. I’d think there’d be an extreme desire for overhaul, since it’s not task-effective.

      The third is why to they feel so safe doing stuff like this? Is it like a bully that never gets challenged? There are legal issues that DO come up, physcial attack is another thing & can always take place after the initial attack, getting fired- all these things that can happen and they don’t seem to be too afraid. Maybe some of them want to be caught? I remember hearing about a cult that would attack people because they WANTED to be killed so they could go be close to God. It seems sometimes arsonists & serial killers do that, too.

      My last is one of simple curiosity: Why do you work in that profession if you’re not like that? I understand the urge to provide assistance, but the allopaths are a bit of a “dry well.” Even if you go back in history, they were more enemies than allies. Assistance shouldn’t be antagonistic (actually, that’s an antithetical situation- doing one is a complete failure if the goal is to do another). I guess some people’s compass points backward (not meant as an insinuation toward you, but that’s the point of my last question- I really don’t get the reasoning).

      • Ro says:

        Alex – Those were all really good points, but I realized something in regards to the last part of your comment. I know of someone who worked in an OB/GYN department, ended up leaving the medical profession, and refuses to go back because they “couldn’t handle it any more”. This person definitely has the attitude of wanting to provide assistance and care for people, but I’m likely to believe that because of everything that goes on, they were driven out by all of the negative experiences and general lack of care for how things are being run. My point is that for the people genuinely care and do want to help others, perhaps a lot or most of them end up being run off because they cannot tolerate the way things are being handled.

        It’s terrifying, though, that sometimes exams have been forced on patients in situations where they cannot fight back. That is probably one of my biggest fears. You do have to question what exactly these people are thinking – performing exams they know aren’t helpful or screening people who aren’t at risk/high risk. Despite those factors, performing any sort of exam on anyone (even those who are symptomatic or at risk) without their expressed consent should be wrong and strictly illegal. If a patient refuses invasive exams, they should not be pressured further. Even if they are slightly less accurate (I’m likely to believe they’re more accurate in some cases), non-invasive procedures should then be offered. In fact, non-invasive procedures should be offered first as far as I’m concerned. I really do wonder what goes through the minds of these individuals now.

    • Kleigh says:

      Hawthorne, I dont mind you asking at all. The doctor came in and didnt even bring up pap smears. I told him about my panic attacts and he gave me a year script. for zanax. I only took it for about a week then I stoped and never had a panic attack again. I didnt report the nurse I was just exosted with the problems I was having at the time. but 6 years latter I regret leting her get away with it. She had no right to act like that. I also got the feeling that she took it personal that I didnt have paps. woman in generral seem to feel it is there bussnes to tell other woman what to do regarding these exams. It may have somthing to do with so many woman being forced to have them to get birth control. The system is so messed up. I read about a medical student who said that she was told to demand pap dates from woman and not to ask men about prostste exams. there is this idea that womans bodies are dangeras to them and to there unborn children and firtiltiy. I dont get it.

  33. Kleigh says:

    I was wondering If you ever see woman that dont have paps or refuse them? And have you came acrose other nurses and doctors that act as tho pap smears are a law? And have you been taught how to deal with woman who refuse paps? just wondering.

  34. Hawthorne says:

    Wow that’s a lot of question’s. I’m gonna have to answer in chunk’s. I’m a little overwhelmed with the question’s.
    It’s nice to meet both of you. :)

    I went into nursing because I want to heal and protect. I wanted to give back to people. I was born a preemie. A preemie is an infant that is born before the due date. I was born three month’s premature and weighed 1 pound 7 ounces. The nurses and doctor’s worked around the clock to keep me alive. My heart and lungs would stop multiple times a day. There where more red marks than green on my chart. Being born a preemie and hearing how hard the staff worked and meeting the nurses and some of the doctors made me want to do the same for someone else.

    I went into medicine because I want to protect, heal and serve.

    To Alex, I’m kind of confused by your questions. It would be helpful if you gave specific situations without any bias. There’s a lot of anger, attacking and assumptions in your post. That’s how it came off to me at least.

    I mean no disrespect at all. I just need the question’s made clearer.

    And to Kleigh to answer your question’s I haven’t had to deal with pap smears or anything of the sort at all. I’ve also never had to ask a patient anything like that. I’ve also on a professional level never had to deal with that. I know how to from text books, and when I get to a higher level in nursing I’m going to probably have to learn how to do it. On a patient level only slightly with just one nurse and that was mentioned in one of my above post’s.

    LNA’s are only allowed to help the patient with simple everyday activities. Such as eating, dressing, bathing. We also do blood pressure, pulse, and respiratory rate. We also talk with patient’s and get to know them. I treat all of my patient’s as if their part of my family. Right now I work in a long term care living facility, and I’ve also worked on the Medical Surgical floor with patient’s. I haven’t done any rotation’s in the ER yet. I was suppose to but I was asked by my supervisor to work in Med Surg a little bit longer.

    LPN’s have the same job as LNA’s but their allowed to give medications and help with IV’s and catheter’s.

    RN’s are one of the higher level’s they can give order’s to LNA’s and LPN’s.

    A Nurse Practitioner is the highest level of nursing. There able to do all of the stuff that the lower level’s do. But they also get to diagnose and treat patient’s.

    The only time that I’ve had a experience with doctor’s is when they misdiagnosed some people in my family and some of my friends, along with myself. Come to think of it it’s the same guy every single time, except for when I was misdiagnosed. I would really like to put in a complaint or malpractice suit against him and the other doctor’s. But I’m not sure how well that would go over since it’s been a couple years for some of the experience’s. I also don’t work at that hospital so there’s only so much that I can do. I would really just like to go up there and smack the people over the head with a clip board a few thousand times.

    I try to stay super healthy so I don’t ever have to be a patient. The one experience I had with a group of egocentric doctor’s was when I had a shunt malfunction and I kept blacking out/ passing out. Luckily my mom and the rest of my family was there. I do not like not being able to speek for myself. I was a very cranky patient. Let’s just say I really disliked med student’s after that. I feel as if anyone going into medicine should be a nurse first then become a doctor if they so choose. There’d be a better chance of them not being egotistical dingbat’s.

    Sorry for venting a little. Just had to get that out.

    With respect and hugs,

    Hawthorne.

    P.S. Again sorry for venting. Hope I gave some good info on what each type of nurse is suppose to do. I can answer Alex’s question, but I just need them made clearer.

    • Alex says:

      Well, my questions were on: the “layout” of the situations where they decide to forcibly probe people (like when people get into car accidents or they decide to use unconscious patients for practice dummies). My question on that was at the end part of that paragraph. The second & third ones where about how things are with thme regarding thought processes (in the second I was wondering how these problems don’t come up right when being instructed). The third was wondering how come they don’t worry about liabilities with these things.

      Anger & attacking are appropriate descriptions, but I wasn’t trying to come off as though those were aimed at you. I was angered at the way the situation is aligned, which will give rise to presumptions (since it’s the kinds of things they do). I intermingled a bit of information with my questions (both for glarification & as conversational observations). Maybe that made things confusing?

  35. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    Hawthorne, welcome to the forum.
    You’ve made one of the best healthcare decisions of your life…to do some reading and make informed decisions about cancer screening. I did the same thing over 30 years ago, and there is no doubt I’m happier and healthier as a result. The absurd thing is MOST women my age have had something “done” to their cervix, almost all of these biopsies and “treatments” were unnecessary and easily avoided. We seriously over-screen here in Australia so the lifetime risk of referral for colposcopy/biopsy/treatment is a whopping 77%, when the cancer itself carries a 0.65% lifetime risk. These figures are closely guarded of course, and never mentioned to women. Damage to the cervix can result in an incompetent cervix and premature babies.
    I so often wonder how many miscarriages, premature babies, c-sections, prolapses etc. are caused by over-treatment following an “abnormal” pap test. Over-treatment can also, lead to cervical stenosis and that can mean infertility, the need for c-sections, interfere with the release of the menstrual flow and require surgery, cause endometriosis …etc.

    Whenever I hear a pregnant woman needs a cervical cerclage, so often they’ve had a cone biopsy following an “abnormal” pap test. There is very little research into the area, but it seems for every 50 cone biopsies performed, 1 turns out to be necessary. Most of these procedures are avoidable with evidence based testing, we “treat” more than 10 times the number of women than a country like Finland.

    I’d like to see a chart comparing rates for miscarriages, premature babies, c-sections, cervical cerclage etc. between Australia, the States, The Netherlands and Finland. I think we’d see higher rates for those countries who do not have evidence based testing, who over-screen or screen inappropriately and therefore have high levels of over-treatment. Testing those under 25 alone means 1 in 3 will produce an “abnormal” pap test (false positive) and tragically, many will be “treated”…some will be left with physical and emotional damage….that’s why Finland and The Netherlands do not test young women.

    Naturally, there is very little research in the area, they don’t want to know, and simply don’t care about distressing and harming women.

    It saddens me that turning 21 is now something to dread, gulp, the start of pap tests…this testing has taken so much from so many women. No wonder some women are put off sex, relationships, going on the Pill, going to the doctor etc. So many women live around these programs, some end up avoiding doctors altogether. How on earth could anyone argue this actually helps women, is good for our health and well-being?
    (I’m not promoting the Pill, by the way, but it should be available for those who want it, not locked behind unnecessary medical barriers)

    The absurd American practice of testing women not yet sexually active when they turn 21 comes down to IMO, a very arrogant and paternalistic medical profession. The argument goes…most women have done “something” by then (you don’t need to have actual intercourse to contract HPV) or the outrageous statement, “women may lie to get out of pap tests”.
    It shows the warped thinking that exists in women’s cancer screening.

    Don’t let this testing affect your health, happiness and quality of life or your 21st birthday, a time that should be reserved for celebration, not pap testing.

    The evidence is clear and long-standing: pap testing does not benefit those under 30, but causes enormous worry and harm.
    I’d go further than that now: the only women who should be offered a 5 yearly pap test (until they clear the virus) are the roughly 5% of women who are HPV+ at age 30. If we followed the evidence, for those women who wish to test, there is no need for most to ever have a pap test, most will be HPV- and not at risk, and there is no need for routine breast, rectal or bimanual exams. None of these exams are helpful or necessary in symptom-free women and all of them expose us to risk.
    Even during pregnancy and labour most vaginal exams are unnecessary. Most medical intrusions on the symptom-free female body are unnecessary and risk our health…full stop.

    I’m 55 and have never had these routine exams or pap testing. Knowledge is the key here, it will protect you.

    It must be hard for people within the system who see and feel what happens to women…but they are also, in a unique position to work for change. I have so much respect for the handful of doctors who continue to challenge these programs, educate and warn women and push for change.
    Dr Margaret McCartney, the Scottish GP, is one example, brave enough to admit publicly that she does not have pap testing and won’t be having mammograms when she turns 50.
    I doubt we’d ever see that sort of bravery here, but doesn’t it say something that so few have been prepared to say publicly, that yes, women have a choice and can reasonably decline cancer screening. It certainly isn’t a problem in prostate screening.

    (as far as I’m aware…) Professor Michael Baum, UK breast cancer surgeon, was the first to say publicly that women might choose to decline pap testing. (after the release of Dr Angela Raffle’s research in 2002-03)
    I’d waited for decades to hear something like that…it was a happy day. It didn’t change much though, women still faced pressure and coercion in the consult room, maximizing coverage remained the goal and informed consent stayed OFF the agenda.

    With more of us speaking out, IMO, this will empower even more to do their reading and make informed decisions. It’s risky and difficult to manipulate, coerce or mislead an informed woman, and that’s why “real” information, choice and informed consent have always been viewed as the enemy by these programs and the medical profession.

    Don’t worry about venting, we do a lot of that here….

  36. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    “So it comes down to the level of risk with which we are happy to live. And now that I know my likelihood of an abnormal smear is so much higher than ever having cervical cancer, I think I’ll take my chances until the test improves. What does Michael Baum think of my decision?”

    “You are not being irresponsible or reckless. You are making a serious, thoroughly well-informed choice and I would like to extend that choice to all women,” he says. I wonder how long it will take the rest of the medical profession to come round to his point of view.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2003/may/22/genderissues.publichealth

  37. jerry says:

    obgyn doctors [some words removed by moderator] and all women cheat on men by having pelvic exams, pelvic exams desensitize women it makes makes it so, in a woman’s mind cheating on her husband is no different then a OBGYN appointment.

    • Alex says:

      I don’t see how getting corralled into something is the woman cheating on her husband. A lot of times, this is doctor-orchestrated or it’s from false information from a young age.

      As for cheating on her husband, I’d imagine it COULD happen (the woman might be a bit warped), and I see how a man could be urked by the situation, overall- but I’d say that’s pretty rare. Using a doctor as a gigilo is a big weird.

  38. 18 & Sassy says:

    I couldn’t just reply to one post because I’m hearing so many women saying they have to go to an obgyn for birth control pills. NO YOU DONT! Your primary care physician can prescribe birth control pills if you explain you no longer, or don’t go at all, to an obgyn if the question is brought up at all on a regular checkup visit. If your doctor refuses, switch. None of mine ever have and being able to explain your reasoning in a logical, impactful manner can even get your doctor to change their minds and fill a perscription.

    • Alex says:

      Very cool! A woman on this site actually got them from her shrink (I guess a psychiatrist might make sense- mental detriment from coercive actions and all). I think her name is Tanya, but I’m not sure (it was on the Boycotting thread- you mightwant to add your tip there, too). Not to sound condescending, but it’s great that you don’t get pushed around & you know some tricks to do it (especially at your age- it seems a lot of women learn stuff like this from things going bad, then getting out from under it).

      I would figure if the doctor refuses, you could just override them (it’s not legal for them to refuse birth control for not getting exams, anyway). Since that is an interface with a sexual area as a product of someone else’s decision-making (specifically, a penetrative one), that is an attack (an iatrogenic/medical variation). There are also additional ramifications like risks & inaccuracies. If someone were curious about something that’s massively rare, there are alternatives (blood test, self-testing things, etc…). They don’t elect to attack someone, iatrogenically or not- and they don’t get to decide that theyare going to have an antagonistic policy.

  39. Talktome says:

    Hi there,

    I want to thank you for the important work you’re doing here. I’m a woman and a psychotherapist, and am truly alarmed by how traumatizing these “routine” exams are. It makes me furious how blasé most clinicians are about something that is always profoundly intrusive and often incredibly painful.

    As a patient, I experienced countless pelvic exams in my late teens and 20s for abnormal bleeding. Needless to say, these repeated exams were largely unnecessary, but done as a matter of course. My first pap was administered when I was a teenager despite having no risk factors. I was not given a choice. These experiences were painful and violating, and marked my early experience of my adult woman’s body. My intense discomfort felt invalid because it was “just a pelvic exam.” Every time I forced myself to swallow my feelings and hand over my body, I was betraying myself. I had a D&C at 19 to “investigate” the bleeding and an (utterly uncalled for)endometrial biopsy at 30, both of which happened with essentially no informed consent or discussion. The physician told me the biopsy would feel “like a cramp.” It was excruciating, worse than the most severe cramping I have ever had. I have a huge tolerance for pain, and knew this was off the charts, but was worried about antagonizing someone using sharp implements inside me. I said nothing. It was presented in such minimized terms that I felt my lived bodily experience was illegitimate. In retrospect, It is hard to comprehend that it is acceptable practice to take a biopsy (ie, cut a piece) from the interior cavity of an organ (or the cervix) without anesthesia or sedation of some kind.

    As a therapist, I can tell you that these exams have every hallmark of an experience that is likely to result in psychological trauma. A woman is essentially divested of her autonomy and sovereignty over her body, submission is mandated, pain is casually inflicted in the name of administering care, and the real clincher is that it is all normalized and everyone acts like it is no big deal. Just another little thing to tolerate. I have heard many, many women report horrifying experiences in their “well woman” visits, and several show signs of PTSD from medically induced trauma. This is all leaving aside the intolerable experience of women who have a history of sexual trauma. Every time a woman with such a history finds herself in the unfortunate position of requiring medical attention, they have to present themselves for an event that is almost always grossly retraumatizing.

    Enough. This has to stop. We need to take women’s wellbeing seriously enough to change this. Thank you for thinking outside conventional wisdom, breaking the silence, and creating a space for this essential conversation.

    • Alex says:

      Already “liked” the posted, but felt the need to applaude it further. Also, I had a terminology question: I figure it’s called “sexual detriment” when it’s an attack of this nature, is that right? Because “uncomfortable” isn’t quite enough. I know the “against the grain” feeling along these lines would be called “sexual distress,” so I guess it conveys the point either way. I know a lot of people have a problem articulating things on this, but there’s no real need to be able to phrase something to be able to understand it’s a problem.

      Any interface with sexual areas as a product of someone else’s decision-making is an attack. Overall, a situation is what it consists of (if a doctor poisons someone with a needle it’s still murder). There are numerous additional ramifications, as well (none of which cease to exist because of a medical source). The term “iatrogenic attack” isn’t really a common phrase, but it’s a useful one.

    • Talktome, thank you for the wonderful feedback. I appreciated hearing about your own experiences and about how you have seen the psychological trauma and signs of PTSD in others as stemming from this medically induced trauma. Your comments really struck a chord: “It was presented in such minimized terms that I felt my lived bodily experience was illegitimate . . . A woman is essentially divested of her autonomy and sovereignty over her body, submission is mandated, pain is casually inflicted in the name of administering care, and the real clincher is that it is all normalized and everyone acts like it is no big deal.” That is the worst part, how it is presented in a casual way. So even though the woman is being dehumanized, humiliated, in some cases assaulted and/or leered at, and in other cases mutilated, irreparably harmed, and put through excruciating pain – it somehow doesn’t count as such because “they” say it is “no big deal”. The woman suffers AND she is told she is not permitted to acknowledge the suffering. Probably similar to having been raped and tortured and then told it is no big deal, you are not permitted to feel trauma or pain . . . because it is no big deal. At least when a woman is raped she is permitted to suffer, and receives some acknowledgment for having suffered. Not the case when it takes place in a medical setting under the name of “health care”. Such cruelty. I agree it is enough, it is time to stop.

