Why are doctors sticking their fingers into women’s vaginas?

You might have wondered why doctors routinely perform bimanual exams (insertion of fingers into the vagina) during pelvic examinations. Well, if you asked your doctor for an explanation you might not get one because doctors themselves are a bit vague about the purpose of bimanual exams. In fact, the lack of clarity extends all the way up to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), where “the reasoning behind the performance of the exam is not defined” (http://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378%2812%2902070-4/fulltext).

Doctors’ uncertainty about the purpose of the exam can lead to inappropriate practices, over-diagnosis, potentially harmful over-treatment and devastating outcomes. A recent research study involving 521 obstetrician-gynecologists revealed the extent of the uncertainty and lack of consistency among doctors. Doctors taking part in the research study were presented with patient scenarios and then asked whether or not they would perform a bimanual exam.

The first scenario involved an 18 year old female who was there for a routine health visit, had become sexually active one month ago, had no history of dysplasia, had no symptoms, and was not pregnant.  Doctors were asked if they would perform a bimanual exam on this 18 year old female and the vast majority (87%) indicated that yes, they would perform the exam.  This is alarming because apparently the majority of doctors are unaware that exams are not recommended by ACOG in asymptomatic females under the age of 21.

In another scenario doctors were presented with a 55 year old woman who had come in for a routine health visit.  Her cervix and ovaries had been removed one year earlier at time of hysterectomy for fibroids.  She had no history of dysplasia and no symptoms.   Despite the absence of all reproductive organs, and even though ACOG’s current guidelines recommend against exams on women who have had a total hysterectomy, almost all of the doctors indicated they would perform a bimanual exam on this patient.

Of the 521 obstetrician-gynecologists involved in the study, 47% believed that bimanual exams were very important in the detection of ovarian cancer.  This is in direct contrast to the ACOG endorsement that ovarian cancer screening is not recommended.  Ovarian cancer screening is not recommended based on research which shows that the harms of screening outweigh the benefits.   Some of the harms include unnecessary surgeries following a false-positive diagnosis, unnecessary psychological distress, and harmful over-treatment.

The research findings regarding doctors’ uncertainty about bimanual exams and their inappropriate overuse of the exam helps highlight the need for further education.  The lack of clarity among doctors regarding the purpose of the bimanual exam at least helps to explain many doctors’ silence and failure to offer women informed consent or an explanation prior to performing the exam.

Thank you to Karen for her enlightening comments and references: https://forwomenseyesonly.com/2013/04/19/sexual-abuse-under-guise-of-health-care-presents-barriers/comment-page-1/#comment-27383




  1. There is also usually no reason for a rectal exam either. A positive response to a patient being asked if they have occasional constipation is no reason to assault them.

    If a patient has a rectocele, hemmrhoids then they are likely going to mention it. Telling a patient to do kegels really is not enough. There is some very good information about postures, yoga, maya abdomimal therapies, what women can do to help or avoid organ prolapse only doctors are not telling women. They would rather abuse them first and then suggest surgeries later.

    Notice how women are often sore for days or weeks after a pelvic exam where even most “althelic” sex does not cause the same pain and damage.

  2. please see information on this site.
    You can download a copy of the article “Why Kegels don’t work”. The whole assuption about female anatomy that Male doctors (and some female doctors) have is wrong. Posture and exercises can correct problems. Sticking fingers up the vagina in a doctors office is more often useless or abuse than leading to anything good.

  3. Q. Why are doctors sticking their fingers into women’s vaginas?
    A. 1. Because they can.
    2. Because they don’t know any better.
    3. Because they get paid for that.
    4. Because older doctors have done that for ages.
    5. Because some doctors enjoy it.

    Where women’s health comes into it, I have no idea.

    No ailment has ever had better chance of being detected via manual vaginal exam than via specifically designed modern diagnostic tests. Yet we are still told by doctors that finger rape is mandatory.

    • Don’t forget these possibilities:
      7. General malice.
      8. Assorted mommy issues.
      9. Having an issue with life & all things pertaining to it (women & certain life progenerating areas are a “natural” target for someone like that).

      I agree, it IS a variation of rape when imposed & it’s not really someone making their own decisions if they’re being lied to.

