Family Doctors: Lay Your Speculums Down . . .

Women are having a difficult time accessing health care without being coerced into a pap test.  Some women are bullied to the point of having to leave without having the reason for their doctors visit addressed.  This is a far cry from informed consent.  It is also endangering women’s health.

It is high time family doctors had their speculums confiscated.  If a woman is having worrisome gynecological symptoms or if she wants to be screened for cervical cancer (which by the way is RARE) by having a pap test, then the woman should be referred to a gynecologist.  Gynecologists should be the sole keepers of the coveted speculum.  This way a woman will be able to go to a family doctor or clinic without being coerced into stripping and spreading her legs before she can gain access to other health care.  It will also free family doctors to focus on other parts of a woman’s body.

For information on unreliability of pap smear results (Between 10 and 60 percent of all Pap smears are incorrectly analyzed):

For statistics on prevalence of cervical cancer

For article written by three female doctors regarding unnecessary pelvic exams: jwh.2010.2349 (application/pdf Object)For article summarized:

For information related to increasing costs of healthcare due to unnecessary pelvic exams: Requiring Women To Undergo Unnecessary Annual Exams For Birth Control Highlights Costs Of Overtreatment | ThinkProgress.

For female doctor’s opinion on being pressured into having pap smears:

For story of women being bullied into pap tests:


  1. GP’s in the UK (and Australia, I believe) receive financial incentives for a wide variety of ‘public health issues’, and that includes cervical screening – something few women are aware of. It’s apparent to me that GP’s only become concerned with a health issue when they have targets to reach. Before the screening program came in, no-one gave two hoots about this disease here. Now most women have been trained to view their female organs as ‘ticking timebombs’ simply so the authorities can tick boxes and doctors can fill their wallets.
    As for gynecologists… I despise them and their nonsense ‘ology’. Having had some experience as a patient in that department, I’ve found them to be arrogant, patronising, and frankly, appallingly ignorant. And considering that a large proportion of them are male, no amount of medical *education* (which seems to largely based on beliefs and traditions rather than scientific evidence) can teach them to have genuine respect for the female form.
    If we want GP’s to stop bullying, the government needs to stop rewarding them for doing so.
    If we want gynecologists to start respecting their patients instead of treating them like cash cows, we need to knock them off their pedestals.
    That starts with us.
    If the suffragettes were here today, they’d be sickened by the kind of abuses we’ve been tolerating all these years, in the name of ‘care’. Time for a revolution, methinks.

    By the way, hospitals here are now so overstretched that GP’s are being penalised for referring people to hospital – so if you’re genuinely ill and you need testing/treatment, your GP may be reluctant to help you because their practice loses money.
    On the other hand, there’s always room for you in the colposcopy clinic! Go figure.

  2. Before choosing a family practice doctor, consider the services these physicians offer. From attention to all aspects of your family’s health, continuing growth and change as professional physicians, to developing a continuous relationship with you as a patient, a family practice physician offers many useful services.Amazing post! ..

  3. Dear ‘family physician’, many women will read your post and snort with derision. Women are treated like a collection of reproductive organs, and frequently denied care for existing medical problems until they submit to doctors ‘requirements’. Your self-serving and utterly irrelevant post will do nothing to alleviate the contempt some women have for your profession. Yes, a family doctor CAN offer useful services – but when you *offer* healthcare, are you serving the patient who pays your wages, or simply looking out for yourself? Hmmm.
    By the way, here in Britain we can’t choose a family doctor – a quack at our local practice takes us on as a patient. I don’t think I’ve ever seen mine. I have to jump through burning hoops just to get to see ANY doctor these days.
    I think Katrina’s post is spot-on. GP’s here have a wide variety of health checks they’re obliged by their lords and masters to conduct – they have targets to reach and often receive financial rewards for doing so. This means that when one is ill, your GP is usually more keen in doing unrelated tests and checks in order to get their perfomance pay than actually addressing the symptoms you came in with! At least, as a man, I don’t have to put up with the ‘When was your last pap smear’ routine at every visit – but my wife has got so fed up with this obsession with her genitals that she avoids GP’s like the plague. Preventative medicine is a great principle, but too many people are being caught in the net when they shouldn’t be, and in the meantime, the people who are genuinely ill are being neglected because of those damned incentives.
    And let’s not forget the vast amount of money that’s gobbled up by these ‘programs’ – money which would probably save many more lives if invested elsewhere in the healthcare system.
    Too many snouts in the trough these days, I’m afraid. Too many egomaniacs who puff out their chests with pride when they claim they’re *saving lives* when in fact, the vast majority of the time, they’re making healthy people sick. First do no harm?

