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 home HPV self test kits: https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l1357
I thought we were the only site that supports the right to refuse apps. I found a a blog by Dr. Joel Sherman. “Informed Vincent is misssing from Pap smears.” The comments for a breath of greasy air. Other woman are waking up. This my have been mentioned on heAr before but I had to let everyone know.
I’m sorry auto correct keeps messing with my words.
Thank you for pointing to Joel Sherman’s article. I’ll bet he caught a great deal of flack from the medical community for that. I just posted the article to my FB page. I have posted statistics on there before about gyn “exams” etc. And I get a lot of push back. Not surprising. But if I can reach one or two people, it will be worth. I don’t know how long it will take women to accept this “pelvic exam” hoax has been nothing but systemic oppression of women and a money maker. It ma never happen with my generation; maybe my daughter’s?
That’s what I keep thinking. Too late for me, but so worried for my daughter who is going to come in for all this crap in a few years time. I can’t sit back and do nothing. We have to do it for them.
That’s great the you made others aware of Dr. Shermans bling. It might open some womans eyes about this subject.
On a side note has anyone noticed more sensorship on the questioning of these exams? Especially on google searches?
Kleigh, I’ve been looking for the MNT (Medical News Today) website which had posts going back years called something like “Low uptake of screening due to painful process”. A number of us and many other UK women had posted on here, and it seems to have disappeared.
I also had an email reply to 2 of my posts on the NHS website which had been stuck with the moderator for weeks. They didn’t get posted, but I got a personal reply.
Yes, I do think they are out there “clearing up” the internet. I do hope nothing happens to this site. It should go down in history as a record of women’s suffering at the hands of the medical profession.
I would hope no censoring is going on. The medical lobby in the US is pretty strong; I have no clue what influence they have over media and search results in the internet. I wanted to share something; I’m back in school for the second time in my life, and I’m currently taking a research class, using statistics, etc. Not my favorite thing to do, but it’s helping me learn data management, which helps me with self educating on all this medical stuff I abhor. The other day, our professor said something very simple, and very profound: Correlation does not mean causation. And she went on to say that all good research must take into account many different variables before reaching conclusions. I thought of the propaganda about CC going “down due to pap testing” or alternatively CC going back up again because women weren’t getting pap tested enough. Which is not only a blatent lie, but it’s crap. This is what the medical establishment is doing: taking “research” and reaching erroneous conclusions designed to instill fear and generate money. At our expense. All the more reason we just need to ignore it all, educate our daughters to stay in charge of their own bodies and ignore any “invitations” they receive, and just get on with our lives. My daughter is now in her 20s and I really need to talk to her about my decision to stop all this gyn nonsense, and why. I just want her to make her own informed decision about her own body and her health care.
When I have searched for any advocacy efforts against this medical misinformation, I have a very hard time finding anything. It took me a long time to stumble onto this site, as a matter of fact. I can’t beleive there isn’t more advocacy going on out there against this systemic harassment. There is a another forum called “Women Against Stirrips” which I haven’t looked for in a while. Are there any other groups out there? I have weighed in in other medical sites about this issue, and as I’m sure you can all imagine, I get eviscerated every time.
What exactly is Daily Fail? (I’m in the US; I seem to be the Lone Ranger in the US on this site. Guess that shows how far away American women are to coming to their senses.)
Click to access 9f05540bc54cfb7948898f5c43649872fe9a.pdf
Well I no sooner was bemoaning the lack of any research or advocacy in the US about pelvic exam harassment, than I did some googling and found this article. I scanned the beginning, need to read the rest. It appears to be set up in reference to some regulatory frameworks about using public aid funds in the US. This just makes me hate the medical profession even more than I already do.
I haven’t noticed Google myself but trying to get anything posted on Daily Fail that’s not a “smear tests save lives” post usually falls foul of the moderator.
Shelli, the “Daily Fail” is actually the British tabloid “Daily Mail.” (dailymail.com). I think you and I are among only a few US posters here. Women against stirrups is still around, just not as active as it once was. I had seen and enjoyed your postings there from several years ago, glad you found your way here!
Thank you – yes, I’ve heard of Daily Mail, didn’t know it carried that nickname!
Shelli, I’ve been posting on websites that self-testing should be an option, and even the odious Jo’s Tosh is now campaigning for self-testing, however, about 2 years ago, I did get a response from a very influential professor in this field telling me that self-testing would never be a part of the British programme. I think Jo’s are pushing, because at the current rate of attrition, there won’t be anybody left in the programme if they don’t, so hopefully, this will force a rethink. I have seen one woman post that she’s postponing screening until the HPV test comes out. Might be a long wait, as it’s now been postponed until Dec 2019.
As far as the legality issue goes, the act of sending women all these demands has become illegal in UK since 1998, but the British government introduced a new law called Section 251 which means that in the face of a national disease epidemic, the population can be sent call up letters for medical testing. I can hear you say that cervical cancer is hardly a national epidemic, so they got a “research” paper published about this time called, “The cervical cancer epidemic that screening has prevented in the UK,” J. Peto which all NHS literature refers back to and has become the sole source of “evidence” our programme is based on. It’s the one that also claims the programme saves 5,000 lives every year, and uses projections from way back to show how the UK would be swamped with cervical cancer if it wasn’t for our glorious programme. Just about all new UK research papers I’ve seen always refer back to this one paper by Peto.
No wonder they get so tetchy online when we question their efficacy as it would no longer be deemed an “epidemic”! They can send as many letters out as they like, but they cannot get around the concept of consent. No consent = no test. The power really is in women’s hands but the lengths the screening authorities are going to to cling onto its survival is worrying. What will happen when the attendance level fall far below the threshold? Will they eventually and reluctantly concede defeat? Or are we looking at draconian methods such as compulsory call-ups to reinvigorate the screening programme. I thought primary HPV testing would change the direction of this programme but I seem to be wrong. The NHS/ Whoever really is determined to make sure screening survives at all costs. The good news is that so far, younger women are resisting these efforts as the numbers are dropping further and further every year.
Hopefully the figures will fall under the 70% viable threshold about next March, which is why we can expect a whole vomit load of pink propaganda being aired at this time, including the new Channel 4 biopic of Jade Goody, which is in production at the moment. Yes it’s the 10 year anniversary of her death, so expect it to be everywhere. Pleased to see a lot of people posting what an ignorant, racist bully she was, so hopefully the passing of the years will have allowed people to turn more against her and it won’t get the support they are expecting it to.
Ada – Channel 4?! Hardly anyone watches that tosh anymore.
from what I was reading Ms Goody seems to have had high risk problems from the start and had treatment before she went intoo the original big bore house. for abnormal cells etc. Then why oh why did this wonderous intrusive test not go on to save her like they are screaming out. Because she is the perfect icon to bully women into these unreliable tests.
Jade Goody had adenocarcinoma of the cervix, this type of cc is usually missed by smear testing but that doesn’t stop these programs from using these cases to sell smear tests. It’s considered fine to mislead women in this way. It may be women have passed away or ended up having a hysterectomy because they relied on a false negative smear test.
When you lie to women, the focus is the program…not the welfare of women.
Goody also had treatment for abnormal cells at 16 or so…a teenager should never be pap tested in the first place. There’s no doubt in my mind she was over-treated. I recall Goody saying that early experience traumatized her. Pretty shocking that they still intend to lie and use Jade Goody to sell smears…ten years after her death.
I tend to avoid this issue a lot (which is why I have not posted on here for a while. It isn’t the fabulous community and the contributors I avoud, it’s the whole screening agenda). It just riles me up to such an extent that I feel I need to forget about it for a while as I made the decision long ago that screening would never be a part of my life.
However, after a period of relative calm, I’ve noticed a mini-avalanche of “awareness” surrounding this issue, and it reminds me that there is more work to be done.
The key is informing women to allow them to make their own decisions, I think and to encourage them to stand firm should they wish to refuse testing. I still post online whenever I can (especially the Daily Fail), and the number of supportive comments and upvotes increase every time I go on there. I recall an article they posted around two years ago which even illuminated the problems with cervical screening, so bit by bit, the enthusiasm is cooling.
Lately, I’ve been thinking of more ways to highlight informed consent. The rights of women in the context of inappropriate touching has been very prominent of late a la the #MeToo campaign. Women are entering further education like never before and they all have access to information about screening via the internet. Surely, you’d think that doctors would be aware that more women are aware that they can refuse this test.
Spurred on by a recent experience with my GP, I’m contemplating writing to my practice, reminding them of their legal obligations to adhere to informed consent and telling them that a great many of my female friends and relatives are on their books, so if I am made aware of any potential coercion falling foul of the law, I will be encouraging them to take matters further.
I’m not sure what to make of this. Not saying it will at all be useful but it’s grounded in the theory that nurses and doctors might be a little more cautious in adopting high-pressure tactics in the current climate, as opposed to the eighties and nineties when they operated without license.
I might be tempted to write further to other practices reminding them of their legal obligations to respect informed consent.
I don’t like thinking that any of these places might enjoy a spike in screening numbers due to pressure tactics, so just throwing that idea out there.
Goid grief, I hate these people.
I appreciate your words. And that informed consent must include the indisputable scientifically validated data that cervical cancer is rare, and other occurrences of illness and death in women are much more prevalent, and should be focused on instead. And yes, in the end, it’s our choice, which is to be accepted with no arguing.
also reading on this further she also had further testing which came in clear , a large tumour was then acually missed by the hospital which goes to prove how unreliable these tests are. It seems that her widower is also being an antagonist in these matters stating she never went to the follow up appointments ???? I agree wholehartidly that these screening programmes are not contusive to womens health but no more than a sales tactic. I used to work in a call center selling insurance and were always told to push the benefits and any disadvantages placed on the back burner foir the buyer to figure out themselves when too late. Same with the screeing programme push and push the possitives and all the negatives pushed away so they can get maximum slaes figures.
Hi everyone. I’m in the US and i’ve followed FWEO for many years. I am so thankful for this site. It has given me piece of mind (i was right!), and helped me advocate for myself on more then one occasion.
My mom pressured me to have my first pap at 17 when it was suggested by the doctor. It led to repeat paps and colposcopy. HPV+ Everything you would expect to happen when testing a 17 year old! Life events caused my mom to lose her insurance and i moved out and put all that stuff behind me. Luckily i got out of there before any treatment was recommended.
Fast forward 6 years and i was pregnant with my first. Without consent or discussion, it was just sprung on me at my first prenatal appointment. The whole thing rubbed me the wrong way and made me feel gross. I already was dreading all the poking and prodding that’s deemed acceptable when you’re pregnant. The only good thing to come out of it was a normal pap and HPV- result. Proof!
I started reading articles and comments here and i felt not crazy, and more confident in my choice to screen, or not screen. I am not reckless or immature. I’ve gone on to have another by baby and been prescribed birth control, all while standing my ground and having my decisions respectfully honored. I love this site and all the women who share stories and information here. Thank you
Hi Eva, I’m in my 39snow and have avoided doctors and my last pelvic exam was 17. Now I’m thinking if I do choose to get pregnant I will absolutely refuse the Pap smear. They can do the transvaginal ultra sound. But I want nothing to do. With the psp. I plane to flat out refuse that. I hate how it’s standard of care hear in the US prenatal care. Do you think they we’ll work with me on that. I will be prepared for a fight and walking out on them if not. From my reading other countries will never do paps on pregnant woman . So it blows my mind it’s part of pregnancy care hear in the states. I am not a robot and whould feel raped if I let them back me into one. Any advice whould be appreciated. I hate to say but I whould conceder Abortion to get out of forced paps.
Hi I’m in the same boat as you I’m 32 and never had a Pap I live in the US and I’m petrified of the obgyn I thought I was the only one who had never had a Pap .
Sorry I meant to say I’m in my 30s.
Hi everyone, haven’t posted on here for a while. Something is really bothering me so I thought I’d share it on here as you will almost certainly understand my frustration. Lately on my Facebook news feed, I’ve been getting nothing but pro-smear test posts being shoved in my face. There’s all of these messages urging women to get their Paps done, someone has created a petition to get the age in my country (UK) lowered. It’s all kicking off! I understand that my female friends are, in their minds, trying to spread awareness and get women “checked out for their own good” but honestly, after chatting with ya’ll and doing research for myself and realising how fallacious the whole thing is, and how there’s so much brainwashing and so many women being forced into spreading their legs and being violated, I just feel sick seeing all that crap in my news feed. Is anyone else here suddenly seeing all of these pro-pap smear posts or is it just me? There seems to be an explosion of them.
Hi Lady Neuroscientist – I am in the US, and I am aware of this funded program in UK which harasses women into getting Pap tests, lest their funding be pulled. I was shocked at hearing this, as it seemed like such an American thing to do. Medicine is nothing but a commercial money making endeavor here. I do see quite a lot of “articles” that appear on my Facebook feed about “Women’s Health” which all nauseate me no end. I have tried to educate women, but my audience has mostly been middle aged, and they don’t want to hear it. In fact they get really angry at me. They have been successfully conditioned to believe that their bits are dangerous and will eventually kill them. Maybe we need to start with teaching people how to do some basic research? It’s not hard, once we have the tools. That way women can look at some very real numbers and make their own informed decision. I go to credible sources like the Center for Disease Control, which doesn’t proselytize – it just reports hard numbers. The World Health Organization is a decent source, too. University studies can also be interesting sources, although you have to check where their grant money comes from, and their testing methods. And maybe the best bet is trying to reach younger women, who haven’t been subject to that conditioning yet. Although they’ll likely get an earful from their mothers. In which case there needs to be a campaign on assertiveness training, so young women can tell their moms to get out of their vajayjays.
Hi. I haven’t come across this as I don’t do Facebook.
The powers that be are trying hard to ‘ensnare’ young women into the programme as numbers attending their ‘invitations’ are in freefall.
They have taken to social media to get their message over as this is where most people hang out these days. I think most young women are aware of the pitfalls of screening and will ignore this latest campaign.
Sorry I’m a bit late to the game here! I have a serious problem that hasn’t let me sleep at night for a couple of weeks now…warning this will be a rather TMI-filled post, but I need help.
I have PTSD (diagnosed two months ago, but I had been showing symptoms for a long time) from being abused as a child. The abuse involved doctors but most of it was not sexual in any way. However I have a strong distaste for doctors and avoid them whenever possible. I am about to graduate from a very good college with a biology degree, so I usually know what is going on with my body, and I don’t feel like I need routine care—I am an athlete, eat a lot of organic food, you get the idea. Also for reference I’m a 21 year old virgin.
One complication of PTSD that a lot of people don’t know about is very very very severe menstrual pain…in the absence of any diagnosable pathology. I have severe bleeding issues (have had for three years, when PTSD symptoms first started) involving extreme shooting pains, chunks of my flesh ripping out, and bloating to the point that I look like I am three months pregnant. It keeps getting worse, and people have started noticing and commenting when I suddenly scream and fall to the ground in pain. One of my friends, also with PTSD, had the same thing, was put on like ten different drugs, told she had endo…they did the laparoscopy and found NOTHING. There is no diagnosis that can be given; the problems arise from a system of cranial nerves that extends towards the gut.
I cannot tolerate pills (even Tylenol gives me side effects) and from what I’ve read about endometrial ablation, it doesn’t work in the long run. So of course the only solution…would be a hysterectomy. I’m fine with that; I don’t want kids. I have also located very specialized surgeons—some of the best in the country—who take my health insurance. I started making some phone calls today to get registered as a “new patient.”
I told the receptionist that I did NOT want an exam but only wanted to speak to the doctor regarding potential surgery options. The receptionist literally said she could schedule me, but did not know what would in reality go down in the exam room. Not reassuring.
What I envision will happen: I will refuse an “exam,” and the doctor will refuse to help actually treat my condition (ie, conduct a surgery which, being solely through my abdomen, should not require shoving anything up my vagina). Im afraid I will 1. Have a panic attack, like last time or 2. Sprint out of the hospital, like last time, or 3. Not receive care I actually need and stay in pain indefinitely.
Any suggestions from someone with slightly more experience?
I’m not a doctor so i can’t really cant help with your symptoms. However i do know you have the right to refuse any intimate examinations you dont want.
What you are up against is a medical mind set that believes it has the right to do anything it wants to us.
If you go for a consult you will have to be very ‘firm’ with them.
You could take a wait and see approach. When you are young like you are, we very often panic when something doesn’t appear right and go rushing off to the docs. Most docs have no clue themselves and take a wait and see approach also. Or send you off for further investigations.
Often the body will heal itself but few dare to chance waiting.
I would explore other ways of healing yourself first. Ie. the internet then try herbal remedies. Or go to a pharmacy and ask there.
Sometimes there’s no getting round the fact you may need to visit a GP. Be firm and don’t take any nonsense. Many GP’s think getting into your private place is a game that they must win and they will wear you down til they do.
Stand firm get the medical care you want.
Oh no, I feel really sick…
An abdominal ultrasound has been arranged for me to check all of my organs and including my female reproductive organs because I’ve been having weird symptoms lately. Well I have just got the letter through and guess what the hell is on there?
It says I will be offered a transvaginal ultrasound!! I have nearly had a full blown panic. I know it says I will be “offered” so I can decline and I swear I’m freaking declining. I am no way spreading my legs and having some probe stuck into me when the scan can be done just externally and show the ovaries and everything just fine.
I nearly cried when I read that letter. I dont want to be over-dramatic but my god, I didn’t think it would say that. I thought it was purely external and that’s it….. 😰
Highlight the bit where it states “offered”. Underline it to make your point, and take the letter with you.
If possible, get them to focus and do the external scan first. Say that you want that done first and will discuss the transvaginal scan afterwards.
Hopefully, they’ll oblige thinkibg that you will just go along with the transvaginal one.
Then when the external one’s done, say thanks, but no thanks to the transvaginal. Show the letter to make the point.
Be prepared to tell them that legally, you are entitled to refuse it. Say you know it’s recommended, rather than “required”.
In these sorts of situations, I always use certain “buzzwords” to alert them to the fact that I know what I’m talking about, and moreover, that I’m aware of my rights.
I always say, “I’ve made an informed decision”. In my experience (though I live in the UK), they back down. Buzzwords like, “I’m not legally required to submit to this”, “I do not consent to this procedure” etc should put them on guard.
You can also use body language to emphasise the point. Sit-up, cross your arms, stand up, gather your belongings together to leave and speak calmly and firmly (I’ve found that I have done these things subconsciously without even realising). If they harp on like fishwives, say, “I’ve made my decision” or “I don’t feel there is anything further to discuss – thank you”.
Stay polite and keep it short and sweet. Do not get into a discussion with them as they’ll keep it going as long as they can. A firm response means the conversation is (usually) stopped in its tracks. I have always found this the best way to communicate with doctors – especially men.
It’s hard and extremely daunting but you can do it and you will feel so much better for doing it. I wish you luck!
Thank you so much for your advice! It is much appreciated. I have felt so shit today after seeing that on the letter. I will be polite but firm with them and let them know I’m not comfortable with the whole thing. I didn’t sign up for a wand with a condom on it being put into me, This whole thing was about an ABDOMINAL scan. The doctor never warned me I would be “offered” a vag scan.
Had the same shit in 2013. I’m in UK.
I had a referral for postmenopausal bleeding and thought the ultrasound would be the abdominal one that I had when I was pregnant, so I was not altogether too upset about going. The bitch of a doctor of mine didn’t warn me about anything else, and it was only when I got to the hospital that I realised it takes place in a pitch dark room where you can’t see anything that’s going on. I had never even heard of such a thing as a transvaginal one. I thought just how big is this darn thing? Gyno saw look of horror on my face as he tried to describe it, and said they put a condom on it.
I’d heard enough. The symptoms had cleared for a while so I picked up my bag and legged it.
Unfortunately I had further bleeding weeks later and had to go back, but this time I was referred to a lovely lady, who had clearly had experience and training with assault victims. These specialists do exist. It was not painful and not as big as a man’s penis. I asked her why I couldn’t just have the abdominal one and she said they can’t get right down to the lower cervical area with those ones. Can you ask why they need to get so low down if your problems might not be there. Can you say you’ve been assaulted in the past and ask to see someone for a more sensitive appointment?
Hi Emily and the two other ladies – Emily, my first thought when you described your fear of having a panic attack/running out of the building during the Dr. appointment was can you take someone with a strong assertive personality with you? Might you have any assertive guy friends? I once had an issue with an unpleasant arrogant male rheumatologist and for my second visit, I had my husband come with me. It definitely had a chilling effect on the dr. If that is not an option, I would search for female surgeons, and then call their offices and ask the staff if she has had trauma training. They’ll probably say “I don’t know” in which case ask them to have a nurse call you with the information. And when you do go for your visit, don’t undress, keep your coat on, keep your handbag and car keys in your lap, and be ready to walk if she cops an attitude. Your request for hysterectomy isn’t urgent, and you can take your time with this. Transvag ultrasound is weird. I’ve had it done twice. I don’t like it one bit. The attitude of the technician goes a long way to set the tone. A good tech will keep you covered; they have zero need to look at anything but the screen. They allow you to insert the wand yourself, and then they reach under the sheet so you can pass it off to them. It’s understandable that someone would not want to do this. I would bring the “offer letter” and as others suggested, underline “offered” and write in next to it “DECLINED.” Red ink. All caps. And if they harass you, leave.
Great suggestions Shelli.
You see that’s the weird thing…I believe my symptoms may be due to my thyroid or some other issue (I actually have most of the symptoms of an overactive thyroid) which can cause period problems and also stomach issues as well as many other things. There’s hardly anything to suggest symptom-wise that I have a problem with my female health except just the irregular, lighter menstrual cycle (which can have many causes.) Not sure why they are straight away talking about sticking a probe into my nether region, seems a little fast to me. I was going to tell the doctor about my concerns regarding my thyroid but you’re apparently only allowed to talk about one specific issue now at the doc appointments (that’s what they seem to only allow you to do, they seem to be eager to get rid of you a lot of the time…) so I had to just focus on my stomach and the doc asked me about my periods and that’s when I told her about all that. I don’t know, it gives me anxiety to be completely honest. I’m just gonna have to go through with the abdominal scan and tell them that I’m not comfortable about having the transvaginal one.
I will be booking another appointment in the New Year to discuss my thyroid concerns if I’m still getting symptoms and nothing shows up on the scan which I don’t think it will (hopefully not!!!)
Hopefully they will get all they need from the abdominal scan. Seeing as they can get quite low down with it, I don’t see why they should change if you’re not happy about it. Best wishes.🤗
Hi everyone, not a post about “women’s health” (RME) but I had an appointment yesterday with another specialist, and their attitude irked me. She spoke to me like I was 3 years old; kept patting me; etc. It’s this damned patriarchal, dominant white male paradigm that pervades this industry. I try to communicate to them that I am the client, and they are the provider of a service. As I’m the client, it’s my money and they are here to serve me on my terms. This is a business transaction. I never undress, regardless of what the nurse says to do. When the doc enters the room, I stand up to my full Height. I look them in the eye. I reach out and shake their hand. This is business. If it’s a male doc, I squeeze the crap out of their hand. If they seat them selves, I seat myself. I will not sit while they stand and look down on me. I speak in a firm clear voice. I probably get talked about when I leave – “She was so pushy! What a b*tch!” I wish more people would start acting this way in the presence of med personnel. So many people just blindly do things in a doc office that they’re told. And sit there like meek children in their presence. We need to think “accountant” “attorney” “electrician” when consulting with med staff. They are consultants. We need to start dismantling this overarching patriarchal attitude, which spills over into the women’s health arena. And a lot of that starts with our collective attitude and pushing back. I am never impolite. But I am firm. Thoughts?
I always stand up and shake the hand of any person I meet. I’m very tall and I usually look down on them. This helps of course if I’m feeling particularly prickly and confrontational. If any doctor started to talk to me like a child or patted me, I would remind them that I am an educated woman and I do not appreciate their patronising tone and that they do not have my consent to touch me. I am the client. They are providing a service. My builder wouldn’t pat my knee, as it could be classed as a sexual assault. Why do doctors think it ok for them to do it?
Forced into hysteroscopy, told they believe I had lumps which maybe cancer & it was all lies.
Humiliated, degraded & violated for their Sick benefit.
Pictures taken, used for student practice complete loss of dignity & autonomy.
Horrendous abuse by both male & female gynecologists. The NHS as an horrendous history of sexual abuse/ assault of women, they can’t be trusted, corrupt to the core & they wonder why the life expectancy of women is declining with this legalized abuse.
What’s striking is that doctors both male and female (the females are operating within a paternal paradigm), are very attuned to female psychology. They know that pressure tactics such as, “you must”, “you should”, or “you’re required” often works. If not, it’s, “you’re irresponsible”, “think of your family”, “this could save your life”. They know that pressure and guilt-tripping women works.
As women, most of us are not so good at reading theirs. I feel in order to get them to take the hint, we need to communicate to them in a language that they understand. So I certainly agree that we should all be treating this as a business transaction. That means no explaining why you don’t want screening, no display of emotion, no submission to guilt-tripping tactitcs or coercive language. Knowing that GPs are collecting data at every opportunity, I always try to tell them as little as possible (unless it’s related to symptoms for an on-going condition), and no opening up. These people are not friends, they are not to be trusted and if you were to get into a discussion with them about screening, they’d twist whatever you say to imply that you’re “scared” or misinformed and come up with innovative suggestions to overcome barriers to screening.
You only need give very brief responses and NO explanations.
If I ever get a blank (which happens a lot), I at least remember to say I’ve made an informed decision not to screen, and if the harping continues, I’ll make sure to mention that by law, I can refuse any medical procedure or treatment. That should at least be the point where alarm bells ring and they back off!
Thank you, Apocalyptic Queen, for your wise words. You are so correct. Maintain distance, reveal nothing. I have actually thought of coming right out and saying “You have been educated under a patriarchal dominant white male paradigm.” And then fall silent and let them sit there trying to wrap their brain around that. Their eyes would glaze over! I haven’t don’t that yet, but I think if I ever were harassed, I’d be tempted. I think I would also be tempted to say “My money. My body. My boundaries.” Don’t you all in the UK pay hefty taxes that fund the NHS? Telling them it’s your money reinforces the idea that this is just a business transaction. We are purchasing a service. And “My body, my boundaries” communicates that they do NOT get access to our private areas, and that we regard such harasssment about our private body parts tantamount to sexual assault. These medical morons want us to believe that medical “procedures” in our private parts is non sexual. Bullsh*t. We do not distinguish between gyn and sex offender.
* Yours was 1 of the articles I found once I finally decided to find out if other women felt the same way. Thank You
Today was going to be just another typical day. I had an audition, then a five hour photo shoot. At the audition office, I patiently waited to be called in, knowing I had to be on set in 20 minutes. Finally, they called me in, I sat in front of the camera. The director and her other female assistant explained the purpose of the spot. They were trying to destigmatize the embarrassment of female issues such as periods and their symptoms, leaky bladders, and more. The profits from the sales of the product would partly be used to donate feminine products to women and young ladies who don’t have access to them, and consequently miss school and/or work. I was handed a script and told to read whichever spot spoke to me. One of them basically described how I’ve felt on and off for several years, but constantly these past several months.
It said something like this:
My body is hiding a secret. I’m constantly trying to “fix” it. I am not a problem, My body is not broken.
I read this to camera over and over because I couldn’t get it out smoothly. After starting to internalize what I was repeating out loud, really to myself, I lost it again. The tears started pouring, I briefly explained what I’d been struggling with to the director. The two women were very comforting, and patently waited for me to finish my audition until I was satisfied. But for my reaction to really make sense, I would’ve had to start from the beginning.