    • ADM (Canada) says:

      Hi Talktome, I’m a Psychotherapist too and agree with what you are saying. I work with trauma including sexual trauma and get very upset when clients have to face the pap-smear pressure when attempting to get psychiatric meds from their Dr. What also gets me angry is how many Dr’s violate their professional ethics. I have to get explicit informed consent to talk to a client but Dr’s use coercion and do not get informed consent to perform an intimate exam. I wonder how many women are walking around with PTSD from these exams and don’t realize it.

      • Kleigh says:

        I cant belive dotors get away with telling woman they can not have unrelated care or meads with out a gyn exam. It is a internal vaginal exam with hands and tools. They are preventing concent and that is rape.

    • Kleigh says:

      Talktome, since you work in health care, do you know if it is legal for doctors to refuse unrelated health care if a woman refuses a pap smear or gyn exam? It blows me away when I hear this happens alot. when a doctor does this they are preventing a woman from refusing vaginal penitration. That is rape.

      • Alex says:

        It doesn’t seem like it. It’s an attack, anyway- so there’s plenty of ground for legal designation.

    • Talktome says:

      First of all, I have to say how touched and validated I feel by reading your responses. I feel much less alone, and it is such a relief to feel my sense of reality verified. Now I know what “woman friendly site” means. (It’s great!) Thanks to all of you, and kudos again to FWEO for helping us support each other this way. I’m grateful to have conversation about this.

      Alex, I don’t think there’s enough language for what women suffer in this way, and I appreciate your efforts to find words that are big enough to convey what it all feels like. I’ve never heard the phrase “iatrogenic attack,” but I agree, it does feel useful here.

      FWEO, I have had a chance to read more of what’s on your site and know I will be coming back for more. The part you zeroed in on, “The woman suffers AND she is told she is not permitted to acknowledge the suffering.” In my opinion, that is practically definitional for psychological trauma. And so true, it gets crazy making when it all happens in a clean medical clinic. I also know that this factor has made me question myself and feel complicit in what happened to me. How could something so barbaric happen in such a “civilized” orderly setting? Am I just wrong? And after all, I took myself to the doctor. What did I expect to happen? Didn’t I ask for it? Sound familiar?

      ADM, it seems to me that physicians’ sense of medical ethics gets confusing for them. I think many feel that they are doing right by their patients by “insisting” on proceeding “for their own good.” I think it will require a massive culture change in the profession before physicians really understand they do not have rights over the bodies of the patients they are working with. We have our work cut out for us.

      Kleigh, I’m afraid I don’t know the legal issues involved there. I am also curious, and maybe someone more knowledgable can help. What worries me is that even if women have legal protections, the clinical environment is so implicitly coercive that many might understandably succumb under pressure. I think the threat of possible retaliation by someone who is handling your body is not to be underestimated. And thanks for being brave enough to use the word “rape.”

      Chrissy, thanks so much for your kindness. As I mentioned, It feels really amazing to be taken seriously about this. I don’t think I realized how much pent up emotion I have silenced in myself for lack of a receptive and safe venue.

      Warm wishes to all.

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        Talktome,
        I think women have been silenced for a long time and those who do speak out are usually ridiculed and dismissed by the profession and other women.
        Personally, I’ve always believed this is one of the greatest threats to our lives and well-being. You have only to log onto a health forum to see the damage being done and that will be done in the future. The system has effectively cornered and/or brainwashed women into compliance, fear is a strong motivator, “you’ll die an early death AND it will be your own fault silly woman” has always been the tactic used against women.

        I knew something wasn’t right as I saw more and more of my University friends having “treatments” and biopsies back in the early 80s, having “pre-cancerous” cells removed or “dysplasia”…it didn’t make sense to me. Why all of a sudden were so many young women having “issues” with cervical cancer and pre-cancer? It WAS deeply traumatic for many women, only male doctors were available back then, and some of these women had never been sexually active. (they asked for the Pill to control acne or heavy periods etc. and got “caught”)
        Can you imagine a more brutal introduction to womanhood?

        I still struggle to get my head around this fact…that the medical profession and others could actually do this to women and then have the audacity to tell us we should be grateful.

        How dare they…censorship has been a big part of the screening model and devising ways to ‘capture” women, like making an elective screening test mandatory or you’re denied the Pill, migraine meds, all non-emergency care or you might even be sacked as a patient.

        I knew this program was the greatest threat to my well-being…and rejected all and every tactic. When I think about it, I lived around this program for a long time, choosing doctors carefully, but mostly avoiding them, never asking for the Pill. Now I’m older and braver and to hell with them, I see my doctor and she knows not to mention cervical or breast screening to me.
        I (and every woman) have a right to medical care without the fear of harassment or abuse.

        I don’t trust the medical profession, I lost that a long time ago (did I ever trust them?) and I can never forgive the pain and damage they’ve inflicted on my sisters (and I use that in the general sense to include all women…however, they did harm my younger sister as well…she endured an excess cone biopsy)

        I feel so sorry for every woman damaged by this program and that extends from harassment right through to physical and mental scars. Almost all of it was unnecessary and avoidable.
        I have always believed change starts with us, these people simply don’t care about women…we must act as protector of our body, health and life.
        That’s why sharing our experiences, real information and warning women is so important, if we can save one woman it’s worth our time and effort.
        Welcome to the forum…and thanks for sharing your life story.

      • Talktome says:

        Thank you, Elizabeth. I feel fortified by your solidarity and emboldened by your words.

      • Alex says:

        I was wondering, Talktome, do you hear a lot of the same things regarding law enforcement tactics? I’ve been hearing more & more about cops acting like road pirates lately. Also, pretty much everything is illegal & the course of sorting things out can screw someone up for life (you hear varying things about security & hygiene measures that get integrated into the situation without any conviction at all- not that these things are proportionate to most perpetrated actions, anyway). Apparently, as far as legal retaliation goes, cops can strip search whoever they arrest without fear of consequences now (whether this is wrestling & fighting or through coerced participation).

        This is in addition to whatever medical situations that can be imposed in one of these places (that someone may have a legally supported option to refuse, but maybe it doesn’t go that way- or they don’t know that they have that, or they don’t have any legal backing, or that refusal gets turned into a reason for suspicion, etc…). These medical situations also might be “customized” in various ways (maybe causing deliberate pain & injury, adding to sexual distress by whatever conduct, etc…). Outright incompetence can be a factor, too.

        They’ve also been arresting little kids more & more (assault charges for kicking the principal, classroom misbehavior turning into arrestable disruptions, a disposable lighter is designated an explosive device, a thrown eraser is a deadly missile, etc…), so you can connect some dots there. Maybe they say: “One thing is part of another.” I was reading about this girl who was about 11 or 12 getting held in juvie hall for saying “I don’t have time for this” when the assistant principal was going on & on about her not having a hall pass to get a sweater out of her locker. Don’t know if this turned into naked posturing & a supervised shower, but even without that- they were wrong for imposing that in the first place. I was also reading about this dirty old man that was preying on young girls in juvie this way. All this certainly has the potential to cause a drug addiction or behavioral problems (lashing out, depression, relationship problems, suicidal tendancies, etc…).

        Sorry this was so long & severe, but omitting details in conversation won’t remove them from the actual situation. I’ve had a few friends with bad lives & I wonder what would have been aimed at them if they’d managed to counteract the situation (or someone else did). Not to say that sometimes things didn’t run along these lines, either. Not everything was officially considered an issue, but it still caused problems like one- so I guess that added to me rethinking quite a few things. One more thing: Be careful who you mention these things to (since it’s potentially a directable situation- a point on it’s own). I know I just mentioned all this, but you can’t warn somebody about a situation without mentioning the situation.

      • Alex says:

        Just thinking about some “verbal ammo” that I recently came up with & would like to share. Sometimes it’s hard to form a counteraction to something, particularly if it was phrased in a way that doesn’t connect well to a response or if the opposite of what was said (the “antonym”) isn’t known. Sometimes “making your case” in an argument is also hard if you don’t have the words to articulate things (not that you need to in order to understand things).

        (1) “I discontinue your actions”- a very direct way of shutting down a doctor. Remember how they always talk in “facts” & “fixed situation” (as if there exists no capacity for reality to unfurl otherwise)? You can also go with “activities,” but either way it’s a very “THIS IS SO!” tactic. Might get them angry, but it adds a roadblock & possibly the effect of “ruining the mood” (easy prey tends to fan the fires & they might like the “helpless victim” situation- this distorts the image). Interestingly, “proscribe” means to prohibit something (very close to “prescribe”- might have a “using their weapon against them” twist).
        (2) “Chemical Vitiation”- using chemicals against someone (knockout drugs, things that induce disorientation or otherwise facilitate detriment, etc…). Basically, the same idea as roofies (and there are medical ones like Versed & Hypnovel). Any way that chemicals are used to back their actions up or as a detriement (knocking someone out with a needle would be called “chemical restraint,” for instance).
        (3) “Application of Influence”- a very broad one, but it’s “doing something.” It would probably be followed by the nature of the action or a description of it. “Applying influence in the form of forced penetration,” would be a very fancy way of saying “rape.”
        (4) “Iatrogenic detriment/attack”- a medical attack. Supposedly this causes more deaths in the U.S. than anything except cancer & heart disease (but a lot of medically-caused problems are omitted & some of them lead to suicide- whether there’s a note or not).
        (5)”Malicious Fraud”- like it sounds like. Lying to women about risks & inaccuracies with various tests & making ailments sound more prevalent than they actually are, for instance.

        I’ll cap it off with saying that someone’s bodily autonomy, integrity, and inviolability is NOT dissolved by medical determinations. I frequently hear (or read) that they were “justified” in their actions- but does that mean the patient’s decisions about what happens to them are not justified? They are “unjust” and are the “bad guys” that are “depriving” someone of something? They’re a “bully” for preventing an action that they did not want done to them? I guess the doctor is a “victim” of this cruel, sadistic patient? “Me think more better than you” is basically the medical argument.

  40. Chrissy (UK) says:

    Talktome, your articulate and accurate description of the perverse and manipulative treatment of women by the medical profession should be mandatory reading for medical students.

    • Alex says:

      I honestly think they’d just find it an entertaining read. This is what they do, being left to their own devices. This is a deliberate, nuanced, oppositional action. They are implementing whatever tactics they think will work against someone else to generate an effect. This same thing done physically definitely illustrates malice (if a man or a woman were wrestling someone to the ground to impose an interface with a sexual area, specifically a penetrative one, deciding what holds to use & how to go about securing them, engaging in that action, and implementing the intended interface- that is an attack, plain & simple). There aren’t necessarily any “aesthetic” details (facial expressions, voice tones, rapid movements, hands balled into fists or flexed into claws, etc…), but there doesn’t necessarily need to be.

      These things are not something they should be suggesting to gain an effect, anyway- even if someone was intent on gaining that effect- due to it not being an apt measure to achieving that goal. This is what occurs with other things along these lines & other ones.

    • Alex says:

      You know, I was just wondering: What are the things that medical students read? I would very much like to know what their curriculum is. Not just their reading, but their actual, factual training.

  41. Anonymous says:

    I just have done it today, i am virigin and the docter have done that examination with that tool!! I am bleeding now,i have a lots of pain in my body .. In my mind…in myself!!!!!i just ask my self”why did i do that”???
    In the morning .. I was a happy girl, i went joggying with my friend.. Cooked lunch for my family…
    And now… I am so panic.i really cant stand in my feet… I cant…. How long does it take ??? How long ??? For my body … For my mind … Sorry if my english is broken, i just started to learn!

    • Alex says:

      I’m always sorry to hear things like that. Not to rub it in your face, but there are alternative means of testing. There are home testing kits- which might not be anymore accurate, but you can steer how it goes & not wind up these problems. There are also blood tests for cervical cancer (I think it’s called the CSA blood test). There are also blood & urine tests for STDs (which a lot of people don’t know- just thought I’d mention that in case it ever becomes a concern).

      Your body might heal itself up soon (kind of hard to say). Off the top of my head, all I can think to suggest is to drink some Yarrow tea (achillea millefolium- it helps with internal bleeding). You might be able to get that online, but you can also use a field guide & pick it yourself. If you look up Rosemary Gladstar, she has a bunch of good herbal books (one of them is specifically labeled “Herbal Healing For Women”) & that might help with a lot of things. Being able to handle your own situations, without having to worry about a problematic methodology as a means to an end or a doctor screwing things up (whether through antagonism or incompetence) would be a great thing.

      For your mind (this has a few parts): Some things tend to stick with you, even if you don’t purposefully stop enjoying things or wallow in anything. Properly demonizing something AND trying to get on with your life at the same time might be something advisable. There’s no way to know how long something like that lasts, but I’ve heard it said: “The answer to pollution is dilution.” Maybe try doing things that make you happy when you feel up to it. Definitely don’t try to elevate a problem to a non-issue (that’ll never work- since it is a lie, it’ll always “taste” like one). That’s an idea that’ll just make things worse.

      I don’t know if this was imposed on you or not, but any interface with sexual areas as a product of someone else’s decision-making is an attack (if it’s a medical one it’s just called an “iatrogenic attack,” but a “medical attack” works in any language). Deception is a form of that, as well. Doctors get coercive with different things (birth control, trying to get medical clearance for anything, they stop treating you as a patient & you can’t get something handled, etc…). All of these things are forced penetration, however subtly it took place. In that case, you might be able to charge them with a crime & get some just revenge. As a word of caution: I’d be careful with that (they may want to “investigate” your injuries & sometimes things get very dictatorial legally & illegally). Maybe just bring up that this was imposed on you & leave out the injury part. The properties of a situation don’t change because of designation. If anyone argues that this wasn’t an issue, make the point that if a doctor poisons someone with a needle it’s still murder- a situation is what it consists of.

      Even if it wasn’t forced- this is not a natural type of thing to do with someone that you’re not “like that” with (however serious or casual that relationship might be), so it would have a “disfavorable result.” The nature of this situation is not a general thing. This is something you regret & are having a serious hardship from. My heart goes out to you.

      Your English is okay & if you have any trouble understanding mine, I’ll be happy to explain as much as you need. Don’t know what country you’re from but a woman on this site named Jola is Polish & she speaks it (maybe some other languages, too- I don’t know).

  42. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    Anon,
    If you have never been sexually active you should have been protected from this testing. You can only be harmed by the test and your post bears out that fact.
    Cervical cancer is linked to HPV, an STI…if you’ve never had any sexual experience, you’re not at risk. Even sexually active women cannot benefit before age 30, many countries don’t test sexually active women until they’re 25 or 30.
    I’d do some reading and protect yourself from this exam in the future…you should decide if or when you’ll have this test, not a doctor. I can’t say when you’ll start to feel better, some women carry trauma right through their lives as a result of this testing or over-treatment or as a result of medical coercion/abuse. The best way to protect yourself in the future: read, get informed and stand your ground, we only have one body, it’s worth protecting.

  43. Anonymous says:

    How do I get over the trauma? I have PTSD from exams where student doctors walk in halfway to observe etc and I am just a piece of meat.

    • Alex says:

      If this is the same Anonymous, you might want to read my post right above Elizabeth’s. I know some of my posts ramble on, but the last three paragraphs might be helpful. Things of this nature do tend to stick with you (whatever the variation, it’s a running theme), but you might very well feel better if you get some other stuff in your life. I’ve heard “the answer to pollution is dilution,” and that might apply to more than just the environment Actually, some people benefit greatly from time in the outdoors/wilderness. To let you know ahead of time: sometimes the CONTRAST stings a bit- it’s not a particular thing, but sometimes that’s a reminder of the thing it’s not & it can have a “where was all this back then?” kind of feel. It’s a possible issue you might run into, just try to “absorb” a better situation. To push yourself too hard, just know that it might take a little while for things to flow more normally.

      Writing songs might help (I knew someone who did that, but I’m not totally sure it was for this reason- it does seem like it, though). I’d be careful writing things down, since sometimes people think someone’s suicidal or whatever if they “happen” to read a journal entry & then decide to “help” you. Plenty of things that can go on in a mental institution (officially & unofficially) can run along these kinds of lines. Just a word of warning on that.

      You’re not just a piece of meat, but that’s how they treat people. They’re lower creatures for it! It’s not right that they impose these kinds of situations on people & it doesn’t really matter if they come to the same conclusion. Ever notice how they always act like they’re being asked a question? That’s something that drives me nuts (even when it’s on TV). Either way, their self-approval does not constitute consent. It’s odd how someone thinks if they dispute the baseline, they’re innnocent- not matter what they do. It’s like they think that if they act under different assumptions than the current situation, they’ll generate a different.

  44. Elaine says:

    This is the first article that has reflected my feelings on pelvic exams. My first was at 37. A friend “twisted my arm.” I barely remember because I blocked it from my mind. I suffered medical abuse as a child (being held down for injections, no local for stitches on my nose, rectal thermometers at age 6, no explanations, etc.), so I am disinclined to trust medical staff in general.

    They say that you’ll get over it, and that it gets better the more you get used to the idea. They’re wrong. Now that I have experienced the process, I never want to again. I dread it. i don’t even want to wall by the OB-Gyn clinic. I have nightmares, and sometimes, when I think about an exam in the past and start to remember more clearly, I break down in tears.

    I am sick to death of being told that:

    * they look at female genitals all day…yours aren’t special.
    * just take a deep breath and you’ll be fine.
    * you’re being a baby/silly/immature, etc. There are teenagers who do this…what’s your problem?
    * you’re married aren’t you?
    * everyone has to do this!
    * visualiation can help you.

    I deeply resent the idea that my body is like a car or a washing machine. Hey! I live in here! And being with my husband is nothing at all like having a relative stranger putting their hands where they don’t belong. They may see lady bits all day long, but there are MY lady bits. I’m an old-fashioned Southern girl. I was 30 when I married, and I was a virgin. “Nice” girls do not allow strangers to touch them “down there.” Not a very feminist attitude, I know.