  4. Looking at a scanned outdated text about how to do pelvic exams. The cervix was felt and moved around. If movement caused pain then there was infection. – really didn’t the women complain of symptoms? -or maybe she was wondering why the doctor was taking so long with their fingers up there. If the cervix was lumpy or could not be moved around easily then it us the sign of a tumor in the cervix. Ok. So that would not cause the women symptoms? Also isn’t the Pap test supposed to have the tumor cells show up on it? Could be just some other tissues moving through from a miscarriage.

    Just putting fingers up there to feel the cervix causes some women great discomfort because the fingers are not long enough. It is ridiculous to keep doing this exam.

    Please get the urine tests reliable enough to use for HPV and specific cancers. It is possible but probably not popular with money greedy doctors.

    • For the record, mine feels lumpy sometimes, rough sometimes, smooth sometimes. I guess it changes with my cycle, hormones and so on. I would rather not touch it, why irritate it, and bring in germs anyway. Bodies are not perfectly smooth and flawless, why should they be? Especially as we age, we just get these things, as I am typing now, I touch the inside of my mouth with my tongue, and it is also lumpy and bumpy, and despite mouth cancer being as prevalent (rare) as cervical cancer I am not going to run to a doctor. I can’t imagine a tumour that is palpable on the cervix or inside the mouth for the matter not causing any symptoms such as pain, discharge or bleeding.

      • Karen
        I’ve read that some women check their cervix on a regular basis. On a feminist site they encourage women to look after their cervix, check on it, get to know it, use a mirror.
        On an screening poster the caption reads, “how’s your cervix, if you don’t know, time for a pap test”….this obsession with the cervix is just weird. I’ve never seen my cervix or my liver, ear drum etc. I trust that they’re doing their jobs.
        The obsession with the cervix is a direct result of the propaganda, decades of it. I loved the response of an elderly family friend (long deceased) when pap testing was first raised here…when was the push, the 70s? “What’s a cervix?” “Why would it suddenly need checking?”. Exactly…
        That’s the point, before screening few women worried about cervical cancer, many had never heard of it. It would be like obsessing about mouth cancer, having our mouths checked regularly and removing anything remotely “abnormal”…support and awareness groups etc.
        Yet this is what we do with rare cervical cancer, it makes no sense at all.
        So my cervix can do it’s job undisturbed and know I appreciate and respect it, just as I do the rest of my body AND I’ll continue to act as it’s protector from the insanity of women’s “healthSCARE”…..

  5. Great post, and I like the “top 10 list” being developed by Alice and Alex!

    So …. the exam used as it often is – without an evidence base, without an explanation, and without informed consent – COULD serve as a good screen for physician:

    – Incompetence
    – Creepiness*
    – Paternalism
    – Misogyny

    By carefully screening your physician’s explanation for trying to pressure you into this exam you just might come up with some important information in diagnosing their disorder(s)! Perhaps this could become part of the annual “well physician” exam?


    *See “The Other Side of the Speculum” and “Sexual Abuse Under the Guise of Health Care Presents Barriers” for additional.

    • That’s a good idea! It can be kind of like a sting, where you have a phone recording things in order to catch them & maybe get them fired! I didn’t think of that, but it might very well gain publicity for a typically unsung problem if a lot of doctors are getting nailed & this is why. One idea leap-frogged to another there, but I think that might be a good one. What do all you think?

      I figure you can also take it a step further & look at how medical-related things will go in that country by whether birth control is available over-the-counter. It seems to be a bit of a sign of how dictatorial they are overall & if medical things are deemed universally non-antagonistic. Might also give some hints as to what might go on under the table (maybe while someone’s knocked out or hurt or behind closed doors one thing or another is less likely to happen there).

      • For those of you that have read my few replies on this site you know why I have never had an exam “down there.” This is one of those reasons. Ah, the bimanual exam. An exam so incredibly useless as it is deceiving. Almost as ridiculous as the dated and inaccurate pap smear. Those statistics mentioned reinforce my opposition to the status quo. They also make me wonder? Are women that ignorant about the workings of their own bodies? I mean, c’mon. If you are asymptomatic why would you even go to the gyno? You might as well go to the cardiologist when you feel fantastic, the dentist when you mouth is tip top, or the dermatologist when your skin is glowing with health, not a mole in sight. Makes perfect sense, not.

  6. On cervix obsession

    I have a friend, who tired of doctors a
    Obsession with Pap test and her cervix, actually stole a speculum from a doctor’s office (she complained they only keep the large size ones in the little drawer). Yeah she looked at her own cervix with vinegar. She figures she would be better to look at her own cervix that be tortured.