    • Good points Scott! They echoed my experiences and really got me thinking …

      For all of the empty rhetoric and lofty value-statements made about client-centred care, the system functions in a corporate, coercive, patriarchal, authoritarian & non-collaborative manner. It violates basic principles of human rights and social justice. A quick read of the posts on this site provides all the evidence one needs to know that is true. The system is undoubtedly full of good people (as well as some who are undoubtedly something else) who are so deeply brainwashed by the systemic rot that they cannot even see that they are part of the corruption. It galls me that someone I know was “kicked out” of a GP practice for declining to participate in regular pap smears (and this is called “health care”?) at the same time that there are no GP’s in my city accepting new patients because they are too “busy” to accept people who might be in legitimate need of the “many useful services” described in the family physician comment above.

      To any other health care providers who might read the posts on this site:

      SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND (you have 2 ears and one mouth for a reason) – Stop and listen carefully to the lived experience expressed by the voices on this site .

      DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU THINK. Take the time to read the evidence that is posted in relation to the issues. There is a high likelihood that your thinking on these issues has been corrupted by misinformation presented as evidence. Take the time to question the accuracy and helpfulness of what you’ve been conditioned to think.

      BECOME PART OF THE SOLUTION. Examine your own actions – is your practice one that would contribute to the alienation, distrust and harms reported by the women on this site? If so, drop your defensiveness, STOP trying to change their minds and start respecting their experiences by changing how you practice. If you believe in client-centred care, informed-consent, and preventative care, start practicing in a way that develops and maintains the type of relationships that are foundational to it’s achievement.

  4. Im a low income woman and I would qualify for free doctors visits (including dental and prescriptions) at a free clinic (nearly 90 miles from my house). I recently had to have a tooth extracted (cost me $275 which I had to borrow from family) when I refused a pap smear and was told without one I couldn’t receive services from the free clinic. It made me sick that I would be refused the help I need because I wont let a doctor (basically) rape me. Be raped and get free dental – not an equal trade.

  5. Many women in Ontario are going to naturopaths for cervical treatments and even pap testing. The naturopaths send the tests to labs outside of Ontario at the cost of the patient. This is so that the results will not be reported to cytobase. This also makes a problem when a patient is “registered” to a doctor in Ontario because they are not supposed to see another doctor.

    Once an abnormal pap is in the cytobase it can registered as referred to colpsoscopy. Only ASCUS with HPV negative would not register as referred to colposcopy. Every other negative pap would. Once the code for colposcopy is put in it cannot be cleared until the women is released from the colposcopist’s “care” (or torture).

    Even if a women can clear her CIN with natural treatments the code remains in the cytobase. The woman can do nothing to clear the code herself and only by attending a colpscopy.

    So really who is the cytobase serving.

    • Sounds like Canada is quite bossy with their medical situations. Someone is not supposed to see someone other than who they are assigned to do business with?

      Do they keep nagging the woman to get this exam & don’t stop until it’s registered that she’s done so?

  6. This makes me extremely nervous. I was on my parents insurance until I turned 18 and have only recently purchased my own insurance 8 years later. I can only afford HMO (previously had poo) and it requires I have a go on file. I’ve only had 1 gynecological exam and was not warned in any way (I had a pap at this visit despite being a 15 year old virgin). I’ve avoided doctors since so a bit over 10 years ago. Glad I found this site. I’m terrified to see a doctor. Any suggestions?