    Oh…and another complaint: my care provider is Kaiser Permanente. They have a policy about not allowing a woman to have a companion in the exam room at first, because they use it as a form of domestic violence screening. Which is great, except that if a woman is already frightened, she will need someone in the with her from the start. I had a female friend take me, and the MA tried to keep her out. I startd to pitch a fit, and the MA relented and allowed my friend to stay with me, but it’s ridiculous that a grown woman should have to resort to a tantrum to be allowed to keep her support person with her.

    I’m post-menopause and recently had bleeding, so my doctor wants to examine me. She was very nice about it, and when I was too upset to even begin the exam, she offered to have me sedated, do the exam and hysteroscopy all at once. I’m still terrified, but at least she seems to understand. I am only putting up with this because the bleeding indicates a very real problem that needs to get sorted out. It’s refreshing to be taken seriously for once.

    And do not even talk to me about bowel exams. To me, that’s even worse.

    Thanks for listening.

    • Cat&Mouse says:

      I used to belong to Kaiser Perm Southern CA throughout until 1993. YOU MUST put your foot down and INSIST that your husband WILL accompany you for the exam. Tell them he can sit where he wants, even if that means he’s watching the exam over the md’s shoulder. This tactic is an old bitch RN’s tactic of keeping men out of the room–a pure power trip.

      I have been to some Kaiser exams where this was used on me. I flatly said no, it’s him with me or no exam. I want him there. You tell them you know where to find help should you ever need it. And tell them your husband helps with your anxiety, and that he must be present to assist you in talking to your md about any conditions you may have.

      I assure you there is no written policy on this. It’s passed down and pushed on us as “thinking for us” that we really don’t want a man there and we’re too stupid and scared to speak for ourselves. I insisted my husband accompany me, and he did. Back then. “But the room is too small etc” they said. Reply? “Maybe find a larger one; but he can stand and won’t occupy much space.”

      There’s no reason he can’t be with you for the hysteroscopy either. Is this the test for uterine cancer? If so, you want oral sedation/pain meds, local anesthetic, and his hand to hold. You’ll need it. Read my earlier posts about this. If you’re not going into s surgery suite, there’s no reason why he should be excluded. If they persist, go to your md and get a written note. Take it as high as you need. Med staff doesn’t want him around to see you suffer either. Makes them giving you proper sedation/pain control more work. They don’t want parents watching their kids suffer either. “Let professionals handle it.” Sure, not their kids…

      Why should you go home and eventually get into a argument with him over THEIR stress? They seem to get off on having that kind of power. These are the same people who insist being treated with equality and respect elsewhere let me assure you however.

      You have hired them for your care. They work for you. If you and your husband are professionals making big bucks, you’ll automatically get preferred treatment. Tell them your husband is there to assist you in discussing your history. Give him a question to ask. Then refuse to have him leave if they ask. Walk out of the appt if necessary.

      Remember, they already allowed your friend in with you. So that policy is bendable, after all!! THE DOOR IS OPENED A CRACK–TIME FOR YOU TO KICK YOUR FOOT AND OPEN IT WIDE. Enough for hubby to hold your hand while you both walk through it. This made my marriage a lot stronger. My husband has protected me from getting the uterine cancer test w/o any anesthesia after we were fooled the first time. Now we stick up for each other.

      If they didn’t make your friend sign a HIPAA release, then they violated written policy. Get a full HIPAA release for your husband to any/all your records including psyche and Rx, for any reason and at any time he wishes to access it. Make him your health advocate. And have him do the same with you. This legally opens the door.

      The argument of them doing this all day is horseshit. They talk, they look, and never trust that the nurse observer is there for your protection. She’s the md’s witness, and they don’t like to watch unless they’re dedicated lesbians and you look hot to them.

      Make them completing the exam impossible to do w/o your husband being with you. That way, they will also be more willing to cooperate just to keep the patient flow on time. And be sure you go with your hubby to get his prostate checked. Or his vasectomy. The bond you’ll make is built both ways, and you should see what life is like from the observer position.

      Let me know how it goes. May Jesus protect both of you. In His name we pray.

    • Cat&Mouse says:

      I just googled and youtubed the exam “hysteroscopy.” I suggest you do same. Without substantial sedation/pain meds & local anesthesia this would be very painful. I had a uterine biopsy and that’s far worse then childbirth. Ask any woman. For this procedure also, you are dilated first. Painful in itself. The exam consists of a visual view of your uterine lining with a clipping of the lining for lab biopsy.

      Carefully ask, if you do consent, about anesthesia plus local anesthesia for your cervix. If not going to a sterile surgery suite, insist your friend accompany you; then tell them it will be your husband. Be willing to walk away if they deny you. If he’s sitting next to you, keeping you soothed, there’s no reason why any fuss should be made. And, even if he’s there, get sedation and local anesthesia plus pain meds. Be prepared for them to say he could accompany you but at last second deny it. Trying to trick you. Stick to your plan. Make them respect you both.

      Again, we’ll pray for you.

      • Alex says:

        Holy shit! Who thinks of things like this? The aspect of doing all this without any painkillers & all definitely speaks to me of an attitude of “you’re not going to block MY effect.” They outright torture people & act like it’s somehow dynamically overturned by medical designation? All these different things are imposed on someone (whcih is a problem, in itself), maybe one things leads to another with tests & treatments (from unreliable answers or injuries caused), all under a circumstance of trust- and these are still considered anything but enemies? Apparently, some people get STDs from all this on top of everything else. It’s called “aggravated sexual assault when a women gets a disease from someone dragging her into a stairwell. Add “iatrogenic” in front of this term & you get the description of the medical version.

    • Alex says:

      I don’t understand how the provider thing works. They decide how your medical situation is comported, basically? I wonder what kind of test would work for detecting if someone decided to forcibly “play doctor?” They don’t implement an investigation of domestic violence on their own volition. What’s going to happen? The doctor lies or gets something wrong & then the guy gets locked up for something that never happened?

      If they were to impose a rape kit on someone, that is iatrogenic rape in itself. I’ve heard of jobs or insurance companies mandating these kinds of exams. Their “mandate is abrogated” is not such a hard phrase to learn. I really have to wonder how it’s gotten to the point where someone self-elects what they’re going to do to someone else, aprticualrly of this nature. So many women won’t put up with a backhand & an order to make dinner, but getting violated medically is fine- apparently. They don’t have self-determination with someone else’s self!

  45. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    My mother had a uterine biopsy, but under a GA. My sister’s cone biopsy was also, under GA. These things always seem to be performed under GA in Australia…I read on a US health forum that some people have a colonoscopy with light sedation, it’s a GA here. I’ve never heard of anyone being awake for these procedures.

    I know many, quite a few actually, who’ve had a biopsy during a colposcopy and all said it was very painful, all bled afterwards and felt sore for days.
    We’re told these procedures are minor, I don’t agree.

    Elaine, I can identify with much of your post. I’m also, a very private person. I’ve never had a pap test, an informed decision, but the invasive nature of the test and no female doctors (in 1980) prompted me to get into the Medical Library very quickly.
    It meant the Pill was out, it was linked to pap testing, pelvic and breast exams back then, some doctors still tie the Pill to pap testing. So I basically avoided the medical world in my 20′s and 30′s. The fact it was invasive was probably a good thing, it prompted me to do my reading, if it had been a blood test I might have agreed and then ended up in day procedure having an excess biopsy. It alerted me to the dishonesty in women’s cancer screening and complete lack of respect and decent ethical standards. So when my doctor tacked on the CA125 test onto a routine blood panel, I made it quite clear I didn’t want the results and my file was to be marked, “NO, to the CA125 blood test”…along with pap tests and later added breast screening.
    So we need to be careful even with so-called “simple” tests, they can all lead to some ugly and harmful places.

    I’ve never been pregnant or given birth so have had a VERY quiet time in gyn terms. I’ve never had any sort of gyn issue, blessed with normal periods and menopause has not been too bad, no need for medical care anyway. The most annoying symptom…temperature variation, seems to be settling down now.
    I have a female gyn in mind though…just in case I ever need to see one, and I hope that never happens.

    My research discovered almost all routine intrusions on the female body are unnecessary and expose us to risk. It’s horrible women are put through so much in their lives…I know some women say they have lost all bodily privacy and dignity after decades of pap tests, well-woman exams, childbirth etc. I think that’s sad and mostly, unnecessary.
    Others find it an ordeal that negatively affects their quality of life and health…and self-esteem.
    One woman said, “my body belongs to others” on a US medical website, she’d endured annual well-woman exams since she was 14. All so unnecessary and so terribly damaging…in every way.

    If we followed the evidence and the medical profession was more respectful of women, most of the distressing stuff would disappear. I’ve always felt the profession puts a high price on male privacy, but couldn’t care less about women, we’re told to, “just get over it”, we’re nothing special.
    Missing the point, it’s how we feel that “should” matter, they are supposed to be providing a service to us.
    I noted when the PSA test appeared, many doctors and others said it was great men had an alternative, the routine rectal exam was unacceptable to many men…no one had a problem understanding that fact. Yet these same people quickly dismiss female bodily privacy and dignity with a throwaway line, “women are used to these exams, they have pap tests every 2 years of their life…and they have babies”. End of story, well, not as far as I’m concerned…these attitudes must change and that starts with us.

    I can understand your concern, bleeding after menopause is a symptom that needs to be addressed. I’m a control freak so hate the idea of a GA, an unconscious woman tells no tales and doesn’t complain. I’d want female doctors and nurses and the bare minimum in the room.
    I think many people would be interested in all-female and all-male private care, it surprises me the private sector here hasn’t made it a selling point. I think the profession still likes to pretend it’s us being silly, it’s not a real problem with the system. You have only to read through the forums started by Dr Maurice Bernstein and Dr Joel Sherman to see this is a HUGE issue.
    You can arrange these things in the private sector here…so it’s possible to respect bodily privacy and dignity.
    Hope all goes well for you…and you have support here, many of us feel the same way, our body matters and is not public or medical property. I feel if we lose our dignity and bodily privacy, we’ve lost a large part of ourselves, one we can never get back, and that’s why these experiences haunt us into the future. (or we feel the need to dismiss our feelings, put things out of our minds etc.)
    These experiences hurt us…what was the motto of the medical profession: First do no harm. Exactly…

    • Cat&Mouse says:

      Oh, that is so spot on. What’s the big deal of a husband being around for shaving and catheterization? Please, everybody google or research the “why” of these stupid things. Problem is, when it’s needed, the medical jerks have us all in a weak bargaining position. Then, if there’s any questioning, especially if the hubby asks before the wife does, then security is immediately called. The tension this causes? And then everybody is supposed just to revert back to normal? And if something is done that does cause pain or injury? Who gets called in to “soothe” the patient? The poor husband.

      Best to shave at home. Also, write your own “mandate” of how you want to be treated IN ADVANCE of your stay. Make every care giver sign it, including your md. Get a HIPAA release signed in advance for your husband. Be proactive, and demand he be present or refuse. He doesn’t have to watch, but why can’t he hold your hand?

      In 2003 I was told I might have cancer. After dumping on me, and after bitching about how much time my hubby was spending w/me and asking the nursing staff questions, and how they all complained and wrote in my records they wished he wasn’t there…the RN had the nerve to ask that he come give me company and help me settle down. Thank God I didn’t have cancer. What nerve eh?! And hypocricy!

      I recommend having blood tests. Not invasive, and you get good info. Why not? Better than a hand up one’s body cavity.

      In US, myself, and two of my cousins have had uterine biopsies performed w/o anything!! I’ve written about this. We were all lied to by both women and men for this hellish procedure. Same with cervical biopsies. Now you get an idea of why they don’t want husbands present. Or why they prefer us compliant and stupid. I also wrote about about an experience where a nurse threatened to catheterize me if I didn’t urinate after an operation. This was said in front of my husband. Problem? I was so sedated I had no idea what she said.

      I may be a survivor, but this has scarred both myself, and my husband. He usually takes something to calm his nerves before my appointments. Since he has medical issues, now I’ve gotten a taste of what he goes through. I’ve been gifted to have him by my side. For 25 yrs now.

      Please research whatever procedure you’re going to get in advance. Find out from others how painful it is. Don’t ever take a md’s or rn’s word that it “might be uncomfortable but not everybody complains although some really don’t like it…but it only takes a minute or two; and I’ll stop anytime you ask.” Picture yourself as the lobster about to be dropped in the pot of boiling water.

      I’m not sure how we lobby to get changes made, but there are medical boards in US and elsewhere that write regulations for all the things we don’t like.

  46. Elaine says:

    Thank you so much, everyone. :)

    As I said, my doctor is actually pretty cool. It’s interesting that the OB-Gyn doc listened, but my shrink sid not. “Don’t worry. It will be okay. Just take a couple of Klonopin and no worries.” I like my shrink, ordinarily, but I wanted to slap her. After double the does, I was still too terrified to be examined.

    However…the OB-Gyn will be sedating me, which is good. I’ve read about the hysteroscopy. Not doing THAT “live.” It’s nice to have someone other than my husband actually take a minute and listen to how I feel.

    I agree that the whole “no one else in the room” is a control thing. I’m ready to go from zero to Total Bitch, but unfortunately, a lot of people won’t. “Medical people know best.” Erm…no. That happened once during a cardiac test. They inject you with a dye so they can see blood flow. I hate needles. The guy doing the test tried to insist that having my husband present would make things much worse. I dug in my heels. Neil got to stay. I got the same nonsense when I first started getting mental health treatment. Same line, too, about domestic violence. Oh, and patient privacy. Listen…I live with…I sleep with him. If we were having problems, it is unlikely I would even bring him along.

    I’m autism spectrum/Asperger’s. Neil is my “translator” and my extra set of ears. If I am so nervous that I forget a question, Neil will ask it for me. I trust him almost as much as I trust God.

    I still haven’t heard from the doctor’s scheduler uet, which is making me a little nuts. Since Neil will have to take the day off, we need to plan. If I do not hear from them today, I’m going to give them a call and see what’s happening.

    The one thing that has me most worried, and cannot be resolved until the exam is done, is having some sort of issue that will require more visits to the doctor. This is bad enough as it is. We shall see.

    Thanks. *hugs* and prayers back at you!

  47. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    Elaine, having the support of your husband (or sister, friend etc) is so important, isolating women is another of their tactics. We often need that extra voice and set of eyes. So pleased you have a decent doctor as well…one you can work with, it makes a huge difference.

    So often they “say” they’ll respect our privacy or wishes/preferences, but at the actual event these things are often forgotten.
    On the subject of privacy, I’ve heard from many women in life and online who’ve been told their husband can’t be in the room while they’re being prepped for a c-section (shaving and a catheter – very personal procedures) yet an orderly has been allowed to hang around and watch. It seems they’re so worried about a husband being present, but everyone else is okay to stay and watch. It’s laughable that this “rule” is said to be about the woman’s privacy.
    Lots of positive thoughts coming your way and look forward to hearing all went well…and you can get on with your life.

  48. Elaine says:

    Thanks. *hugs back*

    I’ve been told that the reason they don’t allow husbands/partners in the delivery room is because they’re afraid he might faint. Uhm…right. And I’m Tinkerbell.

    • Cat&Mouse says:

      Husbands fainting at the sight of THAT? Just the opposite happens. Why they are excluded during shaving/catheter? Because if a woman is being hurt he might intervene and insist the procedure is stopped. Who would be the wife’s best advocate? And modesty? Another hospital hypocricy. Seems always we’re told others “need to learn” by watching, and did anybody ever finish counting how many people come/go from a delivery room “just to look and observe” usually for 10-15 seconds (to get a good stare in) at a vagina of a pretty first time delivery woman? Who’s there to watch the 8th child come crawling out, flashlight in hand?

      Some of this I written a bit humorously, but if I can’t laugh now at a bit of this I’d cry forever. Thanks for this wonderful forum.

      If anybody has HMO’s, especially here in US, make sure you look at http://www.thekaiserpapers.com and wwwkaiserthieves.com See how they came about and how they work. This private, for-profit works via providing less care while making more money. See what they spend on PR and lawyers. And who they’ve killed off to save $$. Nurses are co-opted in labor agreements to go along as partners instead of being able to criticize.

      • Cat&Mouse, your links don’t seem to be working but I found this link which is similar: http://kaiserpapers.org/

      • Alex says:

        Sue, I’ve been wondering about two threads that you might like to start: one is a Stories & Opinions type of thing (where people would share their stories & opinions- a place to vent & learn what’s out there ahead of time). The other would be more of a Counteracting Medical Abuse theme, where people can do Q & A on that subject (illegalities, false information, analyzations of tactics that are used, strategies to counter these tactics, etc…).

        I figure there’s a lot of that on this site & discussions go where they go- but that might be a useful category to have so it could be right there if ithat’s what someone’s looking for. That’s not to say it would replace the other threads, it would just be a bit more specific on those topics. I remember talking with you about this a while ago, but I just thought I’d mention it again since you said you thought it was a good idea the first time.

      • Alex yes, I remember and I still think it’s a good idea. I have been coming back to other good ideas as well. Alice had suggested a couple of great post ideas a while back too, and I still have her ideas in a draft, as well as other drafts from suggestions and ideas. Problem is I keep getting sidetracked with other issues, time is a factor, and I also have found it difficult to uncover enough research evidence/finding the right words. I currently have many partially completed drafts.

        Of course another good place for stories, opinions, facts and other all on one thread was the old Blogcritic’s Unnecessary Pap Smears site. The old Blogcritic’s format was well suited for discussion, there was very little clicking involved and posting was easy, but the Blogcritic’s format has changed now. I will try and put a post together soon that is devoted just to discussion, thanks for the suggestions Alex.

  49. Cat&Mouse says:

    Thanks for correcting me. I get a bit dyslexic when writing email address. Try http://www.kaiserthrive.org and you’ll find Kaiser Thrive Exposed.