    This is because I am hearing about more over investigation and over treatment especially of ladies on premenopause. They are sent to colposcopy for basically anything. They cannot go to the doctor and just ask “what is going on? Is this normal for my age?” Even i asked about some brown discharge and I was told that I should go on birth control pills for two months to clear it up – even without any tests. I declined as I told my doctor that I am trying to get pregnant. Then he told me that at my age there was 0% chance I could get pregnant and that I should get a pap because there was 20% (or some ridiculous stastistic) that I could have cervical cancer because at age 49 that is the average age of diagnosis. (He must have barely passed his statistics course).

    Cancer treatments and cancer screening (pap, mammogram, colonoscopy) can cause damage, disease and even cancer. I keep hearing about the small breast cancer that some women was so glad that they “caught early” then a few years later they have a cancer that kills or almost kills them. The stress and cancer treatments depress the immune system so people often get sicker. To me when the cancer is “spread to the lymph nodes” and a person is sick (weight loss or whatever) well then their immune system is dealing with the cancer. If the body is fighting the cancer then the cancer cells are going to go in the lymphatic system. That is part of its job.

    • I just thought of something: Do you think doctors see the body’s immune system as competition?

      Another thing is how frequently they undermine someone’s bodily abilities (whatever they happen to be). Maybe they see the immune system as something that might prevent the problems they’re looking to facilitate?

  7. I thought you all would be interested in this article: http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/1025123/declining-routine-tests-during-pregnancy. Especially look at this part:

    Internal checks

    One common test that is declined isn’t really a test, but more of a check. Doctors and midwives will often offer to check the status of your cervix as you pass through the last few weeks of pregnancy. While it can be interesting to note if your cervix has started dilating, it really offers no valuable clues to you nor your care provider about when labor will start. Some moms go into labor a day after they’ve been determined to be a “fingertip” dilated, while others will walk around 4 or 5 centimeters for weeks.

    With that in mind, many moms decline cervix checks because it can sometimes lead to infection, premature rupture of the membranes or other negative outcomes. With that in mind, many doctors will even tell the moms-to-be up front that there is no need, but they’ll do it if they’re interested.


  8. I am so scared about having a doctor touch my breasts and putting his fingers inside me. Just because I went to a movie with a boy my mother made me a appointment with a gynecologist for a checkup and the pill. She would not tell me what would happen at the checkup so I have been reading on line sites like this one, The more I read the scareder I get. Do I have any rights to say no to these exams or do I have to do whatever my mother tells them to do to me? I turned 15 in January. I went to a movie with a friend but no boy has ever touched me and I am going crazy reading what the doctor might do to me.

    • If they do not take no for an answer and they try to hold you down by force, scream as loud as you can and threaten to go to the police and social services. This is your body and it should always be your rules, it is your basic human rights. These tests are always only optional and you are just a wee 15 years old, totally unnecessary and very dangerous. Please don’t give in and stand firm, don’t be scared of something you don’t want or need. Life is all about the choices you make, this is one of them and a very important one, its your choice to make, not anyone elses….remember that always. Good luck Nancy

    • You have all the rights to say no, definitely! You can tell that when you are, if ever going to “need” the pill (not everyone is having sex, it is perfectly normal, and there are other contraceptive methods for those who do) you will get it, but from a doctor who follows current guidelines and prescribes it without unnecessary and dangerous hurdles like a pelvic exam. Do you live close to Mexico? The pill is OTC there.

      • Does she mean an STD checkup? Can you imagine a 15yrs old boy who goes to a movie with a friend being taken for an STD checkup… and even if you needed one, all they take are blood and urine tests. I am so glad this moral panic crap was not around where I grew up, my mother used to worry abour drugs all the time, hahaha.

    • Here’s some advice, but it’s a bit long. It DOES seem to work & it covers a lot.

      To your mother:
      Telling her that properties don’t change by designation, just like if a doctor poisons someone with a needle it’s still murder. A situation is what it consists of & this is an interface with a sexual area AS A PRODUCT OF SOMEONE ELSE’S DECISION-MAKING and that is an attack! Unless she wants to argue that what happens is NOT what occurs, that’ll probably kill the argument right then & there. Same goes for all the risks, inaccuracies, and alternatives because there’s a lot of unsung problems with these things. This is especially true for younger women (under 35).