When I was 19, I went in for my first pelvic exam at the Student Health Center, CSUN. I was nervous, but didn’t really think anything of it since I knew it was routine and hadn’t heard much about it. My doctor barely looked at me while she asked the routine questions and wrote in her notes. As I laid face up, feet in stirrups, my naked bottom half spread eagle in a stranger’s face, I tried not to look at the gigantic plastic speculum waiting on the tray next to me. The doctor told me when she was inserting it, and told me to relax. I concentrated on doing just that. She then forced the speculum inside of me and condescendingly said “It’s just gonna hurt more if you tighten.”
I froze. I was in so much pain, I couldn’t breathe, talk, or move any part of body. The insertion, opening, and swabbing of my cervix with a long Q-tip probably took 60 seconds or less, but it felt like an eternity. When she finally removed the speculum I just quietly waited for her to leave the room. The second I was alone I started bawling. I struggled to get my clothes back on because I still had the feeling of being paralyzed for some reason. It was like trying to run during a nightmare, but you end up moving only in slow motion. I didn’t want to be in that room a second longer, but I also wasn’t ready to face the world outside. There was no safe space to gather myself and be comfortable again. After the appointment, I think I went back to my dorm and got in bed. I was sore for at least another 24 hours.
6 years later I found myself having vaginal discomfort. I didn’t have a primary care doctor so I went to Planned Parenthood. As soon as this doctor told me she would have to do an internal pelvic exam, I completeley lost it. However, after explaining my past experience she was very understanding, cracked jokes trying to ease my nerves, and found an extremley small “Vienna sausage” speculum, as she called it. I finished the exam, got antibiotics for a bacterial infection from reception, went to my car and called my best friend, all the while, still sobbing.
I am now 36 years old. Seeing photos of speculums freaks me out, thinking about even calling to make an appointment for a pelvic exam makes my eyes water. Just my luck, this past year was plagued with chronic UTIs and other vaginal health issues. I’ve seen so many doctors, but no one can seem to fix the problem longterm. I avoided it as much as I could, but eventually agreed to get a proper pelvic exam.
A nurse I’d seen prior advised my current doctor that I’d probably need a sedative in order to do the exam. Well, she didn’t believe her. I had a feeling that she wouldn’t, so I took half of a “special” brownie before the appointment. Then, the time came for the exam. The doctor gently started to insert the speculum, I concentrated on breathing deeply and relaxing, but my maximum pain tolerance had been reached. She told me to let her know when she could start to open the speculum. What?! The idea of this foreign object inside me opening even MORE broke me. I started crying out of pain and frustration. “Are you okay?” She said. “No.”
So, I’d have to wait two more months to be put under anesthesia on an operating table, just to get a pelvic exam. By this time I had been dealing on and off with an uncomfortable vagina for about 7months. I was so over it. Even though my partner at the time was completely understanding and patient, I was not. I pushed him away a few times. I felt guilty for not wanting to share myself with him and not having the desire to be intimate at all. This whole thing was making me insecure and depressed at times. I wanted to isolate myself from everyone including my favorite person to spend time with. I thought he should be with a woman, with a “normal” vagina. Really, I had to train my brain to stop putting pressure on myself.
Anyway, last Monday was the big day. I had to get a blood test, wait in a bed about 6 hours with a painful IV needle sticking out my hand, just for a super simple exam. As I laid face up on the hospital bed, once again, the nurse pushed me down the hallway. I thought to myself how rediculous it was that I couldn’t do something so simple. A billion women do this everyday! What’s wrong with me?! Finally they rolled me past the huge doors that read “SURGERY ROOM” in big red letters. I laid in the middle of the operating room while nurses bustled around me, staring up at the oversized surgery lights hovering above me. I had frozen again. It was also the first time I’d ever heard my pulse on a monitor, which made me even more nervous. Finally, my IV was connected so I could start to fall asleep. However, there were air bubbles in my IV tube which triggered an exploding vein sensation at the injection site in my hand. That shit hurt! It repeated with every drop. Once again, I lost it. The tears and sobbing started. A nurse stood over me trying to calm me down, caressing the sides of my face. Then, I guess, I was out.
I woke up feeling perfectly fine. No soreness, except for the pain in my hand which lasted about 5 days.
So, what is my problem? I have to wait 3weeks to hear if I had any abnormal test results. But, what’s my “mechanical” problem? Well, one day I Googled. It’s funny how finding out you’re not the only person experiencing something can be so comforting. I read several stories from women experiencing the same emotional and physical trauma I have when it comes to pelvic exams. Several women take prescription sedatives before, there was even a case of someone passing out during an exam. A couple women talked about the long frustrating process of finally being diagnosed with Vaginismus, the involuntary tightening of the vagina. My doctor suggested that I might have this.
So, why don’t we hear about the struggles of Pelvic exams, when its obviously a common traumatizing experience? We’re made to think that we should be perfectly fine laying spread eagle in a cold uncomfortable room, naked, with a stranger’s face in our crotches pushing a large plastic device into the most sensitive part of our bodies. Oh yeah, then they have to expand that device inside of you and swipe your insides with q-tips. WTH!!! That’s not normal, of course it’s traumatizing.
Anyway, I kept thinking of those lines I had to say to myself out loud repeatedly today, and on camera. Even though I’ve said these things to other loved ones when trying to encourage them, I had never said them to myself.
No one should feel flawed for NOT being ok with being touched in an undesirable way. So many doctors made me feel like there was something wrong with me! I’m still learning that there are ALWAYS other people going through the same thing, no matter how alienated you feel in your specific struggle. And of course, all of us will have health challenges at some point, that doesn’t make us less valuable people when that time comes. Our bodies can bring challenges and frustrations, but they are a part of us. They need appreciation and care. Don’t ignore them, or be angry. Be patient. And remember, there’s nothing wrong with YOU, you’re not a freak, an inconvenience, or a problem.
This is so beautifully written, Dawn. Thank you for sharing such a painful story. Women have been pathologized for years just for having female reproductive organs. If you are a female, then you must find yourself a gyn and submit to repeated analysis between your legs to “make sure everything is alright.” ???? Why would it not be OK??? There is a huge range of “normal.” There is nothing about being female that carries an inherent pathology!! I really loved the phrases that you recited for the ad you were filming. Further, women have been told that there is something wrong with them if they don’t want instruments rammed up them! Even women tell other women that. Well the truth is that there is something very wrong with women who just lay there with their legs open thinking that there is anything remotely normal about being ogled and felt up. That whole ugly business of “pelvic exams” is nothing but legal sexual assault, and intelligent, educated women (such as all of us here who bother to THINK, and SELF EDUCATE) know that there is no normalizing of this assault on our bodies.
Thank you so much for this post. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this is a violation and pressuring women is wrong. I’ve felt guilty for years for not going to get a pelvic exam because everyone around me is beating it into me that it’s absolutely necessary. But no matter who performs the exam and how nice they are, I feel like I’m being raped. It’s traumatizing and I experience overwhelming PTSD symptoms for weeks before and after.
Hi Charyl – I am so sorry that you are being pressured to engage in a behavior that you instinctively know is wrong. Who are these people pressuring you? Private areas of your body belong only to you, and are not up for discussion. Please tell people who butt into your business that you will not be discussing such a private topic with them. Then put in your ear buds and ignore them. There is nothing wrong with you. You have nothing to feel guilty about. My experience has been that discussing this matter even with other women brings mixed results. Women often try to shame other women into getting violated (“Grow up!” “You are being ridiculous.” etc etc) I would invite them to examine their beliefs. This whole pelvic exam thing is a 20th century paradigm that has only existed over the last 75 years or so. Medical science decided that there was power to be had and money to be made off of women’s genitalia. They got away with this by scaring women with the risk of reproductive cancer, which as everyone on this site knows, is rare. Women (in America) are at greater risk of being diagnosed with, and dying from, pancreatic cancer (also rare), than reproductive cancers. So why have women chosen to believe that they are in clear and present danger of dying of a reproductive cancer? In my opinion, the root cause is due to our beliefs about the medical profession. Somewhere along the way, people (including women) decided that doctors are “better” than other people. People believed they were smarter (we know that is not true); people believed that they cared about humanity and that was their primary focus (we know that is untrue); people believed that they worked “harder” than other people worked (we know that is 100% untrue); people believed that they “know” more (more vocabulary words, maybe, but in general – my experience has been that they know less, due to the constrained silos in which they exist day to day.) And above all, people believed that doctors were on a higher plane than other humans, such that they didn’t possess lowly human urges, or desires, or didn’t have any visceral reactions what so ever upon seeing naked bodies or genitals. That to them, “it was nothing.” It was all just “medical” (an adjective that lives only in our psyches.) And people believed that doctors only spoke the truth about “medical” matters (which we know is absolutely not the case.) People, especially women, had to make themselves believe these things to square with the ritual of opening their legs and getting felt up – which they felt they had to do, lest they die from their inherently diseased reproductive organs. The people around you Charyl have been mightily conditioned. They have bought into untrue information, propagated by a profession that is full of unsavory characters who are highly invested in profit and in keeping women oppressed and unempowered. Pity them. And put in your ear buds.
Don’t feel guilty Charyl I also have never gotten a Pap smear I’m 32 yrs old
Okay, I’m terrified of doctors (every kind ), but this article seems too much even to me. And trust me, I’ve been traumatized enough by different types of doctors, nurses and assistants. I know by personal experience that there are many truly awful docs but these cases like mine or the ones in this article are extremities, thankfully. I’m sure many doctors are simply doing their job. Plus it’s not like going to the gynecologist is a written law. Any woman can choose not to go. I know it would be a terrible experience for me, so I’m not going. End of story.
Absolutely, you have a right to make your own choices. There is no evidence to support regular exams in healthy women are a good idea. In fact it suggests the opposite.
What annoys lot of ladies at this site is there is an expectation women will see a gyn doc or submit to screening. As you say it’s not the law but yet many either act like it is or treat women that make their own decisions like they’re stupid.
I’m glad you’re firm in your decision and happy with it. Good for you!
I decided to tell the truth and I received so much pushback that I had to block people.
I don’t think it serves our cause if we shame “promiscuous women” and equate “broken hymen” with “not a virgin”. The last one could scare women who *need* medical attention, and believe they will come out of the exam “sullied” oor “impure”.
These women DO need to know that if they have the exam, it is equivalent to s*xual intercourse, even if the exam was “necessary”. It’s akin to a 50 year old v*rgin who decides to sleep with a random man in order to have a baby before menopause only to meet her husband the day afterward. The fact that the s*x was for a medical reason still does not negate the fact that she had it.
Getting a pap smear for a medical reason is tough and should be avoided, but it should still be recognized that the exam is s*xual intercourse.
The exam is not “sexual intercourse”, which is a term reserved for a penis entering a vagina.
This is manual sex or sex by instrumentation. It can or will break the hymen, stretch the vagina. There’s no chance of pregnancy from it (unless the good doctor inseminates her at the same time). It’s more like being finger f**ked or using a sex toy – but there are many sex toys which are safer than ones that feature blades!
Sex for a medical reason? Do you mean like 100 years ago when doctors “treated” women for “hysteria” by fingering them to orgasm? Yes, indeed we do.
As far as it being “for” the woman, look up the history of the “Sims” position, and “J. Marion Sims” – the “father” of gynecology. He did horrendous experiments on slave women in the Antebellum South (US) on women who were effectively his property, and experimental surgery without anesthesia. We do not accept experiments done by Nazis, but this was just as bad, and we do accept it. See, for instance https://www.history.com/news/the-father-of-modern-gynecology-performed-shocking-experiments-on-slaves
Finger effing, sex toys, etc….. Thank you bethkz for so eloquently articulating what I have been struggling to articulate myself. Any difference between rape and medical exams is merely in our heads. Our culture has invented a notion about this thing humans call “medicine” and various acts and procedures that we have named “medical” and this notion we have invented is basically that if we call it one word, it is OK. If we call it another word, it is punishable by imprisonment. Humans are odd creatures, aren’t we? The pelvic exam hoax has been a disgusting, violent, horrible piece of history in humanity that we are currently still in the midst of. (And if there is a hell, I can only hope that Marion Sims is there, broiling to a crisp. While I have read some people acknowledge that his experiments on enslaved women were cruel because he used no anesthesia, many people conveniently bypass the other piece of this: He RAPED the women!)
Your odds of getting CC even if you are not a virgin are less than 1%. If you are a virgin, your odds are astronomically low. The one exception is the very rare type of CC that is not associated with HPV, which is also not detectable with a pap smear. Be more worried about being killed by a falling meteor though.
I don’t know about “sullied” or “promiscuous”, but it does break the hymen. One’s first sexual experience should not be with a doctor on a cold exam table, in pain, begging him to stop… I don’t know about “sullied” – that might be more of a cultural thing.
Exactly… I wasn’t saying that women who get the exam are sullied, but in some religions it is that way. Women of all religions should know all of the risks, religious and emotional, that are associated with the exam because so many doctors won’t tell them the ENTIRE impact of agreeing to this.
My question is.. with all the technology today why hasn’t and ultrasound been invented instead of forcing tools inside woman?
Kleigh – I don’t know that an ultrasound could detect a cancer in the cellular stage. But I 100% concur that an alternative to the 60-70 year old pap test could easily have been developed. Here is an example: Cologuard for detecting colon cancer. It does not involve intrusive garden hoses rammed up your butt, is done at home (but later submitted to a lab) and looks at DNA mutations. Why is there nothing alternative to the ritual rape women undergo? Some of it is laziness and resistance to change (by med practitioners). And if they no longer have women in their office to intimidate, they lose that edge of power they so crave. And money. The medical lobby is powerful. Imagine you spent $300,000 on med school (or your rich daddy did), you get out of school with your shiny Gyn specialty – and you need to make an income – do you want a lab test done on women that does not involve you, or do you want women in your office that you can diddle and feel up and charge a lot more money for?
Hi Lea – Thank you for being brave enough to take a stand on Quora. I agree with most of what you say. It is virtually impossible to get the HPV virus if one has never had sex. And even if one has had sex, as someone mentioned above, CC is rare and has a really low rate of detection. Pancreatic cancer – another rare cancer – is detected in women at a higher rate than CC. I believe that testing for CC, and other gyn “procedures” do constitute acts of sexual abuse and molestation. I do state as fact that the gyn industry was developed through the lens of a dominant white male paradigm. And while other cultures and women practitioners propagate notions of gyn exams being “necessary,” it is because they too were educated in this dominating White Male paradigm. It is sad and unfortunate. But in the end, it is up to an individual woman – and no one else in her life – whether she “should” see a gyn or not. I always tell people to NEVER ENGAGE with anyone who starts asking why you do not get CC screening, or why you do not want to get a gyn “exam.” Just because someone asks you a question (even a “doctor”) does not mean that you owe that person an answer to their question. All you have to do is STAY CALM, BREATHE, and smile politely and just keep repeating “I’m good. Thank you.” Repeat as many times as you need until they shut up. Never ever remove any clothing at all when you see a doc, even if you are told to. It is seldom ever necessary. Remove nothing. And if a doc or nurse returns to the room and asks why you didn’t remove clothing, again, just stay neutral and pleasant and polite. Just say “Oh it will be fine.” Because it will be fine. You are taking control of your body by not allowing anyone to touch you in any fashion that requires removal of clothing. Again, you may need to repeat this several times. Don’t lose your cool.
One thing I do disagree with Lea, is characterizing women who enjoy sexual relationships outside of the confines of marriage as immoral or promiscuous, and “bad”. This is a cultural thing. We merely have different beliefs about sex, that’s all. I always advise young women, including my daughter, to just keep condoms in their purse. Otherwise, stay close to your personal beliefs about your body. Take control of your body and take control of your visits with a doc. And do remember that no one – not even a doc – has the right to start grabbing at your body or trying to remove your clothes against your will. If one were to do that, you would need to phone the police ASAP and file a criminal report.
I agree. I wasn’t necessarily shaming other women, but I was taking a stand because doctors tend to go harder on v*rgins to get a pap smear for their own sick reasons. However, no one should be forced to get an exam.
The women that I mentioned in the post became promiscuous after the exam and started having problems that were symptoms of cervical cancer but could not go to the doctor due to the trauma of the exam while they were still v*rgins. Basically, the lack of consent early in life made them unable to make any rational decisions regarding their private parts.
> Take control of your body and take control of your visits with a doc. And do remember that no one – not even a doc – has the right to start grabbing at your body or trying to remove your clothes against your will. <
THIS!!!! Yes, it is YOUR body. John Locke’s idea that “every Man has a Property in his own Person” (Locke 1988, V. 27, 305). That is where the notion of consent comes from, the notions of assault and battery, and one's rights to not be used in experiments without explicit consent – or use the results from experiments where consent was violated as a matter of ethics. Indeed, if you don't "own" your own body, have freedom over what happens to it or is done to it, you don't really have any freedom or rights.
I am reminded of something that happened to my daughter. I am still furious over it. She went to a gyn. My daughter has experienced sexual assault in the past. The whole gyn thing was very triggering for her. Once in the exam room, my daughter broke down and started crying. The damn gyn, instead of being empathic, became angry and belittling to my daughter. And she (the gyn) stomped out of the room, and came back with a med assistant to cover her ass. And still did nothing to sooth my daughter. And my daufhter’s Story isn’t the first like this I’ve heard. What gyns do to women is ugly and abnormal. And when a woman resists – does it throw in the providers face that we know they are pieces of sh*t, and we are on to them and their charlatanry? Is that why they get so mad?
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/28765084/ This Link is for a study done in he US And reported by the Center for Disease control. I was curious just how many per-cancers were detected in women annually. Docs always scream about how the only reason that CC rates are dropping are because of Pap tests. Once again – let’s take a deep breath and look at good old fashioned statistics. I love hard data; I love research. And I live my instructor who said a result says nothing about a cause. Depending upon which part of the US a woman was in, detections of precancerous lesions if the cervix averaged between 20 to 70 per 100,000 women in the US per year. Per 100,000. If we assume an average of 45, that’s 0.045%. Tiny percentage. And this does not include positive tests that would have self resolved if they had been left alone. I know a lot of you are from UK. I can’t imagine that your rates would be much different from ours. So the rate of CC is really low, and the rate of precancerous lesions is low. While it’s true hat some women will get CC, most wont. More will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, heart disease (our biggest killer), lung cancer, etc. I hate doctors with a passion, but I will focus my healthcare on my risks: skin cancer and heart disease (which killed my sister at a young age.)
I’ve always found it odd how people go on and on at us women about how vital it is we spread our legs and have our intimate parts poked and prodded…Yet research and statistics show it is incredibly rare in relation to other cancers/diseases a woman can get. There’s such a huge fuss about it like it’s this extremely common thing and that our vaginas are practically deadly and need regular monitoring otherwise we’re all doomed.
I honestly wonder why we aren’t strongly pressured into having our hearts and other organs checked on the regular…As we’re far more likely to die of heart disease or lung cancer than cervical cancer. It all seems so odd to me that we’re not having frequent tests done for the most likely cancers. Yet there’s a huge cry for us to be violated in order to test for something we most likely don’t have. I keep seeing posts on Facebook again for it. There’s a new commercial that’s been released on TV here in the UK urging women to get their PAP smears done. It makes me feel sick…Check my damn heart! Thats more likely to have a problem with it. That’s what I say..
Just kill me… LadyNeuroscientist – I hear you. Heart disease killed my sister. She did have symptoms – her doc told her it was panic attacks and gave her Xanax. Yet more sexism that’s deadly to women. Kelly was describing how feminists are all down for gyno visits. I’m a feminists!!! And pretty damned hard core! And I don’t get this. At all. Many women my age (I’m past the half century mark) have given up the gyno shit. Is this a young feminist phenomenon? I did some research on it, and there’s quite a bit about feminists seeing their gyno as their path to autonomy over their body. I totally get right to choose, right to self empower with BC options, right to be proactive about preventing STDs, etc. But honestly, none of that requires yearly exams. It’s a cognitive dissonance I don’t get. If someone can enlighten me, I’m all ears…
Shelli, I think this “gynecology as feminism” mindset may at least partially have its roots in the “Our Bodies Ourselves” series of books that started publication in the late 60’s/early 70’s at the height of the women’s movement. The focus of the books was supposedly to put women in touch with their own bodies and sexuality but I seem to recall that besides pushing pap smears, they also contained pictures of smiling women in stirrups being shown their cervix with a mirror being held by a woman health care provider (which was more rare in those days). These types of images in a so-called feminist publication may have helped start and reinforce pap/pelvic exams as a feminist issue.
Just, as you describe that, I had a primal
Flashback to seeing such a scene on television many years ago. And another primal
memory of a friend of my older sister describing having that same personal experience with her gyn. She was given a mirror and took a look at her cervix. Wow. Hadn’t thought of that in ages. I guess I can understand a woman’s curiosity about what her cervix looks like. Afterall, she’s constantly told that it’s going to kill her. Might as well get a look at the deadly thing. I haven’t had a burning desire to see my cervix. I don’t imagine it’s a bad thing – I just haven’t had a desire to see it. I haven’t had the desire to see The inside of my nose either. But maybe I’m just a boring person and lack curiosity. I would hope that women could define themselves by more than their genitalia. Thanks for the perspective, Judy. I honestly hadn’t thought of this feminist angle and how it perpetuates the gyn model. It disturbs me. I wonder how we convince women, who are right to want autonomy over their bodies, that their gyn visits are playing right into make oppression and not feminist in the least. At least buying the propaganda that their reproductive organs are about to kill them, and thus they must spread their legs and get felt up, isn’t feminist. At all. Wow…
I feel like it’s someone else agenda. I’m not going to let someone do and invasive exam on me to look for something that’s not there. It’s my body and I know it better than a doctor.
The Lancet, back in 1998, put up an article that “Cervical Cancer” and the hype surrounding it has caused us to lose our sense of proportion.
From that article https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2805%2978229-5/fulltext
“Who, in the 1940s, would have thought that by now the USA would be spending an estimated US$4·5 billion annually on diagnosing “atypical squamous cells of uncertain significance”? Who would have thought that we would be diagnosing abnormal smear tests in 6800 of every 100 000 women screened, when the annual incidence of invasive cervical cancer in England and Wales was never greater than 30 per 100 000?”
It would seem that the US has had better things to do with $4-5 billion 1998-dollars than spend it every year on this.
BethKZ – You Rock, my friend. Thank you so much for posting this. This is exactly what I have been saying forever: this CC crap has been drilled into our collective subconscious for profit and for oppression. All we need to do is just look at the numbers. Look at the stats. And as for medical scientists who sob “Oh but it’s more complicated and CC used to be the biggest killer of women (another verifiable lie) and the numbers don’t tell the whole story…..” Haven’t we all heard that? I have. ITS A LOAD OF BULLSH*T. I was trained as a scientist and have practiced for decades (not medicine but the scientific method is the same). One way we show validity is replicating the results of research. The statistics on CC have been replicated over and over and over …. whether it’s hard data from the US Center for Disease Control or this article from The Lancet – the numbers are simply what they are. The statistics are simply what they are. CC is really low risk. It always has been. We are all going to bite the dust. One way or another. Do some people develop CC and die? Yes. If its you, your friend, your relative – it’s horrible and I probably sound like a jerk. My older sister literally dropped dead age 53 of sudden cardiac death. 1 in 3 women die of heart disease. That is our biggest risk to our health. I can’t speak for U.K. and AUS; but the US med profession does little more than pay lip service to this stat. I recently saw a new PCP for the first time. She asked me about paps and asked nothing about my heart! And I told her I had a sibling who died of undiagnosed heart disease. She 100% dismissed my cardio history. I’ll say it again: medical texts and ideologies are all developed through the lense of a dominant white male patriarchy and are heavily biased and heavily incorrect. A person bearing the letters Dr before their name means NOTHING. They are not smarter than you. They aren’t “more educated” than you. They don’t “know more” than you. This is, and always has been, a myth propagated by that male patriarchy. I know y’all know this. But we have to start reaching out to younger women and start interupring this cycle of harassment and systemic sexual abuse. I inform every young woman I know. I give them citations to look up data themselves. I tell them to just keep condoms in their purse or backpack if they are concerned about HPV. It’s on us, guys, to educate others and start breaking this disgusting obsession with having us spread our legs and get diddled.
Thank you, Shelli.
I do have a scientific degree in something other than medicine, and worked in that field for decades. The scientific method is the same, regardless of any protests to the contrary. Their protests to the contrary are indicative of the actual *science based medicine* which has proven to lengthen lives and years of quality life. Unfortunately, in many areas of medicine, science base is thrown to the winds, replaced by a combination of industry-based advertising and other propaganda. The trick is “follow the money”, and see who is gaining from the status-quo. I haven’t quite been able to track any one organization or industry behind the “Pap Crap”, but there seem to be several, plus the desire on the part of male healthcare providers to have access to vaginas. The nonsense that “I’ve seen it all before, and it doesn’t excite me” is a load of crap! If men were to lose interest in seeing women’s sexual parts after seeing them time-and-again, companies such as Hooters, Playboy and the entire porn industry would have gone out of business long ago. Nor would serial sex offenders exist.
They will gladly tell us that cervical cancer decreased dramatically when Pap was widely introduced. It’s true that the incidence rate and death rate for CC has dropped about 50% between 1973-2007. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3521146/ However, the death rate for adenocarcinoma, which is not tested for with pap, has increased. Meanwhile, the death rates of other cancers have also decreased, primarily through advances in treatment, from an all-time high in 1990 of 216:100,000 to 155.8:100,000 in 2016. https://www.statista.com/statistics/184566/deaths-by-cancer-in-the-us-since-1950/ It also belies the notion that CC is the #1 cancer killer among women (which is the fall-back when we know that heart disease is the #1 killer of women). One of my neighbors, a 52-year-old woman, who was educated (veterinary tech with a masters degree), got all of her tests and checkups as recommended and encouraged others to do so, died suddenly and recently of a heart attack. Too much time and too much energy obsessing about her “female parts” and not on the organs most likely to lead to her death. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women, not CC. Rare cancers like cancer of the heart or kidneys are bigger killers. Sepsis as a cause of death is estimated at 300:100,000 population, with the highest number being seriously ill hospitalized patients. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3916382/ Note this is higher than all cancers!
One sadly-interesting part of the phenomena is that the feminist movement has, itself, been hijacked by this nonsense. We have rights and access to all sorts of things which we’ve demanded over the decades and centuries. We gained the right to vote, the right to an education and the right to workplaces free from sexual harassment, the right to seek healthcare along with the right to “women’s healthcare” which is merely preoccupied with the areas of our bodies covered by a bikini, to prod, diddle, test, and torture under the guise of treatment.
The preoccupation with death from this rare cancer is, itself, a pathological obsession. Many women are frightened by CC, and don’t give a thought to the unlikely event of dying by a lightening strike. Indeed, if a woman obsessed about being struck by lightening, she would probably be referred to mental health professionals and diagnosed. If she’s frightened by getting CC, which is less likely than her being struck by lightening, she’s being “responsible”. WTF?
The increasing incidence and death from adenocarcinoma type CC may itself be related to pap testing. After all, if a woman is getting her paps on the recommended schedule, she tests negative, she is safe from CC, right? Should she have pain and/or bleeding, which might be symptoms of CC, she will likely not seek medical attention, or if she does, her symptoms are brushed off until the cancer has metastasized to other organs and she has more symptoms and at stage 4, it’s unlikely to be treated.
“The numbers don’t tell the whole story”. That’s right. They don’t. One number that’s misleading is the 5-Year Survival Rate. It’s used to prove that early diagnosis and treatment improves the outcome. Wait a minute! There’s such a thing as “lead time bias”. If 1,000 people have a cancer which will kill them in 6 years, we test half of them, treat those we detect with cancer, in 5 years they will all be living testimonials to the success. But, in 5 years, so will the other half who are undiagnosed with the same cancer. In 5 1/2 years or so, these people become symptomatic, are diagnosed, are deemed terminal, and die in 6 years. Tragic and “preventable”, and people even get mad at them for “not being tested”. Yet, our cancer survivors, 6 months after they were declared “survivors”, have the cancer return, diagnosed, and deemed terminal. They fought their cancer so hard! They didn’t give up. Yet, in this hypothetical case the testing and grueling, expensive treatments made no difference in reality, while the numbers collected show that it’s great.