    For something positive, where we can look, learn, show, share, teach, love, interact, controlling how our most intimate body parts are used, see http://www.beautifulcervix.com This is My Beautiful Cervix Project. Besides the above, here we can also buy a kit where we can photograph and check our own cervix under our terms and privacy. Be empowered!!

    Your advice please. I take Estro-Test (generic). This has helped greatly helped me. My ob/gyn told me that there’s no cancer risk due to no progesterone is used. However, now my Internist says the lack of progesterone but use of oral estrogen (even in my small dose) can cause uterine cancer. I also use topic compounded Rx estrogen & Rx testosterone (organic from wild yam) creams; along with brand-name Temovate cream (generic was useless). My history: Pain meds zaps hormone production. My genitals began shrinking, and then it was suspected I had lichen sclerosis. The oral meds regenerated my wetness and “inner” health. The topicals helped my genitals regenerate (reversed shrinkage), allowed me to again “feel” and enjoy sex, and all evidence of lichen disease went away.

    Has anybody else experienced this? I’m willing & will request the CA125. I had this done 10yrs ago, so I have a baseline. I won’t be having a uterine biopsy. At least w/o anesthesia. My md is conservative. My husband is allowed in the exam and asks his own questions. Any advice?

    Also, my neighbor used to work for a high-end ob/gyn office where I live. The office treated many wives of the professional baseball team in my city 25yrs ago. Most of the md’s have now retired. What she said surprised me and validates complaints expressed. She also received great care.

  50. Elaine says:

    I think one of things that can be a problem is that people have been “trained” to be submissive to what a medical person tells them. A lot of people have an almost childlike faith in the medical profession unless they have a bad experience.

    We are told that these various tests and procedures are “for our own good.” Hold out your arm, undress, bend over, whatever. Even if they’re not comfortable with the procedure (ie, pelvic exams), they figure that it’s worth a little discomfort to make sure they’re “healthy.” People also see their doctors when they are not feeling well, which means they’re feeling more vulnerable, which means it’s easier to talk them into something they otherwise might object to.

    The other thing is that people are too “polite.” I know people who would never dream of hanging up on the telemarketer, telling the person going door-to-door to beat it or saying, “No, I don’t want you to do that,” to their doctor. Because that would be rude. Nice people aren’t rude.

    Unfortunately, sometimes it seems as if one needs to be able to go from zero to in-your-face screaming bitch to have your wishes respected, and it really shouldn’t be that way.

    That business of not allowing a companion into the exam room because of domestic violence screening still kills me. There are also some logic flaws: so…abusive creep comes in with his wife. He doesn’t get to go in the exam room. So he sits in the waiting room and fumes until she comes out. Did she spill? Hmmm…better slap her around a little more when you get home, just to let her know who’s boss. Does she disclose? Maybe. But even if the creep didn’t come in with her, she knows he’s out there, waiting. And another silly question: just what DO the medical peeps do if Mrs. Abuse Victim confides? It’s difficult and complicated to to conduct a rescue, even when the victim is willing and you have all your ducks in a row. Where will she stay? What will she do for money? Are there kids? Is the friendly neighbourhood gyno able to take that on? I rather doubt it.

    I still have not heard from my doctor about scheduling. At this point, I don’t think I’ll be hearing from her today. At the moment, I am torn between wanting to just get it over with or seeing if I could do without it. I’m wondering if the bleeding will return if I stop taking the progesterone. I’m not sure. My gut says I really ought to get this checked out, but the phobia is not happy with the idea.

    This is a great forum. It’s so nice to see people who do not have a programmed “You-must-have-a-cervical-screening” response to concerns and fears.

    • Alex says:

      Just saw two very interesting commericals on Youtube about this kind of subject. There’s one for a guy & one for a girl (they both look kind of young, too). It was saying to opt out of Obamacare & don’t let the government play doctor. I wonder if that’ll get a good message across about bodily autonomy & iatrogenic assault? It makes a point of “Hey, is this a situation you want imposed on you?” Maybe it’ll make a point of the overall concept that something of this nature as an imposed situation is an issue?

      I do have a question, though: Does this mean that these tests are a part of Obamacare? That if it gets set up, that’s what everyone has aimed at them? It seems like it would be a non-optional thing. Maybe it’s set up around all the people it blankets & one thing is a part of another? It’s not like these things haven’t happened before (look at Romania).

      • Cat&Mouse says:

        My dermatologist told me that care providers (md’s) are expected to collect the first $10-12,000 which believe or not, is the deductible!! So this is how the plan saves money? By having huge deductibles nobody can afford? Doctors are opting out en masse. ObamaCare is scary.

  51. Elaine says:

    Well, they had a last-minute opening, and my hysteroscopy/D & C is tomorrow morning at 9 am (PDT). The nurse was very nice and reassuring. I am hoping this will go well. We shall see.

    See y’all on the flip side, and thanks for the reassurance and kind thoughts. <3

  52. Moo says:

    Some resources for PTSD and pelvic exams.

    http://www.cwhn.ca/en/node/42905
    I would add – just say no. If you are not having any problems then just do not have a pelvic exam on the whim of your doctor.

    PTSD has triggers – avoid them if you can. Medicating the hell out of yourself before an exam in not going to help.

    Even if a doctor know you have childhood sexual abuse or other abuse, most likely they do not know what they can do to help or even care.

  53. Elaine says:

    Thank for all the good wishes. I actually did pretty well. The doctor, nurse and assistant (all female or no go) were very kind and sensitive to my stark terror. They started the IV (versed and fentanyl), and the next thing I knew, I was waking up with Neil sitting next to me, and within the hour, I was on the way home.

    Aftereffects have included minimal bleeding a few hours afterward but nothing since then, mild cramping and a sort of irritated feeling “down yonder,” almost like getting sand in your swimsuit only a wee bit more “inside.” But nothing I can’t handle.

    I will have the results from what the doctor found in a week or so. She found a couple of polyps which could have been the cause of the bleeding. We’ll see what happens when the test results come back.

    Actually, this one wasn’t nearly as bad as I feared it would be, though I would still want to be sedated for the procedure. What amazed me was their concern that the experience would be as pleasant as they could make it. I was pretty pleased. This does not mean I am not going to have major objections to pelvics in the future, but this one experience wasn’t bad at all.

  54. Moo says:

    Dear Elaine
    I hope you are feeling better. There is nothing wrong with taking care of a problem. Thankful you seemed to have a good experience. As long as you felt informed about the procedures, could have your partner around and received good care.

    Some women can find help with herbs and change of diet. This might not work too quickly or we’ll for some.

    What the problem is: forcing unwanted tests and procedures on healthy women. I would rather spend $$$$ on helping others who are suffering.

  55. Elaine says:

    I agree entirely. If a person is having a health problem, it’s sensible to want to have it looked at. This goes for any part of the body, genitals included. But as many people have pointed out here, some doctors seem to have the idea that twisted ankle=need for pelvic exam/pap test. So, doc…you went to 4 years of medical school and you can’t tell the difference between a toe and a tushy? And I am allowing you to examine me because…?

    There are a lot of “routine” exams that are supposedly done for prophylactic reasons that may very well be to tack on charges or have a tick box checked on some form. As Moo pointed out, I was fortunate, and I shudder when I read the stories of people who were not so fortunate. A lot of good medical care seems not to be based upon the skill of the medical professionals but on the ability of the patients to do their homework and stand up for their rights.

  56. Elaine says:

    Oh…I forgot to mention that the biopsy came back normal. No cooties! ;)

  57. Lynne says:

    The feminist groups and gynos are screaming the loudest that women’s “wellness” has to be free under Obamacare. As for women who think that since the recommendation is for paps every 3 years so Obamacare is going to be a blessing, guess again. Gynos and the feminists made sure that if your doctor thinks you should have paps and pelvics every year, that it would be covered. The recommendations fly out the window in that case. Obama likes the idea of doctors being “rewarded for keeping you well”, like the incentive programs in AU and the UK. I doubt these exams will be mandated, but if you have an insurance company that has requirements in order to be on their plan, believe me your stuck.

    • Alex says:

      See, a requirement can be dissolved. That’s doesn’t seem to be common knowledge in America. Third-party orchestration of something of this nature is abuse (whether it’s an iatrogenic variation or not). The insurance company trying to comport other people’s lives is an attack, they don’t have to be using obvious means to do it.

      I do wonder if people in this country are inclined to force them (whoever they are) to stop. They seem to figure “Well, those are THEIR business practices & how to run THEIR business is THEIR decision to make.” By that logic, self-defense is an act of oppression! It’s not, but there’s no way to say something so someone else can’t lie or twist your words.

    • Alex says:

      I jsut thought of something: Why don’t women start their own feminist groups? I figure someone could actually do what the current groups pretend to do (bolster self-sufficiency, bodily autonomy, personal capabilities, etc…)! What are they going to do? Argue? They can make a very good case saying that a situation is NOT what it consists of or that the woman is somehow more independant by having other people imposing their decisions on her.

      Maybe a couple of doses of honesty & accurate depictions would be momentum-generating? I figure it would be a good idea to do things like this at more than one angle at a time, that way it’s not too centralized & it works more broadly. I also think it would be a good idea for more sites like this or maybe some people writing a book- I don’t know what’s involved in either, but they both seem like good ideas.

  58. "scared2" says:

    I just made my apt for Dec2013
    6mths past due because I have been dreading on going.I have a fibroid and taking BC helps with the heavy flow of bleeding and cramps.
    My first pap smear was a nightmare!!I just got married a yr ago,ppl telling me I should get a pap smear.
    I found a female Dr,made the apt went not knowing what will be done.I undressed,and lay down,she came in didn’t explain anything to me,I open my legs and was told to “relax” I could hear noises of metal,drawers opening….I started to get frightened.I felt PRESSURE…started to panic,my heart started racing….this was twenty yrs ago I still freak out thinking about that first time)I tried to stay calm,it was hard.when it was over I walked to my car and cried all the way home.my husband who is VERY compasionate was there for me trying to make.me feel better.That next yr.I went back,this time I was scared to death.I told the Dr that it was hurting,she told me “No it doesn’t”I became VERY angry,my husband came in he could hear me,they let him in I was in tears,he held my hand trying to talk me through it still holding my hand,they tried again,She must have used the biggest one they had!! The pressure was unbearable,I told her it hurt!! It hurt!! She didnt care,just continued,her nurse standing by…I raised up reached my hand down there,pulled it out,took it and tried to hit her with it!!! And told her see if this hurt!! Oh no it doesn’t hurt,its all in your imagination!! That day I scared her,the nurse,my husband and myself.I never had another pap smear again.As I was leaving,I over heard her telling someone,she needed a drink.
    Five yrs later I kept bleeding,I bled for 2 mths,I ask around about other gynos
    I found one.My first visit with her,stirred up a lot of emotions.
    I had to get an ultra sound(vaginal)
    It took them an hour before I would let them insert it.we had a long chat to what happened to me at another gyno they were very patient with me,and understanding.
    I am still horrified from the other gyno,that when I go my blood pressure goes up.my new gyno doesn’t let me see or hear anything,she gets me ready by saying,relax,I am applying numbing gel,she waits….ok…you will feel pressure…and I do,I get tense start to panic a little…she tells me…ok.I am almost finish…..and finish…that quickI still get scared,but she is so understanding,And I am Thankful for my Gyno.

    • Cat&Mouse says:

      Scared2: Tell me please, did you take your husband in for the ultrasound? Did they try to prevent him? I’ve been to two, and each time I had to insist he accompany me. The tech was very nasty to him. She couldn’t be nice, realizing her attitude made it awful for me. MY EXAM, MY BODY, MY RULES.
      Also, there are 3 speculum sizes. Pediatric, med, and huge. You CAN request which you want used on you. My husband once made the tech replace the huge with the pediatric. She looked at me and I nodded in agreement.
      I am due to return for my exam… After 4 yrs. Only reason I’m considering is that I take oral Estro-Test (estrogen/testosterone). I also use topical compounded bio-identical Estradiol and Testosterone. I’m past the change. I’ve regained my sex life and I now climax well and often–again. However, I’m worried about whether or not I can get cancer (uterine or endometrial primarily risk, what about breast?) from using oral Estro-Test.
      Can anybody help me with advice or facts? My gyno is good. He is the guy my female internist uses (he sees other female doctors as clients too so he must be good). But he doesn’t know all the facts. We had to fend for ourselves when it came to me finding bio-identical hormone replacements. Thank you.

    • Alex says:

      Try looking up natural treatments. Rosemary Gladstar has numerous books that are good (one of them titled Herbal Healing for Women). Handling things more self-sufficiently has a lot of benefits, one of them being that you don’t have to “flip a coin” on how they decide to act. Even if something is means to an end, the components of a methodology don’t cease to exist in their own right & the invasive mechanics of this situation is a problem on it’s own.

      Them deliberately causing pain is a common theme. It seems that using tools large enough to cause pain or just adding an “extra twist” to things is a bit of an M.O. with them. Keeping in mind, if they lie or cause problems they might just generate a repeat cost & there are ulterior motives for all kinds of things. You might never find out what those motives are, but you might very well experience detriments as a result of them.

    • ADM (Canada) says:

      There are other treatments for fibroids that you can get instead of BC. There is a new medication called Fibristal that stops bleeding and shrinks fibroids. There are also the options of myomectomy and uterine embolization. Diet plays a big part in fibroids and there is lot of information out there about what foods can help and what to avoid.
      Paps and a well woman exam are not required exams for prescribing BC. If your gyno is holding BC hostage unless you submit to those exams she is acting unethically and illegally. All that is needed for the safe us of BC is a blood pressure check. You have the right to decline any medical exams or procedures without fear of not having access to medical care or needed medications.
      Trans-vaginal ultrasounds are also not needed. An external ultrasound is sufficient for viewing the uterus and ovaries and making diagnoses. You have the right to decline that part of that exam. As women it is assumed that we are comfortable with having any medical personal intimately exam us and if we’re not it’s assumed that there is something wrong with us such as a history of trauma. We have the right to modesty and to protect our healthy bodies from unnecessary intrusion. Unless there are symptoms there is no reason to be having intimate exams. Even with fibroids regular pelvic exams are not needed. The Dr cannot see or feel anything that an external ultrasound won’t tell them. It’s your body and you say who touches you and when.

      • Pia Auður says:

        It is most encouraging to read your responses here. I am dreading my forthcoming gyn appointment on March 31, 2014. It is very likely he will want to examine me, but it is also likely that I decline. I don’t know if the situation would be any different now had I not been a victim of sexual abuse as a child. It took me ages before I could even consider booking appointment with gyn, but I had to, because I suffered from debilitating period pains when I was younger. Somehow I got through those gyn visits by disassociation and totally blocking everything out. When I grew older (and wiser lol) I had to resort to Valium and when that no longer worked, I had few sips of brandy. More than few.
        I am scared of the pain. I am also scared that I feel violated again. Counseling and therapy have somewhat helped, but the trauma is always there, all the same whether it is male or female gyn.
        This time I have to get gyn’s opinion about my fibroids. Three years ago I had one. Last year there were three and I suffer from heavy bleeding and low hemoglobin. Still, I hesitate to go, because waiting room already triggers panic attack and I just want to run away. I am going to contact the gyn prior to appointment and ask if I could just bypass the waiting room and walk straight in before I change my mind.
        I absolutely do not want pap smear or endometrial biopsy unless I am heavily sedated. I might just consent to having pelvic exam… Because I work in the same hospital I can’t go to the clinic smelling of brandy, so this time I’ve got to do it cold turkey. I don’t know how, but all I can say is I’d rather undergo colonoscopy any time. No gyn visits. But yeah, I get it. Gyn visit is a must so I can ask for referral for hysterectomy. I just wish I could handle it differently…

      • Elaine says:

        Hi, Pia.

        Here’s my advice, for what it’s worth, and your mileage may vary:

        1. If you do not already have such a person, make sure you have someone you trust go with you. When people aree upset or feeling unwell or afraid, they tend to agree to things that they never would have under ordinary circumstances. Having an advocate with you really helps. You have support and an extra pair of eyes and ears.

        2. If you feel you must go through with an exam, insist that your doctor prescribe some kind of anti-anxiety med.

        3. It’s always a good idea, provided it is not an emergency, to have a meeting with the doctor before any exam. Clothes on, no exam room. The doctor should be willing to talk to you about your concerms and give you an exact idea of what will happen. Tell your doctor exactly how you feel, and reiterate until s/he understands. If the doctor tries using scare tactics or pressure, it’s timet o go and condsider a different practitioner.

        Good luck.

        PS: and we’ll just have to agree to disagree about a colonscopy. No thanks! ;)

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        Hi Pia
        Welcome to the forum.
        I can understand how you feel, thankfully, I’ve never needed the services of a gynecologist and hope I never do….but if I do, I know a female gyn I could use/trust, many of my friends used her to have their babies. (now she just does gynecology, not obstetrics)
        If you have issues (as you do) it’s important to find someone you trust, that won’t be easy with your history. I’m so sorry to hear of the abuse you suffered as a child.
        These things change us, I was never abused as a child, but had a few frightening moments as a young woman, that’s probably why I wouldn’t contemplate seeing a male gyn. (my scares were all with males)
        Somewhere along the way I lost trust in male doctors, once gone, it’s hard to get back. (I prefer to avoid ALL doctors if I’m honest, but understand in mid-life I need medical care, and certainly want that option)
        My distrust probably started because I KNEW so many young women were being taken advantage of by male doctors and the system. During the days of the “compulsory” intimate once-over for the Pill, it seemed to me it was “compulsory” if they fancied you and unnecessary for the very overweight, unattractive etc….the “compulsory” rummage-around (that is NOT a clinical requirement for the Pill and never was) still goes on in some countries and probably, some of our doctors still try-it-on with some patients. Some also, make pap tests “compulsory” to force screening onto women and achieve targets/target payments. Yet men are never coerced or misled into screening, I’ve never heard the AMA or any doctor say men “need” or “should” or “must” have a colonoscopy or prostate exam to get Viagra.
        I don’t believe the profession has ever treated women honestly and respectfully.