      Specifically it’s a PENETRATIVE interface & it’s really not that different from your mother doing this to you herself. Matter of fact (and I know this sounds crude, but it might get her to back off), ask her “Hey, ma- Do you want to do the honors yourself?” Might just put things in such sharp relief that she actually stops- especially when she expresses her outrage & you say “Well, you’re orchestrating this whole situation so what’s the difference?” Ditto for arranged marriages- a potentially useful referance.

      It’s hard to express sexual dissonance (when something is “against the grain” on that level) & sometimes people actually argue with you about that if a doctor’s involved. As if something ceases to exist, despite it’s EXISTANCE. Either way, it’s not immature, stupid, or otherwise defective to have bodily autonomy & self-protectiveness. Same for thinking compositionally 9that a situation is what it consists of). People act like reality takes a coffee break for doctors, but it doesn’t.

      To the doctor (if it comes up, because I don’t think you should even get in the car):
      Completely refuse & make a point of mentioning that this would be “iatrogenic rape” if imposed. You see, “iatrogenic detriment” is any problem caused by medical treatment or advice- and it’s sounds an awful lot like something a lawyer will say in court. Don’t ask any questions, don’t picture it not going your way, don’t let them wear you down (they’ll probably act like they’re not going to budge, but you’d be suprised how suddenly that can happen). You’re the ruler. There is no “being wrong” about you deciding what does & does not go into you.

      The term “reproductive endangerment” might have a similar effect & there’s no harm in combining the two. What’s the argument going to be? If you want to keep things in, you mess with the seal? There is the possibility of them trying to get you to keep coming back. They not only get the regular fee, but there’s also little bonuses called “incentive payments” for reaching different numbers- both reasons to cause problems or cause the impression of problems.

      It’s also illegal for them to back you into corners to get birth control, even if you wanted it. “Coercive iatrogenic assault & reproductive endangerment” I believe would be the correct term for it. If someone said “Let me play doctor on you or you get fired” that’s definitely sexual harrassment in the workplace. This is an attempt at a coercive attack & is an instance of compulsion if it does take place. No wrestling took place, but it doesn’t really need to. That’s why “coercion” and “wrestling” are different words.

      Their tactics are usually subtle: Rushing people around or sequencing one thing right after the other so there’s no time for thought or space for refusal. Coercion’s a big one. “You don’t get this without that” is practically a motto. Attaching riders to something (this is a part of that”) is pretty similar. Deception & scare tactics are obvious ones (don’t believe any “Oh my God, this could happen!” type of things, no matter how straight a face they say it with- the point is to be convincing). If you DO get worried about something, go & research the shit out of it independantly. One more really common one is to talk about things as though a fixed situation (like there exists no capacity for reality to “unfurl” any other way). This is nonsense, of course- since an action has to be engaged in order to occur.

      This should cover pretty much anything that gets thrown at you. If you need/want more, feel free to ask.

  9. I dont think a doctor can touch you If you make it clear you do not want an exam even if your mom makes you go the the clinic. EVEN if your 15 Stand your ground. There are so many people that are telling moms they cant trust there daughter and all teen girls need to be on the pill. This is scary and disturbing to me. The Acog and others are pushing for young girls to come bc they want the income.

    • No doubt the harm a virginity test could cause to girls who were abused or sexually active (unlikely by choice if they are 13 or 14). But it would also harm virgins. The misogynistic culture is to blame.

    • I signed the petition (first one ever, but I don’t like doing these things on the internet), but it’s very angering that the first thing people go to with things like these is its level of utility or pertinence to the situation it’s being attached to as a rider. Anyone else notice that?

      It’s ggod that they go against these things, but referencing things the way they do isn’t so smart: Saying “It has nothing to do with their education” leaves room for the mto figure out a way to connect the dots- false ones included. Not really a good idea to argue that “This isn’t done on males,” either. Just opens the door for them to say “Well, we’ll just treat everyone equal- since it’s discrimination that’s the problem, not imposing this situation in itself.”

      Besides, why not just ask the males to protect them from that? Not as the sole means of protection, but an addition to it. Might not work, but it might very well make things so blantantly obvious that it would bolster things signifigantly. Even if it was just other countries that took notice of that.

      I’ve been worried that this sort of thing would start going on in America & I don’t think I’m off-base in presuming that they’d start attaching riders & setting up policies & acting like they’re being oppressed when someone doesn’t go along with it. That, or they’d act like they’re worried about the health of the girls & start connecting all kinds of “first this, then this, then this” dots- generally acting the same way they do with grown women, but preying on younger females.