    • One thing is to be more self-sufficient with your health. Rosemary Gladstar has a few herbal books & they all mention risks or alternative uses for women (one’s even titled Herbal Healing for Women). The Herbal Recipes one is good & has sections for men, women, children, and old people (it also mentions Mayan Uterine Massage- which is an external stomach rub that prevents & fixes quite a few problems women can get).

      There’s also a book Rainforest Home Remedies that mentions things for men, women, and children (the plants aren’t always as hard to come by as you’d think & it gives suggestions on where to get the ones that are). It also gives instructions on how to do that Mayan Massage that was mentioned earlier (the Herbal Recipes book doesn’t give a how-to guide on it). If you type in things along these lines, you’ll probably be able to find others.

      Dealing with doctors: it can be very good to know the term “iatrogenic detriment.” It’s a fancy (and legally intimidating) way of saying any problem generated by medical treatment or advice (it also applies to shrinks, dentists, nurses, etc…). It sounds like what would come up in court is them saying “But that’s a medical procedure” and the response being “And this medical situation is a problem.” Another thing is to not ask questions, make statements. It’s not up to them to make decisions & it doesn’t matter whether they agree with you or not. If you ask them something, it leaves room for lying.

      Look at something: Properties don’t change because of designation. After all, if a doctor were to poison someone with a needle, it’s still murder- a situation is what it consists of. This applies to sexually assaultive things as well. To clarify: any interface with sexual areas as a product of someone else’s decision-making is an attack, the variation doesn’t matter. So if we were to take the general situation with birth control (at least in America) as an example, them saying “You don’t get this without letting us probe you” is now coercive iatrogenic attack with reproductive endangerment (because there’s also a massive amount of risk & inaccuracy to these tests, as well).

      The law can be tricky. You’re only dealing with actions to begin with & anything at all can be sanctioned, anyway. The thing is that someone can’t very well go into court and say “What happens ISN’T what occurs” & still have any ground to stand on. A massive amount of things with antagonistic medical situations are based on this concept, though. It’s something that is usually not articulated, it’s just more or less implied. Elaborating on the mechanics tends to “unfog the scope.”

      I know this post was a bit long, but if you want more I’d be happy to add to it.

  7. I don’t understand what you are asking.

    If you are terrified of seeing a doctor then why pay for health insurance if you are not going to use it. Go see a herbalist or naturopath.

    Is it just about pelvic exams that you have a fear? If you do not want a pelvic exam then just say no. You will be harrassed at every opportunity. Any threats to drop your care, ask for a signed dated letter stating the exact reasons why. Deal with that legally if it comes up.

    Otherwise wear a pad when you go, say you have your period, refuse appointments without a reason given why (I was called in office for fat shaming and cancer blaming I did not ask for appointment just told doctor wants to see you) . Just go when you are sick. If anything gyno comes up that is bad enough for you to want help you probably will not feel to bashful, more desperate, but ask for a female practitioner.

    Take prenatal vitamins even if you are not trying to get pregnant. Do not smoke or use hormone birth control. So not use illegal drugs or excess alcohol. Drink 8 glasses of water per day. There are other ways to help you stay healthy as well. Get on the internet and do some research. If you are healthy you do not need a doctor. They could just be used for emergencies, accidents.

    • Not to split hairs, Moo, but the 8 glasses of water might not be such a good idea if there’s chemicals in it. Look up “effects of flouride.” Same with the vitamins- if they’re synthetic at the very least it won’t be likely to absorb well & what it’s made of might also cause problems (some of the osteoporosis medicine seems to have flouride/flourine in it, which does bad things for your bones, brain, and hormones).

      Also, alcohol has some health benefits if you don’t destroy your liver with it. It seems that smoking (again, with some degree of moderation) has some benefits, too. Possibly preventing Alzheimer’s & either preventing or curing Parkinson’s are two that I’ve heard of. It does something of a brain boost, I guess.