        In fact…my GP, dermatologist and dentist are all female. At this stage it’s not that I fear an attack or they’ll take advantage, it’s more about my level of comfort.
        That’s the best you can hope for for something like gyn exams, try and build a relationship with someone you can trust. I interviewed several doctors before I settled on my doctor, this is many years ago now. It was time well spent…

        Hope all goes well…and you might want to get a couple of opinions on the hysterectomy, they’re often unnecessary. Fibroids shrink after menopause and there are things short of a hysterectomy that might help you.
        Our uterus, ovaries and cervix are there for a reason and provide many functions, our entire life, not just up to menopause. FAR too many are performed in the States every year, 1 in 3 US women will have one by age 60. So much for the annual well-woman exam, it leads to poorer outcomes.
        Keep us posted…good luck.

      • ADM (Canada) says:

        Hi Pia, I can understand why going to the gyn would be so difficult for you. Find a gyn that you are comfortable with and talk with them. There are other options for treating fibroids besides a hysterectomy. There is a new medication called fibristal that treats heavy bleeding and shrinks the fibroids. Minimally invasive and uterine saving procedures exist of uterine arterial embolization, uterine ablation, and myomectomy. There is a medication called tranexamic acid that can be taken during the menstrual cycle to slow bleeding which gives the option of living with the fibroids. You do not need a pelvic exam to diagnose or monitor the fibroids. An ultrasound done externally would be sufficient.

      • Alex says:

        Pia- That external ultrasound & having someone go with you might be a good idea. Also, there are various books about herbal treatments & such that might very well clear up whatever problem you have. There’s also that Mayan Uterine Massage (a how-to guide for that is in Rainforest Home Remedies).

        It probably wouldn’t matter if you were abused at some point in your life, because this even as a means to an end would still have a problematic methodolgy. If imposed, it would’ve just been the first instance of it (and deception vitiates consent, so it’s not someone making their own decisionss if they are being lied to).

  59. Moo says:

    Sounds like the car mechanic who loosen a bolt of two to cause a new problem.

    There are herbs out there but it is difficult to find information and they can be expensive.

    Pap were never meant to diagnosis uterine or ovarian cancer. There is no test for ovarian cancer even the symptoms are vague. I think many older women get abnormal paps and “further investigations” . Unless you are having some symptoms then why risk getting messed up. Do you have to get a pap to renew your hormone prescription?

    I heard about to many older women having painful paps and bleeding. Then they are prescribed hormones just so they can get paps. Seems like over medical intervention to me. I would just say no.

    I do not believe that HPV goes dormant and pops out later. There is no research that proves it. Only theories suggested.

  60. But Of Course says:

    The whole Well Woman industry is a deeply disturbing chapter in human history. I say this because it cannot stand scrutiny and while it has been keenly efficient at avoiding scientific evaluation, there are chinks in the armor. Between the sexual humiliation and the genital mutilation (via self-referral no less), this field is a great home for misogynists if males.

    But it takes two to tango. Why do women go all Stockholm Syndrome (would take to the streets if this was taken away). Why women assume / fail to question and submit is a fascinating case study in the power of indoctrination (note how many women talk about the doctor unilaterally doing something to them like they had no choice). And where is the famous feminine common sense? Do you really thing those fingers being shoved inside of you can reliably detect disease? Do you really think young and female is a disease state or might these “troubles” occur in the mature woman? It’s shocking frankly. Even smart women with great common sense acting like blowup dolls.

    The biggest health threat to women is CV disease and it’s not close (go see a cardiologist). Cancers of the reproductive system occur late in life (49, 61 and 63 for cervical, breast and ovarian cancer) and are statistically rare (yes, even breast cancer and its incidence is inflated by DCIS which counts for 25% of the cases). Cancers do not progress linearly. Detecting a harmless cancer early doesn’t save lives (can always catch it later) and aggressive cancers will defeat annual screening.

    Palpation is not a diagnostic. 8 in 10 women have some sort of breast lump so you would do better asking a magic 8 ball for its opinion. Worse still, breast and pelvic exams are being executed by surgeons that benefit from a false positive (obvious conflict of interest). The false positive rates for pelvic, clinical breast and pap smears are staggeringly high but are viewed as costless by the males that designed this routine for good reason. Asymptomatic men do not have DREs anymore.

    Hyperscreening young women for cervical dysplasia was simply MEAN. Any diagnostic with this high a false positive rate needs to be used sparingly. Otherwise, you condemn nearly all women to at least one false positive during their 50+ pap screens. A high school math student could have made this argument.

    But ACOG wars on… ANNUAL pelvic exams are recommended on “expert opinion” (data is not kind…not just unjustified by contraindicated) and Clinical Breast Exams are still a go even after USPSTF could find no value in the mammogram population (ACOG laughably defends breast exams by claiming they sometimes capture cancer missed by mammogram…which would also be true of a coin flip).

    The decision to prescribe oral contraceptives has nothing to do with the outcome of these exams. Known for DECADES.

    Almost all cervical dysplasia is completely innocent. 3 year pap rule was actually endorsed in 1987 by every disinterested medical body (looking at you ACOG!). HPV reactivation appears to be a very special circumstance require oncogenic infection in an immature female leading to chronic reactivation (same thing happens with Hepatitis B and other viruses) but this is, as Al Gore would put, an inconvenient truth.

    I could go on (and believe me I’d like to shake the daylights out of my loved one after looking into all this given how smart and accomplished she is) but I can do nothing about the past. I do the least harm by letting the sleeping dog lie. But my opinion about the men involved in her exams and their propensity to find problems in this asymptomatic woman (that requires more inspection of course!), has turned my attention away from her and onto them. These are not healthy, normal males and if it were up to me, I’d have them all on the sexual predator list because they have known all that I shared above and did nothing to stop their program. Indeed, they have doubled-down with despicable tactics (a recent survey found that 7 in 10 continue to tell women a pelvic exam is a screen for ovarian cancer). Now that’s something I can do aim to change.

    • Moo says:

      How the Pap test is used as a screen of ovarian cancer in the worst way.

      Probably never clinically proven but that is what doctors find wrong with natural/herbal cures. (They cannot be patented so why would anyone spend money to prove they work. They have been used for certain purposes for thousands of years)

      Endometrial cells are the cells of the lining of the uterus. They are shed in menstruation. For the cycle the first day of the menstrual period is considered day one.

      The Pap test is screening for endometrial cells and reported in only women over 40 years of age. Apparently if a women over 40 has entrometrial cells anytime after day 14 of their cycle (some labs day 12) then that is considered abnormal. She would need further investigation such as entrometrial sampling. The problem with that is every time some instrument is rammed up the cervical canal damage and infection can occur. This is with endometrial sampling, hysteroscopy, dilation and cutter age, ablation. It affects fertility.

      So if you are over 40 and really feel you need a Pap test do it immediately after your period, before day 12. Some liquid pap system can deal with blood in the sample. Your doctor will tell you to come around day 14. Isn’t that interesting?

      Gynocologists do not seem to care if they affect fertility in women over the age of 35 since they will recommend that women has babies between the ages of 20 and 30 when they have peak fertility. Sorry. I am all for a women having control of her body whether she wants an abortion, pregnancy or whatever. It seems that any women over 35 is ripe for gynocologists to investigate, colposcopy, experiment and torture. After all if she wants to have a baby after 30 years of age she should have to pay them for fertility treatments that all those Pap tests and treatments caused. It would bu unconsciencible for a women over 45 to consider pregnancy because she is tooooooo old. (Sorry I cannot agree)

      There is this misogyny toward women and somehow the magic ages of 30, 35 and 40 just appear in the guidelines for stricter screening rudes that lead to more torture (colposcopy and other diagnostic tests). Do they believe that women these ages are going to be more compliance, more afraid of cancer or is this just the right amount of time for precancer to start after their cervix eps were scraped up the first time 20 or so years ago.? (Did you read my post about how Pap tests can spread HPV infected cells around the cervix and up the cervical canal?)

      There is some obsession with hyperplasia of the endometria. So what? Most women going toward menopause stop having regular periods, sometimes their uterine lining builds up. This not considered normal because menopause is a disease and needed to be treated with artificial hormones and/or hysterectomy.

      Even fibroids are usually benign but since less than 1% could become cancerous then do tos are obsessed with them. Even if a women has heavy bleeding and pain due to fibroids there are often alternatives to hysterectomy. Some are diet, herbs, exercise or different types of surgery. Fibroids shrink after menopause.

      God forbid a women have atypical entrometrial cells on a pap. What lesions might be there could heal on their own. Asymptomatic women do not need to be tortured. A women having heavy bleeding, a high C125 value and other symptoms could have cancer. It is necessary experiment that these doctors need to over investigate every asymptomatic women.

      • Cat&Mouse says:

        Uterine biopsy is the most painful test I’ve ever experienced. I know other women who’ve had it done and they say the same thing. Doctors told all of us it would cause discomfort but some women reported it wasn’t that bad. PLEASE review youtube and other sources about how this is supposed to be done. Pay attention to how much oral/IV meds are recommended before, and how much local anesthesia is injected into the uterus immediately before the biopsy is taken. No man would subject another man to this much pain.

      • Pia Auður says:

        I am so grateful for your responses here, they give me hope and I know I will stand up for myself when the time comes (March 31!) to see my gyn.
        Unfortunately I had to see my GP in the meantime for some other issues- prescription renewal- but before your enter the GP’s “chamber”, nurse will take your blood pressure and even temperature! Then the lecture started: why haven’t you had pap smear? Have you ever had one? What about your mammogram? Can I check your weight?
        I’ve had pap smear last year and it should be good for another three years. That’s how I have managed for the last 15 years. I told the nurse “I am NOT here requesting any of those services” and declined to speak to her. Needless to say, she did not get to weigh me.
        I posted earlier briefly about sexual abuse I experienced as a child. I am very concerned that gyn visit at least in my case can trigger some degree of PTSD. I can’t envision myself leaving the clinic crying my eyes out, because I can’t let that happen. It’s hard to say now how I am going to feel on the 31st of March at 9am… but I can tell you it won’t be anything like meditative stillness and calmness. Those previous gyn visits happened, because it was a norm, and not “socially” acceptable to refuse such exams. I work in the medical field, so I can’t say I don’t know. Was it then more socially acceptable that I had to show up intoxicated for these appointments? To put it simply, it was the only coping mechanism I knew that worked. I tried Valium once (decent enough dose), but I was still quite aware of what was happening and I remember the pain pap smear caused. While I was under influence of champagne last summer, I remember no pain, no sense of humiliation, no full blown anxiety attack. Once my head was clear, I was fine. Without sedatives or some kind I shake like a leaf, get awful cramps and diarrhea, and vomiting.

        This time I can’t get drunk, I need to be able to talk to the doctor and see if I like him. I like working with him, but as my doctor.. I don’t know yet. I am 100% sure he will NOT perform endometrial biopsy and pap smear this time. If he is as smart as I think he is, he could probably offer to do all this under sedation. I will explain to him about the abuse in the past. Elaine and Alex, suggestion of taking someone I trust with me is a great idea.
        That person is not someone very close to me, and he’ll probably stay out of the exam room, but knowing he is around could really help me. I’ve just composed an e-mail to him asking if he would be willing to come, and I did explain why I need support.

        I have done a lot of research of hysterectomies and its alternatives. There is uterine artery embolization, which I may consider, but not hormones.. Fibroids may shrink (fingers crossed!), but whatever is causing my menorrhagia has to be stopped now, not after menopause (I am 44). I also have history of thyroid cancer so I am not even sure hormonal treatment would be an option for me.

        I will keep you posted. You all have been kind and supportive, and I am glad I found this website. Thank you.

      • adawells says:

        Hi Pia,
        I wish you the very best wishes for your gyn appointment on 31/3/14. It sounds as though you are already doing a very good job of standing up for yourself, and confronting the medical profession about your rights. It seems you are really tackling what happened to you in the past.

        I too have an appointment the next day on 1/4/14, so I will be thinking of you the day before and hoping that it all goes much better than you anticipated. I had a single very bad experience many years ago, which made me decide never to have pap tests again. I knew I would get too emotional to explain it to anyone, so I wrote a letter to the hospital explaining what had happened, and now they have stepped back a bit and are prepared to work with me on this. It got a load off my chest, and I feel I am able to move forwards now, even though I can easily be brought to tears about it if I think again about what happened.

        The medical world is still a very scary place for me, and I know that when I get to the hospital I’ll be shaking like a leaf, but I now know that this is very common to feel this way. Don’t think other women are finding it easy either, because they’re not. They brush it off afterwards, as though it was easy, but when their time came I am sure they were equally nervous.

        I wish you well for next week and hope it goes some way to allaying your fears. I’m planning to go into mine as calm and rational as possible, but my legs will be shaking and heart pounding.
        Take care. It is good to feel that there is this community on forwomenseyesonly that we can turn to.

    • Karen says:

      I agree. I think the problem is not only this whole revolting industry pleases and serves misogynists and those wanting to control and exploit women, it sort of appeals to the sort of bourgeois feminists who (to simplify things) do nothing but replace sexism with classism, again reinforcing that the majority of women are incapable of taking care of themselves, and need patronising. Feminism, in whichever phase it is in now should take a hard look at itself, and concern itself less with matters of policing media and representation and finally take the courage to go where the abuse and the oppression is being reproduced and reinforced in a systematic manner, for example the medical industry.

  61. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    “Now that’s something I can do aim to change”
    Go for it, But of course, we need all the help we can get.
    Part of the problem in Australia is the AMA, I’ve heard two senior male doctors from that group link pap testing to the Pill, this is their way of fighting to keep the Pill on script.
    Once the Pill is off script, they’ve lost a lot of their power over women, coercion becomes much more difficult and that’s why they continue to link the Pill with elective cancer screening. They KNOW the Pill has nothing to do with pap testing, they know cancer screening is supposed to be our informed decision, but they have zero respect for informed consent and even consent itself…now using medical coercion or misleading a woman to believe a pap test is a clinical requirement for the Pill negates all consent, IMO, that amounts to an assault. Yet no one challenges these senior doctors when they make these outrageous statements.

    This is a large part of the reason women here are still being seriously over-screened with the pap test, why our program has remained unchanged for decades despite the evidence of harm for no additional benefit, why we don’t inform women of risks and actual benefit (if any)…the list goes on and on. Of course, these same men would never say Viagra should remain on script to force men into the surgery for a prostate check or…why not even force a colonoscopy onto them?
    That would never happen…so until the dinosaurs are driven out of medicine and places like the AMA are pulled into line…women need to be very careful, get informed, doctor shop and stand up for themselves and, of course, many women now choose to simply order the Pill online or use HPV self-testing kits. The dinosaurs must be aware that more women can see straight through them.

    The very people who are supposed to be acting in our best interests continue to act against us…mislead and lie to us, abuse our trust, worry, distress and harm us and they stand in the way of better medicine. Women’s healthcare and lives would be much improved if the Pill was taken off script, fewer unplanned pregnancies, abortions, miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, less anxiety about getting the Pill, fewer women being over-treated etc.
    Change starts with us, challenging the dinosaurs/system, refusing to co-operate, making complaints etc.
    Thanks for your post and welcome to the forum.

    • Pia Auður says:

      My gyn visit on March 31 went well, much better than I expected. There were some great ideas here and I was encouraged to speak to one of my colleagues, who then in turn spoke to the gyn. I still took two Valiums before the appointment and asked two other colleagues to accompany me. They were more than happy to! All I needed to do was ask.
      Gyn did not even touch me! We agreed on not doing hysterectomy at this time, but do hysteroscopy, D&C and insert IUCD (Mirena) under general anesthesia. I had follow-up visit in early May and because I had to sign the consent, I knew I had to go without sedation. I was nervous, paced up and down in the corridor. Luckily I had to go for pelvic ultrasound after that and had to start drinking and filling the bladder. There wasn’t much time to think about anything, but a quick visit to see the doctor, sign the consent, receive the instructions for upcoming surgery… have the ultrasound and empty my bladder.
      This gyn (male) is actually one of the best I have ever met. He was kind, respectful and has great sense of humor. He explained the function of IUCD- even though I am still not 100% sure that’s the way to go.. Still better than nothing as my periods are incredibly heavy and I just seem to keep on bleeding..
      I think none of us should go to these appointments alone. Even better if we did not have to go at all! I am just glad I survived this one. I am never ever going to look forward to going for these appointments. Never.

  62. R. Spaulding says:

    Most husbands have a negative view of their wives being examined by another male, more discussion on this is due.

  63. Elaine says:

    What’s weird to me is that a lot of docs seem to take refusal of an exam personally, as though you are rejecting them rather than a procedure, and that even goes for some of the nicer doctors I’ve had. I imagine some of them do genuinely feel that in order to be healthy, a woman MUST have a pelvic-and-pap test. Nope.

    About withholding medications if the woman refuses an exam, back around the very early 2000s, my husband and I had a doctor who was ex-Air Force. (We have Kaiser.) He was otherwise a good doctor, but he kept insisting that I have a pelvic exam. I refused, and in no uncertain terms, and he refused to refill my medications. At the time, I was taking digoxin, lasix, lisinopril and coreg, all of which are for cardiac conditions (I have dilated cardiomyopathy.) I was also taking insulin and another med for diabetes. I called patient services and was told that a doctor may refuse a patient medication at their discretion. I changed doctors, and no more problem getting my meds, but we were utterly shocked by his behaviour.

    If I were a doctor, I would be MUCH more worried about my patient’s heart problem and her diabetes than what might be happening with her reproductive organs. Cancer can kill you a few years down the road, but if a patient is given something like digoxin, they mean business. Likewise lasix and coreg.

    I later heard that he was adamantly opposed to approving a patient’s paperwork for disability. I really hope he’s retired. >:(

    • Alex says:

      Kind of like putting a gun to your chest & saying “Let me probe you or else” on that one, isn’t it? As if he has the right to shut your life or well-being down if he decides to.