  10. Thank you for your comments. I found this site too late to read them before my appointment on Friday. I did write down several points to use with the doctor like how rare cervical cancer is, how people pick up diseases at hospitals and doctor offices, and how the breast and pelvic exams do not really find any problems. My plan was to go in there and insist on only a blood pressure check to get the pill to make my mother happy.

    This site was right about doctors not taking no for an answer. I was tag teamed by the doctor the nurse and my mother. He did not want to talk about what I found on the internet. He said a few hours on the internet did not make me smarter than his many years of schooling. He said I was foolishly putting my life at risk because of what who knows who wrote on the internet. The nurse said not to be embarrassed by the doctor because he does this all day long and she and my mother can be in the room if I want. That is just so sick. Why would I want two people watching while the doctor did stuff to me. My mother kept threatening me with stuff like grounding and taking my cell away if I did not get this done and over with.

    They would not let up so I agreed when the doctor promised it would be quick and painless. He said I would be in charge and he would stop if I started feeling any pain and no one else would be in the room watching. It was not quick and it was not painless. When I told him I wanted to stop because it was starting to hurt he kept saying almost done. After many almost dones he did not stop until he did everything to me that Web MD said he would do. He definitely lied to me about me being in charge. I never should have let him do it. I still feel ashamed and dirty. They insisted it was for my health but I am no healthier now than before he touched me. My mother made me let him do all the things she told me for years not to let boys do to me. And the cute part is the prescription is only good for one year. I am not going to take them at least until I have a boyfriend. So even if I don’t take them he wants to do this to me again next year.

    • I’m sorry you were abused so cruelly Nancy.

      The horrible lessons you have learned are:-

      Your Mother will not support you against the words of the mighty “doctor”, you must never trust her again.

      You now know that a doctor, a nurse AND your own Mother will bully you until you say yes.

      You now know that a doctor will always lie to you. “I’ll stop if it hurts”.

      Your doctor will insist on performing this hideous exam again next year. I would suggest that you refuse to go and accept your Mother’s punishment. I’m sure you would prefer a grounding and the loss of your phone than suffer at the hands of your abuser again. Remember, if you see this doctor again for any reason, keep your clothes on and don’t believe anything he or his nurse says. They will say anything to get you to comply.

      Once again, I’m sorry that you had to endure this Nancy.

    • He will never know better how you want to manage that tiny-mini risk that cervical cancer poses. At 15, you would sooner be hit by a lightning before you are forced into the rape-ritual again. Pelvic exams on asymptomatic women are not based on evidence. If he contests that, he has to contest his own professional governing body (ACOG) and he is a snake oil peddler, not a doctor. Both your mother and the doctor would be prosecuted in most parts of Europe, if it is any comfort. You need your mother, but do not need the doctor. He should get what any other citizen would get for sexually assaulting a minor. You could find out who the regulatory body is of his surgery, and write a letter of complaint, stating that you asked him to stop, and he did not stop, and you expressed non-consent, btu was coerced. You could get in touch with a feminist legal aid organisation about your options. Very sorry to hear about your ordeal!

      • Very sorry to hear about what happened to you. That’s appalling that they all ganged-up on you (particularly your mother). What about living with your father? Is he in the picture?

        I hope it doesn’t come off like rubbing things that could have been useful in your face, but if you read my post to you that’s further up you might be better able to get them off your back next time. I’d imagine the term “iatrogenic rape” is something that would make the doctor unwilling to continue, since it burns off that ability to hide behind the argument “but that’s a medical action.”

        Something I’d add to that post now is that it doesn’t matter how many times someone has done something- it doesn’t happen to someone else any less. The frequency of activity doesn’t make it less extant of a circumstance. I’ve always hated when people said that. What’s the idea? If someone shoots a lot of people, the next person DOESN’T actually get shot? Someone doesn’t lose any money if a thief has picked thousands of pockets before theirs?

    • Hi Nancy

      Yet another young woman abused by the medical profession. I’m not sure what we can do to stop these “doctors”. The American recommendations say NO pap tests before 21. (still far too young, but a LOT older than 15) ACOG and everyone else say pap tests and pelvic exams are unnecessary for the Pill. Breast exams in an asymptomatic teenager are absurd. Yet we still have those who believe they can do as they please as soon as a woman or teenager asks for the Pill. It’s apparently the “standard of care” set by some doctors and so these “doctors” are protected by the profession to the extent no one is prepared to do anything to STOP them. (Sorry, but I simply can’t call these people “doctors” when they violate consent and think that’s fine)
      That exam risked your health for NO benefit at all.