Another thing is the follow-on tests after a positive pap result. That’s a grueling biopsy, which are done without anesthesia, as medical mythology says that we cannot feel our cervix, that if we think we can “it’s our imagination”. That’s utter BS, most likely rooted deep in the history of gynecology of J Marion Simms and his experiments on unconsenting black slave women. At the time, there was a notion that blacks could not feel pain, that the appearance that they did was just a “reflex”. Now, it’s well-accepted that blacks do feel pain the same as any other human, but it’s gotten changed to women being numb in most of our sex organs. It’s the same patriarchy of white men, only now the emphasis is on “men” rather than “white” – and it has the same results only the demography of victims changes some. For someone in both groups – black women – there’s no difference at all.
It’s partly the patriarchy working to “keep us in line”. It appears to have many of the same dynamics of prison rape – where the bigger, stronger gang members force a younger, weaker, unaffiliated-with-a-gang man to do their bidding by raping him. It has gotten to the point through societal normalizing and decades of intense propaganda,
They might “know more” than I do about some things. They might or might not have more education than any given woman. The years of education might be in a different (scientific) area, which gives us less credibility in their eyes than they have. Sometimes, when I do not know why I’m having a symptom, I seek their expertise in diagnosing and recommending a treatment.
Thank you Kelly for such an amazing and sobering analysis. You have clearly studied so much data and research, it’s mind blowing! I’m comfortable with my decision to avoid most docs. If we’re alive, we’re at risk of dying. I know my greater risks. I had a few too many sunburns in my youth, so skin cancer is a risk for me. I have a cool derm. I see a cardio every few years. I do not have the disease my sister died of, but I’m mindful. Other than that, I’m done with the patriarchy. I’ve heard a few women who consider themselves feminists saying “I see a female gyn.” They’re blind. As you and I are both scientists, Kelly, you know exactly what I mean when I say that as women, we weren’t welcomed into science with open arms. This male-dominated profession allowed us in very conditionally, the condition being that we uphold the male patriarchy. Likewise with medicine and female MDs. They unwittingly propagate the gyn profession out of intimidation. Sad for us all. I’m not sure how to reach the feminists (and I consider myself a pretty evolved one.) And I’m not certain how they became so uber focused on their vaginas. Reproductive rights may be in there, but it seems that something else may be at work. Yet something else to research. If you have any sources of information on that topic, I’d be interested in reading them. Thanks for all the sharing.
I’m so glad I found this site. I felt like I was crazy. I’ll give a little back story and I’ll try to be brief. I was having some symptoms that I knew needed to be checked out. After waiting a month for an appointment I went to a new Dr. and got my physical, including pap. The Dr.(a family practice doc) was nice enough, but he was over an hour late getting into the exam room so I sat completely naked with nothing but a paper shrug type thing to cover my top half, (which it didn’t) and a paper “sheet” that wasn’t even big enough to go around me let alone cover anything private. He comes in, does his thing and then proceeds to talk to me about mammograms, other tests, etc….all while I’m sitting there completely naked trying desperately hard to keep my dignity in tact. I was in that office for two hours, naked. It bothered me to some extent, but I let it slide because, hey, that’s what you have to do, right? So I leave and wait for the results. I waited and waited for over 2 weeks to find out what my pap smear said. Finally I HAD TO CALL THEM to see if everything was ok. When they finally get back to me the assistant tells me that my test was abnormal and I need to make an appointment to come in and see him for the results. Ok, that’s never good. I asked her how bad was “abnormal” she says, the Dr. didn’t say, but he wants to see you. Two weeks later I have my appointment (because he wanted to get the results of another test he ordered before seeing me, another story altogether). I arrive early for my appointment, scared to death that it’s going to be bad and the Dr. is running an hour behind. Keep in mind that my appointment is at 9:15 am and his office opens at 8 am, he doesn’t do hospital rounds or deliver babies so what in God’s green earth can put him an hour behind 1 hour after he opens?? I sit there, worrying and worrying. Finally he comes in and after talking for a bit he tells me that I need to see a regular ob/gyn for more tests, likely a colposcopy. So for 1 month, I’ve been worried, I take four hours out of my day (counting drive times) to go see this jack wad when he could have told me what I needed to know in a five minute conversation over the phone. I keep reliving the visit with him in my mind and it makes me feel used and disgusted. NOW I have an appointment for a colposcopy and an endometrial biopsy and I am feeling completely violated by this whole process. I’m scared out of my wits and don’t know what to do. I know this procedure is going to hurt like hell. I’ve never seen this new Dr., he’s going to be doing something very painful and invasive, so more violating me. Every time I think about it, I want to throw up and I start to have a mild panic attack. I’m trying to find alternatives to an endometrial biopsy, I’m scared of not having it done in case it is cancer, but I’m also scared TO have it done. Thanks for listening.
Darla – a good Doc will offer you anesthesia. Don’t see this person for a procedure. Call and make it clear you are only coming in for a consultation. Find out if he will use anesthesia, the procedure is painful. I’ve had it done with and without. Also – you have the option of waiting and having the test repeated. Find out what specifically was abnormal. Just a few cells? They often self resolve. Docs have a financial motive in scaring you.
Hi, I’m glad you found this site and shared your story.
I hope you still have little time left until the colposcopy and the biopsy.
IF you decide to go, find out beforehand if they can offer you a painkiller and sedation. IF the biopsy absolutely needs to be done, please please insist on some medication .
I have never had it done, because I point blank refused, and ended up having the biopsy, pap and IUD inserted in operating room.
You do have the right to ask for sedation, pain relief, and you also have the right to stop the procedure IF YOU decide to go ahead and if it is too painful. I know there are people who say it doesn’t hurt that “much”, but it’s so individual and for some, like me, it most likely would have been way too traumatic.
Alternatives? I’m not sure, but I wonder if you could ask for an ultrasound..? Probably not… I guess they just tend to go down this biopsy route, and it’s probably appropriate sometimes if they need a tissue sample. Depending on what they found in your Pap smear. The Pap could probably be repeated?
I’d definitely contact that new doctor and ask for alternatives.
Darla – cervical screening gives out massive rates of false positives, abnormal cells are not cancer, most will resolve without any intervention whatsoever, why not repeat your pap in say 8 months as it may surprise you and be fine.
ASCUS CIN1 CIN2 CIN3 CIS(stage 0) these are the common results – none of which are cancer, yet so many thousands per year are treated with the attitude of “just in case”. Women’s internal organs are not about to explode, women are not a walking disease.
I realise your anxiety, I understand it as I was in the same position 10 years ago, my anxiety levels hit the roof………and it was so unnecessary! I was referred for the colposcopy for CIN1.
However, gut instincts & alarm bells were working well for me and it brought me here to FWEO – this is without a doubt the best site I have ever come across, so much info and links here.
I refused the colposcopy and I now refuse all cancer screening, especially cervical as the individual risk is a mere 0.65% which means 99.35% no risk & frankly I think they are great odds, I can live with that.
IF you do decide to go along to the colposcopy, please bare in mind that any kind of sedation often has an amnesia affect so you may not remember what is done to you. Quite honestly I think sedation benefits the medical professionals as it makes you so out of it and groggy that you become more compliant/easy to deal with, and less likely to kick up a fuss if you don’t like what they are doing.
Women DO feel pain during these biopsies (most of which are not necessary). I have read countless stories where women have said during the procedure STOP but they didn’t and carried on regardless. I also read I think it was Bristol NHS on the colposcopy that one of the risks included death, this is the only place I ever saw it, but if you got an infection after it can result in sepsis so perhaps this is what they were referring to? Or maybe because often the colposcopy units still use the metal speculums (usually the bigger ones) instead of plastic, metal ones have been proven to harbour disease….this could include HPV / HIV and many more, which is why they moved to plastic for screening our cervix in the first place, they are supposed to be disposable but I have my doubts about that too.
Please think very carefully, research as much as possible before you allow any of this. As I said 10 years later I am still here fighting fit and my anxiety/fears reduced.
I wish you all the very best and good luck whatever your decision.
So sorry this what you went through, Chas, but it’s great news you found this website. Absolutely shocks me the number of women I see who post on social media, who are eaten up with fear at having to be recalled. The retesting goes on for about 3 years and all this time these young women are petrified they have cancer and will die. They also report a string of painful procedures. It’s criminal assault.
I suspect, as much pain as seems to be involved with them tearing out chunks of your cervix without any sort of pain management, that death by heart attacks is a serious risk. Of course, there are other risks, like assorted HAIs and sepsis and such. They are creating open wounds in the cervix, and most likely vaginal tears from these extra-large speculums especially when they use them in postmenopausal women and women who have never given birth.
Thanks for writing down your story
So I just called and talked to the Dr.’s nurse and asked about anesthesia. She said that they numb the cervix, but they do not numb the uterus because it’s a different procedure for numbing the uterus. Which, according the training video I watched the other day, is complete bullshit. The New England Journal of Medicine showed them putting a numbing solution into the uterus to numb it or to at least ease the pain somewhat. I am freaking out. The pap result was AGUS (abnormal cells withing the lower walls of the uterus).
Darla – Anout 30 hrs ago I had a pap that had abnormal cells. The next year (and every year since) all was normal. The body self resolves many of these things. But I understand your concern. Please keep looking for a doc that will have a nurse anesthetist on hand. They should heavily state you and numb you up. It absolutely can be done. I’ve had it done in the office. It’s not that hard. Please keep looking. You are the customer, it’s your body, and it’s your money. Docs work for you. You call the shots.
Thank you Shelli
I totally agree with everything that you say . But this anxiety doesn’t go away !!!! I keep re reading all of you ladies posts that’s the only thing that makes me feel better !!!!
Thank you for this article. I cried reading a lot. I had been led to believe that I was crazy for not wanting one and feeling the way I feel about it. This article helped me so much. I don’t know how to tgank you. Just tge simple feeling that I am not alone, and that I am not crazy and I have the right to trefuse it, that is priceless. Thank you so much
No Maria, you aren’t alone at all. You always have the right to refuse anything. You are the one in charge. It is your body and your money. Med staff works for YOU. I personally never ever remove clothing in a med situation. Just don’t do it. If they start harassing you just stand up, grab your purse and keys, and walk out. The idea of med personnel as “authorities” is just a notion that resides in our brains. There is no law written on any book anywhere that states that med staff have the right to bully you. Another tip Maria – if you refuse an intrusive disgusting “exam” and they ask “why” – do not engage and answer. You owe them no explanation. Just say “Thank you for your opinion.” Rinse and repeat as many times as you need til they shut up.
I thought I was alone I’ve never had a Pap I’m 32 yrs old from the US . I received a called last week saying that I had an appointment for a Pap which I never made after that called I’ve been depressed can’t sleep can’t eat can’t focus !!! I just want to be me again I had other bloggers talk to me about it and I thank them !!!!!
Someone decided you had an “appointment” you never made?? If you haven’t already, just call and cancel it. You have the power to do that. 100%. I (and everyone else reading this) fully support you and stand by you having the right to cancel the appointment. A doc I had quit seeing pulled a stunt like that. She began randomly “scheduling” clients and then when we failed to show for appointments we never made, she slapped on no-show fees and sent them to collections if they weren’t paid. I pushed back and they finally dropped the charge. Enough of her clients complained that they saw a pernicious pattern with her. Unbelievable. Please cancel the appointment. And if you are feeling up to it (and it’s OK if you’re not) you can instruct them to never ever do that again. You’ve got this. You have more power than you think. You really do. I promise you do. No one ever gets to harm your body.
Thank you but know due to the call I’ve been stressing it can’t sleep can’t eat can’t function right !!!! I’m petrified . All of your kind words really help !!!!!
I thought I was alone I’m 32yrs old and never had a Pap
It’s not without good thoughtful reason that we avoid these “tests” and “exams.” We feel coerced, overpowered, and every move the “doctor” makes mimics sexual assault. When we feel coerced, and someone does a thing to our body that looks and feels like sexual assault, how can we not see the “provider” as a sex offender? I mean what the hell do they expect? And we are ridiculed and told we are “ridiculous.” This is just yet more means of control and demeaning behavior. I told my provider (a female nurse practitioner) exactly what my feelings are about this invasiveness and she gets it and doesn’t hassle me. Sadly, I just got notice that she’s leaving. I’m devastated.
I’m sorry this happened to you. Shelli nailed it and I can’t add anything to her empowering words. The fact that this type of coercion, with the medical office making a totally unsolicited appointment for you, happened in the U.S. is notable. Posters from countries with national health care systems have often described this type of experience. In the US,, with our for-profit system and no national health, the pressure usually starts during the office visit itself or perhaps before when the woman herself makes an appointment for something unrelated. I’m wondering if there’s any connection to the fact that physician practices and hospital systems here are posting record losses as a result of the lack of elective surgeries and procedures during the pandemic. The medical establishment are opportunistic anyway when it comes to women’s bodies, and they may be entering a new level of aggression to recoup some of those losses.
Esther – Judy is bang on. They are desperate for money due to the pandemic losses. Their desperation gives you the upper hand.
How can we help you? I know how stressed and triggered you are. I 100% understand. I promise you that when you call to cancel, they will have no choice but to do so. I don’t know where you live/what time zone you are in, but if you want, I am happy to stand by right here to help you and support you When you make the call. I am in Mountain time zone (I’m in New Mexico.) Let me know, OK? I also find it helps to write down what I’m going to say, and have it in front of me.
I’m trying to do my best to function again and be that happy woman that I was . Thank you ladies for replying to me and trying to make me feel better emotionally!!!!
Yes I totally agree with you JUDY . Thank you lady’s I just want to be happy again . All of this got me depressed 😭
Thank you Shelli for you support
I stay in California
I’ve decided that I will do a no call no show and just blocked them I don’t even want to call back that’s how depressed I feel . Thanks for replying I really appreciated I really needed someone to talk about this ! It was consuming me I hope tonight I get to sleep 😴
I think that’s a great idea. That’s what empowering yourself looks like! Ignore them and block them!!! You rock! Know we fully support you, Esther. No one will ever harm your body against your will. You are in complete control. Please get some sleep. You’ve got this taken care of on your terms. I applaud you. We’re always here to talk ❤️
Esther – I would urge you to not just be a “no call no show” for the appointment. They may charge you for the appointment, and they can be relentless in collecting these fees. Insurance nor government programs will not pay for these “appointments”. You may be able to make the case that the “appointment” was made without your knowledge or consent, but that will be difficult to prove. It’s easier to cancel.
Fellow fierce warriors – I don’t know how many people are active on this site. I’m trying to figure out how we can start having a more protective impact. We are in an era of public calling out on social media. Targets hate the Negative attention. It often Succeeds in “correcting them.” This works for acts of racism and I just watched a famous rock band get driven to their knees by assault allegations on twitter. What if we figured out a way to band together and start calling out every act of coercion and manipulation we encounter? And call it out on twitter? How would this work in UK? I know medicine is nationalized there. Do docs have individual practices there? This is not illegal. It’s only illegal if we allege untrue things. Anyone want to ponder this?
Hi Shelli and All
A number of us are already active on twitter and have forced the vile Jo’s Trust to back track on some of their ad campaigns. I do think it has really had some effect and forced them to re-think a lot of their advertising. A number of women on twitter have said that their “it only takes 5 minutes and it’s completely painless” ad campaigns have been deeply offensive to those who have suffered assault and find any procedure like that extremely traumatising. I think they’ve had to be more careful in what they say from now on.
You have to be careful on twitter, as some people may well have had cancer. You don’t know them and shouldn’t comment about their health decisions. I don’t interact with those people, but instead I challenge medical professionals if they don’t use the right statistics and I also challenge charities and health bodies who are driving women into screening without providing them with the truth. I always try to back up comments with clear evidence – the 5,000 lives our terrible UK screening programme claims to save every year has now been deleted from the leaflet and changed to “thousands of lives” , and they definitely seem to be taking on board some of the things we have said, but there is a long way still to go. They are now finding, that they’ve got to share the world stage with us, and their cheesy tweets are going to be challenged if we find them.
Hi Ada – Thank you for letting me know about this. What are the twitter handles for those leading up this effort? I’d like to follow them. I concur that we need to be cautious regarding folks who’ve had cancer. My niece had CC while in her early 30s. I’m not interested in condemning women who choose to engage in gyn checks of their own accords. I agree with keeping data real and non-inflated. I wish to call out data that is non accurate or emotional (manipulative.) I wish to call out coercive behavior on the part of providers. I think calling out practices like what Esther just described is noteworthy – A providers office making a gyn appointment on behalf of a customer who never made the appointment. And refusing services and prescriptions to customers unless they submit to invasive exams. I assume this is the work y’all do. I’m in the US. Coercion is as bad here as UK.
I don’t want to give too much of myself away and compromise my job, and I think I would prefer to act independently. If they suspect an organised group is acting they may get twitter to close our accounts down.
A group of us contributed once to a blog on a website run by Public Health England a few years ago. I think it caused some shockwaves. Another respondent said that we were just a “handful of troublemakers” out to cause trouble, and claimed that other women didn’t have a problem with cervical screening and fully accepted it as a wonderful thing. I’d like them to think that we are not a handful of trouble makers trolling people encouraging screening, but a wide and varied group of women who have all found this unacceptable over the years for very many different reasons. They need to sit up and listen to us, and I think hitting them with the evidence in a very public place, is really going to set them back.
If you just search the #cervicalscreening #papsmear #smeartest I’m sure you will come across us soon. I do hope more of you will join in on twitter as it would be good to get more of a movement going, but I’m worried about my job and losing my account as I use it for other things too.
I fully respect that Ada. I will search for those hashtags. Name calling (“troublemaker”) is a sure fire sign that you got under their skin. I applaud you for that. I’ll see you on Twitter.
(My name isn’t Shelli. And my twitter handle is a surname that is a nod to my Irish ancestry. See ya over there.)
Will do, but I have to take a break from it from time to time – there’s only so much swimming in vomit I can take! There must be another cervical screening campaign coming up soon, they seem to have one for every month of the year.
I don’t think they will charge me . They only have my name and phone #. It’s just been a very stressful sleepless week for me. The to mention the anxiety it suck
Esther, I’m 62 and have never had a Pap test and I can assure you I don’t lose any sleep over pap tests.
I know some women who received an appt for breast screening, “for your convenience”,
I assume they came from BreastScreen and not the GP.
I’ve found most GPs are fairly low key when it comes to breast screening, don’t think they pay incentives to GPs to get us to have mammograms, it’s a bit more difficult, can’t ambush a woman in the consult room, no mammograms going on there.
The women who got an invitation just threw it in the bin and that was the end of it.
There was certainly no charge – it was a try-on that didn’t work.
I know it’s a bit more difficult in the States with insurers getting involved, but it sounds like you’ve decided to be a No Show.
Good for you…try not to give these people another moment of your time, find a way to relax and just remember that you’re in charge of your own body.
All the best
Thank You Elizabeth!
And all the ladies who reply back .
You guys made me feel better and less depress and anxious .
Elizabeth thank you for replying I will try not to lose any sleep .
Yes in the states it’s a lot more difficult and stressful they want to control everything that you do . But, what you wrote made me feel like I’m not alone thank you
Thank you shelli
I really do need you guys support. I slept a lil better today thank you all !!!!
I’m active on this site and I agree with you 100% we need changes we need to live in a positive world but all this bs makes it hard !
I agree with shelli they need to stop !!!! I just want to be happy and stress free but I guess that’s impossible no wonder some ppl commit suicide because, they can’t take it !!!!
Pls help!!!! I’m still anxious and trying not to think about all the bs . How can I go back to my normal self ? I don’t want to live with the fear ! Pls ladies help me!!!! 😭😭😭😭😭😭
Esther – What’s going on? It’s OK to talk. No one is going to touch you or harm you.
Esther, I’m sorry to hear this is still bothering you.
I was thinking of some ways I usually cope with traumatizing events… : Have a break from social media for one day at least. No Facebook/Twitter/Google searches.
Go for a walk. Even better, if there’s a beach anywhere near where you live, go to the beach. Take your shoes off and feel the ground beneath your feet.
“Remove” yourself from your current environment- this is probably easier said than done because of COVID-19… but could you go and stay with a relative or a friend for a couple of days?
Another one that always helps me, is spending time with animals. If you have a dog, or you can borrow someone’s dog/s, take them for a walk or ask to borrow them for a longer period of time. Horse-riding is great too. You have to be fully present, so your thoughts won’t be wandering back to anything unpleasant.
I hope some of these ideas might be something that you’d consider doing.
Take care of yourself, be kind to yourself.
Esther – You sound like you’re going through the stuff I was going through last year – after I had a male resident insist that he needed to penetrate my vagina in order to continue to treat me for my diabetes. I couldn’t sleep, eat, or function right either. I held my ground, and got my prescriptions refilled without a pap…. but the whole thing left me shuddering worse than an actual full-on attempted rape did years ago, and more intrusive than sexual assault in a medical setting before that. I really freaked out before my next appointment.
Leaving someone in a condition where they cannot sleep, eat, or function IS harm!
I still find my mind going to a dark and evil place, wondering how I’m going to ensure my bodily integrity. I have mostly learned to STOP dwelling on that. I remind myself that the law is on my side, published policy of the clinic is on my side, and I have support from those close to me and from people here.
I review pre-released books, which I get free in exchange for an honest review. My most common type of book is science, but I do fiction at times. I reviewed a graphic novel, aimed at tweens and younger teens titled _A Quick & Easy Guide to Consent_ by Isabella Rotman copyright 2020 (due to be released in October)
They go into “grey space”, which can be silence or willingness, but one is not enthusiastic about the activity, which is often where the law draws the line, and affirmative consent, which is where someone wants the activity. It seems to me that medicine often skirts very very close to the line even on willingness, while the stats on overuse of medical care seem to say that it needs to be affirmative consent – that the person
From page 16: “Now, I don’t want to come across as saying that all people who commit acts of sexual violence are just ‘misunderstanding’ consent. Most perpetrators of sexual assault fully admit that what they did was not consensual, though they deny that it was rape at the same time.”
I posted the previous message before I’d finished it.
I think part of the issue is that we should expect that the medical establishment, and those who work in it, have at least the same understanding of consent that a good (the best one I’ve read) book geared toward those aged ~9-15 should have on respecting others boundaries and attaining consent before they touch or are touched!
Properties of an action do not change by their designation. Because someone is designated a doctor or nurse does not give them the right to the ownership of another person’s body. The notion of each person having ownership of their own body goes back to John Locke in the 17th century. Your body is yours, and no one has a right to do anything to or with it without your consent.
You’ve got legal rights to refuse any test or procedure, and still be given medical care. If a doctor drops you from their practice without a proper referral to another doctor, that is considered “Patient Abandonment”, and has serious legal consequences. Lack of Consent (before engaging in any medical procedure) is a sub-type of medical malpractice. In addition to legal courses, you’ve got other options: The State Health Department, the State board of professional licenses, the clinic or hospital they work for or with, the television, radio, and newspapers, and any 3rd party payer – they may be none too happy learning that a provider they cover is bundling unwanted optional tests with medical care or treatment you want and need – and tests which may cause further needs – whether psychological or physical.
We have a term for penetrating someone’s vagina without their consent….. don’t forget that IF they force you that you can make a police report. Coercion is legally a type of force.
Don’t pull out these “big guns” when talking to them. Insist upon your “NO” when they ask about a pap. Just know that they are there in case you need them.
This Pap crap got me really anxious I keep re reading all of your comments so I can feel better . I want to go back to my normal self I haven’t been able to smile or function right ! I know I should get over it but, it’s hard !!!!!
Pls help !!!!!!
Esther – Could our comments possibly be making it worse? I ask because re-reading everything could keep the subject in the front of your mind. It seems the subject is extremely triggering for you, which is 100% understandable. It hurts all of us. Esther no one can touch you without your permission. No one. It’s illegal. This whole thing is partly oppression of women and it’s also about money. But they can’t touch you without your permission. You don’t have to ever do anything a med professional tells you to do. They aren’t the police. They are trained in med school to act all authoritative – but it’s just that – an act. With no substance at all.
Some of the women on this site are exposed to these nasty campaigns in the UK – where medicine is all socialized and government funded – and they are almost more relentless about harassing them there than in the US. So that’s some of the feedback you read here. I’ve seen some of their ads and they’re nasty. We don’t get that degree of harassment here. Which is good for us but I ache for our UK peers.
Do you think a break from reading these comments might help? Listen to music you enjoy or watch TV or read something distracting? I just don’t want you upset. No one is going to touch you. They legally can’t. You have power. You really do. You have the legal right to say no and the legal right to walk. Always.
Thank you Shelli for replying back you make me feel like I’m not alone or that I’m not just talking to the Internet. Yes it’s very triggering probably I do need a break so my brain can stop thinking about the subject . Yes I feel bad for our UK peers !!! I hope and pray for things to change for the better . I’ve been trying to distract myself by watching tv or finding ways to distract myself it’s kinda of hard but, I need to try harder . Thank you Shelli all your thoughtful words are peaceful to me I really appreciate all of you lady’s !
You know exactly how I feel and it sucks big time !!!! Like Shelli said maybe I need a break so I can stop thinking about the subject because it’s very triggering !!! Ughhh I hate feeling like this ! But I know I have to get better .
Esther – yes, it sux big-time! It’s difficult to get your mind off of it, and on to anything else when you’ve been obsessing about it for weeks or months. About all I can offer there is to spend time focusing on something (ANYTHING!) else, for periods of time. It’s difficult, especially at first after this has gone on for awhile. It can also help to spend a limited amount of time reading and interacting with others (in person, online, or through books or articles) who have the same problems. YOU ARE NORMAL! You are certainly not unique in these feelings!
Beth Thank you for such a clear, powerful response about our right to our boundaries and our right to avoid medical assault. I literally screenshot what you wrote to Esther, and saved it. Your wisdom means a lot.
Something that has helped me personally, is understanding human behavior and what motivates human behavior. (I’m in the mental health arena.) We are conditioned to believe that doctors are these pillars of strength and hardened humans, so drenched in confidence and power nothing penetrates their psyches. I’ve known a few on a personal level and that is utter crap. They are just as emotionally fragile and prone to mental disturbance as the next person, with loads of their own insecurities and fears, and go home to personal problems and messed up relationships and addiction etc. That white coat they put on is nothing but a Halloween costume. All bullies are broken people. They are never happy, well adjusted humans. I’ve thought more than once that many bullies are attracted to medicine so that they can act out.
I hate to pre judge and honestly try to give a new provider I haven’t seen before the benefit of the doubt. But while I am waiting in an exam room (with every stitch of clothing on, my handbag strap on my shoulder, keys and phone in hand) I just remind myself that a fragile human will walk in and if their unchecked fragility causes them to misbehave, I walk out. I’ve done it. Not often, but I have. I did it this past January, when a provider wanted to do all these spinal injections on me for fibromyalgia. He didn’t propose it as an option; he presented it as if I were stupid to not allow him to do it. I stood up, pointed my finger in his nasty face and told him I didn’t appreciate him using my body to inflate his checking account. And I walked. I felt so light and unburdened afterward. Still in pain, but so relieved.
We get to stand our ground.
Esther you’ve received some excellent advice. But there are no magic words. Now your healing has to come from within yourself. Remind yourself that you’re a worthwhile person who deserves inner peace and to feel good about herself. Do it now. Do it as often as needed. Because you’re worth it. We’re here for you.