      Isn’t it apalling that they feel that someone is attacking them by comporting their own medical situation? Altruism doesn’t produce ownership, anyway- but it’s obvious that they don’t have charitable intentions, since they aim “assaultive applications of influence” at people. Coercive iatrogenic attack & reproductive endangerment are not assistances.

      I heard kaiser backs women into getting these kinds of exams or they won’t insure them- is that true? There’s a whole thread on obamacare possibly forcing women to get these exams through the insurance companies. They can’t legally be without insurance & that’s attached as a rider by the insurance companies with the government as the point of origin.

      • Elaine says:

        No one has threatened me with that…at least not yet. At the moment, I have the luck to have some pretty nice and reasonable doctors, but from what I have read on this forum alone, I would not be surprised if it happens.

      • Alex says:

        No, I meant because of your heart medication & such (thus, the gun to your chest).

        Yeah, I wouldn’t be suprised to hear a story like that either. They seem to do whatever comes to mind behind closed doors.

      • Elaine says:

        Ah. Sorry for the misunderstanding. :)

        I was fortunate enough to be able to get a new doctor, but I bet a lot of folks do not know their rights. As I have remarked before, there is a “culture of politeness,” especially amongst women, which might prevent a patient from standing up and screaming down the rafters at such treatment. He was probably used to that plus a threat to force compliance.

    • Cat&Mouse says:

      Yes, Kaiser most Kaiser docs do back patients into a corner and in effect, blackmail them into exams they’d otherwise refuse. Exactly as described by patients here, the pelvic will just “pop” into conversation with the doctor linking you having that with whatever else you’re asking. When you resist, then the conversations become more forceful. I’ve experienced this. So have friends and all our spouses. If you’re educated, then they elevate the conversation to the next level.

      This is a problem with inbred healthcare that’s also computerized. Kaiser hires those sharing their mindset, not necessarily those with best skills. It’s business first, your health a distant second. You do not have control of your healthcare, and no control in the pharmacy. Likewise, all cancer treatment is based on money, not what may save your life.

  64. Moo says:

    Part of the problem is feminist politicians will push for women’s healthcare which is more or less easier access to cancer screening such as paps on lunch break and mammograms on wheels. I have no doubt that the lobbyists are funded by the cancer industry big pharma.

    What do women really want from health care? Has anyone asked them?
    For one, I would like NOT to be harassed all the time for cancer screening tests so I can get the healthcare I need. Another would be easier access (cheaper) to fertility counselling, treatments and midwives. Maybe some women would like easier access to birth control and abortions.

    • Anonymous says:

      For me, it would be healthcare that doesn’t treat being female as an illness. Periods aren’t an illness, pregnancy isn’t an illness, childbirth is not an illness, neither is the menopause. If you are well you don’t need to be turned into a patient and have your life turned into a series of medicalised routines, by a healthcare system which undermines a woman’s confidence in her own body.

  65. Elaine says:

    I thought folks might find this interesting. It an article entitled, “Does Pelvic Exam in the Emergency Department Add Useful Information?”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3099609/

    The overall impression I got from the article was a resounding no. This might prove useful, so I thought I would share it.

    • Alex says:

      Thanks for sharing that!

      Similar theme: I don’t know if they still do this to people in the ER, but in America they would impose rectal exams on people that came into the emergency room- particularly if it was something like a car crash or a fall. It seems to have been integrated into a trip to the ER (at least if it was for trauma).

      There was actually a guy that spemt three days in jail for fighting back when they were holding him down to force this on them! Don’t know exactly what security & hygiene measures were directed at him, but a lot of people don’t realise that things like that get integrated into just getting put INTO jail or prison- doesn’t matter if someone’s convicted or this is just “sorting things out.”

      Here’s the story: He had walked into the hospital for stitches on his head & they decided this was what they would aim at him, saying he wasn’t mentally fit to make his own decision (which they frequently do if someone argues with them on anything) and did it anyway. At some point (it seems while they were trying to stick a breathing tube down his throat to knock him out), his fist slipped out & he managed to punch on of the doctors in the face. Which is something he’s not liable for if he “wasn’t in his right mind”

      Just to point it out: even if it DID work (and it’s NOT actually viable, abdominal MRIs & CT scans are- they’re also supposedly the standard of care, too), this is still iatrogenic rape!

      Sometimes they lie and say that it would detect spinal injuries (supposedly there would be something different in muscular tension or reactions to being penetrated or something), internal bleeding (even if someone were bleeding internal, there’s not reason to presume it would be connected to the digestive tract in the first place), or broken bones (pretty damn rare that that would be detectable through those methods & would be detectable in other ways).

      Another common theme in medicine is that they come up with lies about how they’re going to get in trouble unjustly if they don’t force something on someone- which makes no sense, because they ARE liable for iatrogenic attack & any aggravating circumstances that come from that attack. Making statments about limited timeframes is another angle. “We don’t have time…” to do what? NOT molest the patient? Or to waste time that might be crucial to someone else’s survival doing superfluous procedures?

      Sorry for the long post, but there’s a few things that bear mentioning & it’s a risk that not too many people seem to know about. The emergency room can mean “emergency for you.”

      • Elaine says:

        Back in the early 2000s, I was having severe abdominal pains that turned out to be biliary colic. Despite the pain, I refused to go to the ER because I was terrified that I might be subjected to some horrible invasive exam whilst feeling vulnerable due to the intense pain. Which is sad, because this sort of policy means that someone who really IS in need of emergency treatment might not come in because they just don’t feel like having some stranger’s finger in their vagina or rectum.

        I know I’m no medical expert, but I fail to see how a pelvic or rectal exam can diagnose a cause for abdominal pain. Me, I’d go with some kind of scan, but what do I know? [sarcasm]

      • Cat&Mouse says:

        For Elaine & Alex. To explain what/why happens in the ER one must understand the mindset of those running it. They feel anybody coming in for help must be totally screened (it’s an ER after all). It’s not in the person’s best interest for their advocate, spouse or family to be present (why they’re excluded especially for invasive exams). They overwhelm the person with “support” to help convince them (and reassure them) that the exams are necessary, and the painful degrading parts will be over soon (and that they really do care) (and that they really are protecting their dignity–as best they can). They do not want anybody present who would object or ask questions or make the patient possibly resist “diagnostic” testing. Hence why also they don’t want anybody outside to see (actually witness) what goes on either.

        A relative of mine was an ER nurse. Their mindsets are far outside the norm. Assuming the worst in everybody and everything, with obsessive suspicion is the norm.

        They feel we don’t have the sense to report anything wrong with our lives outside the ER. The invasive exams are, they feel, necessary to “rule-out” any bleeding, hidden trauma, etc, we could have. Now why pretty young women are always fully screened away in this manner while others aren’t is a mystery. Which is why they always line the place with security.

        No wonder they are scared of people fighting back. I don’t know what’s worse. Resisting and being banned, not knowing at all what is being done to the ones you love (and then they’re dumped back on you to deal with the trauma the ER says never happened). Or going along and seeing what they allow, knowing you and your loved one is totally at their mercy.

        We must insist we get things done our way, or outright refuse their full “exams” except for what we unfortunately show up there to receive.

        Anybody with kids? Young and well-behaved? If any resistance is given by parents then CPS is called along with security. Kids are taken. Last year, this is what happened to an immigrant couple who asked for a second opinion.

        What happened to me? I was very ill. I was given exams w/o being told in advance. Nor was my husband ever informed, until he reviewed my medical records.

        Also interesting? The medical records the hospital will release to you vs what they will release to your attorney. The attorney’s set was how I learned of these things. Hope this helps.

        An earlier post of mine described how every enlisted sailor’s wife/girlfriend will receive a pelvic exam at the local Navy hospital ER. Regardless of why they go in the first place.

      • Anonymous says:

        Re: sailors’ wives…nice (not). Why on earth would they feel the need to do that?

        I once had a chance at a clerical job (Plumas County in Northern California). I was badly injured and hospitalised a day after setting up the interview so I wasn’t able to continue the application process, but I later heard from my husband that the pre-employment physical for female employees involved a pelvic exam. No, no similar exam for male employees; Neil would have told me. So, are the ladies typing, filing and photocopying with their genitals? THAT I’d like to see! *evil grin*

        I have always insisted – loudly, if I have to – that my husband accompanies me wherever I go, save the OR, which actually makes some sense. They tried to tell me that he could not accompany me into pre-op. “Oh, he can some back in once we’ve started the IV.” “No. I’m needle phobic. That’s when I need him the most. Trust me – I’m lots easier to handle if he’s with me.” I’ve been lucky with the ER (so far) in that I don’t get any static about him coming back with me to their exam area. I’m prepared to turn into a screaming, vicious bitch if I have to, BUT it should not have to be that way! When someone is sick or injured, they are vulnerable, and they need someone who cares about them close to them. Period.

        I’ve heard some excuses about working room because the cubicles are so small. I’ve also heard some guff about how the other patients might complain that the presence of someone else’s family might deny them their privacy. Of course, there ARE other patients in the ER exam cubicles or pre-op cubicles, soo…… This is me, calling BS.

        I rather hate the idea that medicine is so depersonalised, and as I remarked before, when someone is ill or hurt, they need support. I am sure that some of the doctors and nurses really DO care, but they are usually terribly overworked and overburdened with patients. Also, they tend to have a sort of “assembly line” mindset. “Examine Patient 1. Check.” “IV for Patient 2. Check,” etc. Even if they do view the patient as a human being instead of a tick box on a checklist, I imagine that most of them have been brainwashed into the idea that head-to-toe lookie-loo=better health for patient. A lot of them seem to have the mindset that it’s like a mechanic looking at a car. Check all systems…open the hood, etc. Finally, I imagine that the hospital probably pressured them into invasive exams for lessened risk of legal troubles if something goes wrong. “Well, we performed a full examination, so it’s not our fault.”

      • Alex says:

        Anonymous- I think you’re right about a lot of what you said. They do see things in a very object-like manner. Another thing is they definitely don’t like being told they’re wrong. Not that it matters, of course. The same goes for someone conveying that they have an issue with something: “Oh, this idiot’s going to be critical AND try to stop me?”

        They’re apparently a pretty spoiled bunch: I’ve heard about them actually tantrums & ripping phones out of walls- and remaining hired! They’re not too worried about lawsuits if the doctor throws a hissy fit & detriments the patients, though.

        I don’t figure the “we’ll get sued” angle is as prevalent as people think, though. It’s something they say, but they are liable for what they DID. The risk of getting sued is an occupational hazard & it would occur to them that iatrogenic attack amplifies the risk, anyway. They’d also be concerned that this is harm, not help. These procedures being non-viable for what they’re supposed goals are & that this might waste time that costs someone else their life is another aspect that goes unmentioned.

        Ultimately, they might try & someone might die- but that is not a justification for them interjecting what they will into someone’s life. They don’t assume proprietorship of someone else’s life because that life is in danger.

  66. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    Does every enlisted woman’s husband/girlfriend get a routine testicular or prostate exam?
    If they’re into futile exams, why restrict the practice to women?
    I can’t see how they can justify routine pelvic exams when even ACOG can’t find any evidence to support them, that says a lot, the group who IMO, want control and power over women more than any other group. (similar to our AMA)
    IMO, these exams amount to an assault and if you refused them, I think the doctor would back away quickly…after all, even ACOG can’t justify their use.
    To me it’s the medical profession taking advantage of women and I’ll bet this “policy” or practice (whatever they call it) is often ignored for older women or those they don’t find attractive.
    Call me a cynic, but most women’s healthcare has nothing to do with actual healthcare.
    It always seems to be women faced with coercion/abuse, I don’t hear many men saying, “I couldn’t get Viagra unless I agreed to a prostate exam”….telling, isn’t it?

    • Alex says:

      Men are a bit scarier, as a general rule. Being more likely to be violent (perhaps reciprocatively) & not feel any guilt about the situation are both very helpful.

      It’s not immature, stupid, or otherwise defective to have bodily autonomy & self protectiveness or simply to THINK COMPOSITIONALLY. That last one snags people a lot, because the situation is what it consists of but they wonder if it “counts” when it’s coming from a medical source. I guess someone feels that they’re being the bad guy because, in theory, they’re attacking someone that isn’t attacking them. Usually much more of a point for women than men.

      Although there is a huge point that someone doing something to you outside of your discretion is an issue in the first place (I know there’s a lot of ways someone can twist that, but there’s a HUGE difference between a suprise party & medical molestation). Someone can’t do whatever they want to you just because it doesn’t break bones!

    • Cat&Mouse says:

      We watched what occurred. The woman in question was in her early 20′s. She’s married to an enlisted petty officer II grade 5. Her chronic lupus went acute. She was eventually admitted to a civilian hospital for pain & treatment. However before that, she presented to the Navy Hospital ER. Each time, despite present complaints & known history, they did a pelvic. Four times…

      Her husband being educated by us began questioning them. Their response was that it’s common to order a pelvic, it’s their usual procedure and first place they look, and women often have problems describing what’s really wrong.

      What I feel they’re really saying is that their primary mindset is any woman showing up in the ER is infected with an STD. And regardless, that’s where they’re gonna look anyway. Then they get to “play” doctor/detective. Once the “vagina” is eliminated as culprit then they “practice” medicine and attempt diagnostics. I know the husband was excluded from the exam at least once. Perhaps they think something secretive will be verbally disclosed by the patient, or something found that’s best kept secret. Their own hang-ups being forced upon us, and our loved ones.

  67. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    I think that’s why doctors scoff at men who “don’t see a doctor regularly” reinforcing the old chestnut, “women are good girls and see their doctors regularly, very responsible”…while men wait until it’s too late.
    They attempt to get to men through women…ever seen the promotion of screening for men but directed to women? They know most women are brainwashed or don’t question the system anyway, so they’ll do the sensible thing and drag their partner to the doctor for a colonoscopy etc.

    • Anonymous says:

      Colonoscopies are another exam doctors are trained to “push.” I have been reading more and more lately that they’re costly and not as effective as some of medical industry would have us believe. They’re fear-mongering, of course. “You never know what kinds of Evil Diseases might be lurking in your body. Better get it checked…just in case.”

      I no more want some doctor looking at my bottom than I do my genitals, and with that sort of exam, there is a much less likely chance of the people performing the exam being female. Nope. No thanks.

    • Alex says:

      Notice how it’s considerably more respectfully with men, though. A guy is talked to like “Dude, you’re crazy!” a woman gets yelled at & threatened. I don’t think a doctor is going to say to a man “You can’t be my patient if I can’t stick my fingers up your ass.”

  68. ChasUK says:

    I recently have been looking at nursing websites for training in cervical screening, colposcopy and internal exams etc. It appears that a certain amount of these must be performed each year to maintain their accreditation certificates. Worth searching google with the word “training”. In colposcopy they have to perform 50 or so per year, of which I think 30 must be CIN3, same goes for all screenings they have minimum requirements. Perhaps this is why we are used as training models or guinea pigs? To assist them rather than us. If I were in hospital and they wanted to do this to me or any of my family I would refuse and threaten them with legal action if they try to force me.

    • Alex says:

      That’s something that they should be disaccredited for! How is it that the concept of them doing things of this nature NOT grounds for their certification to be revoked? These invasive & potentially injurious things are being imposed on someone, and that’s an attack. Obviously they don’t say: “This is for absolutely nothing,” instead they’ll lie & deception vitiaties consent. They should not have any agenda past accomplishing the patient’s goals to their liking.

      If they were doing anything superfluous, that’s reason enough already. If they were to so much as put someone in a cast when there was nothing broken, that would be a problem. Them doing an arbitrary nose job or appendectomy is along these lines, as well.

      This might sound militant or severe, but I figure any of this is actually grounds for an execution, not being fired. If someone were to impose all the things these procedures consist of in a more overt way- wouldn’t that mean prison time? If someone kicks a pregnant woman in the belly, is that not an attack? This same thing can be caused by a medical procedure, so I figure that’s fetal endangerment on top of iatrogenic assault & reproductive endangerment (like it normally is).

      As I understand one of these actions includes burning off a piece of someone with a hot wire internally! That sounds like something a serial killer thinks of. And this is directed at someone for sake of someone else having unjustified job security? You’d think they themselves would be looking to remove these requirements for this very reason, but obviously that’s not their alignment.

      • Cat&Mouse says:

        There are two websites documenting Kaiser HMO sins. One is http://www.kaiserthrive.org. One case documented is of a woman who experienced a perforated artery. She was given four different types of suturing. The doctor needed to show proficiency in those same four types to receive his certificate. Another case where a breathing tube was “accidentally dislodged by something rubbing against it” which resulted in brain death. Intubation tubes are securely fastened outside. Internally they go from one’s mouth into the bronchial tube. Kaiser afterward reportedly also “doctored” both patient’s medical files.

        Doctors do what they want because they believe they can get away with it, and that people will automatically give them extra benefit of doubt. And we are their guinea pigs. Why? Because they feel it’s for our own good. Perhaps they’ll find something otherwise missed. Then they are heroes.

    • adawells says:

      Thanks for this ChasUK I’ll be looking into this as I have a hospital gyn consult coming up to assess a couple of spells of post menopausal bleeding I had last year. I don’t think it’s serious at all as it stopped ages ago, but two different docs have told me to go for investigations. I’m terrified. Haven’t had a smear test in two decades. Since I’m now classified as a woman with symptoms and no longer asymptomatic, do I have any right to query whatever they do to me? Would they also tell me my cervix is borderline just to get me to reinstate myself on the screening programme? Has anyone else ever been in this situation?

      • Elaine says:

        As I understand it (I’m in the US), a patient always has the right to question – or even refuse – any exam or treatment offered unless s/he is unresponsive. Whether or not medical staff respect this right is another matter entirely, but if things are the same over here, you should have every right to as as many questions as you like, think over then answers, then communicate your decision on whether or not to allow them to touch you.