      I wonder if it would help to contact Dr Robert Hatcher, he’s spoken out about those in the profession who hold the Pill hostage, his website is called, “Managing Contraception”.
      He may be prepared to contact this doctor or give you some advice on how to avoid a repeat of the trauma, he might even speak to your mother.
      I’m sure your mother meant well, but she did the wrong thing by you, she risked your health and well-being. It may be your mother also went through a similar thing when she was your age and felt she should make sure you had the same “checks”. (her responsibility as your mother)
      I read an awful account of an American woman (living in the UK) who went searching for a UK doctor prepared to do the same thing to her sexually active teenage daughter, when all of the UK doctors refused to do the exam, her husband made some enquiries and found someone prepared to do the exam. The parents had been brainwashed for decades and assumed their daughter was at risk without these exams and testing.
      They assumed UK women were receiving substandard treatment being able to get the Pill with a simple blood pressure test.

      You’re only 15, I don’t believe you consented to that exam, with 3 adults challenging and pressuring you IMO, it amounted to coercion which negates all consent.
      You may not feel up to it, but you could make a formal complaint about the pressure you faced, being forced to have unnecessary exams and testing and that the doctor did not stop when you asked him to. Personally, I’d probably contact Dr Hatcher first.
      Doctors have been getting away with abusing women for decades, it will take some time to change things. You’re only 15, so don’t blame yourself, this is not your fault.

      I’m so sorry you went through a pointless and traumatic exercise, hopefully, one day these “doctors” will be stopped. If it happened here and the patient complained the doctor would be in trouble with the Medical Board and possibly, the Police.
      Scroll down the page and you’ll see “Got a question”…tell Dr Hatcher what happened to you, I think he’ll be equally appalled by your treatment.

  11. I swear this will never happen to me again. I will kick and scream and act like a crazy person if I have to. I will not go to the doctors office again because once you are there they break you down. The only one who got anything out of this was my mother because she is relieved that I have the pill for when I need it. She acts like I have graduated to womanhood or something and keeps trying to get me to say it was a good thing. Nothing that happened after the doctor closed that door was a good thing. My father thinks this is a female issue and leaves it up to my mother. Maybe the only other person who got something out of this was the doctor who got to see me naked and feel me up. The nurse was right he did not seem to mind doing that at all. He will never get to do that to me again.

    • Would your father think it was a “female issue” if someone snatched you up to do some aggressive role-playing? Whether it was a man or woman doing it? I never got how something being “among women” was supposed to make everything fine, anyway. The idea that what one woman does to another is the same as doing that same thing to herself because they have a similar anatomy is false.

      If your mother was so concerned about you having the pill, then she should have just got it for you without any imposed probing. I guess she’s trying to get you to lie to support her own bullshit. Don’t elevate problems to non-issues, though. That tends to be a common psychological thing (like when someone says “Oh, it’s nothing anyway”), but it sugar-coats a bad situation & makes whoever did it look good. It also makes for a more hospitable environment for these types of things to happen, too (whether this is to the same person again or to someone else for the first time). It SOUNDS good to “not let this have any control over your life,” but it just has a bit of a reverse psychology effect. Walking around sticking your throat out as a sign you’re not worried just makes an easier target AND looks like you’re worried about something because you’re compensating for it. Just thought I’d mention that, in case you run into people giving you shit from one angle or another (if you don’t go to doctors because they might try to badger you into things, for instance).

      It’s good that you’re solid on this not happening again. I bet that you’ll never put your own child through something like this. Even that hernia check for boys is problematic (not AS severe, obviously- but still a point). Not really all that plausible that someone’s intestines are going to be in their nutsack without their knowing it, boys are pretty astute about that region.