[…] of women and their relatives, often worsening into ‘obstetric violence’. Besides, this and this describe some of the insensitive ideas and habits regarding examination of women patients […]
Ada remember the Angry Brit Nurse on Twitter? She was outraged when women didn’t have smears and blocked anyone who disagreed with her? I posted to her that I get angry when I am harassed about an optional test I have opted out of and she blocked me then went on a rant comparing anti screeners with anti Vaxxers and a few other things! Was it you or someone else re tweeted to the GMC And nurses board?? She closed down her account in the end, crying about the injustice of it all!!
Woah!!! I can recall when I was younger, and expressed dissent to my mother about all this intrusive medical crap, she admonished me as being “immature.” What is up with that? What, specifically, is the “immaturity?” What she (and this nurse you describe) are really saying is that they have allowed themselves to assume a comfortable stance of accepting the dominion of males and their female medical sycophants. Being dominated is their comfort zone. We reject domination and it threatens those too fragile to take a stand. They are also showing that they have been successfully frightened and conditioned to believe that the mere possession of female genitalia is a threat to their life. In order to offer up their genitalia for scrutiny by “doctors” (sexual predators) they must create a story in their head that tells them that exposing their genitals and getting felt up isn’t at all sexual. We all know this is utter insanity – but our mothers (and this nurse) operate from fear and fragility. We will not live in fear of our own bodies and we will not be fragile.
That’s good that she closed her acc . It’s a shame how they Push us to take those nasty exams and how they scare us !!! They need to stop !!!
Hi Kat, it wasn’t me, but I might have been in the fray there somewhere! I think we have shocked quite a few people. Most people want to be liked on twitter, and they tweet things that they think are going to get them popularity, (politicians), followers, donations and likes. I think it comes as quite a shock to them, when they get a response from one of us pointing out the flaws in screening and that they won’t be getting our vote if they support it. It is really important that we can challenge these people publicly as it is the only way they get honest feedback from the public, unlike that skewed “research” Jo’s Tosh does.
Totally agree. There is power in calling out. This shit works, people. I’m just saying. They can’t argue with this:
1 in 3 women die of heart disease. In the US, one in 400,000 die of CC. As for the old trope that screening prevents CC, the annual number of pre cancerous lesions detected is painfully low and utterly insignificant.
They need to stop scaring us that cc can kill us if we don’t get tested . They fucked up my emotional state of being to be honest !!!!!
Esther – When you are feeling calmer And more centered, research the WHO and CDC websites. Search stats on types of cancers. They even give stats on precancers. I’ve always been a knowledge is power person. Rates of CC are so low. Rates of all reproductive organs cancers are low. I actually did some extensive research a couple of years ago and summarized these numbers. I’ll try to paste it on here soon. I’m a trained scientist with an advanced degree, and I’ve taken a lot of upper level statistics. I know my way around research. I have no fear of CC. I am more concerned about heart disease (it killed my sister) and skin cancer. I’ve had a few removed. We need to know our own risks and strive to make healthy life decisions and maintain healthy habits. Those are the things that keep us alive, and not all this intrusive testing that’s just a revenue machine. And the med industrial complex relies on fear mongering to make money.
Esther – Do “they” really “need” to stop sending these fear messages? When it keeps them employed, makes billions of $$$ for them, and for associated corporations (test manufacturers, hospitals where the follow-on tests and procedures are performed, devices used in all of those treatments, manufacturers and distributors of assorted medications and other products used…)
You cannot convince someone of something when their livelihood depends upon them not understanding it.
Yes they need to stop because I’m traumatized now . I keep re reading all of your post because they make me feel better !
I’ve had hysterectomy six years ago and have regretted it just once- then I remembered no more smear tests ever and that’s it. I was always against forced testing. Mine were always clear, whenever I chose to go. The only way I could take that assault to have a glass of something stronger than water. I’d have been okay with Valium, but they never agreed to give it and as I knew I’d be just fine with my cocktail, I didn’t care.
Then I started getting heavy periods, very painful and they also found that I have a prolapse and fibroids.
Gyn thought I’d be “fine” and consent to have a biopsy, D&C and an IUD. No bloody chance! He ended up going it under general anesthesia!
IUD did not last long- maybe three months and I pulled it out. I think the prolapse was about to expel the IUD anyway so it didn’t even hurt. Three months later I had hysterectomy and that’s the end of smear tests. I do have a mild bladder prolapse now, but it’s not that severe so I’m going to let it be.
Just wanted to share my story and wish you all the very best. Do what feels right. By all means go and see a doctor when YOU decide you need it. If you need it. If you do, then there are ways to make little less memorable (pardon the pun) and if you feel sedation is the only way, then you’ll have to insist on that.
PKK – I think you make a valid point. Just because we aren’t at high risk of reproductive cancer doesn’t mean that we never choose to seek medical consultation of our own accord. Like you said, we are free to do that, according to our own personal needs. And it is our decision and no one else’s. Thank you for reminding us of that.
Esther, Of course this harassment should stop. I think what she meant was this is part of a big overarching money engine. My dentist office does the same to me – not scheduling appointments I didn’t make but hounding me to come in. Money. It’s all money. Even in the UK where they have socialized medicine it’s a money engine. People’s jobs depend on badgering women to engage in this nasty practice. Sick isn’t it? I have been thinking of your situation and comparing it to mine. I understand y out don’t want to phone and cancel that appointment. In the event they send a no show fee to collections, I would write up details like the date you found out about this phantom appointment, how you never made it, and describe that it was during Covid, their office seemed desperate for money, and engaged in this underhanded tactic of randomly “making appointments” for clients. Just type it up on your phone or laptop and save it for just in case. It happened to me. But I was able to talk collections out of charging me. Just protect yourself, that’s all. It sucks we have to do this. Take care.
Hi shelli and Beth
Yes this harassment needs to stop it’s not right to put women in the state of mind that I am it’s ridiculous I know !!!! I’m trying to function again but, it’s hard !!!!
Sadly, they will not stop unless they are forced to. We might be able to get them to stop (with us) by outright refusing to even talk about it, and certainly not to allow these awful exams to happen. It cuts into the consult time to evaluate or treat whatever really IS wrong that brought us in. In no other profession is there some sort of negotiation about penetrating a customer’s vagina or squeezing her breasts tolerated. You can vote with your feet if your firm refusal is not accepted.
Yes, they traumatize me too. This is not a good thing, and makes seeking medical care just a hairs-breadth from being unavailable to me.
It might get easier after the COVID re-prioritization of medical resources is over. They might have a harder time using fear to demand that all women present our opened vaginas, anuses, and breasts for poking, prodding, and feeling — oops, I meant “palpating”! How can it be a matter of life or death after the pandemic when it was a low priority during the pandemic – and few of us die as a result. It might be easier to get these to go away if insurance won’t pay for it – which could happen if in future studies after this haitus of having all of this testing and follow-on “preventive” procedures is not accompanied with a big uptick in cervical cancer and deaths. That’ll be awhile.
It is telling that while hospitals are stuffed to the gills with COVID patients, are “overwhelmed” by the pandemic, and charging over $100K for each serious COVID case, they are saying they’re bankrupt, and many will need to close without a bailout – because (drumroll) they had to cancel elective surgeries and procedures! This should give you an idea of how lucrative those are! All of them are not for “women’s healthcare” (gag), but a significant number of elective procedures are follow-on from pap testing.
In the US, this costs a total of upwards of $30 billion per year. That’s the price of a Gerald R. Ford class aircraft carrier EACH YEAR. One year of this expense the estimated cost of securing all of the currently known-purified fissionable materials worldwide to keep them out of the hands of terrorists,
We will never convince the medical establishment that to treat anything that is wrong with us, they have to look inside our vaginas, anuses, and squeeze our breasts. Besides the obvious, there is the fact that it’s impossible to make someone understand anything when their livelihood depends on them not understanding it.
BethKZ, wow – an utterly bracing and well spoken summary of what Covid has taught us about just how “optional” most “elective” screenings are. And the bit about how the medical model sees us as vulvas on legs – repugnant.
We could turn the tide if we had the power of numbers. Why so many women think this is OK is beyond me. The few I’ve shared my views with look at me like I’m insane. Their usual response is “My doctor is a woman.” And that matters because why? They were taught by men to do “exams” invented by men. Do people not think?
I really appreciate everyone’s feedback here. I’ve never found another place to talk about any of this.
My doctor is a woman too. I would much rather have a woman, as if something *does* go wrong with my “girlie parts”, she’ll have some idea what I’m talking about, and won’t have quite the same prurient interests in “looking inside”. I’m older and fat now – hardly “top notch stuff” for someone to oggle. The woman doctor does it as a “try on”. A couple of years ago when a male was filling in for her, he was D***ED entitled to penetrate me.
Reasons: There’s the tendency of little boys to open things up to “see what’s inside” or “see how they work”. There’s also the need to have uteri to remove as student gynecologists have to participate in a particular number of hysterectomies to get their shingle. Older, well-insured women who have completed their families are high on the list to be recruited as class material – and get their insurance to pay for it! Women doctors have the same mysogynistic training as men doctors do – and some of them do abuse their patients. However, few engage in sexual abuse. They abuse differently, most often. The Atlanta Courier-Journal compiled a list of over 5,000 doctors in the US over about a decade who were convicted of sex crimes with their patients. An individual compiled about the same number using newspaper reports throughout the nation over a different 12-year period.
Examining a vagina for no particular purpose has more in common with prison rape than it does with any legitimate healthcare procedure. Even the literature for gynecologists say that pelvic exams creates an “intimacy” between patient and provider and they will tell the provider things that they wouldn’t say otherwise. WTH? Then, they point out this penetration of a vagina with an object and/or a gloved hand is not sexual??? Give me a break! If a man penetrates a woman’s vagina with a latex condom, it’s still sex. If a partner penetrates her vagina with a sex toy of some sort, it’s still sex. If either of those people penetrate without consent, it’s rape. Why does it matter if someone has a medical license?
I too, thought it was okay when I was young. It took me years to see that weekly pelvic exams were abusive!!! That was after I chose a doctor off a list with a typically-female name. Surprise! It was a man! So I let him, although I found out later he was prolonging my issues and probably caused them.
There is other literature out there that most cancer screenings show no benefit in terms of mortality. They do have an effect on morbidity, in that you have more time to BE a cancer patient and to receive treatments. This is called “lead time bias” in statistics, which makes the tests appear better than they are. Here’s an example.
Suppose 3 people of the same age both have the same cancer. Untreated, both will live 7 years.
– One goes to the doctor, is screened, it’s diagnosed. It’s treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy. The person gets very sick. They are still alive after 5 years. They’re considered cured. After another year, the cancer comes back, is “more aggressive” this time. They undergo more surgery, chemo, and radiation for a couple of years, and it seems to slow down, but it kills them after 2 years. “Person X bravely fought their cancer, and ultimately lost the battle.”
– The second doesn’t go to the doctor for the screening (or at all). They live their life for 6 years. Then, they feel bad. They go to the doctor, they go through a few tests and specialists, and they’ve got “advanced” cancer. It’s too late to do anything. They die. People shake their head, “If only Person Y had been more responsible, (s)he’d still be alive.”.
– The third also doesn’t go to the doctor for the screening (or at all). They live normally for 5 years. Something seems amiss, and they go to the doctor (who listens and takes the whole thing seriously). They’re diagnosed with advanced cancer too, but they get the most up-to-date treatments. They get over it. People say, “Thanks to medical science, I’m still here!” Now, will it come back in a few more years? Who knows. But, the advancements in medical science on TREATING cancer increases the survivability. Still, they’re criticized, “If you had just gone to the doctor and been screened on time, you wouldn’t have all these problems!”
Another thing that comes in here is “selection bias”. The person who gets screened, and goes to the doctor frequently is likely to be more affluent, have great insurance, select the best doctor, and most likely to be white. Their chances for a better outcome are significantly higher. The second is more likely to be poor, have little control over what doctor or hospital they go to, more likely to be a person of color, more likely to have chemical abuse issues. The third is less likely to be poor, somewhat likely to be a person of color, probably has crappy insurance that doesn’t pay much or no insurance, They have at least some choice in doctors or hospitals, and can travel if they need to. But, with a severe diagnosis, either their insurance gets to a cap where the patient pays nothing, or a government program takes over, or their general prudence has allowed them enough savings to pay “their share” of the costs (which will likely be substantial).
On the criticism of person #3, a problem comes in because there are hundreds of screening tests for all sorts of things! If someone had all of these screenings for everything that might kill them someday, they’d be getting screening tests all day, every day, for a fantastic amount of money! People would look at this person as an irresponsible hypochondriac who grossly overuses the medical system. Besides, if you look hard enough, you will find something… False positives, “incidentalomas”…
I was a virgin at 21 and went to my primary care doctor for a medication refill. Little did I know I was “due” for a Pap test. She had been my doctor since 16 and knew I had never had a pelvic exam. I was on my period and my concerns were disregarded. I was not given an option to opt out (and I was not asked for consent) despite the chance of me having cervical cancer was essentially 0%. Because these exams are something that “women just need to deal with” I figured “how bad can it be?” The exam was surprisingly not physically painful for me, but mentally it took a toll. I am still not sexually active but have felt forced into having one very three years as a part of my annual check ups. Following each one I go through a period of severe anxiety and depression that usually lasts a few days up to a full week. I don’t have a history of sexual assault/abuse so I can’t imagine how survivors feel. This article made me so emotional because I’ve never had anyone share these same feelings before.
I am so sorry for the trauma that this causes you. I gave up those rape exams years ago. We aren’t “due” for anything. My “doc” is a younger nurse practitioner and I made it clear to her that I will not take off my clothes for any reason whatsoever. And I never do. She respects that. I think that’s an important first step for us: never ever disrobe. Keep our clothes on, our purses and car keys in our hands so that we are ready to get up and leave. The med profession expects us to be submissive and compliant. Look: our body our money. They work for us. We tell them what to do, not vice versa. Just because they “think” they get to treat us like meat doesn’t mean it’s true. It simply means they think it. Please do not let this doctor ever disrespect your body again. Do not remove your clothing. Just say “I will not be engaging in this behavior.” If she tried to scare you with “statistics” and “data” – repeat firmly “I will not be engaging in this behavior.” Don’t explain. Just repeat as many times as necessary until she backs off. If she keeps harassing you, leave. Then please change Docs.
“C” I’m so sorry you’re been coerced into having these invasive exams. The attitude that women’s bodies are public property remains firmly entrenched in the medical community and it can be very difficult to assert yourself in this intiminating environment. However Shelli is 100% correct that they work for us – not the other way around. You’re the boss of your own body . And Shelli, thank you. Your words and advive not only help young women like C find their voice and strength, but also reinforces it in older women like myself.
Judy you are so correct that the medical
profession has this entrenched view of unfettered access to women’s bodies. Such an eloquent – albeit disturbing – way of summing it up. I’m of a generation where we didn’t question these rapist exams and this needless monitoring. I put my foot down several years ago and refuse to go there again unless I’m symptomatic. I’m not. And never have been. I’m ashamed of myself for having ever submitted to this old white male supremist paradigm that has shaped western medicine. Even female Docs have been indoctrinated into this old white male supremist way of thinking. It’s what they learned in med school and it’s all they know. And even if we are sexually active, our chances of testing positive for CC is still really low. It is not, and never has been, a common cancer. There are many more things that we are more likely to encounter – such as heart disease and skin cancer. Fire the gyn – hire a cardio and a derm.
I think a lot of us are ashamed of our past selves for willingly submitting to these rapist exams, leading to its unquestioned continuance.
You are not “unlikely” to test positive for CC. In fact, you are extremely LIKELY to test positive for CC – most women have at least one of these cancer scares in their lives. After that, it’s more harmful and invasive testing – colposcopy/biopsy, and LEEP – and even a possible hysterectomy. At some point, you can have a sigh of relief – the woman didn’t have CC – it was a false alarm. But, isn’t it great that they could have saved her life that way? She makes a good ambassador then to help talk young women in the door. There’s never any discussion that it’s an unreliable test to begin with.
Bethkz – I admit at first I didn’t get what you were referring to (most women do not get cervical cancer) – and then it dawned on me what you were saying. Yes. Exactly. 100% – false positives and treatment and scaring women ….. SMDH….. I’m on the older edge of middle age and I am done. And I admit they succeeded in scaring me for years, especially when I was under 30. I just recently worked up the nerve to tell my daughter that she and only she – should evaluate her risk for testing. I explained how HPV is sexually transmitted and it’s up to her to evaluate what is best for her. My daughter experienced sexual assault as a teen, and a horrible gyn – a woman – re-traumatized her. I was enraged. I don’t want my daughter feeling like her life and her intimate body parts are anyone’s business but hers.
Shelli so true, this “nurse “ is a disgrace to her profession, she was ranting on that “ she hadn’t said or done anything wrong yet now she was tagged to the GMC and Nurses board and would have to close her Twitter as a result, her friend said she has had experience of similar but refuses to engage with anti screeners!
So if Angry Brit Nurse had done nothing wrong she closed her Twitter because….?
I’d say us anti screeners won that round
I’m sorry that your first experience of being penetrated by another person was a doctor with an instrument – even if it was a woman. Having a pap smear during your period is a notorious way to get abnormal or inconclusive results, which would have to be repeated.
If you’re not sexually active, and never have been, the only place POSSIBLE for you to catch HPV is from nonsterile tools used by the doctor! You don’t get it from benches, swimming pools, toilet seats, or towels! Yes, it mentally takes its toll – we have a term for being penetrated without consent.
You have a right to say “no” to anyone proposing to penetrate you – including a doctor. You have a right to refuse medical treatment or any portion of it. If that doctor refuses to treat you for other conditions unless/until you have a pap test, it’s time to report them to a medical board, an institution they work with/for, and your insurance company or other 3rd party payer. These exams are not free, and if you’re getting them after you’ve outright refused them, they cannot have consent.
Daily fail today ladies, UK bodybuilder nurse diagnosed with CC after her smear due in April was cancelled. She’s 27 and had a tumour the size of a golf ball and was getting symptoms, she was told at 27 she was low risk for CC
She has now set up a go fund me to raise awareness of the importance of smears! She was expecting a letter for her smear which ‘ she always has every 3 years… but they start at 25?! It’s a real shame a smear is classed as a routine appt and it’s something no women like but it needs doing and doctors need to put pressure on women to get it done. Drivel
I feel for the woman diagnosed with CC. My niece got diagnosed with CC at age 30. She had surgery and is fine. I am glad she is doing well. And I stand by what I’ve maintained: it is rare. I have a friend in her 30s who is a pancreatic cancer survivor. Another rare cancer. Actually if you review CDC cancer stats, including the incidence of precancerous cervical lesions, pancreatic cancer still outnumbers precancerous cervical lesions. Where is the screaming to get our pancreases screened? My niece indulged in a lot of risky behavior in her youth. From the time my daughter was 12 I always told her to use condoms. I showed her how to roll one on and I gave her some to keep in her purse. It’s the least we can do for our daughters. As well as teach them that docs aren’t authorities, and we have the right to say no and walk out to any doc trying to assault our bodies without our permission. I think besides us rebels (I’m so grateful I’m not alone here) we turn this culture around by educating our daughters, our nieces, our granddaughters, our younger friends. Even young men who can be allies. I’m starting to see “For Women’s Eyes Only” referenced in more publications by women. It’s so good to see …..
It’s a disgrace that the Daily Fail still promotes such misinformation. It’s always the missed smear test that has caused a tumour to grow this big in a couple of months, always someone else’s fault she couldn’t get a smear test, yet the NHS has been available throughout the lockdown for anyone who has symptoms, and to the best of my knowledge none of these delays this article talks about have really happened. The services have been up and running as usual, but some places have put screening on hold for 3 months, and this has sown the idea that it’s not such an essential service after all, and some are not rushing back. Strongly suspect this article is to ramp up the pre-COVID fear and compliance.
Adawells – wow! I remember that article from April maybe? About how paps and “pelvic exams” weren’t essential? I think you are 100% correct, that this is just a load of BS to drum up business.
They aren’t rushing back for these tests, as they’ve been told they can be put off, are a non-essential service, and the cancer is rare. The genie is out of the bottle. Now they need these stories to get women back into believing it all.
There’s always a story of somebody who put off her smear for a few months for whatever reason, and she went in, they found something enormous and dangerous which had spread – and all of this stuff they had to do in order to “save her life”. Note they’re always saved at the end of the day…. unlike real life where when a cancer does become stage 3 or 4, and symptomatic, the mortality rate is high.
Adathe Daily Fail itself printed an article that said smears were non urgent and that those with symptoms and early recall would still be seen,I pointed this out but they just red are owed me without even replying!
I feel for this lady, but can’t agree obviously doctors need to pressure us to take a test she admits we “don’t like’ and still no mention of self testing. It will be interesting to see if take up does improve even up to the same as before covid! I can’t see it increasing above that somehow….
I think they’ve got a job on their hands getting women to come back. I’ve noticed begging ads all over the place telling women that screening is back up and running and to not forget keeping that appointment. The Daily Fail is all for self-testing one minute and then peddling stories that miss a smear test by a month and you’ll get a golf ball sized tumour before the night is out type stories the next. I hope everyone here is keeping well and COVID-free.
Giving each other constructive advice helps a lot but women’s healthcare has always been about ordering us into screening tests and exams and silencing and ridiculing dissenters.
Turning women on each other was an important tool for these programs.
I blame this attitude for a lot of grief..booming up Pap tests to young women is dishonest and dangerous, we’ve known for decades that Pap tests don’t help those under 30, that these very rare cancers may occur whether you’re screened or not..
Many of these young women were reassured by a normal Pap test and were only diagnosed when symptoms worsened…you have to wonder about the consequences of losing time, honesty may have saved some lives or meant less extensive treatment,
I found it hard to listen to the lies…knowing they were protecting these programs, not women.
Just seen on news they’re working on a spit test for coronavirus as lots of ppl find the nasal swab unpleasant and invasive!
So why are we made to feel bad for thinking smears invasive???
Very interesting about the Covid saliva test! I gave up gyn visits years ago. I feel so free and unburdened. I have forgotten what that sexually assaulting “exam” was even like and get jerked back to reality whenever I see my doc for a med refill (I have fibromyalgia). The nurse asks questions about screening, etc. I know she’s just doing her job. But I feel sick when she asks about paps. I just say it’s been years and I have zero intention of ever engaging in that ridiculous ritual again. My doc is cool; she knows how I feel. One day I just said “It is systemic oppression of women in invented by a while male patriarchy” and she was speechless. And never brought it up again.
We need not ever feel on the defensive about refusing gyn “testing.” We have every right to put them on the defensive right back. If they pressure, just say “That is my business and NONE of your business.” Don’t give a reason. Just let them know they overstepped a boundary.
Evening ladies, I’ve come onto this forum because I know I will get good advice, so I’ve been having some prolonged bleeding, think it’s probably perimenopause or my fibroid playing up, called docs today expecting her to prescribe something to ease the bleed, but no she wants me to go in to do a pelvic exam, well that isn’t going to happen, I just need some advice from you wonderful ladies on how you coped with prolonged perimenopause bleeding, how long was your longest period and did you use any natural remedies and if so what, do you think this is part of the ageing process im 47 have been bleeding heavy light spotting for 4 weeks, this did also happen last year for 4 weeks.
Many thanks sherry xxx
Hope you’re doing ok. Could you get a referral for an external scan to see if that shows anything? I’ve had very similar issues in the past. I had normal periods until I turned 40. I then had spotting on and off with no regular pattern for about 4 months, sometimes just spots of blood, other times like a light period. During one month this spotting happened almost every day. When I went for help the doctor wouldn’t do blood tests, fobbed me off when I said it could be my age and insisted on doing a smear (which I now know shouldn’t have happened but I felt pressure due to seeking help for the spotting). After the 4 months of spotting I had 6 months free from any bleeding other than my period and then the spotting started up again. Following the smear I had been meant to be referred to some specialists but this didn’t happen so I rang and asked to be referred for an external scan only. When I went for the scan I discovered that the doctor had also requested an internal scan but I simply refused this and just had the external one. The scan was very thorough and didn’t show anything which put my mind at rest. Since then Ive only had one instance of spotting. I’m fairly confident it’s just my age (42) so I would suggest an external scan could be a good idea for reassurance. I started taking a multivitamin which includes women’s herbs to support peri menopause and Ive found this to be helpful. Keep us posted as to how you get on.
As a side note, a year after the smear, I got a text to book in for a follow up smear. I calmly text back ‘Thanks, I have made an informed decision not to screen anymore and have been taken off the register. Please don’t send me any further reminders’. Haven’t heard a thing since!
I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. I don’t have knowledge of natural remedies for bleeding but would a consultation with a naturopath be a possibility? Or, and I know its not a natural remedy, but some perimenopausal women take a low-dose birth control pill to help with irregular bleeding. These can be difficult to obtain without an invasive exam, but some posters here have had luck with ordering them online. Its unclear from your post whether you’re having heavy bleeding or just spotting. If its heavy bleeding it may more likely be due to a fibroid, and that’s a little trickier. Fibroids usually shrink after menopause though so hopefully you just need to get over this hump. I don’t blame you for not wanting a pelvic exam – women are looked at as colossal cash cows for the medical establishment anyway and presenting with abnormal bleeding may well subject you to any number of horrors. Perhaps other posters will chime in with other ideas for you. Please keep us posted.
Ada I’m sure there’ll be lots of new campaigns, pre covid smear rates were going down and were pretty dire, you said kinda begging notices are appearing now, Xys town is re starting smears, all will be safe, please do attend when “invited” I don’t fancy the chances of getting women back! Instead of the don’t be embarrassed it doesn’t hurt line’s we’ll get; our surgery is safe, we ask you to wear a mask and our nurse will be in full PPE
We saw on tv the level of planning for dentists: they can only see a few ppl a day have to ventilate room an hour between patients and sanitise everywhere, I work in a school and the level of sanitising and cleaning and bubble planning is horrendous!
I read surgeries carrying out smears during lockdown: the women waited outside in their cars, or 2m apart if they didn’t drive: the nurse came down to get them using a different entrance to main surgery, after airing and cleaning her room, the deed was done, was this really best use of her time?
I think they’ll struggle to get numbers up even to pre covid, I’m sure at least some women will have spotted the discrepancy when smears went from Vital! One delayed test could kill you ! To , oh it’s fine, not essential if you don’t have symptoms, and those who choose not to go for other reasons are hardly likely to stampede back
Of course the NHS could just have introduced self testing….
Thank you ladies for your support I’m still trying not to focus on the subject and like Beth said it’s hard !!!! I don’t want to be depress and think about killing my self ! Why would they damage my mind like this ? Like Shelli said maybe I need to rest my mind and focus on other things but, it’s hard …..
Don’t try not to focus on something. Try TO focus on something else. Your brain doesn’t understand negations. For example, right now, I’ll tell you not to think of a rhinosaurous, whatever you do. I’ll bet you’re thinking of a rhinosorous right now, even though I told you NOT to. Likewise, telling yourself NOT to think of (nastiness) won’t work. Tell yourself to think about/concentrate on, something else. It can be people in your life, pets, art, entertainment (music works well, and you might get an “ear bug” to distract you), work, volunteer with something important to you, education, books… anything.
Reading things like this site can help or hurt. I’ve found it to be most helpful if I limit my time on here, Be here just enough to be reminded you are not alone, but not long enough to get your brain spinning back into obsession about it.
Why would they do it? Probably unthinkingly, as a result of long-term training that things change by designation – and the misogynistic background of pelvic exams. Women who work with it were trained into that system. Spend no more than 5 minutes reading about “J. Marion Sims – the “father of gynecology” At higher levels and longer-term, it makes them money. For instance, if you say you’re thinking about killing yourself, you can go into a hospital (big bucks!), have treatments, and have lifelong medications – which makes a lot more money for the whole medical and pharmaceutical industry.