        *hugs* I hope all goes well for you.

      • ChasUK says:

        Hi adawells – be clear fist off, you always have the right to query everything, remember it is your body your rules always. That is a difficult one as what is good for me may not be good for you. But if your bleeding has stopped and you have no other symptons then I would hesitate with the exam. They may offer a vaginal scan but could a normal ultrasound scan of your abdomen be just as useful. With every test they wish to perform I would ask what can they clinically gain from them, whether it can give false positives, risk etc. Screening is a choice and yes I could very well believe that they would overestimate results. I read that all colposcopists had to maintain their skills & train new nurses, often performing procedures simply for that purpose, training. You must search yourself in google, think every way possible including words of relevance to you. Always search like you are in the medical field training. CIN1 2 & 3 most revert to normal – cc affects less than 1% therefore I would trust the 99% that my body will correct itself. Oh and not only do they check your cervix they check everything, from vulva size colour shape, hair skin and all parts of your vagina and it all goes on record. Check RCN website for nurses, lots of info. Just remember the choice is always yours & never go alone, ever. Search search and search again, so much to read! Good luck

      • Cat&Mouse says:

        Adawells, I hope this reaches you in time. Spotting post menopausal indicates the need to rule out cancer of uterine lining. Which is performed via uterine biopsy. Please review my messages regarding this extremely painful procedure. Oftentimes it’s performed w/o pre-medication nor local anesthesia. You can view the procedure on YouTube. Hope this saves you from the torture we endured.

      • Moo says:

        Look up endometrial biopsy or sampling.

        Probably you will get a pap and maybe and endocervical curratage (ECC). You can ask question and give consent or no consent to any procedure.

        Maybe try hyster sister website board, many women there.

      • Adawells, I agree with Chas re: hesitation to have the exam. I had irregular bleeding between periods some time ago. It only happened two times over the course of two menstrual cycles, but since I am regular as clock work I was worried the second time it happened and booked an appointment. Here’s what happened:
        - The GP did a pap and pelvic
        - I was sent for ovarian scan
        - I was sent to the gyno for a D & C and another pelvic
        - I had to go back to the GP to follow-up and turned down the offer of another pelvic
        All of the results were normal. The irregular bleeding had resolved in the meantime, but I was urged to go through with all the tests. No one reassured me that this can happen from time to time, and no one suggested waiting to see if it would resolve on its own. If I had it to do over I would have waited it out a bit longer before going to see the GP. Looking back I suspect it was simply a case of eating too much chicken as I had been traveling a great deal and it was my meal of choice at that time. Chicken contains a large amount of estrogen, and estrogen can cause irregular bleeding as well as post-menopausal bleeding. I feel badly you have to worry, and honestly I don’t know what I would do if I were in your shoes. It is a sad state of affairs but all of my trust in the process and in accuracy of results has disappeared.

      • adawells says:

        Thank you for your reply Cat&Mouse. I am so sorry that you had such a bad time. I’ve been reading up on this, and I think in the UK they have to have strong suspicions that the vaginal ultrasound is showing that you have an endometrial lining of more than 5mm before they will go to the next stage and do a biopsy. I’ll be keeping my fingers (and unfortunately not my legs) crossed that the vaginal ultrasound will not show anything to worry about. I’ve read that anything less than 5mm carries a much more remote risk of cancer.

      • Cat&Mouse says:

        This is why my husband goes with me to exams. This happened shortly after we were married. I had Kaiser. At that time, any problem, even yeast infections were met with a demand for pelvic. This surprised my husband, who wondered why the meds for repeat infections weren’t simply called in to pharmacy as refills. Especially for how common they can be. One night after work we went to Urgent Care. Once checked in, he got up for a magazine while I sat & waited. This is what he told me on the way home.

        He saw the doctor & nurse talking in the doorway (they didn’t notice him). Nurse told doctor my problem and what Rx (cream) I wanted. Doc should’ve asked her (or checked my file) for my symptoms, history, if it were minor repeating event, and if I were current on exams. Instead he asks her what I looked like. He peeks around the door, looks me over, then nods yes to the nurse. My husband said he had a pleased grin. She calls me, then whispers in doorway he wants to do an exam. My husband is at my heels. She gets in front of him and says he can’t come in. He replies to her that he “accompanies his wife wherever she goes.” She looks at me, and I nod yes. She gets worried and says “but the room is too small for him.” He promises not to take up much space.

        She goes to the doctor in the hallway about 15 feet away. They speak. He then looks over, sees my husband, and there’s no longer any grin. He quickly scribbles on his Rx pad and hands the slip to the nurse, saying to give it to me. She walks over, hands me the exact Rx I had requested, and says the doctor “on second thought” didn’t feel it was necessary to do the exam… [que the song "The Thrill Is Gone"]

        From then on I learned to simply tell the nurse minor problems were already documented and to have the med I needed phoned in to the pharmacy. One factor Kaiser uses when resetting fees is how many patients it provides office visits. When I was young I can’t count how many times I had to get naked from the waist down. Now I know almost all those exams weren’t needed.

        Know your body. Intimately. Know your spouses as closely. What it does, when, how, why, plus the sounds, colors, and smells. The same for everything it produces. Remember your complete history, and have a list of meds with you at all times. Know medical jargon, symptoms, when an exam is needed or not, informed consent, and to ask in advance for pain mitigation before, during, and after. Be a raging, crying bitch when necessary and demand the advocate you choose to hold your hand whenever a needle comes or when your clothes come off. Your advocate, your witness, your immediate second opinion before you’re probed too. Research every medical procedure at home via YouTube so you can see what gets done; and what is should be given for pain. Pain? Yours may be worse; better safe than sorry. Your kids or older parents? All the above; but never leave them alone.

        Surgery? Do all shaving & prep AT HOME. You are far less to get flesh-eating bacteria at home, and you can use HibiClens microbicide for further protection. When you’re naked on the table (don’t buy they protect your dignity) you don’t want them worrying about prep work b/c that’s when you can be cut and germs you cannot imagine invade your body.

        Generic meds? Brand is always better. Trust me as I use Sch II meds. However, if stuck with generic then try to use the same company that makes the brand drug.

        Before marriage my husband told me if he were to hold me and offer comfort after pelvics & other things, then he wanted to firsthand witness that part of my world. He was humbled at my sacrifices. However it was I who was really humbled. Not only did it make us stronger, but he volunteered to have a vasectomy. I was there for him, holding his hand as the female nurse came in. The room was cold, he was shaved, in the stirrups. Ain’t love grand!!

      • adawells says:

        I want to thank everyone for sending me these nice messages, as it has cheered me up a great deal and made me feel much stronger about my gyn appointment later this month. I ‘m very touched by reading about your experience of postmenopausal bleeding last September, Elaine, and am glad that it went so well for you. Now I don’t feel so alone with this problem. I will go to my appointment alone. If my husband comes I will have a lot of explaining to do to family members and I don’t want that unless it gets serious. I find that I cannot discuss this with friends or work colleagues, as some of them are so brainwashed into accepting screening, it makes me want to vomit hearing all their “Stepford Wives” outlook on life, whereas this website makes me feel I’m with like minded company. It’s got real balls!

        Thanks for your advice ChasUK, I’ve got a while to keep reading before my big event, and I can just imagine that a century from now our medical notes will probably be available to our descendants researching their family trees, and they will be able to read about the colour and smell of their great great grandmother’s ageing vulva. What a thought.

        Thank you too forwomenseyesonly for telling me about your experience. I have often considered whether I ran too quickly to my doctor after my first bleed, and if I should just have waited, but after a repeat episode I know that I must get this investigated.

        What is so worrying about the medical experience is that you are now drafted into a system of medical procedures, which always require follow-up, more doubts and then more medical procedures. That’s what I loath about the screening programmes. You are locked into a series of lifelong medical procedures, and you are on a conveyor belt to more and more of them. I’m hoping that once this is over I can get back to my free life again. I want my medical care strictly on an “I’ll call them” basis, and not have them chasing me.

  69. Moo says:

    The accreditation requirements might also include doing a minimum number of LEEP and cone biopsy procedures for colposcopists. “Damn, we pais $x for this smoke venting cauterization equipment. So we are going to use it” . You are patient that could make up their quota so you will be scared into having it whether you really need it or not.

    I knew a woman who had a LEEP for CIN I. She was scared into it because she was told that she had HPV 16 when I know that she paid out of pocket for a hybrid HPV test that gives result high or low risk HPV not specific type. Also she was told that she was so lucky her baby was not born with HPV in her throat (extremely rare). She was also told that HPV 16 could turn into cancer within two years. Any references for that. Probably that is for HIV infected patients.

    So if she refused she would be told that she was irresponsible because she would get cancer and she would be a bad parent.

    How many women react to pap results of CIN II as “get this out of my body” . The facts are 80% goes away on its own. 20% of treated CIN comes back. So having a LEEP or cone alone does not “cure” the HPV. Some diet and lifestyle changes might help clear it up but that information is rarely given out. I think some will get cancer regardless and no one knows why.

    • Alex says:

      “Connecting the dots” is getting very prevalent here. Everything gets made out to be something dangerous that someone else is a helping hero for reacting to- except the stuff that actually is wrong.

      This seems to be the idea: The mother or father might die if they don’t (whatever thing) & that might cause trauma to the child- so they’ll try to hi-jack your lives (which might very well impact your homelife, due to it causing problems).

      This or maybe abduct your child (which get them perks: $4000-$6000 per adoption & whatever else happens to these children while in custody). There’s a book on this subject called Out of Control: Who’s Watching Our Child Protective Servies by Brenda Scott.

      Maybe the medical treatments make someone an “unfit parent” & then this is a combination problem.

      • Alex says:

        Wanted to mention what happened to Pussy Riot (it’s a rock/activist group). While they were in prison at least one of them ( but presumably all of them) was constantly probed until she did a hunger strike (if I’m not mistaken). This would be the case anytime she’d go to talk with her lawyer.

  70. Donna says:

    I have always held doctors in the highest regard and trusted them, even during the most intimate exams. About the time I read this website I came across a fascinating site about male gynecology. Look at http://www.modestyxxx.com It is really an eyeopener. The author quotes from medical journals that admit …. Well I don’t want to be specific. It is good reading.

    • Karen says:

      Donna, I read the article you posted, and I find it very, very disturbing, not only for the usual reasons, for describing the scummy deeds of male doctors, but for the perspective of the author, who is simply jealous and possessive, because male doctors have more opportunities than he will ever encounter. He still looks at women as property, and even as faulty property, as he believes they actually need regular gyn monitoring. Did he only read the articles in medical journals about male doctors attitudes and feelings, nothing else? Look at this quote:

      “Those who have read this article closely will notice that there has been no suggestion that male gynecologists cannot or do not adequately perform their medical tasks. From the early pioneer work of J. Marion Sims, a Civil War era doctor who performed wonderful surgeries on slave women, through the 20th century, male-dominated gynecology has performed miracles on pregnant women and their newborn. Women now live longer than men and infant mortality has declined sharply.”

      “J. Marion Sims, a Civil War era doctor who performed wonderful surgeries on slave women” I laughed out loud on this one.. what a clueless person…

    • Elaine says:

      It always kills me when people say that a doctor has “seen it all,” almost like the bodies of the women being seen are mannequins and have no feelings attached to their bodies.

      A long time ago, I once read a book published in Reader’s Digest called “Women’s Doctor,” which are the memoirs of a male gynecologist who worked in the 60s and 70s. In the book, he jocularly remarked that he would write things on a woman’s chart such as: “Breasts – nice.” He also said that because of his remarks, he never allowed anyone to view his patients’ charts.

      Wait…what?!? :-O

  71. elaryn says:

    One of my particular nightmares is how to deal with emergency situations. I have heard that one of the things routinely done for abdominal pain, for example, is both a pelvic and a rectal exam. Neither exam is effective since neither orifice extends far enough to determine the cause. I would think that an MRI or CAT scam might be more effective than sticking fingers or instruments where they don’t belong. Also, there is the issue of trying to get a female doctor.

    Of course, you can refuse any medical procedure, but I’m curious to see if anyone has ever deal with this and how it was handled,

    • Alex says:

      Well, that can be tricky: This is a bit of a long post, but I’ve got to explain some of it.

      First, get real familiar with the term “iatrogenic attack.” A situation is what it consists of & properties don’t change by designation. If that’s an interface with a sexual area, in this case a penetrative one, as a product of someone else’s decision-making that is an attack. Using medical methodologies doesn’t change that, just like if a doctor poisons someone with a needle it’s still murder. Overall, it’s a fancy way of saying an attack using medical treatments or advice.

      Imposed penetration is an attack & it really doesn’t matter if there were any potential utility, either. It DOES seem like abdominal MRI’s & CT scans are not only viable, it’s the standard of care. Whether it is or it isn’t: The components of a methodology don’t cease to exist in their own right. It seems like this isn’t even viable & I do remember it being a physician that said it- not sure of all the particulars. Try looking that up.

      You might not have time for all that, but refusing & stating that it’s “iatrogenic RAPE” to impose that procedure might work. It might make them pause long enough to get thelogic out (which isn’t really something they seem to have missed, it’s just that they’re hearing what would be said in a court case & they can’t very well say “What happens ISN’T what occurs” as an effective defense).

      Also, I’d recommend learning fighting in close quarters & “special situations” (in a car, in the dark, while injured, etc…). Systema seems like a good choice, since a lot of it is geared toward being very subtle (not telegraphing what you’re about to do or that you’re about to do anything). There’s a lot about hits going deep & having a very disabling effect- even if it was a very short, seemingly light, strike. Lots of stuff about escapes, wrestling, and multiple opponents, too.

      Sometimes people use words in a tricky way. Saying “will be having” or “going to be doing” is presenting things as a fixed situation- as if there exists no capacity for reality to “unfurl” any other way. This is nonsense, since an action needs to be engaged in order to occur. That’s another one: saying “need/must/have to”- otherwise the situation doesn’t occur. All attempts at “mental vitiation”- mind games. Instead of physically wrestling someone, they try to kick the chair out from under them mentally.

      I remember two of my cousins ran into problems when they were younger (one male, one female). Apparently, taking your kid to the hospital to get stitches can result in them making the kid take all their clothes off. They say they want to see if they have any marks from being hit at home! Doesn’t make any sense that someone would beat their kid like that & then bother taking them to the hospital, anyway- but what, exactly, do they do to find out if someone was “playing doctor” on them?

      It’s not unheard of for them to play detective & assault someone with their investigation. This might very well happen if they think someone got raped (or say that they think that in order to get things rolling). There’s always trying to enforce an impression, too. Talking about all kings of being illegal & all. This can be especially true with minors. Obviously, they figure if they aren’t able to consent to something because of their age making it an illicit interface, a refusal doesn’t matter.

      Look up “Buckeye Surgeon: Sir, I need to place a finger in your anus.” It gets into all kinds of things about that, but the general theme is that:

      There was a case where a guy walked into a hospital to get stitches on his head & got a rectal exam forced on him! Then he got arrested for fighting back & held for three days! All kinds of things along those lines get included with security & hygiene measures, whether someone is convicted or not (plus whatever might happen unofficially).

  72. Donna says:

    Karen – about your comment on the website I recommended – http://www.modestyxxx.com.
    The title of the article is “Gentlemen Don’t Look Up Ladies’ Skirts” and here are some of the sections: “Show and Tell – The Lost Art of Modesty” — “Oh Say Can You See – Male Sexual Arousal” (the best section) — “Uncovering the Cover Up – The Medical Establishment Says” — “Not a Sex-Free Zone – What Doctors Do” ( Amazing info) — “In the Gloaming – The End of Male Gynecology”

    The story is about the automatic sexual arousal of the male when he sees the female genitals. It doesn’t discuss all aspects of gynecology, such as unnecessary exams. As I read it, I saw a man who dislikes males being in the field, just as most of us on this site. The author does recognize the improvement that has occurred in women’s health over the past century – do you disagree? and he even criticizes Dr. Sims for some of his crude ways. Did you read the same article that I read?

    • Karen says:

      Oh dear.. I have left him a rather long comment, which he did not publish, but he has made some slight changes using the research I sent him, well better than nothing.. but still, what a fucking dick, he goes on about his own feelings etc, and off-handedly mentions that pelvic exams MIGHT often be unnecessary or harmful, but off-handedly he makes the comment ” I will let others deal with that aspect of gynaecology” – what a spoiled little dick, again. From every third women in the USA getting a hysterectomy to DES to mammograms to HRT to program births etc. etc. … oh c’mon his problem is that strange men might look at and touch women, can’t we understand? Not seeing the forest from the trees, huh? He does not want to see what’s inherently wrong with the idea that women are weak, and need medical surveillance, he just wants to protect his property. Also, in the case of Sims, he says ” personal indiscretions”, which is grossly insensitive and inappropriate when talking about a man raping slave women and offering anaesthesia to rich women, but not using it on his slaves, some of whom had to endure 30+ experimental operations. Personal indiscretion???? FUCK YOU. Btw “Donna”, are there any chances that you might be the writer of this blog, that you come to defend it so fiercely?

      • Alex says:

        Not sure who you are talking about? Is it the guy on Buckeye Surgeon or the guy on Donna’s link?

        You know there was a bit of a back & forth on Happier Abroad between me & this guy HouseMD that you might want to take a look at. Some of the guys on that site DO seem to be pretty woman-bashing, but it’s not the point of the site & there’s a women’s section of that forum, as well. I wouldn’t suggest directing him toward this site as he seems like he’d probably start shit, but you might like to post a reply on that. Not looking to recruit, but his stance on people making decisions about what happens to their own body is startling.

      • Karen says:

        Alex- the guy on Donna’s link- who is think could well be Donna him/herself. Just my faint impression, from this defensive demeanour.

    • Cat&Mouse says:

      Donna? Or is your name really DICK? Reading this article convinces me that women MUST take back their healthcare. You try to rationalize sick behavior, giving license to how we are sexually categorized and used then again in memory whenever the doctor needs to masturbate. Would these same doctors enjoy their wives and daughters oogled like this?