    As usual so called fact turns into myth.
    Apparently, much of the research that resulted in this recommendation was funded by those containing vested interests, producers of bottled water.
    If you have a balanced diet, you’ll get water from your food and then dink when you’re thirsty, your body will tell you, if you go to the gym, your body will tell you to dink more. I’d have a couple of glasses a day, more if it’s warm, I’m walking etc.
    You can actually die from drinking too much water, they finally worked out that was causing deaths on the Kokoda Trail, many of them were young people, I think it causes sodium levels to drop.

    Hi Southern Momma
    My advice to young women, do your reading, get informed, only see doctors when there is a need, doctor- shop, find a doctor you can work with and challenge, if need be…the power dynamic is important. If a doctor tries to coerce you, leave and make a complaint.

    If you want the Pill, look for a doctor who does not use that consult to pressure/coerce you into excess. There are numerous articles that confrm breast and pelvic exams are unnecessary for the pill (in fact they are unnecessary in all asymptomatic women) and pap tests are like colonoscopies, your choice. If you choose to screen for cc,.consider an evidence based program, you could self-test for HPV when you turn 30. About 95% of women will be HPV- and cannot benefit from pap testing.
    If HPV- you might choose to re-test for HPV in 5 years time to cover the risk of a new infection.
    I don’t test at all, I’m not prepared to accept much risk at all for a rare event. I also, don’t have breast screening, the risks of screening exceed any benefit there according to reliable evidence. I’ve never had visual inspections of my genitals, routine bimanual pelvic, rectal or breast exams, none are evidence based and all carry risk.
    This site is a great first step, read, read and read some more.
    Welcome to the site and please, enjoy your life and value and trust your symptom-free body. Don’t worry about pap tests etc. get informed and you’ll find you worry less.
    Knowledge is power, the medical profession relies on our ignorance and compliance. (and quietly accepting bad, unethical or even, criminal, treatment)

  9. not only drs push exams no here in fl us ( the office staff decides if you can have an apt). i wasn’t sure about this endro. so i had some cancel for me. just said i needed to tend to m elderly mom.
    i got a message ( quit nasty) saying i can’t come there because i hav canceled apts.
    my mom and other older people do it alot. they can can change your appointment or make you wait hrs, it more about $$$$$ and paper work.
    i do feel i have been black listed from drs wish i could prove it!

    its seems medical care is only a few previlaged people.

    i find most medical staff very rude and no respect for a person wanting medical help.
    so many bitches few nice one.

    i left a message with the drs office asking for a supervisior.
    if my first contact with that dr’s office is that nasty than i feel my gut was right to say no!

  10. I was raped by a make gynecologist and damaged. Its been a year. My physical health has declined dramatically and all authoritative figures who are supposed to protect us did nothing. Im left to deal with my health problems alone. What I have learned is that they basically took my life. This is a very real problem and it seems prevalant in 45-50 year old women. They blame menapause etc. To actually get me in the stirrups they witheld hormone testing even though it was perfectly clear i was in menapause. I finally agreed to a pap out of desperation and this man took large amounts of tissue and cut and scraped my insides causing prolapse among other things. They fix it so we are at their mercy. This is true evil and I have no doubt God will ounish them. I was a clean unsexual woman. I believe they wanted my tissue fir research and to damage my body for population reasons. I will never come back from this. He stretched open my vagina so wide with speculum it hangs open and still is painful year later.

  11. Hi Tricked. I’m so sorry about your experience it must have been awful. I hope you find inner strength to fight back from this and get well. It would be best if you avoid gynos from now on, i was going to say male gynos but women ones are no better. If you think something isn’t quite right don’t go racing off to the nearest doctor. Sit back take a deep breath and search for answers yourself. Get medical books or search the internet this is only what docs do anyway. See if there are any natural cures. Always ask pharmasists or even older women.
    I’m afraid even if you go to docs even with a bad case of dandruff while you are telling them about it, their minds are spinning in overdrive worrying how soon they can convince you they need to get into your vagina in order to cure you.
    You have got your fingers burnt but you will live the rest if your life free knowing you will never be in that situation again.

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