I know Beth but it’s hard not to think of it
I’m frightened I can’t sleep I wake up so often I can’t eat ! I just bought sleeping pills because this is taking a tow out of me . This CC and paps got me depressed and made me feel that I’m going to die !!!! Pls helppp me 😭😭😭😭😭
The history of Sims is repugnant in many levels, including misogyny and racism. And much worse. The birth trauma he “repaired” in these women was a kind of trauma due to a female body too young and underdeveloped to give birth. They weren’t women at all – they were children, barely past adolescence, many of whom had likely been raped by slave owners. Sims was a pedophile.
Pls help me !!!! This suxxxxx ughhhh
Ladies pls help me get through this crisis!!!!! IM alone !!!!
The only place that I found ppl like me is on here I don’t know where else to look !!! This suxx I want my life back !!!!
Pls anybody !!! I feel soo alone
Esther – I agree with the tactic of shifting your mind to something different. Do you have PTSD? Many of us do. I’m sensing that you have PTSD symptoms. I know we are in crazy times with Covid and telehealth. I feel a therapist might be a good idea. You’re in California I think you said? I don’t know what your feelings are about this but many folks find cannabis helpful for anxiety and sleep and PTSD symptoms. It’s legal there. Can you go to a dispensary?
Hi shelli yes I smoke cannabis to relax but it’s not helping . I probably do have ptsd because I feel sooo anxious depress I can’t take it anymore!!!! I don’t want to live with fear !!!!!
If you can get to a dispensary tomorrow, maybe a different strain would help. Many people swear by Kratom too. I’m not trying to push substances but I’ve had severe anxiety all my life and I completely understand. Maybe you can look for a trauma therapist. It’s a specialized field. I’m in the mental health field and I sure don’t have trauma training. But some do and perhaps you can get a tele-Health appointment.
Shelli I just want to overcome this I feel like they damage my life I can’t stop thinking about it I’m soooo depresss I can’t go on with this I don’t want to live in fear thinking about paps and all that I didn’t know our women parts can kill us !!!!
Esther – one of the points of this site (I didn’t start it; not sure who did) is that our genitals DONT kill us. That’s just it: these cancers they screen us for are RARE! That’s the point Esther. They are rare and uncommon. It would be like if we all had tests for brain cancer. We don’t – because it’s rare. It’s tragic when it happens but it’s rare. It isn’t likely to happen. Same for female reproductive cancers. The risk is so small. You have a greater risk of getting into a car accident when you go out to buy groceries than you do if ever getting CC. That’s why we all dissent against this intrusive testing – it’s unnecessary, just like it’s unnecessary to get screened for brain cancer every year.
Is it possible? Esther anything is possible. It’s possible that geologically, the earth could open up and swallow me whole. Right now. As I’m sitting here. But it’s probably not going to. Same for reproductive cancer; it’s probably not going to happen to you or me or any of us. We live with risk daily.
Please don’t worry. Your lady bits aren’t going to kill you Esther. That’s the point of this site. This is all about money. “Medical testing” is a billion dollar industry. Please take some deep breaths. I’ll try to post the data I summarized into a paper I did for grad school. I’ve been busy but I’ll try to make the time.
It’s going to be OK Esther. You’re not going to die, you don’t need to be tested. Take care.
Esther, if you’re in the US I read you have more chance of being killed by a lightning strike than you do of cervical cancer; do you worry about storms? In the UK, nearly as many women die in falls on stairs as of cervical cancer; we aren’t petitioning for single storey buildings or lifts in houses! The medics are very clever about manipulating us into fear and having this screening! It brings them CASH CASH CASH , they see us as literally sitting on a goldmine they cash in to!
I haven’t had a smear for 20 years, I don’t worry about this cancer at all, I dealt with the hassle even after I opted out by repeating, I opted out and signed a disclaimer, every question about smears got the same answer, I then kept silent, doc repeated more smear shit, I repeated I opted out….he got the message in the end and I’ve not been bothered in years.
Nobody ever did any random control trials of this test, and if it was to be invented now in the original form ad by Dr Pap it would NEVER pass the criteria as an effective screening test. I don’t even want to do a self HPV test,I’m happy to forego testing
I hope you find peace x
Thank you ladies !!!
It’s just been really hard for me to handle this situation. Just reading what yah wrote gives me hope !!!! I’m trying not to stress it or think about it but it’s hard !!!!
Thank you Kat
Everyday is a struggle with my brain 🧠 I try not to think about it but it’s constantly there . I want to be me again but it’s hard !!!! Thank you all for replying back
Thinking of you Esther x
Esther I located all my statistics I researched awhile back for a grad school paper. It’s too unwieldy to paste here but here are a few stats. I got this from CDC, NIH, WHO, etc. You could find all of this data your self if you wishes. The data has been accumulated from 2015-2017 for the US. I assume UK isn’t far off from these stats; I don’t know why they would be. These are just raw numbers. Interpret them how you wish:
In 2015, there were 415 cases of all types of cancers combined per 100,000 women. Of those, 7.4 were cervical. Out of 100,000. Think hard about that. This is 0.0076 %. Teensy. Minuscule. Agree? Let’s go on:
Out of all these paps they are so found of doing, most show no abnormality. Why would they? See the above. But out of the ones that do show an abnormality, only 1% are actually cancerous. Not 1 % of paps; 1 % of ABNORMAL paps. Most aren’t.
Stay with me… Here’s a breakdown of incidents of other types of cancers (2017 I believe)…
Breast: 124.8 out of 100,000 people
Prostate in men: 99.1 out of 100,000
Lung 50.7 out of 100,000
Colon/rectal: 33.3 out of 100,000
Uterus: 26.8 out of 100,000
Thyroid 21.5 out of 100,00
Melanoma of skin: 17.8 per 100,000
Non – Hodgkin Lymphoma – 15.2 out of 100,000
Pancreas – 11.2 out of 100,00 people
Ovary – 11 out of 100,000
Bladder 8.4 out of 100,000 people
Cervical cancer (FINALLY!!!) – 7.4 out of 100,000.
Testicular and brain – both around 5.5 per 100,000.
Esther I hope this helps. These numbers are tiny. Please imagine one of our massive American football stadiums. Ok? One that seats 100,000. Imagine it packed with women. And out of that group, only a total of 45 will be diagnosed with cancer of one of their reproductive organs. There is no test for uterus or ovary. Just cervical – and out of those 100,ooo women sitting in the Rose bowl in Pasadena, 7 are diagnosed with cervical cancer.
You aren’t going to get cancer, Esther, and you don’t need to get paps. Ever. I as advise young women to always carry condoms, as CC is sexually transmitted. Women should give condoms to their daughters and show them how one is rolled on. Please do something nice for yourself, take some breaths, and don’t worry anymore. You’re fine. ❤️
Thank you for making me feel like I’m not alone all of you ladies !!!! I don’t want to live in fear I’m trying so hard to be me again !!!! Thanks for thinking about me Kat
Yes, I know what it’s like to go months or years and have your brain telling you that I’m unsafe. It’s a sign of PTSD. You might do well to find a trauma-informed counselor, and you might be able to get one using tele-health.
I’ve got diagnosed PTSD from childhood things, worsened by some outrageously-abusive things that happened regarding healthcare. I found the most help from a Vietnam Veteran. He told me that when flashbacks start happening, PAY ATTENTION to what’s around you – people, things, and especially music that didn’t exist when whatever-it-is that you’re flashing back to happened. Remind yourself of when, where, and who you are, and that you’re safe. Then, focus your attention on something.
The mad pap-enthusiasts are not coming into your home to force you to have a pelvic exam and pap test! They won’t accost you on the street. You do not have to go to them, you do not have to take your clothes off. You have a legal right to refuse. If it’s not respected, you have other avenues to use to ensure your bodily integrity, consent, and safety.
Yes, they can show you ads of their awareness campaigns. You have a right to not watch or listen to them. Mute the sound, go into the next room, or get a good ad blocker to avoid them however you can. Or, you can laugh at their lies.
I went once because of the Jade Goody propaganda, freaked out and the nurse didn’t get a proper sample. For days I was shaking and in a bit of pain, quite traumatised by the whole ordeal. It wasn’t the “quick & easy test” they go on about. This was about 12 years ago when I was in my twenties and I have never had one since. I did my own research and decided it’s a frankly ridiculous system for such a rare cancer and I throw the letters in the bin. Why should women live their lives obsessed with getting cervical cancer? To the patriarchy I think women’s bits have always been a problem to control. Now I get my birth control through an online Dr service and look after my health. Please don’t let them bully you, it is NOT mandatory!
Thank you London !!!!
I really appreciate your story gives me hope! I’ve never had a smear and I thought I was the only one who never had one I’m in the US and feeling how I feel suxx !!! Pls keep posting !!!
I totally understand it’s a struggle and hopefully I get out of this depression and anxiety soon ! I know I don’t have to do anything that I don’t want . But my head just keeps going back to the subject! I know I need to learn how to control it and reading all this post of women who are saying that I’m not alone that they to haven’t had a Pap in years gives me hope and makes me feel better some ladies haven’t gotten a Pap at all and I can totally relate to them ! I just want to feel better and be happy and just erase that Pap crap 💩 out my head !!!! How did you guys manage to do it ?
Esther – I cannot tell you what will work to get you out of the depression and anxiety. I can tell you how it worked and works for me.
Like most, I was always told that cervical cancer was common and a real worry for women – that it was imperative to get regular paps. When I was growing up, the general teaching was that a girl should get her first pap right after her first menstrual period! My mother didn’t think that was reasonable, or perhaps because she knew of my early sexual abuse and didn’t want it discovered, I was not taken or sent to a doctor for a pap. However, she told me that I would “have to” have them once I was “out of school and on my own” – or became sexually active. (well, abuse didn’t count in her book)
So, when I was 20, after I’d had consensual sex with a man, and we’d gotten tired of using condoms and foam, I went in to Planned Parenthood for the pill. Of course, a pelvic exam and pap were “required”. So, as “all women have them” and they reinforced that CC was rampant, I had them. The nurse who did it was very nice, explained everything to me, and even got me to look at my own cervix – in the wrong place. I’ll leave the details of why and how for another message sometime.
Anyway, I got on the pill, and had annual paps pretty religiously. Then, I got a job with some good healthcare. I’ll leave a lot out, but having children would have been difficult, and I really didn’t want them. I got referred to someone for a tubal ligation at 22 – although the gyn thought that pregnancy would be almost impossible, and “you’ll never carry one to term”. But, he did the surgery.
I still had annual paps, but not as religiously as before, as no one was holding the pill hostage.
Then, I no longer had the job nor the great health insurance a dozen years or so later. I stopped having paps. I knew I “should”, but I didn’t think so enough that I was looking to spend money on it. In the mean time, I was in a car accident, and had some serious medical trauma involving some serious medical wrongdoing – that left me with PTSD over the whole medical system. Then, after some years, I had another health problem that took me to a doctor. After they got the urgent problems taken care of, I was asked about paps. It had been years. So, a female resident in the outpatient residency program, and a new resident or maybe intern were doing one on me after a number of years. WELL…. it didn’t go right. Those (blanks) somehow managed to cram that speculum up my urethra! I screamed! Eventually, the more senior one saw that she’d put it in the wrong place, pulled it out. They laughed, and assured me that I was “overacting” since I don’t have nerves in my urethra. (I’d heard that before too) Then, having the cells scraped off of the cervix hurt too, and I yelped. Laugh. “Stop the overacting!” I never went back. I couldn’t face a repeat of this. Oh yeah, after the test, they called me with “results”. The receptionist said, “Dr. X wants to see you.” Well, nothing about the pap test “that’s all normal”, but, we’re “sure” you’ve got polycystic ovaries, and they wanted to refer me to Dr. Y for a complete hysterctomy! Until that time, you need to eat only this “protein powder” meals that you can buy from us (for a ridiculous amount of money). “Insurance will pay for it!” I remembered people going on protein powder diets in the 1970s, and how a lot of them ended up dead. I knew they could not diagnose polycystic ovaries. Did a little research – found this nonsense about PCOS was a scam. I complained to the preceptor of the clinic. He didn’t know that was being done. Next thing I knew several residents got canned from the program.
So, I never went back for another pap.
I lost all insurance after that, and when I was about to get insured through a new job, I started thinking, “I should get over this fear of paps. I had them in the past, and while they were uncomfortable, it’s so important….” I did a little searching on the subject, joined a Yahoo Group involving women’s health/pelvic exams, and introduced myself and explained that I wanted to learn to be okay having paps. The answer shocked me: “Why would you want to do that? CC is rare, it always has been, paps are dangerous to your well being in several ways…” They sent me to some actual research papers from respected medical journals, and some universities that didn’t have conflicts of interest on them. Wow! I didn’t know they were that unreliable! Then to the CDC – for current and historical data on CC diagnoses and deaths. Yes, it’s rare. Then, someone else had a database of doctors who had been convicted of sexual abuse of patients – about 5000 of them over several years. And more data – including self-reports from anonymous surveys of how many doctors had engaged in sexual abuse of patients or thought about it. Hmmm…. would you send your child to a preschool where 10% of the employees admitted to being a pedophile? That’s another reason to have a woman doctor for gyn care!
So, I no longer feel I need a pap. I’m much more likely to have a false positive and a host of follow-on procedures which are painful, expensive, and damaging. ~1% of positive paps are actually CC.
That worked fine until after I had diabetes, and had been treated for several years by a doctor who didn’t ask about them. Great. Then, something happened, and I could no longer see her. I found another doctor with a different clinic. She pushed them on the first visit, but not too hard. I got into the explain and rationalize thing – which I knew I shouldn’t have done. But, I didn’t have one. The year after that, when I went back for more treatment for diabetes, she wasn’t there. I saw a male resident. He REALLY PUSHED HARD to get me to have a pap, which I needed TODAY! I didn’t have a choice. He suggested that he’d withhold my other care – in contrast to the clinic’s published patient rights saying a patient could refuse some types of care and still get care for other things. It was a rough visit, but I still left with my diabetes and thyroid medications scripts.
That lead to a year of obsessing, brooding about it – and nightmares about that with everything else I had in the past – I especially hated the ones where someone took ownership of my body and I had no choice about anything. Fortunately, I’d learned from a therapist long ago how to get myself out of nightmares. I still had trouble with intrusive thoughts about someone pushing me for it all the freakin’ time. I spent more time here, and on other groups, and writing to some people I’d gotten to know on those other groups. A year went by, and the obsession, depression, and anxiety had not lessened. I had to go back to get my other prescriptions. I FREAKED OUT right before that appointment. It ended up having 8 firefighters, 2 paramedics, a town marshall, and a county sheriff’s deputy here – in the middle of a full-blown flashback, fueled by alcohol which I’d used to attempt to stave off the flashback – a last-ditch thing I’ve used in the past. My husband explained the whole PTSD thing, flashback thing, the doc the previous year really setting me off…. I’m unsure to what level he explained it, but I ended up being taken to my own bed – although the paramedics wanted to take me to the hospital – hubby pointed out that was not a good idea. The next morning hubby called the doctor’s office, told them I couldn’t make the appointment, told them of what happened the night before, and how the previous year’s appointment had triggered me! I got in, first saw the “office manager” – a clinic manager who assured me that the doc who had seen me the year before “is no longer with us”, that what he’d said was “all wrong”, said she was sorry, and gave me her card if anything like that ever happened again. Meanwhile, while waiting for this rescheduled appointment, wrote the doctor a letter, explaining the situation, that it’s my right as a “free person” to have bodily integrity, and I have rights under the state laws to refuse medical care, and penetrating one’s vagina or anus with genitalia, hands, or instruments without consent is sexual assault (in the nth degree). I said at the bottom that if she could not work with this, and treat my medical problems, that I requested a referral to a doctor who could treat me. The unwritten hint here is that I know what the laws are involving “Patient abandonment”.
The doc apologized too for how the previous doc had acted. She still asked about a pap as a bit of a “try on”, with how important they are. Uhhh, no. It’s very rare anyway. It’s not as rare as being killed by a lightening bolt, but more rare than being killed by a meteor strike. (YES!!! People are rarely hit with a meteor, but when they are, hundreds or thousands are killed at once.) I told her (again) that maintaining my mental health is far more important to me than “early detection” of CC.
BTW, if your fears are based on you “might” be one of those 7 unlucky women out of 100,000, CC has some symptoms that occur long before death. You probably want to look at them on something like Medscape or WHO.
Most of CC (and other cancers) as being “more survivable” now with paps and early detection, that too is nonsense. Cancer treatment has improved remarkably over the past 50 years, when population pap testing was rolled out. (Yea, along with 2nd wave feminism – coincidence, or a way to put those uppity liberated women in their place?) CC diagnoses peaked in 1990, and has been decreasing ever since. However, the diagnosis/death ratio remains at around 25-30%.
I hope you can get something out of this to help allay your fears. We’re all listening, and care about these feelings you’ve got. Most of us have had them too, and I *really* had that “can’t eat, sleep, work, enjoy entertainment” sort of obsession and intrusive thoughts for a year.
Yes, I would have a pelvic exam should I have something that warrants it. I would like that done by a woman, should it seem advisable. I also have had only one vaginal infection since I stopped having pelvic exams annually – a month or so after my diabetes diagnosis, as high blood sugar can cause them. I treated them with OTC suppositories and didn’t mention it to the doctor. It seems that speculums and gloves aren’t always sterile, as they’d have you believe, nor are many other things in the doctor’s office. There’s the medical notion that they don’t need to be, since the vagina is not sterile. Hey, maybe not. I still don’t have all of the infections that all of their other patients might have.
Anyway, I might someday have a pelvic exam, should various things “go wrong”. I’m not going to have one just to have them rummage around for spare change…. or to get on that conveyor belt leading to hysterectomy.
Beth that’s beyond mad, your 1st smear right after your 1 at PERIOD?? I’m guessing back then girls started later, I started at 14 and am 56 now, my 24 yr old daughter started at 11!!
I think that’s basically what happened to our Ms Jade Goody who has her 1st cells removed at just 16!!!
Hope you all keep on an even keel x
Thank you for sharing your story Beth i trying very hard not to think about it!!!! I have talked to other ppl who have never had a Pap and makes me feel better about myself but I can’t let this take over my life it’s so difficult not to think about it!!!! You ladies have been a great help! And I’m appreciate you ladies trying to make me feel better thank you !!!!
I’m not centuries old. 🙂 I’m 58. I started at 10, as did a lot of my friends. The sex ed/health textbooks said 12 was average. And yes, girls were supposed to get a pap smear right after their first period! The books said it was a quick, easy, and painless test that could save your life.
They pushed for them with the required physical before going into high school (13-14). I refused, and they didn’t push much. Some of the girls came back from those physicals with an almost dazed look on their face.
A dazed look on their faces, I’m not surprised, that is pure abuse, how on earth could a doctor justify doing a Pap test on a child? At 10 or 12 that’s what you are, a child. Basic medical research would make clear there’s no medical justification to do cervical screening at that age.
I think it was to get in early, to make girls feel like this was just something they had to have every year of their lives, to try and de-sensitise girls, so open access to their bodies was an easy process.
It’s was often said that women should view pap testing like brushing your teeth, just something you should do regularly to be healthy. They did not want women looking critically at this testing and by getting girls into pap testing, they probably hoped most would never question the need for the testing.
t’s also why any concerns were just dismissed, “don’t be silly, the doctor sees thousands of women”…so what?
One of the rules with cancer screening is that the test must be acceptable to the target population – it doesn’t say testing for women should be forced regardless…to hell with the way it makes women feel or how they view the testing.
I often read that modesty and bodily privacy isn’t possible for women because they had to have regular Pap tests and get pregnant and give birth. So it’s best to get over negative feelings as quickly as possible.
I know some women say they go to another place when they have Pap tests or the wellness exams including pelvic and/or recto-vaginal exams – like an out of body experience…that’s something we may experience when we’re being assaulted..it’s the minds way of coping with trauma.
The damage they did to these girls is horrible, I simply don’t believe this was about cc, it was about recruiting the next lot of income producing bodies.
Wellness exams are not a good idea at any age…and to do them to someone under 18 – it should result in serious trouble for the “doctor” or “nurse”.
It’s a horrible introduction to womanhood, that a doctor or nurse can regularly examine your genitals…every year or two, that your body is so at risk of cancer, that the female body has to be subjected to a lifetime of medical surveillance.
Women go through a lot, so to find out at 40 or 60 that it was actually unnecessary and harmful would be devastating. I know a few women online refuse to believe it wasn’t necessary, and they’ll never believe it, I can understand that, it’s a form of self protection because the truth would be just too painful.
So eloquently said, Elizabeth. I’ve wondered about these women who defend such “surveillance.” You are bang on.
I’ve never accepted this as normal. You ask how could a doctor do something like that to a 10-12 year old child? I was ass r***ed with an object by doctor when I was a small child. I’ve never said or written this in my life. “Doctors” do whatever they want, especially back then. I’ve always instinctively known there was something fundamentally not right about humans who desire unrestricted access to naked human bodies. That is 100% antisocial behavior and indicative of deeply rooted personality disorders.
I am grateful for everyone here. I spent years feeling alone with my thoughts that this systemic harassment of women was inhumane and criminal.
I was in my 40s when I discovered that these tests aren’t necessary. I was in my 30s when I had the last one done. I feel for those girls who were systematically sexually abused by a professional in school. That is NUTS. I can’t see why the adults went along with it!
There might be a reason to examine a girl’s vagina if there are serious issues there, or if she was the victim of an assault. There are ways to do them without outright sexually assaulting the girl. Getting her alone, with a “chaperone”, isn’t the way though.
Thank you Beth for your story
I’m still trying to no to be depressed this Pap really fucked up my state of mind I’m trying to reach out to other ppl like me . I need myself back
Esther – It’s hard and slow-going once you’ve been traumatized with this nonsense.
The best revenge is to live well. Live your life YOUR way, and do not permit anyone to penetrate you unless YOU want it. Second to that, your experience can help others. You can support others. You can do it one-on-one. You might be able to connect with others who are trying to get rid of this pap coercion. You might be able to connect with a TV, radio, or newspaper personality who can get the problem and the issues out to the larger audience. Most people take it for granted that these are “necessary” for “all women”, and they “save lives”. Before you do that, educate yourself.
Just a thought – I think some therapy could be helpful for you, especially with a counselor who specializes in trauma. I recommend doing a search online or asking friends. Things are done a bit differently now with zoom video sessions with therapists etc, but it’s do-able. I’ve been in and out of therapy for years and it has kept my sanity together. I hope you can find some peace. And I agree with Beth about the healing power of advocacy. It is empowering.
I’ve been reaching out to ppl on Instagram and women against stirrups I’ve been talking to a few women hopefully I get to overcome this . Ladies your words of encouragement will help a lot
Shelli – I agree wholeheartedly that therapy could help when dealing with the combination anxiety/depression/hopelessness that might come about from pap-crap interfering with seeking health care, or from it actually happening (without consent). In these COVID days, and therapy being done online via Zoom or Skype, that could actually be helpful for some. Find a therapist that has training and experience with trauma – and look into any claims that are made, and that can be easier to find one online than to find one in someone’s own small community. Plus, it eliminates the transportation issues to such therapy.
Thank you Shelli
Yes I see the number are low thank you all for trying to comfort me I will try my best not to worry or stress anymore but it’s going to be hard . I know I need to get out of this depression soon I need function once again slowly but surely I will with the help of you ladies ❤️❤️❤️❤️
Esther( and Shelli) just read Shellis stats, in the UK a woman has a 0.65% lifetime risk of CV, not so different from you, about 8% risk for breast same for bowel, here I never heard one word as to why I opted out of mammography or bowel screening though this is more likely to affect me, men get breast and bowel cancer too!! I really hope you can heal and enjoy life again
Esther, I feel like you do, I’m desperately trying to get back to a normal life, and I would if I was convinced I didn’t have symptoms of cc, I’ve been for paps since the age of 19 and my last one was just over 3 years ago, but because I had slight post coital bleeding 7 months ago, I feel constantly in a worried state that I may be leaving something until it’s to late.
I genuinely do not and will not get another pap but my mind will not let go off this incident, I’ve always had normal paps and have had the same partner for 30 years, I dont smoke, so I know I’m considered low risk, but this nagging little doubt will not go away.
I was diagnosed with a fibroid and adomyosis 2 years ago, so these 2 issues can cause bleeding but I’m not sure if they cause post coital, I wish I could get it into my head how rare cc is, ladies I’ve read up on symptoms, but sometimes they are very vague, after 7 months would my symptoms have worsened, just a question, anyway thank you ladies, you help me through this worrying time xxxx
Thank you Kat
Im tired of leaving in fear I want to be me again ! You ladies have been a great help!!! Yes I want to heal soon !!!!
Sorry Beth didn’t mean to imply you were old!!!
The average age of menarche increased as nutritious food was available all year, and also with obesity. But, the age went down sharply after WW2, especially in the US, Canada, and western Europe. They still didn’t have sanitary supplies available in schools before 9th grade (about age 14). The health books then said that anywhere from 9-18 was “normal”, but 12 was average.
BTW, those same health books assured girls that they’d still be virgins after this test! It wouldn’t damage our hymens for our “future husbands” (Yeah, nearly everybody had premarital sex in the 1970s, but nobody admitted it across generations! Same with previous generations, with all of their “premature” first babies.) Nevermind that even a small speculum is bigger than even a large penis. Doctors are magic, you know!
Something that helped me heal was doing that research I posted earlier. There was no story or propaganda or anything attached. It was just raw numbers. I recommend each of you do it when you feel in a calm place. It’s empowering. We are all intelligent cogent people and capable of critical thought. We are more likely to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer than CC. And we all know pancreatic is pretty rare.
There’s a lot of emphasis on “cervical dysplasia “ – abnormal cells. If you read about it, it’s all bout how it “could” become cancerous and that’s why we should get screened. Except most dysplasias don’t. And that’s the big argument – CC rates are low because paps catch them at the dysplasia stage before they become cancerous. At least that’s what they say. And all these money-making procedures get done. Except there is no cause effect evidence anywhere that the destruction of dysplasias significantly reduces CC. It makes money though.
There is a myth that CC used to be the biggest killer of women. But paps stopped that.
Those statements are just blindly stated as rhetoric. And they are flat untrue. Start researching cause of death in various decades past.
Again I turn to CDC data tracking. In 1920, when women were supposedly dropping of CC everywhere, the leading causes of death in females were infectious disease; heart disease (still is;) Stroke; influenza and pneumonia; and cancers were beneath those in rank. By 1960, heart disease and stroke were still the number one killer of women and remain so in 2020. That concerns me more than cancer does. Heart disease took my sister. She was young. She had symptoms. Her doc said it was panic attacks and gave her anxiety meds. One morning she dropped dead. Literally.
In 2017 the WHO stated that there was no evidence that Pap tests increased the average life span of females. Which leads me to how we are obsessed with cancers in our society. It is not and never has been the way most people die. Top causes of death in high income nations (Thats Us) in 2016 were
Lower respiratory infection
7 aren’t even cancers.
Here’s a sobering stat: while about 4000 women die annually of CC in the US (that’s a small number) – about 2000 women (half that number) lose their lives annually to intimate partner violence. Does that matter to anyone?
So applying critical thinking skills to all this, we know that cancers of any kind aren’t our biggest life ender. We know that CC is rare. We know that the biggest killer of women has been and still is heart disease. Women are still murdered in significant numbers yearly . We know that medical literature and rhetoric is full of flat out lies. CC never was “the biggest killer of women.” Don’t the authors of these articles fact-check? Do they think no one else will?