      Reading this reminds me, per my own experience, that we need to bring our own advocates to exams. Husbands or partners. And have them sit next to the doctor. This is where I position my husband when I need an exam. If I want him to hold my hand, then I give him a sign. No wonder why husbands resent these exams.

      As for the nurse chaperone? Oftentimes, she gets her own gyne care via the same doctor as part of her work benefits. She is there for the doctor, not the patient. Unless she likes to stare at vaginas, she’ll be lost in her own thoughts and not paying attention the doctor.

      As for the ER? Hopefully they will be too busy and will immediately refer to labs & ultrasound before the useless pelvics & rectals. That is one place I never want to find myself in the stirrups.

  73. Car says:

    Interesting read. I’m 32 (33 in May) and can not submit to any female exams. I was abused sexually, physically, verbally and emotionally from the time I was 2 until about 18. I had to go see my primary a couple of weeks ago for bronchitis and the nurse asked me if I saw a female exam dr ( sorry I can’t even type the g word) and if I had a mammo yet. Usually I freak out just by these questions but I just whispered I can’t. My primary is awesome. She has known me since I was 15. I’ve had many panic attacks (so severe that I end up in flashback episodes where I become violent and lose serious amounts of time) with her because I had to have a physical for school. A few years ago I had to have a physical for work and the receptionist and nurse were being rude and nasty ( the receptionist by yelling at me that it had been too long since my last physical and the nurse by saying take off your clothes and throwing a gown at me). My doctor could barely enter the room I was so distraught. I was backed into a corner and she stationed herself in the furthest corner from me. I never changed into a gown and I wouldn’t let my dr near me. All she could do was talk. I couldn’t breathe because of the panic attack and her response was never mind I’ll talk you listen. She never brings up the female exam dr and never says oh you have to. I don’t even get physicals anymore. She says she hopes one day I’ll come in requesting a physical because I want one and I’m mentally stable enough to have one. So for now I check in for acute illnesses, like bronchitis. Because of my severe PTSD she treats me as a pediatrician treats children, not exposing my body, if she has to expose my body it’s localized and then quickly covered, and talks to me the entire time asking permission for anything first.

    Recently, friends have been pressuring me to see a female exam dr because “I should get checked out”. I have never been sexually active (except for force when I was younger), no need for birth control and I’m going to have to be completely sedated should the need arise. I would love to be a mom but I can’t be in the same room as a man and ivf exposes my body so that dream is dead. Adoption is out currently because of finances.
    Just the thought of these exams causes me to have panic attacks (I’m already starting to have one by posting this). I’m tired of being pressured by friends who say I have to go and that they did it. They have not experienced what I have experienced. I can not use a tampon. If I’m already this much of a mess while thinking about it imagine how I’d be if I had an appt before hand, on exam day and subsequently after. Everyone says they can go with me but why would I want to put myself in a bad position that I may not recover from.
    When I had knee surgery in 2010 I’ll never forget the presurgical physical where they asked for my consent to do a female exam while I was anesthetized. I started flipping out right there and tried to say no I couldn’t think about that while having knee surgery. Omg NO!!!!!
    I feel like a freak for not being able to go forth with these exams. I’m tired of the looks, the harsh words etc. seriously though I don’t even like people touching me clothed why would I want to harm myself more psychologically by being naked.
    Talking about this stuff with a therapist hasn’t been easy or accepted because I get the same lectures ( you need to you’re a woman) and disapproving looks.

    • Karen says:

      So very sorry to hear about this. Isn’t it horrible, that the therapists, who are supposed to be helping you, and who are employed by you give you such patronising lectures? As if it was like paying tax, must, have to… NO. Even if there was (there isn’t) any scientific evidence, that routine pelvic exams on asymptomatic virgins do any good, you would still be entitled to make your own informed decision. There is one MUST- the doctor MUST obtain your informed consent. And what is that bit about mammograms? at 32??? They are controversial enough for older women, but for a 32 years old? Pure assault and profiteering, not health care.

    • Moo says:

      I am vey sorry for your suffering. There are many survivors of childhood abuse that just refuse exams. Some might take some Valium if they feel they really have to have one (because they are sick). There are a few websites with suggestions to doctors on how to accommodate such patients although they just push for them anyway. Only really useful if you are sick.

      You know your body better than anyone and what you can handle emotionally. Just say no. Do not worry about your future and babies, marriage. Forget talking to friends about it. Just weigh the risks because sometimes the psychological well being is worth more than some screening tests.

      If you are at work and there is some free or discount counselling, you might want to try that and work on the issues that you want to fix. Therapists are not suppose to be biased towards screening tests. Just tell them that. Or find a clinical psychologist.

      Try to stay healthy and do some research on alternative health stuff like lifestyles and vitamins etc. The more you can avoid medical doctors, maybe the better.

    • Alex says:

      Here are some things you might find useful. At the very least, you can use all this in an argument:

      First off: It’s not immature, stupid, or otherwise defective to have bodily autonomy or self-protectiveness. Same goes for thinking compositionally.

      A situation is what it consists of & properties don’t change by designation. If a doctor were to poison someone with a needle, it’s still murder. [By-the-way: something a lot of people don't know is that the term is "iatrogenic attack" when it's done with a medical methodology]

      Any interface with a sexual area as product of someone else’s decision-making is an attack. There doesn’t have to be any wrestling or fighting involved. A low-key attack is exactly that. There’s also the concept of mental vitiation- that’s a mental version of what a fight is physically (mind games, basically). Them trying to pull guilt trips, scare tactics, rushing people around so there’s no time to think, or trying to attach riders to other things are all this type of tactic.

      Don’t expect them to help you on this. They aren’t going to say “Well, with birth control you don’t get one without the other- which is coercive iatrogenic assault & reproductive endangerment, as well as illegal.” They don’t say “This is an inaccurate & dangerous method of testing for something that’s massively rare to begin with.” They don’t mention blood tests or self-testing kits as alternatives, as a general rule.

      Also, an action has to be engaged in order to occur. Something doesn’t just magically happen because you’r a women. If someone were to say “Getting punched in the face is just part of being married” it would be argued that this is an interjected action & didn’t just magically appear. Reality doesn’t take a coffee break for doctors, so someone saying “It’s not like that, it’s a doctor” isn’t making any sense. It’s not like what? Reality?

  74. Kleigh says:

    I hate those questions they ask every woman “when was your last pap”. I was never abused but i too dont like hearing those words . It also implys paps are expected and they want a date . Its not a yes or no question the way its asked and i feel thretedne by them just asking me that. Not to mention i was yelled at by a nurse when she found out I had never had one before. If It was now I tell her to mind her own bussnes and that it was not her place to judge me. They should not be traned that all woman except these exams and have to.

  75. Kleigh says:

    Id also like to add that it is your body and no one can tell you what to do. NO matter what any one sees even a doctor, you have a right to refuse any exam or test you do not want. I AM 29 and besides a pelvic exam when i was 17 I have never went for a pap or gyno exam. Your not alone in this. I just belive that woman in general have been brainwashed to belive they “must” have these exams.

  76. Hexanchus (male-US) says:

    Kleigh,

    You are absolutely correct in that you have a right to refuse any exam, test, treatment or procedure.

    With regard to being asked ” when was your last pap”, the key is for the patient to take control of the interaction and not give it back to them. Their questions are designed to get you responding to them and allow them to keep control of the conversation – don’t let them get away with it.

    There are several appropriate responses, i.e.:
    “It’s none of your business.”
    “That is irrelevant to the reason for my visit today.”
    “I have made an informed decision not to participate in cancer screening.”

    Don’t let them draw you into a discussion on the subject, as they will try to do so in order to wear you down. Just look them in the eye, pick one of the above sentences and and no matter how they follow up the original question, keep repeating the same sentence in response until they give up and abandon that line of questioning. Eventually it will drive them nuts and they will get the message…..

    Hex

    • adawells says:

      Hi Hex,
      It is good to see some male input to this site and I like your above post, but it is easier for men to avoid doctors than it is for women, because some women go on to have children and also use the medical profession for contraception, which men don’t need to.

      It is at these appointments to do with pregnancy and childbirth that doctors really corner women into giving into their demands. They can make life very difficult for you by putting your unborn child into the equation, and later, when your baby is born there is no end of medical appointments and immunisations to attend to.

      My husband finds our GP efficient and polite, but if I were to go to her with exactly the same complaint, a large part of the consultation would be arguing about a pap test and a breast examination. It makes me so angry that I have to go through this and he doesn’t.

      • Alex says:

        I’d like to add to Hex’s advice (which is good, but it all can be argued with fairly easily):

        Saying “I elect to terminate this line of inquiry” might be a very useful one. It cuts things off right there- nothing to build off of. You know how they make a statement instead of asking a question or ask a question with a bunch of things pre-concluded? It’s a lot like that.

        Another one is when they ask when was your last (anything), you could reply “That is an incongruent question.” It doesn’t match the situation, hence “incongruent.” They’re are stating that a situation is a certain way with the phrasing of their question.

  77. Moo says:

    They are trained to ask open ended questions. That is why the question with a yes or no answer is not used.

    They also make assumptions because of previous studies that women who do not get Pap tests have certain reasons for not getting them. The studies only had reasons and their solutions are geared to such. For example a women has no “time” to get a pap or transportation, so offer the opportunistic pap at any visit. The women is uneducated so offer materials about cervical cancer. The women who refused pap testing or cancer screening with an informed decision is not in the study. So they do not have their solution except for threatening with hold medical care. So far I have not seen that advice in any study. Probably what doctors talk about when they go for their education seminars.

    Yelling back no to pap invitations is rather rude. After all these people are thinking they have your best interest in mind. They are wrong but they still deserve a polite refusal and the less information why the better. No point in escalating the conflict. I am thinking that some clinic staff are given bonuses for the number of paps so they push it more than doctors. Doctors make more money and it is easy for them to make more by ordering more tests or seeing more patients. Clinic staff are probably on salary and they just see their $$$ walk out the door with your refusal. Maybe take them a little gift sometime, ask about their family. You can refuse paps but be really nice about it.

    I realize that my anger should be directed against the system or those doctors who abuse their patients. “I do not consent” is huge. Persistent phone calls, letter and such can be meet with asking for it to stop. After telling someone to stop, then it is harassment. You could either say or give a letter than you will be having your attorney contact them if the harassment continues. That will work better than a tantrum in the reception area.

    • Alex says:

      They don’t have people’s best interest in mind- they think better of this than what you’re doing & figure they supercede you for it. It’s an angle to push someone around, but acting like it’s innocent. The guilt trip from “attacking” someone that was trying to help you is an intwined facilitator.

      Them seeing dollars for them or those same dollars walking out the door isn’t so innocent, either. Not say you saw it as such, but having a motive for doing something doesn’t make it non-assaultive. It really is just doing something with a specific reason behind it, instead of it just being a wanton inclination.

  78. Kleigh says:

    Hear in the state woman are asked for the date of there last pap smear, usualy by a nurse. I Did vist a walk in clinic for a non gyn issue. And the nurse there was really kind . The problem i had there was is that before they whould see you, the nurse whould ask you health history questions and when it came to ” when was your last pap smear.” I said That i didnt have them. So of course the nurse did have a date to type in the computer. And the computer whould not allow this nurse to go to the next question with out typing in the date numbers. So he had to widen the box and that took a while and type that i had not had one.

  79. Diane Spero says:

    i have never been able to have an exam. i have abuse issues, i am vey small, and have ben abused by gyn’s i gave up after many times of no exam no help! waste of time and money!
    i have suffered for yrs by going to gyn’s.
    i have never had any issues so i why traumitize myself!

    i feel pelvic exams violate women. its body and choose who i let examine it!

  80. Donna says:

    I have just re-read the article entitled “Gentlemen Don’t Look Up Ladies’ Skirts” at http://www.modestyxxx.com, and I don’t regard the author as a “possessive and jealous” person, but rather a caring and sympathetic man. Ladies, tell me where he degrades women patients? He does recognize the contributions of male doctors to women’s health over the last 150 years. What is wrong with that? He does insist that it is improper for a male doctor to perform such an intimate exam, especially now that female doctors are available. Do you disagree?

    The main point of the article is to show, using psychology research, that male doctor’s cannot block out intimate thoughts while doing a pelvic exam. As he says there is no “off-switch” despite male doctors insistence that for them the vagina is nothing but another fold of the body. He condemns the male doctors who provide no proof about the non-sexual nature of the exam. He mocks them for simply asserting that they see no sexuality between their female patients legs.

    On Dr. Sherman’s site about patient modesty, I notice that Dr. Sherman is very critical of this article and claims that pelvic exams are “disgusting,” quit and insult to females. Similarly, on Dr. Bernstein’s modesty site there is more opposition to the article. Simply put – medical doctors do not like to read this material. It hits too close to home and exposes their little secret as to how they manipulate of women patients. Karen doesn’t like what is said. What do some of the others on this site think about this article?

    • BethK says:

      I just re-read “Gentlemen don’t look up ladies skirts” too. There are a few mis-statements, such as the ones about how male doctors have improved women’s lives and lifespans, and how J. Marion Simms gave such “life improving surgeries” to slave women. He *practiced* surgeries, or experimented with new surgeries on slave women who could not refuse. Anesthesia was unsafe at the time, so was unused. He did dozens of surgeries on some of these poor women! Many of the women became horibly disfigured and with painful, life-limiting conditions caused by those surgeries. Some died. Moreover, the safety of medical care and surgery was most advanced by the technique of WASHING ONE’S HANDS before and after touching or operating on a patient. Midwives were doing it far earlier. Note too that when doctors figured this out, they soon jumped into the field of obstetrics and dismissed the midwives as “untrained” “unscientific” or “outright dangerous to the lives of mothers and babies” The notion of the pap tests cutting down on cervical cancer – which has always been a rare – was in decline before the pap test hit the market. Then, a slick advertising campaign has managed to convince all women how much risk they are under, and how they are walking cancers waiting to happen. Then, at the same time, the medical literature does not require that equipment used in vaginas be sterile – gloves are taken from community glove boxes, then touch the door handle, the furniture, the chart… and use a speculum rinsed off in the same sink that one washes dirty hands from wound care. With the use of these unsterile instruments, one is being exposed to numerous previous patients that the same equipment is used on. If one comes down with an infection of some type without explanation, the handy excuse is the “dormancy theory” – you caught it from someone years ago and it has lain dormant for years or decades – which has never been demonstrated.

      Life expectency and quality of life has improved for women – and also men and children. The major things that hold disease at bay have been a combination of clean water in nearly all houses, sanitation, garbage collection, central heating, and an availability of a wide range of foods to nearly all people throughout the year.

      This might change with the advent of so many strains of antibiotic resistant bacteria – which are becoming more and more common throughout healthcare facilities and the community. No new antibiotics are under development by any company in any country. It is not wrong to say we’re in the post-antibiotic era – and soon medical care will be as risky as it was in the 18th century.

      • Mary says:

        Yes Beth and what angers me is that doctors here in Australia blame patients for antibiotic resistance because of patients asking doctors for antibiotics when they don’t need them. Give me a break. Who made patients think that they needed them for colds in the first place? Lazy doctors who wrote out a prescription to get patients put the door as quickly as possible. Doctors have stuffed up the miracle of antibiotics as much as they stuffed up cervical screening ie by screening and treating inappropriately. Morons.

      • bethkz says:

        Mary, the doctors and medical industry blame patients for antibiotic resistance too, claiming they are asking their doctors for antibiotics when they don’t need them (e.g., viral infections). Signs about this have been in doctor’s offices and PSAs for decades, and… who writes these inappropriate prescriptions, anyway? It’s not the patients! They are blaming farmers for using antibiotics on healthy animals – a practice which was made illegal in 2005. They don’t consider the issue of antibiotic resistance in institutions where medications are given sporadically (like prisons)

  81. Steve says:

    has anyone experienced women that actually enjoy these exams? My ex-wife did, eventually destroyed our marriage, she would constantly make excuses that she needed a hospital visit and always insisted on me staying which I eventually hated her for. One time a well respected local gynecologist walked out of the exam in disgust because he realised what she was doing. Am I the only person that has ever experienced this?

    • adawells says:

      Hi Steve, it is good to hear from the male view point on this. A work colleague of mine adores her pap smears and confided in me that she has a real crush on the doctor there, which is probably her real reason for having them. She is someone whom I try not to bump into in the corridor, but when I do, just hearing her latest news makes me want to be sick. She’s mid-fifties and divorced. At another place I worked at, there was one woman, who used to get a string of dates from a dating agency, and then spend the next day at work telling everyone about how their physical attributes didn’t meet her expectations. She would really make derogatory remarks about them, and this must have been difficult for male staff members in the room at the time. It is not uncommon to find these predatory females and the middle-aged women seem to be the worst!

      • Karen says:

        So bizarre… sounds like it is a form of compensating, some kind of stockholm syndrome? There is quite a bit of theory about eroticising power structures.

  82. Alex says:

    To me it just sounds like she’s old & doesn’t get get any attention down there from anyone else. It IS possible for a woman to use a doctor as a gigilo or a hooker (I presume the term “hooker” would apply to lesbian scenarios, too).

  83. Donna says:

    Karen, Beth and others – The article entitled “Gentlemen Don’t Look Up Ladies Skirts” at http://www.modestyxxx.com has been revised and the paragraph about Dr. Sims has been removed. The author has added excerpts from a book “Women and Doctors” by Dr. John M. Smith, which you will find very interesting. Dr. Smith, a long-time gynecologists, has some very damning things to say about fellow male doctors. The original paragraph about Sims was a single comment that did recognize the controversial place of Sims in medicine. The article is many pages long and a searing commentary on male doctors. The author has researched medical literature, psychology and anthropology to find evidence of male voyeurism – well entrenched in the genetic make-up of the male. Let’s make use of it to inform other women about the predatory nature of males.

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