I really recommend that y’all spend time researching all this on your own. It will give you much to ponder and will help you feel more confident about skipping all this gyn nonsense. We all know what’s really up with all this crap: massive amounts of money to be made while systemically oppressing and harassing women. Pretty sweet deal, huh? 😎
My anxiety has gone to the roof ladies I’m feeling out of it this whole thing got me feeling like like killing myself idk what to do !!!!! This is soooo hard omg 😱
Sherry did you say your in your 40s?? It could well be peri menopause, it can cause all sorts of weird symptoms, both bleeding wise and also mimic the sweats etc full blown menopausal women get! A 48 year old colleague is currently suffering, bleeding through a maximum strength pad and tampon on just 20 minutes, several times a day!!
Hi there yes I’m 47, and recently had a 7 week bleed but nothing now for 3 weeks, it concerns me more about the post coital bleeding, because all the websites say it’s a symptom of cc, I know there are other symptoms but that’s the one they focus on most, I just wish I could get this awful fear of cc out of my head.
Many thanks xxxx
Hi there, sorry I replied under anonymous by mistake, it sherry btw xxx
You ladies who cannot get the awful fear of CC out of your heads… recognize that you’ve been victims of a slick, decades-long propaganda campaign. Like other victims of propaganda of all types, you’ve got to really look at the other side – the one that although it’s true, has not had the propaganda campaign.
This is difficult for anyone – whether the propaganda was political, religious, or social… including pseudoscientific in nature. It’s got to be especially hard when you’re fearing for your life over things-unseen. You might look at how people who’ve escaped from dangerous cults, like Jim Jones, David Koresh, The People’s Temple (Flavoraid in Guyana in the 1970s), Heaven’s Gate (those who committed mass suicide because of the Hale-Bopp comet), and so on.
Even decades-on, some of those survivors of deadly cults fear for their immortal soul because they’re not practicing or believing what the cult told them. Likewise, fearing that your cervix will suddenly kill you if you don’t do just what you’re told by those you’ve been taught to trust will likely leave you in fear.
You have a point there !
I know I should get it out of head I keep pushing myself not to think about it . You brought up a lot of good points and we need to stop living in fear thinking that our cervix could kill us ! It’s hard being a woman !!!!
Fearing that your normal female body could at any time turn around and suddenly kill you is part of misogyny. This is in spite of actuarial tables and other life expectancy data showing that women live LONGER lives than men. Women are viewed as the “weaker sex”, and when we were content to have “periods of confinement” (pregnancy was unseen!), felt we had to stay home, and that it was dangerous to bathe and wash our hair during menstruation, and certainly not study or work in men’s jobs, and have no recourse if a husband raped us, it was fine. When society changed, a way had to be found to keep women in our place and control female bodies.
It was and is important to keep women in fear of our own bodies using our minds.
Thank you ladies I will try my best to be better And get out of this state of mind …. I met a young lady who is helping …. I’m trying to maintain busy and just live life but it’s hard ….
Yes you know how I feel
I’m 32 yrs old and I’m trying to be me again I don’t want to feel depress!!! This ladies are a big help just reading there testimony’s makes me feel better! OZ made me feel better about me because she has never had a Pap just like me I’m trying to reach out to others like me ! I know there’s more women that haven’t gotten paps !!!! Anyways I hope you’re doing good
I 100% now how you feel, it’s a horrible feeling, feeling like you have an incurable disease is awful, cc and breast cancer are my biggest worry, if anyone has a way to get over this then please help xxxx
Yes very horrible but like Beth said it takes time I haven’t been able to sleep !!!! I know CC is rare I keep re reading all this ladies testimony’s so I can feel better !!!! Out women parts are not going to kill us !!! I want to be me again to be honest it’s be tuff !!!!
If you’re worried about your risk for any cause, see https://knowyourchances.cancer.gov/ Do a custom chart, and check whatever boxes you want, and how you want it displayed, and to what level of accuracy. This can put things in better perspective at your age and race and sex.
Does breast or cc hold the highest risk for you, or are there changes you could make in your life that would lower a higher risk, or even the risks for breast or cc?
Ladies I need your help, I’m in a full blown cc panic right now, I decided to check my cervix today, and now I wish I hadn’t, as I’m now in a state of panic, so it feels very smooth, but slap bang in the centre I can feel like a round bump, I am on my period at the moment(sorry for tmi)I was wondering could this be the opening, its freaked me out because as you now I had an incident of very light postcoital bleeding 7 months ago, havent had sex since due to the fear of it happening again.
Also my periods have been all over the place, I had a seven week bleed then nothing for 3 weeks and now bleeding again.
Ladies please help with your expertise, I’m literally in panic city.
This must be so stressful for you. An irregular surface on the cervix can be 100% normal, and especially so during one’s menstrual cycle. I’m willing to bet it will feel completely different afterward. Please check again in a week.
Have you had your hormones checked? Many naturopaths offer that service. It is likely to be out of pocket. I’m now post menopausal but my cycles were a wreck for years before I hit menopause. I was 55. But I have a couple of friends who hit menopause in their 40s. It isn’t unusual.
If your hormones are crazy, maybe see what measures you can implement to regulate them. See if your problem goes away. FWIW, I have always bled with sex, even dating back to the 80s when I was doing the “girls just want to have fun” thing. I’m still here and never tested positive for CC. I also bruise really easily. It’s my genetics.
(As for the above, let’s not judge each other, OK? It’s OK if we had fun, it’s OK if we didn’t.)
Shelli, thank you for your reply, I’m just sick of constantly worrying about cc, I had to have tests 2 years ago due to spotting, I had a vaginal ultrasound and a hysteroscopy which showed up a 7 cm submucousal fibroid and adomyosis, so I really dont want to go through that torture again, I’ve always had clear smears since I was 19 and I’m 47 now, I’ve been with the same partner for 30 years,only one other partner before, I dont smoke, only ever took the pill for 1 year about 20 years ago, so I know I’m classed as low risk but I just feel like I will be one of the unlucky ones, I’ve suffered with health anxiety since I was about 13, my focus is always cancer, mainly breast or cervical, i just live my life in constant fear, anyway thank you.
Shelli, I also meant to add that my mum and my auntie(mums sister) had the exact same symptoms as I have had, at the same age, and neither of them have had a smear test or any other procedure in the last 28 years and they are both alive and very well xxxx
Sherry, Are you able to purchase an HPV self test kit where you are? If you could find out that you don’t have HPV you could cross cervical cancer off your list of worries with complete certainty.
An ultrasound may reveal that it’s a nabotian (spelling) cyst. I had these and they’re normal. Come and go.
Ladies I spoke to Margaret McCartney on Twitter regarding my fears and this is what she reply
Hello, please speak to your own doctor or nurse and explain your fears. They should be able to talk you through and help you make a decision that’s right for you. Sending you best wishes.
I explain how I’m terrified I am. How there’s a website for women that are against this procedure. I also told her how all of you opted out including me and some . How it’s our body our choice . This is her reply .
it is womans choice absolutely. but it is often better to get a trusted professional to go through pros and cons and work out what is best for you. some women want a smear and ways can be found to help. others don’t, informed choice is key. hope you find a good person to speak to
Margaret McCartney is well respected by posters here and of course she’s correct that informed choice is key. However these “trusted professionals” she speaks of are not always easy to come by. We know that health care providers often have their own agenda and often times do not give balanced information on the risks vs. benefits of cancer screening. Add to that the paternalistic attitudes toward woman in a medical setting, which even many woman providers have adopted, and you have a situation where finding that “good person” she speaks of is like trying to find that proverbial needle in a haystack!
You’re totally right Judy with everything that you said “good person” she speaks of is like trying to find that proverbial needle in a haystack! pretty much it’s a hard situation
I think high profile people like Dr McCartney have to play safe and give fairly non-committal advice. She can publish her opinion in her book, but I think she and some others have come into some criticism from the pro-screeners.
There was a newspaper article some years ago called “Why I’ll never have another smear test” which clearly spelled out the very remote odds of getting cervical cancer. The journalist had decided not to bother with them anymore. A number of us like to post that article when we come across women who have an insanely overestimated belief in how our “world beating programme saves 5,000 lives per year in the UK”. I recently saw about 6 months ago that this journalist had been forced to issue a new article saying she really would like women to go and get tested and didn’t want to put women off.
Adawells, thank you for your reply, I have thought about purchasing an hpv test from superdrug, but my health anxiety holds onto the fact, say if I test positive then what? Will I spiral into severe anxiety, because then if o tested positive I know theres a chance I could get cc, it’s so tiring, I wish I could just get on with my life and forget about cc.
Sherry the fibroids are telling. My older sister had horrible fibroids. And she bled terribly. She bled more than she didn’t and so heavily. (She finally opted for a hysterectomy just to claim her life back.)
How do I get an HPV self test? I don’t know if they are available in the US. Are you all in UK? I’m not particularly worried. But just curious. What is Superdrug?
Yes of course they have to play it safe. Its very difficult for them to go against the prevailing wisdom that these tests are essential and lifesaving. One who has pushed back against such criticism is the US doctor H. Gilbert Welch, who has written a few books. When radiologists went after him for telling the truth about mammography, which is that it has significant harms as well as benefits, he responded with a piece in the LA Times saying that radiologists should grow up! Love it.
I just know I’m petrified scared of getting a smear I don’t want to get one I also don’t want to feel like it’s an obligation here in the States this test looks awful and painful .😣😭
I don’t know what to do life seems so hard each day keeps getting worse it’s hard to function. I can only pray for things to get better . I do miss you guys encouraging words . I don’t want to live in fear I want to learn to live again !!!!
Shelli Superdrug is a big chain of UK shops, pharmacy and beauty products etc, and they do a self HPV test you do and send back to their lab, maybe a similar US chain might offer one?
Ladies, isn’t it strange, I just looked at those statistics someone posted and statistically I have more chance of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and yet I never even give that a thought, I wouldn’t even know the symptoms, so why oh why, do I stress about a cancer rarer than pancreatic cancer on a daily basis, and why are we subjected to a routine test, yet they dont test you regularly for other much more commoner cancers.
Unfortunately I have had years of brainwashing by the media drs nurses etc, and it’s going to be a very hard habit to break , but I know for a fact I will not have another smear, I can’t bare them, I just need to find some informative information regarding all this, I know there is loads on hear and you ladies are amazing, but i really need to work on my health anxiety and the years of bullcrap i have been lead to believe and unfortunately still find hard to disbelieve in my unhinged mind lol.
Hi Sherry – I spent a lot of time looking at hard data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute of Health (NIH.)
It’s just numbers, no propaganda, no emotion. Just numbers. They speak for themselves don’t they?
I also did a lot of research on cervical dysplasia (abnormal cells.)
I’m still trying to keep strong but it’s hard . I’m still trying to be my self again . Ladies where are you guys you ladies word of wisdom I really need and miss pls reply
Hi Esther. I don’t post all the time now as I’m working. I just want you to know I am thinking of you and all the ladies here. Some of us have been through Hell because of smear tests. We are with you.
Thank you Linda
For thinking about me …. I never had a Pap smear I’m 32 and I’m just in shock regarding the whole thing. I’m trying to be me again but it’s hard . When was the last time you had a Pap? Just wondering… but thank you!!!I do need all your ladies words of empowerment 😔
The ladies on this site have all suffered some form of trauma via the medical profession, so we feel your pain. We understand the anguish you are going through. I was put through some horrible stuff when I was a young woman and it damaged my psyche quite badly. I am now an older woman in my 60s. I decided in my mid fifties that I would not submit to any more of these dreadful tests as I simply could not cope with them psychologically. The medical profession simply do not or will not understand that for some women these exams mimic sexual molestation and produce the same psychological reaction. I am now very defensive with the medical profession and will only deal with them on my terms. The knowledge that I do not have to submit to their demands and will refuse anything that I do not want to do is very empowering. It is not always easy to find the strength to stand up to them, but it brings me a great deal of comfort when I do. I hope this helps and as Linda says, we are with you.
Esther, my last smear was 20 years ago! I have never ever had any problems with my vagina! It’s fine all by itself doing what it does! It’s 3 years since my last period and I’m loving life!
Thank you for replying
20yrs ago and you’re totally fine no problems ? I’m just in shock with this Pap crap
No problems at all!! A few flooding periods leading up to menopause then that was it! You are totally correct about pap crap!!
My last one was in 1997!
My last one was is 2014 under general anesthesia, along with a D&C and IUD insertion.
And you haven’t gone back ? I have never gotten one and I’m petrified of them of everything
No, I didn’t have to, because I had hysterectomy three months later. Before that, when I chose to go for smear tests, it was always under influence, either sedatives or champagne. Not together, and not to celebrate, but to numb my mind and forget I ever had it done. I was abused as a child so it was never ever easy. I wouldn’t have gone without “sedation”.
I’ve heard getting an IUD is hell on earth. Is that true?
Hello Cat and Mouse –
I’m not the admin of this site and I’m not sure who is. I’ve noticed that you comment a lot on gyn procedures and surgeries, etc. I wonder if a different kind of forum than this one might be better to answer your questions? I can’t think of one off the top of my head but I’ll bet a search for medical stuff would locate one for you. Our forum is different in nature from what I think you are seeking. Best of luck!
Adawells really since 1997? You haven’t had no problems? I really do need you guys words of empowerment and wisdom…. pls
It’s been since 1999 for me. Esther, one thing you might consider doing is submitting a scathing review of this medical practice to a site like Yelp. I’ve done this a couple of times after a bad experience with a health care provider – once for a sicko dentist who I suspected was hurting me deliberately and once for a nasty old crone phlebotomist who was rough with me during a blood draw. I left feeling violated after both of these encounters and writing and submitting these negative reviews really helped me regain a sense of control and balance. The reviews are anonymous and you don’t have to be specific if you don’t want to be – you could just say the medical practice made an unsolicited appointment for you for a cancer screening test.
Have any of you undergone rectocele repair surgery?
If so please educate me for what I’ll likely experience.
I’m getting dilaudid for pain.
What’s sex like afterwards?
Do any of you have lichen sclerosis or have a clit that’s stuck to the hood due to this?
What’s the surgery for that like?
Have you considered a clit hood piercing to prevent scar tissue from reforming and to keep the clit and hood moving independently of each other?
Please help me on this.
Shelli – my thoughts exactly. I’m concerned that these graphic details of highly invasive gyn procedures may be a trigger for posters who are seeking a safe space here while trying to heal from medical trauma. In addition, an ultrasound is not an innocuous test – it often brings dubious results that lead to more invasive procedures and sometimes unnecessary surgery. Many women have been harmed by them. Cat&Mouse – its sounds like you may be undergoing procedures in an attempt to conceive a baby. Perhaps a “trying to conceive” forum may be more appropriate to your needs. All the best to you.
Oh okay … Was the hysterectomy painful to deal with ? I’m not planning on going even if I get drunk . The practice looks horrible ….
You haven’t gone since 1999? And your woman parts are okay no problem with them? I honestly don’t want to go it’s looks horrible and painful a lot of women agree with me .
First off, thank you all for the information about Superdrug. I looked them up. I shall see if there is something analogous in the US. If not I’ll put one of my fiends in the UK up to getting a test for me and shipping it, and I’ll just PayPal them.
Esther – You don’t need a test. So please don’t worry about it. You don’t need one, and you’ll never have one. You’re young, healthy, and you’ll live to a ripe old age. I’ll suggest again that if this keeps causing you emotional distress – which we understand – please look for a therapist. I’m about to call mine; not over this but I do have PTSD and I’m having my own rough time. Many of us need some professional guidance now and then. I’m a licensed social worker and I can’t even help myself right now. 😂 (As a matter of interest, I had a former career in the hard sciences. I know my way around research on all this crap. Just sayin….)
No, not since 1999 and I’m fine. The women’s cancer I do worry about is ovarian because I have a family history of it. But there’s no screening test for it so I don’t see the point in subjecting myself to invasive humiliating gyn exams that have their own set of harms.
I turned 18 in 1999 and never had a pap. I’m fine (and HPV negative, which I tested for at home).
So you turn 19 in 1999 and never had a Pap ? So that means you’re 39yrs old ? And you’re fine no problems ? I’m 32 never had a Pap
Please tell me how you tested yourself for HPV at home.
I turned 18 in 1997 and have never been to a gynecologist at all for anything nor have I endured any gyn -type medical exams. In fact, I don’t do any exams, have never done any annual physicals, have only grudgingly accepted maybe two explicitly topical no-clothes-removed no-blood-test exams for college, go to the doctor only if I’m having a serious problem, and even then that’s only been once or twice. And I am just fine.
My mother is In her seventies with no problems, despite having only had OBGYN care during her three pregnancies and maybe one pap back In her twenties and no more. She also has only everyone to the doctor for problems and never for asymptomatic annual physicals etc. She’s fine, my dad who is constantly going to the doctor is far sicker,some of it directly caused by medical neglect and incompetence. Recently,she went to the doctor for a urinary tract infection and was disgusted as the doc tried to push her into a complete physical with full gyn exams and to schedule a hysterectomy pronto. And no, she was having none of it and still isnt. She stood underground and finally left with her antibiotic prescription and zero unnecessary exams.
In fact, one of those two times the doctor was totally useless and I left with a $150 bill (at a time that I made $400 a month and $200 went to student loans and $100 went to gas to even get to the damn job) and a printout of the first result of a Google search of my own diagnosis–which she already knew if done with no results which was why I had a can gone to her in the first place! Seriously, if you’re going to be overpriced, at least be competent and effective!
It wasn’t painful, because I was given very good painkillers. They did it as vaginal hysterectomy so it did not even leave a scar. Recovery period was hardest, I couldn’t drive a car or go horse riding for 6 weeks.
Esther there’s one lady on here , Elizabeth (Aust) she is I believe in her 60s and has NEVER had a smear, and no problems with her vagina!! I really believe if you leave it alone it’ll be fine!!! It knows what to do
Thank you Kat
It’s just sad how they scare women on having this procedures they scare them saying they can die if you don’t get tested idk 😐 everything is bad and awful
Morning ladies, so I was thinking, all these elderly ladies that are in there 80s and 90s, never had smears or mammograms and have managed to live this long without a problem, I had a auntie that lived well into her 80s and never had any of these test, she died of alzheimer’s. Anyway what I’m trying to say is this, we live in such a test obsessed society and we are led to believe the only way we will live to a ripe old age is to have these procedures, and that we are scared into following this which is bs, my mum and auntie(mums sister) havent had a smear for 28 years and they are fine they have also never had a mammogram, one last thing I really want to do a home hpv test but it worries me is if I test positive then what? Do I need a smear and because I have health anxiety will it make me worse.
Thanks ladies xxxx
Ladies how do you get your life back, when you have been brainwashed for so long, I honestly until coming to this site believed that cc was so so common, but I just cant shake that horrible doubt in my mind say if I have cc, I know I’m low risk but it’s that nagging health anxiety I have that doesn’t let go of this cc fear , if you have any words of reassurance or hope please help, I know how esther feels its draining, they also make the symptoms of cc vague, like when they say post coital bleeding is a symptom surly there would be others as well as just that, anyway I’m sorry for going on just need to vent having a moment lol xxxxx
I’m still experiencing a little anxiety and depression . I hope I can hear from you ladies soon ..,,,
I know shelli said to stop worrying I will try
When I was first subjected to pressure to have pap testing, I knew something wasn’t right, my older female relatives were never tested and none of them had even heard of cc and certainly didn’t worry about that, I read that the sexual revolution in the 60s had seen an increase in the risk of cc.
I was never part of the sexual revolution, I was a child in the 60s…the fact is though, cc was always rare in the developed world and was trending down before testing even started.
So these statements were simply to scare women into testing.
I was a virgin when testing was first mentioned to me, I also, heard my mother and aunt talking about the test, my aunt hated it and found it mortifying, there were only male doctors back then too (the handful of female doctors were not in our area and were not taking any more patients anyway)
My mother was more accepting back then, the doctor knew best, she now understands recommendations may not be in our/her best interests. Mum would not agree to pap tests or mammograms now, she said it was unthinkable for a woman to challenge a male doctor when she was young and middle aged, but their God-like status is now long gone.
I found the ONLY way to deal with rumbling anxiety was to READ, READ and READ some more, if you understand the evidence, you can see the lies, the misinformation, the fudged statistics, recognise self-interest, a scare campaign, medical ego, politics – it’s all tied up in women’s healthcare.
After a few sessions in the medical library, I walked away a free woman, not a care in the world about cervical cancer. I also, knew the medical profession and govt were not to be trusted, only one person should decide what’s best for me, ME!
I might seek medical advice to help with a decision, but it would be a trusted medical professional – my decision would still be mine though. (not about screening though, nothing to talk about there)
Stay away from the trashy magazines aimed at women (they assume we’re all idiots) – they’re full of sensational rubbish, in almost every case, the “survivors” are women with no clue of the actual evidence, misled into thinking they were saved, they were, in fact, in almost every case, simply over-treated.
When you know the evidence, you can see through the spin, “I had abnormal cells off” does not make you a survivor, huge numbers of women go through those procedures every year, we’ve always known almost all amounts to over-treatment. (they knew, this information wasn’t shared with women)
We could have limited the number of “treatments” by testing women for HPV before the procedure, instead we tested after, (the test of cure) so they could then claim the woman was now cured/safe – of course, testing first would have shown most of these women were HPV- so not at risk of cc and certainly didn’t need to have cells removed.
I believe the money being made by these gyn and pathology services kept this shocking abuse of the female body in place for many years.
Now here in Australia, HPV testing is the program, if you’re HPV- and almost all women 30 and older will be HPV-….you can go away for 5 years.
Of course, greed dictates here, so women are tested from 25, basic research tells us HPV testing should not happen before age 30, and women are tested for far too long – 5 yearly from 25 to 72 (roughly) it’s ridiculous and about maintaining a nice income stream for vested interests, than doing what’s best for women.
So my advice – do your reading, there’s no way around it, this site has a reference section, start there…if that doesn’t help and it might not be as effective for someone subjected to the propaganda for decades, then I’d look for an understanding professional, someone who can help allay your fears.
Hi Esther! I’ve been anonymously coming onto this website for about 2 years now and I’ve felt nothing but warm support from amazing women on this site, including some men on here that are also against gynecological practices. I, too, have been feeling some anxieties about it, as well as feeling anxious about the risks I know I’m taking, but all the information and facts these women have been providing have been so helpful with my worries and anxieties, and expanded my knowledge on what really goes on in the medical/gynecology field.
Do you by any chance have any friends or relatives that might have the same views as you? I totally understand how hard it is to find another woman that is also against pap smears and pelvic exams. I find it weird that the males I’ve talked to in my life about my opposing view of pap tests and pelvic exams actually understand my fears and questioning mindset of the practice, and will tell me things like “that sounds awful, I’d hate to go through that,” but it’s the women that will dismiss your fears and valid feelings about this and tell you things like “you’re a woman, get over it.” “stop being such a baby and do it.” etc. It’s awful that women are their own worst enemies when it comes to this. Thankfully, my oldest sister has the same viewpoints as me, and we will talk about it privately to one another because we know our other sisters, including our mom, are brainwashed into thinking that pap tests are mandatory and you “could die” if you don’t get one. My husband also fully supports my decision not to screen.
I hope you have even just a select few in your life that are on the same boat as you on this. I feel like that would also help with your anxieties about this. And if you can’t, just come on this website again! I visit here frequently just to keep up with reading the comments so I can stay informed. If you feel alone in your views, or feel scared about the risks of not screening, just come back to this website and we’ll give you all the support you need 🙂 We’re here for you!
Ladies, your knowledge on this subject is amazing, I have been looking into some of the research on cc, I cant wait for the day I can literally stop worrying that my cervix is about to explode lol, I know it’s going to take time and knowledge, anyway thank you lovely ladies for your help in this subject xxxx
So I’ve been looking at the respond comments on some of these blogs, and I am so appalled and angry at how rude and dismissive these other women were being! The top comment, anonymous, said “What’s the big deal? So the doctor sees you nude. So what. And why does it have to be a female doctor? A male doctor is still a doctor. Or are you some kind of uptight prude?” That, right there, is what I am sick of most of these brainwashed women saying. That we are “prudes” because we don’t wish to submit the most intimate parts of our body to some doctor because they’re “just doctors, they’re ‘supposed’ to do that,” in the name of science.
I know that I, myself, am a woman of course but my gosh I just hate women sometimes lol. I just don’t understand why even the women that don’t mind getting checked just can’t find it in them to empathize with the women who are beyond terrified of going. Instead, they have to tell them they’re being a baby, that they’re a prude, to get over it, that it’s not that bad, etc, etc. I pray and long for the day where women can just be at one with another instead of making war on this subject. I’m glad my friends I’ve talked to about it are at least understanding about my fears I’ve had about it before (keyword: before, since I plan on never getting one unless I feel that I’m dying and may actually need one), but there needs to be more women out there who will be more supportive. I’m so sick of the crap they attack you with…
I hope they are aware that we do not necessarily need a reproductive system to really survive. What we do need, is a brain, heart, lungs, digestive tract, etc. My reproductive health is the very least of my worries right now. The only thing that worries me is if I decide to have kids anytime in the next few years that it might be difficult for me to conceive because I’ve highly suspected I might have endometriosis because of the excruciating cramps that lasted for 3 and a half days straight with little to no relief, heavy flow for 7 entire days, and awful nausea, and I know endo can affect fertility. But I am not worried about my chances of death from CC or other reproductive related cancers. The thing I care the most about in my body is my skeletal and muscular structure because I need to make sure it is strong and healthy and as joint pain free as possible, because I am a dancer of 20+ years and plan on continuing that career path.
Well, when I feel bad about what other women have to say about this bogus violating test, I just come here for some kind of relief because I know my feelings are valid here and will not be dismissed. You all are amazing ❤
Sorry I feel that I wasn’t specific about which post I was talking about. I mean the post titled “Awkward things my mother never told me: just how violating a pap smear really is.” The top few comments are just plain rude. Ridiculous
You were literally torn to pieces if you even questioned the need for screening not so long ago, I had posts moderated or deleted on many occasions. I was posting with medical journal references, yet I was told to put women off screening was risking their lives.
I was simply correcting misinformation, backed up with sound references but any old rubbish posted by other women was just fine – “cc is a very common cancer”…that could stay when it was clearly, absolute rubbish, but I was the issue!
So I’d post and hope that even one woman might be tempted to check my references.
I was called an anti-vaxxer, conspiracy nut, irresponsible, a liar etc.
I didn’t blame these women, although I don’t think personal abuse is ever justified, you should be able to disagree in a civil manner – but it was clear many of these women thought they were experts, survivors – some were passionate about testing. The level of emotion was actually quite weird…out of all proportion to the risk of cc. The response was irrational, but it’s what happens when you brainwash and scare women, mislead them, and turn women on each other.
Compare it to bowel screening, now bowel cancer occurs far more often than cc, yet if you said, “no screening for me” – it would barely raise a ripple. It says a lot to me…
Trust me though, I haven’t been moderated or banned in a while now, that’s a good sign.
I think some secretly hated the test but deeply resented any woman choosing not to test, we should all suffer the indignation was the thinking.
I’m delighted to see more women prepared to challenge the trashy “stories” in the women’s magazines and misinformation that appears elsewhere – more women are informed and prepared to push back.
I don’t care whether people choose a male or female doctor, it’s their business, anyone choosing to judge my choice is the one with the issue, why would they care about my choice of doctor?
It says to me they actually resent your choice and perhaps. they haven’t been happy with their choice of doctor (assuming they had a choice, some women don’t and so the judgment may be the result of trauma)
Some people really don’t care about the gender of the doctor and have no problem with invasive exams, fine, but we’re not all the same – the system would like women to be all the same, but we’re not, end of story.
I don’t justify my choice of doctor to anyone, it’s my business, others can do as they please.
One point: in the early days, prior to about 1990 there were few female doctors and so you were often ridiculed if you made a stand and insisted on a female doctor, that was partly because the female doctors were flat out, not enough of them to go around…
I think male doctors also became concerned that if women actually had a choice, many would choose a female doctor for some exams and procedures – and that would be bad news for their careers/income.
Morning elizabeth, how did you put cc to the back of your mind, and carry on with life as normal, I had already decided not to have mammograms, and I’m 100% never going through another smear again, I get too anxious, I literally am a wreck until the results come through I hate the procedure getting more painful the older I get, the last one I had I bled quite heavy, really freaked me out, nearly had a breakdown waiting for the results, it’s not good for my mental health, I hate any type of test and always have had, and the fact they do produce a lot of false results, doesn’t feel me with confidence.
You were the person whose entries we first read. We owe you thanks.
You made us feel like we weren’t in quick sand but were in fact on solid ground.
You helped give us confidence to stand our ground.
You and this site empowered us.
Hi Anonymous – I don’t know which blogs you refer to (I’m curious if your don’t mind sharing). But we all know women pound on other women. They hate women who are strong; independent; occupy high positions in the workforce or politics; etc. They hate women who are educated and who make informed intelligent decisions for themselves. They hate women who stand up for themselves and pushback at harmful social conventions. These women on these blogs have never known self respect. They’ve never known to trust themselves. They’ve spent their lives accepting emotional abuse as the norm. It’s sad. In my nation these are the women who support a president who brags of grabbing women by the p***y. All they have are their nasty words and names to call us. Prude …. I guess women who are repulsed by sexual assault are prudes. That’s me! Call me what you want.
Pity them. I don’t know any of you in person but I respect the hell out of all of you. I’m so grateful for this site. I’ve screenshot and saved some of your all’s comments. I’ve seen such wisdom here and it has meant so much to me. Some day this gyno crap will be a thing of the past and people will look back on history in utter horror about what men (and women) in white coats did to other women. And how it was considered “normal.” And there was always this small but loud dissenting group who knew it was wrong and refused to participate. That’s us. Ladies, y’all rock so hard. 👊🏼
Hi Shelli! Sorry I forgot to specify which blog. It was the one titled “Awkward Things my Mother Never Told me: Just How Violating a Pap Smear Really Is.”
I, too, live in the US, and pretty blown away that a lot of people don’t even acknowledge the things “he” has said in the past lol. But you, and Elizabeth, are so right. Women who normally go through routinely exams can’t stand the women who know how to stand up for themselves, and I personally think it’s because they’re jealous in the back of their mind. They want us to suffer with the rest of them… uh…??? I hope this doesn’t sound like an absurd comparison but would you really have that kind of attitude towards rape victims?? “Well I got severely violated and had my private parts ravaged by some man (or woman) in latex gloves and had a huge metal foreign object shoved in my vagina, so YOU should too! It’s only fair!” My gosh… it’s ridiculous.
I’m grateful that even just one of my sisters are on board with this as well. My husband is too, thankfully; he’s even come to my latest appointment earlier this year to get my bc pill prescription renewed and when they wanted to do a pap test I told them no, and he was there to back me up. Anyway, my sister, she’s the only person I can talk to about this in my family as far as I know. I remember talking to her one day and I’m not sure I remember how this was brought up, but I told her I’ve been dreading going to get a pap test, and she straight up said “then don’t get one.” and I was like… “wait… really??” She said “Yes! If you’re not ready, then you’re not ready!” Then we got talking more and more about it, and then I somehow found this site shortly after when doing some Googling, and I called her about it, told her some of the important key things I’ve figured out, and she and I have both fully decided we will never submit to a pap test unless we feel that we REALLY need it. Even then, I’d go out of my way to find a more non-invasive, more ACCURATE way to test if I feel in any way shape or form that there might be something wrong.
Other than that, I strongly believe there is nothing wrong with my vagina, cervix, uterus, or ovaries. I’ve suspected I might have endometriosis due to my extremely painful periods and heavy flow, but thankfully the pill has solved pretty much all my symptoms. Once I get off the pill and decide to have kids maybe (I’m a month shy of 26 btw), I want to try out these vitamins called FLO. Anyone heard of them? It almost sounds too good to be true, given that they are gummy vitamins that are taken twice daily, but I’ve heard almost nothing but good reviews so I’m willing to give them a try. I feel they might be the only other thing that will help with my pain aside from the pill.
I really am glad to see and hear about more and more women knowing how wrong this whole practice is, and from now on will refuse to submit themselves to testing. We are human beings with a conscience and feelings, not guinea pigs for science, and we have voices. I know I don’t know you guys in person but I seriously love y’all! Really! This website is so amazing! 😀
Hi where from the US are you from ? Im also from the US
I’m sorry to hear about your heavy painful periods I hope the vitamins you’re talking about FLO work. Luckily I don’t suffer from none of that my periods had always been normal ever since I got it . I’ve never suffered un regular periods . I also think The Whole Pap crap is a torture to women also the lies they say and how they try to scare us …. Im just trying to be me again and not live in fear or worry . I know all you ladies tell me not to worry but it’s hard I just want to overcome this feelings ….
Well you go girl!!!
Glad you’re taking him w you to appointments. Bet you both felt really good telling them no to the pap. Well congratulations on that.
How thick is your uterine lining? Have you had an ultrasound? Take hubby along for that. They like to say “only the tip goes inside…” when about 5-7″ goes in behind the tip!! Liars.
Don’t worry about CC.
Worry bout drunk drivers instead.
Congrats to you for the long marriage.
You’re right I think, about the motives of these women who don’t go along with the herd.
They seem to have an ingrained idea of how a woman should be and behave. Ie. They should not have a fulfilling social life outside of their domestic environment, they should give up their careers to raise their children and support their husbands in their chosen careers, they should attend all their screening appointments, they should always exclusively breastfeed (regardless of any problems), they should forego any sort of pain relief during childbirth etc etc.
I doubt these women are truly satisfied in living by these sorts of principles.
Many are likely jealous of women who don’t.
IF your doctors ever recommend a hysterosalpingogram…
And they say it isn’t painful, they are lying.
If you have endometriosis and especially any issues with your tubes this test is excruciatingly painful.
Taking ibuprofen an hour in advance is nothing but placebo effect.
Taking IV meds is best. Have somebody drive you. Plan on 15-30 min. Insist your spouse be allowed to hold your hand. Have staff give him/her a lead bib. Or have your advocate move behind the shield when X-rays or the fluoroscope is turned on. Staff may not like it.
Having support there to hold your hand is a good idea. If you cannot have anybody there insist on anesthesia.
Usually a tenaculum is used to hold your cervix or pull it forward. These things are like a single large pointy claw which penetrate your cervix as a stab and are very painful in itself. Sometimes lido is offered as a local injection which is a good idea.
This is a test that I despise. Especially b/c how we are lied to about the pain.
There is a variation of this test.
In this case, 2ml of contrast are used first to infiltrate the uterus. Then 10ml saline is injected to push it through the tubes. This is much less painful. But still painful…
The attitudes of these women displays their stupidity, naievety and their ignorance.
It has not even entered their minds to consider that biologically, men and women are different. There is no getting around that.
Just because *they* have no problem with a man seeing them naked, it doesn’t mean that he is completely indifferent to it.
He has feelings and emotional and sexual desires like everyone else.
You cannot take the man out of the doctor, yet do many men snd women think that a uniform changes your biology.
Hi Apocalyptic Queen – Many people seem to think that a title of “doctor” renders one immune from “lower” human behavior. This is 100% untrue and it’s relieving to me that women on this site are well aware of that fact. Docs are just as racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, etc as other humans. And a man that would go out of his way to choose ob/gyn in med school as a specialty, is pretty much choosing legal sexual assault as a career. And rest assured, he knows it. He gets to have power over and stare at and feel up womens genitalia all day every day. Such a man has poor boundaries, no respect at all for women. As for women who go into this field – let’s not forget that medicine is still a field strongly entrenched as a white male paradigm. In an earlier career, I was a scientist with an advanced degree and worked with men for 20 years. The women who got “ahead” did so by acting like men and playing their game to win acceptance. Can you imagine what would happen to a young woman, who gets accepted into med school, and she challenges her professors by sitting in class and stating that monitoring women’s genitalia is unnecessary and equivalent to sexual assault? She’d be kicked out post haste. We still have a long way to go to get sexual assault out of medicine. In fact we have a long way to go to get clients in control of their medical experiences instead of medicine controlling clients.
We are the ones that go against the herd. We are the ones who’ll force the positive changes through. No doubt some of us are left handed. As some are gay. If it weren’t for us, nobody would challenge the status quo. Nobody would care. Just moo and follow the smelly ass in front of you.
But when others catch on, they too will follow our stampede.
Evening ladies, just a quick question, why do they change the time in between smears from 3 to 5 years when you hit 50, if they think hpv can reactivate, I’m 47 and expected to get them every 3 years but in 3 years time i can go 5 years, I dont see the sence in that, also I just wanted to say to shelli you was 100% right, I felt my cervix today and the pimple has disappeared, I just hate this whole cc anxiety hanging over me, I wish I could convince myself I’m fine, so difficult though xxxx
I also wanted to add, even though I’ve always gone for regular smears, it’s never stopped me worrying about cc, it’s probably made it worse xxxx
Do yourself a favor and eliminate Pap smear from your vocabulary. And don’t tolerate it from medical staff.
You can easily find out for yourself that a pap is only 53% accurate at anything. Will you spread your legs for a coin toss? Tell THAT to your medical providers.
At your age, if you’re monogamous and have not had previous pap issues, stop worrying about paps entirely. They won’t help you. Only things they are good for is anxiety and for medical staff to then say “your pap is normal and…how about we refer you to a shrink?”
IF you don’t have HPV, you cannot get CC. Period!
Now, there is the soft tissue version of vaginal/cervical cancer which is called an adenocarcinoma.
Pap is especially useless in Dx’ing this. Why?
The computer that reads or samples the biopsy slides (the only part of the pap scrape that involves smearing) does so via a mathematical algorithm. That algorithm does not and cannot account for, and cannot Dx this type of cancer. Look it up for yourself. Any representation that pap is useful is propaganda to open your legs. Really, look at the anxiety this has you worked up to. Not worth it.
Because it grows from inside out. By the time the outside of your cervix would have it spread there it will be all over your body and you’ll have a couple months to live.
A uterine ultrasound will tell you how thick your lining is. It will tell you exactly what’s going on and growing on the surface plus the underneath tissues of your cervix. No bullshit, no lying, no excuses from doctors.
Tell them to pack the pap next to their prostates.
Request the ultrasound. And labs. And ask your husband how he perceives you “feel” during sex. Husbands are known to find breast lumps long before the “breast’s owner” does and this also applies to vaginal sex.
What is like for both of you as mutual climax is approached? Was it as good as before? Does he struggle to climax and what’s it like for you?
I had no idea what all this was like until it hit.
How many women divorce because something that’s treatable is ignored?
Also, if you have lichen, ask your doctor if your clit is stuck (bonded) to your body due to the scar tissue from lichen. I have this as well. Since 2012 and my old doctor? Well, he obviously was not geared to diagnose that either.
I’m considering getting a clit hood piercing to prevent re-adhesion post op.
Please don’t give up. Take your husband with you to the appt. Let him describe what it’s like for him to the doctor.
Hi ladies, can any of you lovely ladies give me some words of reassurance, whenever I try and look up cc statistics, I just seem to find things that make me worse, like the symptom they go on about is postcoital bleeding and I had that 7 months ago, and its freaked me out ever since, can anyone tell me if my risk is low or high, never smoked, only had 2 sexual partners,1 being my husband of 30 years , had regular clear smears for 28 years, I’m 47, took the pill for 1 year in my twenties, never had a sexually transmitted disease, fit and healthy apart from health anxiety.
Anyway can anyone offer any reassurance thanks xxxx
You are at extraordinarily low risk of cervical cancer. However your obsession and anxiety about it is itself detrimental to your health and beyond the scope of any reassurances we can offer. I’m going to echo Shelli’s advice to Esther and suggest you find a therapist to help you sort things out and put them in perspective. I hope this doesn’t sound cold or preachy because it’s not meant to. I just want you to regain the peace of mind that you deserve.
Sherry it’s not uncommon for women to have added problem pain and bleeding with smears during peri and menopause, this is as result of changes in dryness and vaginal tissue, all age related x
If you’re really concerned re cancer…
Look up how THC kills tumor cells.
Medical Marijuana is a wonderful addition to our lives.
Great for anxiety, stomach cramps, menstrual cramps, migraines…
And oh boy does it posilutely contribute to fantastic orgasms.
The thing is I dont want anymore smear tests, but I cant stop worrying about cc, do you mean it’s quite normal to have post coital bleeding during perimenopause due to dryness and thinning tissue, I just need to know that having some spotting after sex at my age is quite normal, its made me so phobic about having sex again in case it happens again and worse, it was seven months ago, and I’m so paranoid, but dont want a smear xxxx
Sherry I’ve always bled after sex. I’m 61. I’m
Healthy and I’m here. I also bruise really easily and I think I just have fragile capillaries. We have capillaries in our cervix too. I’m sure you’re fine. Sex also sets up a chain reaction of hormones that can slough off a bit of uterine lining. If I may ask, how much blood was there after sex 7 months ago? Also, you may be in perimenopause. Everything starts changing, including moisture level in the vagina. Do you sense that you may be drier than you were 5/10 years ago? If you’re needing extra lube with sex that could be an indicator of dryness (sorry to get graphic – just trying to explain.) It doesn’t take much for tissues to abrade and bleed with sex. I understand that you’re worried. I don’t think it’s anything.
Hi there shelli it was literally a couple of streaks, the thing is I also have a fibroid, at the time I know it sound gross but I had piles and the day before I had a small streak of blood after a bowel movement sorry for tmi, also i briuse very easy, I’ve also been told on previous smear that I have a cevical ectropion and on top of that adomyosis xxxx
“Cervical ectropion is fairly common among women of childbearing age. It’s not cancerous and doesn’t affect fertility. In fact, it’s not a disease. Even so, it can cause problems for some women”. From Healthline.com
Adenomyosis is similar to endometriosis. It is non cancerous and it doesn’t become cancerous. Hemorrhoids can get a bit “knocked around” during sex.
Sherry you don’t have CC. These other conditions you have are what is contributing you to bleed. Please give yourself the gift of peace. You are going to be OK. I found a self testing kit on a UK online drugstore site. I’m going to look for a similar one in the US. Just as a curiosity. If I locate one, I’ll post here. Maybe that would help you feel more confident.
I used to take Estrotest. That’s estrogen/testosterone. I was seeing a board certified gyn moron who claimed he was qualified to Dx and treat sexual issues. Truthfully, I hope that old man retires and soon. We no longer treat through him.
My husband accompanied me to a urogyn 100 miles north; plus locally to an endocrinologist who specializes in fertility. I now take estrogen and progesterone orally. I use estradiol and testosterone topically. My labs are good. These meds are bio identical and the difference to us is very significant. Physical and cognitive. My husband is again like a hungry and horny stray animal around my smell.
My “gyn” mentioned above said he ignores rectoceles. Well I’m grade 2 there and I was told I need surgery asap. I have lichen sclerosis which will be treated with an injection of platelet poor plasma (PPP) and amniotic fluid. I also use brand Temovate (generic is useless). Frankly, Mylan generic topical estradiol is also worthless compared to other generics.
My ‘roids? Gonna get those dealt with too.
Although my endometrial lining is now 8mm, prior to progesterone it was 12mm.
My old doctor, per his resume, was qualified and did or was supposed to treat all the conditions I had.
What was he really good for? Ignoring me, not believing me, nor my husband, and totally ignoring all the conditions I had which had ruined our sex life, my personal comfort, and was steering me to uterine cancer.
How did my doctor miss all my symptoms? Because he has a penis and despite everything he cannot empathize with what I was dealing with.
He claimed that Premarin cannot cause cancer and is in fact very good medicine. Despite that his mother died while using it and his wife also passed away. Both had cancer.
So what did my old doctor offer me?
He offered me a Pap smear. That’s all.
Please take our experiences to heart. You are not alone. But you need to shop around to find the doctor who understands.
Has anybody here undergone rectocele repair? I understand it’s complicated, extremely painful (I’ve got dilaudid for post surgical pain); and what about lichen sclerosis? Anybody gone through that?
Is anybody familiar with treatments I’m doing?
Try google for lichen scherosis naturopath. It is likely due to allergy. One site I found
When having an allergy to antibiotics, the itch and rash first came on the hands, toes and vulva. You could be allergic to meds, foods, laundry detergent or anything else in your environment.
Sorry, hope you feel better soon.
Hi shelli, thank you so so much you have made me feel so much better, I really appreciate it, if I get a wobble now or then I will just read all these messages, once again thank you all xxxx
Vulvodynia and Interstitial Cystitis for life due to my first exam and a stupid mistake, by a woman OBGYN. She knew I hadn’t been examined before. If I could go back in time I’d rather never let a pelvic exam happen and just keep bleeding all month. Seems to be my normal.
We met a woman the other night shopping. She at one time had Kaiser. Her doctor claimed via pap she had endometrial and cervical cancer. Told her she must have hysterectomy. She does…
Afterward, every bad thing discussed here that’s connected to this radical surgery, all the things that aren’t on the consent form and that you don’t discuss with your doctor beforehand, and/or, doctor doesn’t bother to tall you strange new adverse effects that can result. She got them all.
Her marriage went down toilet. Her sex? Gone. She cannot enjoy multiple orgasms anymore. She cannot tolerate the penis size she used to enjoy. She has pain instead. Weather changes? Pain. The look on her face told it all.
Felt horrible for her.
However, since she’s into nutrition, she looked very good. That doesn’t discount her maladies. She’s had a lot of detailed therapy. She just turned 50. She never made it to menopause. Her doctor brought all that to her instead.
How many of us have been harmed from non-disclosure of possible adverse facts post op? Signing consent forms having no value for us except wrapping fish. Finding out, after the fact, that the pap “misdiagnosed” cancer when there was none. And pain. Physical pain from the endometrial biopsy. Humiliation from the stirrups. Betrayal by your doctor. And then denial that your problem really exists and isn’t psyche instead.
This has to stop.
Hello all, just wanted to say thanks so much for this article. i have a long dreaded history with pap smears. I started on birth control at 20, no need for an exam all was good. At 21, i had my first pap and pelvic and i dreaded it because i now needed a pap smear. not sure why i didn’t question it at the time because all you need for bc is a blood pressure reading. i cried and kept shutting my legs when the gyno inserted the speculum. i was a virgin so really there was no need for that exam. and i felt really vurnable afterwards.Luckily the gyno stopped and pulled out the big huge speculum. But not only that, because the exam was hard, i even tried having sex with a condom. Was 22 and they got a pap smear, i remember it being better than my last one but it still hurt. but everytime i got up on the exam table the feeling of dread always washed over me. Now, my last appointment was in June 2020, with a different doctor to see if another doctor would do the trick. (Note: i also started being sexually active again and it was really penatrative!) Nope, i get yelled at for having 2 partners, which in reality is none of their business, and i get yelled at for being a human being with sexual feelings. i also get yelled at because they didn’t follow the 3-5 year pap guideline, and they really should because if a patient prefers that, well.. i am their patient, i have feelings– unfortunately they never understand that. So then i undress for the exam and the same feeling of dread washes over me. then, they use the pedriac speculum but then adds bills to it. didn’t even warn me that she was gonna put it in and it hurt and i started to cry. then i started to move (it helps me get comfortable during sex, so i figured why not), the gyno yelled at me, so i started to cry more as they do the pap and i can feel digging and shoveling. when they were done, i cried my eyeballs out- and none of them seemed to care– all i got was a cold sorry it hurt. my vagina hurt for about a week. still wanted sex tho– just not medical rape. To boot the results are ASCUS with HPV+ . but the kicker is i researched it and its basically because of the HPV- and am currently taking vitiamins to help boost my immune system, which research said to do. Also, they wanted to do a colysophy- but i don’t consent to a hot wire touching my cervix, especially if i don’t like the feeling of the speculum. No means no. but my file said that it’s bad to not follow the doctor’s advice.. smh! As you all said here, the pap is a screening test, so we can decide whether or not to get said test. i will not be going back at all.
i resorted to getting my birth control from NURX, and they are better than them about communicating side effects of birth control.
That above post is my story. I was wondering, although it’s probably okay now, but how can i cure ASCUS? and my HPV? I started a multi-vitamin, still been taking that and am healthy. anything else i could do?
l am a guy and l would like to share how l feel about women getting these exams especially if they are done by a male.l always voiced my opinion to me wife that l didn’t want a male doctor doing pelvic or pap tests on here she reluctantly agreed.Any way l lost a well paid job and we fell on hard times and she left me took the kids for another man. Three months later she wants to reconcile and she was pregnant l still loved her so we made a go of it l took the baby on as my own for 9 months l was struggling with the fact that someone had been intimate with my wife, Then came the bombshell that she had just got a smear test and it was done by a male doctor that was it for me l walked and divorced her,A m with a great Woman now who thinks a lot like you ladies and tells them where to stick their speculum
So you’re jealous, plain and simple. SHE has obviously no problem with male care providers, and THAT IS OK. It is her choice. You have no right to dictate her choice of care providers, just as women who want same sex care should get it, no questions asked. I think posts like this are to our disadvantage, because they distract from what our goals are truly about – informed consent, true choice and agency over our bodies. Mkck horobin makes it about men, their views and their feelings, and we’ve had enough of that.
I think his comment does highlight that it is an intimate procedure which undermines the “there’s nothing sexual about intimate exams” argument.
While it is ALWAYS the woman’s choice as to who she sees for her care, I could understand if I were in a relationship and my partner asked me not to see a male gynaecologist.
For some people, it crosses the boundaries of intimacy, particularly if one partner has already stated that this is a dealbreaker for them.
It’s not always about jealousy imo but sometimes about boundaries.
Ultimately, I do accept it’s a woman’s choice regardless of who she chooses to see.
Ironically I was going to post on this forum a few days ago, but I wound up being too busy. These last few comments speak to my thoughts exactly which is why I am posting here today. I’ve posted here previously, but I did so under ‘anonymous,’ I’ve chosen to leave my first name here today.
I’m a male, 37 years old, and recently engaged. I’m educated and successful in more than one field and I own two businesses. I am liberal in politics, pro-science, and study and read about astrophysics in my spare time (the limited amount of spare time that I have, anyway). I’m also a feminist and believe strongly in equality of the sexes. This particular subject has bothered me greatly over the past few years. It is certainly a topic worth discussing in a monogamous relationship regardless of your position on the matter.
The medical community at large is of the belief that they have ‘absolute authority’ over any patient’s body and should have access to any part of that patient’s body so long as it’s in ‘the best interest of their health’ to access it and have that patient’s consent. This website has helped to shed some light on the fact that many of these exams are completely unnecessary and not at all life or death scenarios as many physicians would lead you to believe. The ACP outlined that quite succinctly in 2014 when they recommended against annual pelvic exams citing that they cannot prove any benefit to their continued practice.
I have two statements to make on this:
1) As a thoughtful, loving, and caring partner, I am absolutely not okay with a male physician having access to my partner’s body in such a capacity. I can tell all of you that even the thought of this taking place brings me immeasurable psychological harm. I’m a spiritual person and I can tell you that it brings pain to my very soul. I understand why some people would be okay with this (to a degree), but it’s not something that I can live with. My partner is quite aware of this at this point, it’s been a bit of a hot topic in recent weeks as she was in search of a new doctor (the female doctor that she’s had since her teenage years recently retired). My partner does not quite understand my feelings, but she has been very willing to accept my feelings and see a female physician without issue because she loves me. Seeing a female doctor I also find strange, but she wishes to seek these screenings and it is obviously her right to do so. If you do enough research on this issue (I have), you will find that every recorded case of sexual malfeasance has occurred at the hands of a male physician, typically over the age of 40. Seeing a female physician almost completely eliminates the chance of sexual impropriety. There is limited data out there on this, but there is some out there. For the women out there that believe as my fiancee does and that it’s merely ‘the doctor’, it is extremely unlikely that there aren’t men in the field of gynecology that do not take immense sexual pleasure from their chosen field. Straight men are genetically programmed to be attracted to the sight and touch of women. We are pre-programmed to be this way. Any amount of schooling or higher education does not eliminate this. It’s also scientifically proven that men draw heightened sexual arousal by sheer variety as opposed to one monogamous partner. This is precisely why pornography is so incredibly popular. Gynecology is literally tailor-made for sexual predators to flourish. Women think differently than men and I believe that women are more likely to believe that a male doctor is ‘an expert’ and that’s it’s ‘only about their health,’ because of the difference in thinking between the sexes. For women, sex is predominantly an emotional experience and the physical aspect of it is secondary. For men, sex is predominantly a physical and visual experience with the emotional aspect of it being secondary. That said, it’s less difficult for a female patient to believe that their male caregiver is simply there to care for their health. I have often stood by the argument that it is categorically impossible for a heterosexual male to ‘turn off’ their sexual feelings simply because of the setting they are in. Obviously everyone is different and some people may be more successful at it than others, but to think that all doctors ‘turn off’ that part of their brain simply because they’re in an office is a blatant impossibility. I read one article that stated that as many as 80% of male physicians have admitted to being sexually attracted to a patient at some point or another. Women out there, does that make you comfortable? As the partner of someone that I love very deeply, it makes me tremendously uncomfortable. There is extremely little data out there on how much sexual malfeasance occurs during these ‘routine’ appointments. Furthermore, even if there were, one could make the argument that the data is likely incomplete. My ex used to see a male gynecologist prior to us being together and she always indicated to me that he was ‘very professional’ and ‘caring.’ Smiling, listening, and saying the right things is not a clear indication of someone’s thoughts or intentions. Bottom line, doctors are people. They made a choice in their lives to obtain a higher level of education, but they are still just people. They have the same hang-ups and character flaws that all of us have. Priests and politicians come to mind – they are typically very highly educated, yet they have come under intense scrutiny for sexual misgivings. To think a doctor that has direct access to any part of a patient’s body is somehow a saint and completely immune to sexual thought is incredibly naive. As someone’s monogamous partner, in no other setting in life would it be acceptable for a member of the opposite sex to have explicit and graphic access to my partner’s sexual organs. Why a doctor’s office is any different is beyond me. Constance made the point above that the person commenting prior was simply ‘jealous’… of who? His supposed partner? Why should he ever be put into a situation where he should have jealous feelings about someone who is supposed to have his back? Certainly there are situations where loved ones may feel jealousy where it is not warranted, but in this instance I fully agree with his sentiments. So many injustices have been carried out against humanity in the name of ‘science and medicine,’ simply making the argument that it’s ‘for your health’ so that you can disregard your partner’s feelings is irresponsible, extremely uncaring, and seemingly an excuse to do whatever you want. I know that many of you out there may disagree with me. That’s perfectly fine. I’m only conveying how I see things and what I am able to live with. To me, someone subjecting themselves to an exam in this fashion to a member of the opposite sex is being unfaithful to their significant other. That’s how I feel and I’ve given it a tremendous amount of thought. I’d also like to point out that I am not and will not be a hypocrite in the matter, I’ve intentionally sought out the care of a male physician when I’ve had urological issues in the past.
2) I’ll be more brief on this subject. The ACP’s recommendation as well as a growing body of research that indicates that these exams being a routine procedure is unnecessary. That being said, if your doctor (male or female) strongly recommends that you undergo a pelvic examination and submit to that without being told that there is no proven benefit to their practice, then you are being coerced into that examination. Given the nature of the exam, if the patient’s ‘consent’ is given under false or misleading pretenses, how is that exam then not considered rape?
Thanks to everyone for reading and again, my thoughts and feelings are mine. It’s certainly a subject that everyone should be discussing with their loved ones on what they are and are not willing to live with. Regardless of your feelings, the issue of these exams is taken far too lightly by the medical community and there needs to be significantly more research done on the topic.
Men are still pressured to not to physically participate in their female partner’s care. Let alone childbirth.
It’s in their nature to provide, protect, and care.
Now, when he’s suddenly told to totally relinquish that (vagina) which is likely his most important part of her, it’s contrary to his nature. This seriously screws w his mind.
Added to that, pap is bs anyway.
As we all know, the more attractive the woman the more likely she’s going to be pressured if not bullied.
My husband agrees, mostly.
But that’s also why he goes w me and vice versa. It goes both ways.
I’d much rather have him involved.
Thank you for your comment. Our culture is so entrenched in medicalizing our lives that we seldom ever pull back the lens and look at what’s really happening. Medicine has become a vast revenue engine, and gynecology is a huge cash cow. Millions – if not billions – is spent on marketing to get women into a doctors office to spread the legs and get get felt up. Scare tactics are used to manipulate us. The cancer screening industry in general relies on scare tactics to make their money. It’s disgusting. The biggest health threat to women is heart disease. And a hoard of other things.
I made the decision several years ago to stop medicalizing my life. I’m an a la carte person. If I have an issue, I’ll see a med consultant. Otherwise I live my life.
His post probably isn’t the most eloquently stated one here, but I think it’s written in the spirit of this board, especially since he said his current lady friend “tells them where to stick their speculum.” The thing is, gyn exams seldom do good, often do harm and if a woman is undergoing one there’s a pretty good chance she didn’t received informed consent because female providers have adopted the same paternalistic attitudes as the men. And without informed consent there can be no true choice and agency over our bodies.
Matthew – that was a LONG post. I’ll post a few of my ideas on it.
For one thing, medical providers in general seem to have an issue with consent – let alone informed consent. They sometimes confuse consent with getting someone to acquiesce due to coercion. In the case of a pelvic or anal exam (DRE, sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy), US federal law and my state’s law define rape as “penetration of genital organs or organs of excrement without consent”. Yes, it’s rape in many cases. I’m of the opinion that this will go on until several cases are successfully prosecuted.
It’s not just gynecologists who “cross the line” and have been successfully prosecuted for sex crimes! Not by any means! You might want to read what the Atlanta Courier Journal came up with in their investigative journalism report at http://doctors.ajc.com/table_of_contents/ It’s long, in several parts, but it’s pretty easy to navigate. Family physicians, general practitioners, psychiatrists, endocrinologists, all seem to have pretty high levels of sex crimes in association with their medical practice. Worse – in an anonymous survey, a full 10% admit to having had sex with at least one patient. That certainly crosses the professional line! Really! Would you take your kids to a day care where they had 10% of their staff convicted of sex crimes against children??? That’s what we’re being asked to do when we present ourselves to a doctor for such an examination, or go to a doctor for any reason. Really! For what reason would a psychiatrist NEED to do a pelvic examination? An endocrinologist would rarely need to do one – they’re usually working on objective lab tests for hormones – including sex hormones, but all hormones are NOT related to sex or sex hormones at all.
BTW, all of these are not men, and are not all over 40. Abusive women usually abuse patients differently, often financially as their motive. Like all rape, this is not about sexual attraction. It is about power. After all, if someone can coerce or force you into allowing them to penetrate you sexually, they can pretty much get you to do anything else they want.
People must have complete agency over their own bodies. Even prisoners have rights to refuse treatment or medical procedures – even if their lives are at risk! Even POWs are guaranteed the right to not have medical procedures imposed on them. Only one class of people are denied such rights: Slaves. The owner assumes control over the slave, including their body, to do with as they wish. That is how gynecology was born. That is the way it still operates, with one exception. In modern capitalistic medicine, the woman is expected to PAY FOR this abuse perpetrated on her, or at least assign it to her insurance company. The notion that (some) women are denied medical care because we refuse an OPTIONAL screening test is ludicrous! It is also ludicrous that it takes precedence in many cases where women present in the emergency room with a true life-threatening emergency (e.g., serious injury or heart attack).
You don’t have a say in what medical providers she sees, nor should you. It is subject to negotiation, and if you have strong boundaries on the subject, she should either adhere to them to the best of her ability, or recognize you and she are incompatible on this issue and find more-suitable life partners. It would be the same if one of you did not believe in blood transfusions, psychiatric interventions, vaccinations, or other such things – these can be strong beliefs too for religious, ethical values, or emotional reasons. Either get around the issue of disagreement, or realize that you cannot, and that is a deal-breaker, and break the deal. Or accept it and stick around.
You’re right. The ACP and other medical organizations have declared the pelvic examination to be of low value in detecting or treating any illness. The only organization that still recommends them does it because they have been shown to create a time when the woman can talk openly to her provider about her concerns, and it creates a closeness…. WHAT???? Then they say it’s not sexual!?!? No, a provider has to gain my trust in other ways, and suggesting penetrating my vagina without my consent as part of getting care for actual medical issues does not create trust. At best, it makes for yet-another-time when I, as a woman, must be on my guard against sexual exploitation.
BTW, FWIW, men are not exempt from sexual abuse. They are the minority, but they do exist.
Matthew – Very eloquently written and I couldn’t agree more with you on this matter.
You articulate what most people’s thoughts are with regards to male gynaecologists and screening.
I am often astounded at the number of men who castigate women who dare to challenge the established norms and to question men’s role in gynaecology when the statistical evidence shows the majority of women want female gynaecologists.
I couldn’t list the number of times I have been told that I am being silly, or “it’s just an organ”. We all know it’s not just like any other organ and I often feel some of these men may practice medicine and might feel as though their motives or choice of profession.
The other side of the coin is that they may just be completely indifferent to the unique needs and sensibilities of women, and that also calls their empathy into question and whether they’re actually fit to practice. Certainly, I have been shocked (but not wholly surprised) by male doctors’ attitudes to these issues and the belief that women need to “get over themselves”. It is bordering on the sociopathic in my opinion.
It is certainly an interesting insight into these practitioners’ mindset and a disturbing one at that – one that will defend their interests at any cost.
Thank you for your input.
Thank you for your input. Sorry to hear about your marriage and glad to hear things are moving in the right direction for you with your current relationship.
I do think it’s refreshing to hear a man’s perspective on this issue and to learn that many men have their own misgivings about this procedure.
Too often, women are told that they’re being “silly” for considering this procedure to be anything other than “routine” and are all too often dismissed for daring to prefer a female over a male doctor.
Amazing input, Matthew. I’ve spoken to my husband about pretty much everything you’ve said here, and he agrees he’d never want a male doctor examining me for anything ever, if I went in and got screened. He also supports my decision to never go in for any kind of pelvic or breast exams. If it’s optional, I’m not doing it. I have a really hard time trusting doctors for many reasons anyway lol. I’m 26 and still have never had any kind of exam regarding my private parts and breasts, and probably never will unless I truly think I *may* need to get something checked out. Aside from that, I’d still rather see a female doctor for those matters. I truly believe my body is generally healthy and I take relatively good care of myself. Plus, my reproductive health is the least of my concerns. I do not need a reproductive system to survive. It’s only there to grow babies and push them out. What’s far more important is my brain, heart, lungs, digestive system, liver, kidneys, etc, which women especially are more at risk of heart disease than cervical cancer ever!
It’s so great to hear this from a guy, too. I know of more men anyway that are more sympathetic toward other women who dread the thought of getting a pap smear, than other women are. They’ll tell us we’re “prudes” and that we should get used to it because it’s “part of being a woman now.” I’ll take that and just huck it in the trash. Just being a WOMAN is part of being a woman! Not being medically raped!
Like you have said, it’s asinine that people will dismiss women’s uncomfortable feelings with male doctors examining women. “They’re doctors, they’re professional.” UGH! This notion is what keeps male doctors continuing to get away with everything.
Thankfully I have at least 1 friend and 1 sister that is also against this practice so I feel less alone in this. Unfortunately my mom and all my other sisters and some friends are all on board with the routine screenings… I’m wondering that if I one day tell my mom that gynecology was invented by a male Nazi war criminal then maybe she’d change her mind. It was invented to keep women in line and back in the day when women weren’t allowed to become doctors. It’s sad that this practice has been brainwashing the majority of women into thinking it’s a life or death situation, when it’s actually optional and the cancer is extremely rare.
Again thank you for your input, and I’m looking forward to anything else you might bring here! 🙂
My husband and I did this subject very early on. I get this guy’s perspective.
No offense but to say “he” gets no say at least on this to me can be hypocritical. It also depends highly on the relationship and its established boundaries.
Does the couple agree on boundaries as to what husband does with his body? Is he allowed by the wife to attend these exams? Or does he not like males bc he feels they will take advantage?
How many times have we discussed the unanimous hate of male gynes?
So this guy takes her back pregnant with her bf’s kid? Sounds like a nice guy.
This is one thing he asked; too much for her to sacrifice?
Maybe it was her holding power held over him. Just saying.
Yeah, I have to say that I agree with that.
No man gets the final say (nor should they) but when in a consensual relationship, I’d expect that most couples discuss and agree on a set of boundaries that’s right for them.
If one party breaches them then the trust may be damaged.
You’re right. Unless an emergency of course.
A huge reason he goes is to ensure I’m not bullied into something painful. I’m not good reporting my felt pain.
And he’s the one medically educated so he usually explains things to me as the appt goes on.
Although he doesn’t like males examining me there’s times a guy is the best choice.
Cat & Mouse – It’s sad that women cannot seem to access fair and proportionate health care without an advocate.
Hello FWEO members! I just had to share a recent experience at my family medicine doctor’s office. (I’m in the US). I had an appointment to treat toenail fungus. The nurse checked me as usual, then asked me “When was your last colonoscopy?” I replied, “Never”. She actually tsked. Then she asked me, “When was your last well woman exam?” “Mammogram?” My replies were “5 years ago” and “never had a mammogram”. She seemed condescending and repeated my “Never” with a bewildered expression.
I am 52 years old. I don’t buy into pap smears, mammograms, or statins either. Not anymore, not for the last 2 decades. My cholesterol is high and has always been but I don’t trust statins. I was just there to treat a toenail fungus problem, which reoccurs with me every few years or so. That was all I was interested in dealing with.
The doctor, on the other hand, (at least this visit) was kind enough to look at my toe and offer a prescription for antifungal medicine. Less than a week later, the nurse called to rattle off my numbers and basically tried to alarm me about my CDL and LDL. She said the doctor wanted to prescribe a statin, which I told her I had taken in the past and had a bad reaction, so no thanks. The doctor’s office called me a 2nd time 3 days later with the same crap and even called in a statin Rx to my pharmacy even though I had declined it.
I know this forum is for pap smears, but it all boils down to the same thing. Medicine is a money making machine. It is invasive. It is pushy. If I’m there for one thing, I only want to focus on that one thing. I don’t care about all the other things they want to tsk tsk about to me. I don’t appreciate the nurses’ condescending, rush-rush manner, either. I have way too many other problems that I have to focus on. I also don’t have money to spend on this test or that test. I have insurance but still have to shell out my own dough. Needless to say, I only go see a doctor when I absolutely have to. It would be nice, for just once, to not have to have that apprehension I get when I have to answer how long it’s been since I’ve done xyz or have to defend myself.
I’ve been on this forum for a long time, and read practically every post. You all have strengthened my resolve to not get taken in. Thank you.
Sorry for the hassle you went through, but it’s very typical of a medical office visit in the US. It truly is all about the money and what’s best for the system. The patient is just a byproduct to squeeze every drop of insurance money out of, with female patients getting an extra dose of paternalism and condescending attitudes. I had an office visit earlier this year that was supposed to be a consultation about my high blood pressure, and it turned into an inquisition as to why I wasn’t having GYN exams, mammograms and colonoscopies. Unfortunately I’m on a prescription that necessitates twice-yearly doctor visits but I’m determined to take control of the next one and stop this nonsense in its tracks before it overtakes the consult.
It’s nice to “meet” you and please post more often – we’re all here to support and strengthen each other.
Your treatment is comes from the stupid “shared decision making” that doctors are trained to hammer at as if we’re too stupid otherwise. Or scared. Or our spouses supposedly won’t let us do as if we really wanted to. Which is why they like separating us.
We’re told to say no if we mean no. Doctors & staff were absent from school that day.
Hi Tallie. Yes, medicine, especially the way it’s done in the US, is nothing but a huge money-making machine. Patients are run through an assembly line – searching mainly for the commercial cancers, not paying any attention to complaints or family history or personal history (other than smoking) which might contribute to getting a cancer which is not highly advertised.
I too, dread having to go to the doctor. I have to go once a year for my diabetic medications. As part of the blood testing required for that, they test all sorts of things – cholesterol, nutritional levels. Then, there’s the high-pressure sales push for some additional medications – which the test results may not even show that you need. I’m reminded of one where I was pushed to take a beta blocker (blood pressure) drug when my BP was 110/66!.
Then there are all of the invasive tests – pap (and all of its follow-ons), mammograms, colonscopy, etc. I had one doc who highly insinuated that I could not be treated for my diabetes without a damned pap smear, and he wouldn’t take “no” for an answer! I eventually got up to leave, and he decided to give me my diabetes drugs. Had he not, there would have been a major complaint to my insurance company – they are NOT paying him for a high-pressure sales pitch, but to treat actual problems.
Meanwhile, I have a radiation exposure in my past – to the point where I set off European airport Geiger Counters! I expressed a concern over that, and what it could cause or be causing, and it was shrugged off. 90% of the others with the same exposure are now deceased – with high incidence of bone, brain, and thyroid cancers. I have low-thyroid. Maybe it would be more fruitful to investigate that over something that is about as unlikely to kill me as a lightening strike?
As they like these invasive tests, I think it’s got more in common with prison rape than any valid medical reason. They’re showing you, “See. We can take control over your body and coerce you into permitting penetration in ways you would not willingly permit anyone else to do. Even things you would or do permit, we’ll do them in ways that leave you bloody or bruised. Now that we have asserted that much control over you, you’ll allow anything else, and pay any darned thing we ask!”
Something changed around 1990 or so, where physicians became like used car dealers, rather than listening to or treating their patients’ complaints or concerns, to push them onto more and more drugs and procedures. This greatly increases the cost while reducing the effectiveness of it at preventing or treating any condition.
I know I’m not alone in preferring to visit the sleaziest used car dealer over any medical visit.
Thanks for the article! i feel the distrust for medical doctors part- for instance i requested for a blood and urine sample but still get lied to. never mind that i feel lied to that doctors don’t tell you anything about the pap smears. Now, i distrust even my pcp because she lied to me about a vitamin D level which isn’t a problem. What else are doctors lying about?
Hi all. I remember posting on here years ago and mentioning how in the UK, you receive a letter inviting you for cervical screening the year you turn 25. Well here we are, I’m 24 and will be 25 in August…and yesterday, I received the dreaded letter.
I’ve been dreading this for countless years, no lie. I suffer from anxiety and nearly had a panic attack when I began reading the letter. It doesn’t help that on tv at the moment, there is a cervical screening ad that keeps coming on. The usual propaganda, trying to guilt women into it. Like I’ve said before, I will NOT be having it done! I’m not making this decision based purely on emotion, but rather my own analysis of the statistics and personal risk. My risk as a 24 yr old virgin healthy woman is very low. I have more of a chance of getting breast cancer but they don’t do screening for that for women my age.
My mum is very pro smear test and she has always had it done. I was worried about discussing it with her because I thought she would be mad with me for doing the unconventional thing of opting out. However, she was actually supportive. She said to me that she thinks I should have it done but that it is my body and my choice. I know other ladies aren’t so lucky and are bullied into compliance. I believe no woman should feel like she HAS to put herself in such a vulnerable position. I’m actually surprised at how many women out there are almost fanatical about these exams and are spiteful to women who rightfully feel mortified at the concept. You are going into a clinical room, being made to strip from the waist down and lie on a bed with your intimate parts on full display and being poked and prodded.
It is very undignified, humiliating and damaging. This really does get overlooked and women are made to feel like they’re in the wrong for the trauma and horror they experience. Much love and peace to all you lovely people here reading my comment. We must stand strong 🙏💕
Do you know how to opt-out of the test? I’m sure there is an opt-out form you can download online. Opting-out was the first step I took to help me regain control of the situation and it made me feel a lot better about it.
I also hope you have not experienced any harassment from the GPs at your practice.
It’s great your mum is supportive. It might help to reassure her that you are at low risk of cervical cancer and that the procedure isn’t entirely free of risk if you go on to receive an “abnormal” result. Under the old screening method, around 70 – 88% of CIN3 diagnoses reverted to normal on their own, without the need for further “treatment”.
Is your mum aware that the ‘test’ has changed and they’re primarily looking for a sexually transmitted virus these days? As a virgin, you have a higher chance of winning the lottery than developing CC and there is absolutely no benefit in undergoing this torturous procedure. Scandalous that women are still being pressured into an invasive exam when self-sampling could be offered.
Yes, I think opting out would be your best bet. The ‘official’ line is still that you have to write to your GP, but there’s no need for that – it can be done online, a disclaimer form sent directly to the screening Nazis. Otherwise there’s a danger you’ll be subjected to high pressure tactics during every medical appointment. Not that they can’t badger you even if you have opted out, but at least it’ll stop the invitations – and you WILL be sent one every year if you fail to obey orders.
They’re getting desperate now that the screening rates have dropped below the minimum threshold, as you can probably tell by all the appalling ‘awareness’ campaigns they’ve been running for the past few years.
I used a link that the ladies on here very kindly provided me with. I think its on the second to last page off the unnessecary PAP smear forum. I downloaded it printed it and posted it via recorded delivery. job done 🙂
Hi Etna, my daughter will be 25 next month and got her 1st letter last autumn. Unfortunately she opted to go. I think she knew my feelings so kept it very secretive where she was going and just announced she’d been when she got back. We certainly had never seen any letters arrive from the NHS for her. As she visited about a toe infection at about this time, what’s the betting they “persuaded” her there and then? She also has a close friend who is a nurse, so I’m assuming that had some influence too. Of course the result was negative. She’d had 3 HPV vaccinations, as they reduced it to just 2 about a year after her class had it at school, so she has been overvaccinated. I’m sincerely hoping that the change from 3 to 5 yearly comes to England soon, as at least she’ll be nearly 30 before it comes around again and may have more common sense about it by then.
I’m a 54 year old woman and I just found this article now. I have had four children. I have a crazy fear of pelvic exams. I need to gear myself up. Fast forward to the fact that I have some kind of horror between my cervix and uterus. I had an ultrasound (transvaginal ultrasound – whole ‘nother form of violation but honestly not nearly as bad as a pap and pelvic exam with fingers.) It shows a large mass. First, I was told it was just a fibroid and I went for my follow up yesterday with the gyn because it’s incredibly painful and she decides to do a pelvic. I was completely unprepared for this mentally. I thought since the midwife just did the pelvic a month ago…we were just consulting about having it removed. No. Strip down below the waist and legs up. She not only jammed her fingers up there but also said she wanted to try to see it – she attempted to pry my cervix open with an instrument to see inside with a light. I said “Do we have to do this now?? ” Im thinking “like can’t we just operate on this? Can I at least have a local if you’re going to be doing that??” She says “Okay, well then if not now, then when.” and kept going. I was squirming so much and she was annoyed and finally gave up. She said she could see it inside and that it wasn’t good but she didn’t know what it was. “It needs a biopsy but since you won’t let me, I don’t know what to do. We’ll have to schedule an operating room I guess.” I found myself apologizing – as if this is all my fault! She left the room in a huff and I burst into tears. “Since you won’t let me.” Those word rang in my ears as I burst into tears after she left and I was shaking. Let me tell you it NEVER gets better. No matter how many children have been birthed through there even natural childbirth, you don’t get used to it and it isn’t okay. In my situation I get that I needed to have this done but honestly she sent me home in terrible pain without medication and told me I needed an MRI since it looked bad. So not only was she impatient and angry, she left me frightened as well. I sobbed all the way home in the car. Doctors, especially women doctors, need to understand some bedside manners. I understand that they look at crotches all day but honestly there is no regard at all. I absolutely refuse to subject my daughter to this unless it was a medical necessity.
Oh Lynn I’m so sorry. As if these exams weren’t difficult enough without some witch of a doctor being a cold insensitive douche. You said you live in the US – do you have insurance that would permit you to look for a more supportive provider to help you find out what’s going on? Please keep us posted – we care.
I’m so sorry you had that experience. She should have been more empathetic. Many women find this sort of thing very uncomfortable to say the least. I don’t get why doctors aren’t more understanding. I know some are good but many aren’t.
My poor mum had to have a transvaginal ultrasound done a few days ago and she came back home in pain and feeling pretty rough. It seems like she didn’t get any choice in the matter, either. They just told her they wanted to do the internal scan as well as the external (tummy) scan. She said that the nurse really dug the probe around inside of her and wasn’t gentle in the slightest.
I felt horrible for her. She tries to put on a brave face but what woman truly feels perfectly fine about having her private area poked and prodded? I straight up refused to have the internal scan when I had a pelvic ultrasound appointment. The lady asked me if I would be okay with it and I said NO. I was very lucky that she actually asked and seemed patient and kind. I know that you, Lynn and many other women aren’t so lucky.
It’s crazy to me how we can be treated so poorly when it comes to having things done to our intimate area. It’s called our private/intimate area for a reason! We naturally don’t like to expose ourselves to people we don’t know, even if they are a “medical professional”. They’re still another person and it feels so unnatural putting yourself in that position. It’s more than reasonable that you’ll feel vulnerable and find the whole thing highly unpleasant.
I would consider reporting her comments. “won’t let me” in regards to an invasive exam is an extremely insensitive comment and lacks any trauma-informed care, which gyns are beholden to.
I’m so sorry you had to go through this. I hope you’ll find a better doctor because I wouldn’t trust this one after comments and treatment like that. How infuriating. My heart goes out to you.
And in addition, Covid protocols have made it a whole lot worse. Here in the US we are STILL under a mask mandate in medical offices, three years after covid! So now you have this completely depersonalized experience with a doctor who has never seen your face. You can’t talk face to face because your faces are both covered. It’s much worse to have a pelvic exam with a mask over your mouth and nose. I cannot imagine what this is like for women who have been raped to have go to through!
Hi Lyn! Welcome to this site! Yeah, i don’t like that we still have Covid protocols and that there is a mask mandate in medical offices. Like i actually enjoyed having a telehealth visit with my PCP because i didn’t have to worry about no mask! I actually had a pelvic exam with a mask on in 2020 when I “had to get a pap smear”, and i feel it made the exam worse, not to mention that i was also crying because the speculum hurt. honestly the pelvic exam feels like rape to me.
First thing to do is to fire her face to face , and then find another gyno with a little compassion.
Hugs Jules x.
Hi, not really sure to put this. Yesterday I got back from my new doctor’s appointment in which was my annual physical. It wasn’t a gyno, but the doctor was informing me to go to an Endocrinlogist for my thyroid issues, i said no but she kept pushing the issue. I realize it’s her job as a pcp to recommend me to other doctors but. WHY does any doctor get that no means no, i have a telehealth on 4/3/23 to follow up about my blood test results, and she said we’ll see then. If i said NO last week, Most likely i will say NO the following week too. Really all i want is my thyroid pills, and my last pcp didn’t say a word about going to an endocrinologist and just let me take my thyroid pills. Of course also me telling if i am tired or not. I honestly feel fine. I just hate the pressure to go to other doctors, when i refuse. Also like I don’t like these COVID Protocols thing. In New York, they let it up to the healthcare provider whether or not they want to enforce the masks. That doctors office still uses masks, I had bloodwork done, didn’t bring a bottle of water with me, felt like i couldn’t breathe with the mask on, luckily this time they let me wear my mask down, but like, with this office, i still feel like i don’t have a word in edgewise in what i want to do… and it’s frustrating to me!
Okay, I’m feeling very uneasy at the moment. I’ve just received a text message from my GP saying exactly this “Hi Etna, you are due for your cervical smear test. Please telephone the surgery to arrange an appointment for the 19th/20th/21st April 2023” I’ve just received this message this morning. This is the first time they’ve messaged me about it. I’ve received only a couple of letters thus far. What should I do? Should I just ignore it? Will they keep harassing me? Has anyone else in the UK received this kind of text from their GP surgery?
I am not from the UK, but the first thing I would do in such situation is a thorough online search on how I could opt out of this.
In Australia, the National Cancer Screening Register seems to have ramped up their letter sending too. Covid scaremongering out – cancer scaremongering in.
Some women who declined cervical screening years ago have now received a letter urging them to screen again. Perhaps this is because before cervical screening pestering was run by Australian states, whereas now it has been moved into the hands of the federal government. And of course those clowns had to have another go at the women who already said “no” to the states.
Luckily, in Australia there is now an easy way to OPT OUT of cancer screening programs and stop the data harvesting and the reminders from the Australian NCSR about cervical and bowel screening by filling a simple form here: https://www.ncsr.gov.au/information-for-participants/participant-forms-and-guides/
And this time it should put a lid on all that spam and surveillance forever.
Perhaps, the UK has something similar. Sometimes the opt out info and forms are well hidden, but with some persistence it is possible to find the right page. That’s why I have posted the Australian link here. Hopefully it helps other women, because it wasn’t easy to find when I was looking for it.
Etna you can opt out in the UK..I did and so did many other Brits on here
I think there’s an opt out on line form but don’t have an address for it maybe you could find it on the NHS site? You mentioned you had a text from your doc . I would email or text them saying emphatically you are not having a smear and it’s not up for discussion. This is what I did. I then wrote to the screening authority (address’on the written “invitation” and told them the same thing. I signed and returned a disclaimer and that was it. I’ve since moved to Wales and haven’t registered anywhere yet still, partly because I don’t want to possibly have to deal with all that again! Hope this helps
Hi Etna, the choice is yours and you do not have to go through with this test if you don’t want it. It is a legal requirement that they inform you of this in the leaflet which you should have been sent. See the bottom of page 8 in the pdf format of this leaflet and there is a link to contact if you want to opt out and stop the letters from coming. A lot of us on here opted out years ago by filling in a form and handing it in to our GP surgeries. There might be an online form now. If you are a young woman expect to get asked gain at some point in the future about your decision, but stand your ground. As the leaflet says, it is an offer and a choice, not a demand that you obey, although practice staff will try to tell you otherwise. My guess is that they are cutting back on the leaflets and saying it is all online if you want to read it, but that means a lot of women are missing out on the all important phrase that you can opt out. Good luck!
Etna I also think you can opt out of receiving texts from your GP Too, this might help the screening demands but might also mean you don’t get reminded about stuff you might want like appointment reminders or vaccine reminders
I’m fairly new to texting, but after getting into my 60s and getting other health issues I’ve realised it’s the only way to get prescription renewals and some other appointment reminders so I’ve relented. However, I got a breast screening reminder to schedule an appointment about a year ago, just like Etna’s cervical screening one that really annoyed me – no mention that it’s a choice, an option, no information for you to make an informed decision and no right to reply to the text. Made me see red, and I emailed them not to send me these pushy texts in future. I think we’re heading to a scenario where options and real information will not be sent out to people as we rely more and more on texting.
Hi Alice, unfortunately (but unsurprisingly) patients here are still being advised to contact their GP and request to be removed, when it is NOT necessary any more.
If Etna has access to a scanner/printer and wants to opt out she should be able to do so by contacting the screening services directly.
I did so a couple of years ago and haven’t been bothered since, although I’m not sure if it would stop the text messages. My surgery is awful and I didn’t want to give them my mobile number.
Tell them they can stuff the invitation and appointment.
Tell them you have no interest in a 50% accurate test.
Tell them it’s a pap scrape not smear.
Tell them to F*** Off.
Mark envelope “return to sender–not interested.”