  12. Click to access ChoosingWiselyPelvicBeforeContraceptivesAAFP-ER.pdf

    You might want to show this to your mother, there are very good reasons why you should not have been subjected to those exams and a pap test, even if you wanted the Pill: they’re unnecessary and risk your health.
    Perhaps, providing your mother with these articles might prompt her to do some more research.
    This summary is put together by the American College of Physicians, surely she’d take note of their comments. It would be interesting to hear what the doctor had to say if your mother confronted him with the evidence and asked for clarification, not one group would support his actions. ACOG, World Health etc.
    There are lots of articles online covering this topic. I hope the pap test does not come back “Abnormal” but be prepared for that, 1 in 3 young women will produce an “Abnormal” pap test, false positives usually caused by normal changes in the maturing cervix or by transient and harmless infections.
    The other issue is the reckless testing of young women and teenagers exposes them to the risk of excess biopsies and over-treatment.

  13. Maybe this girl should go talk to some teacher or counsellor at her school. This situation sounds rather controlling and abusive. There may be more going on that is not apparent.

    Also I believe that 16 might be the legal age that a child can refuse to give consent for medical treatments, I am not sure because it might depend on where she lives.

    Because of this bad experience this girl is likely to have problems in future relationships with her parents, men and health professionals. So please do not let this experience keep her from getting any medical attention that she might need in the future due to illness.

    • The situation sounds controlling and abusive on several fronts.

      First, Nancy did not ask for the pill, nor did/does she need it. She’s going OUT with a boy: That doesn’t mean that she’s automatically having sex with him. Yet, her mother seems to think that they are the same thing. AND, the choice of birth control is just that – a choice. There are various methods, all with their own risks and failure rates. It’s a matter for her to decide with the help of a medical professional.

      15 is below the age of consent for any sort of sexual activity in nearly all jurisdictions. What was done to Nancy is not a recommended medical practice by any medical organization. She did not need it to get a prescription for the Pill, nor is it recommended for those under 21. Pelvic exams/pap tests require penetrating the sexual organs and rectum of a woman with fingers and/or instrumentation. That is the definition of “rape” in all or nearly all countries and states – when the woman is not consenting or is below the age of consent. This was both of those. This was sexual abuse of a minor. Her mother as well as the nurse were co-conspirators in that attack. The fact that it happened in a medical office does not change the fact.

      Yes, this has long-term ramifications. It is not just something to “put behind you”.

    • Age of consent varies. In some provinces in Canada there is no age of consent which means that a five year old can refuse medical treatment. In other places it varies and can be 12 or even 18. If Laura is over the age of consent that is even greater evidence for an ethical complaint.

      • Age of consent to refuse medical care is zero. Assault is assault, even if a parent okay’s such assault. At the same time, with little kids, if one is objecting to having stitches put in a bad wound, they still need to have it done. Perhaps more painkillers is all that’s needed.

        Age to get wanted medical care is based on the age of financial responsibility, or you need to have someone else take responsibility, in countries where medical care is a business. In more civilized countries, that’s not an issue.

        The Age of Consent I was talking about refers to age of consent for sexual activity. The age of consent varies. It’s 18 in many US states, 16 in others, 12 in a couple, with different ages of consent for heterosexual or homosexual conduct. That is, any sort of sexual contact or penetration is a CRIME. There is a medical exception, but the caveat there is that it has to be for a legitimate medical purpose. As these tests are no longer recommended any recognized medical association, governmental, or international oversight group, pelvic exams on asymptomatic women is not a legitimate medical treatment.

        Since she was objecting and refusing, she did not give consent. She was coerced. She was penetrated, which is a definition of rape. Had she consented, it would still be statutory rape since she was not at the age of consent. A parent or guardian cannot give consent for a sexual act – at best they become an accomplice. Again, this has no legitimate medical use, and is disrecommended by various medical organizations and oversight authorities.

      • Moo mentioned the age of consent for refusing medical treatments. I was not referring to your mention of the age of consent for sex. If there is an age of consent for medical treatments and the child has not reached that age the parents can override the child’s refusal and give consent for medical testing and treatments.
        In this situation if there is an age of consent for medical procedures and she has not reached that age all that was needed was the mothers consent which was given. What happened was sexual assault. However in terms of recourse and the law with it being a medical setting and the mothers consent being given and the Dr’s ability to argue standard of care it would not be viewed as an assault. However there is recourse with an ethical complaint of the fact the Dr is not following current protocols set out by the medical association. The fact that this can happen shows that there are serious issues with the medical profession and with women in our society who do not see this situation as an assault and that these exams are necessary.

      • The fact that pelvic exams are not required to be prescribed the pill, the fact that they are not recommended for asymptomatic women under 21, and the fact that birth control pills were prescribed without indication (being sexually active, intending to soon become sexually active, or abnormally heavy menstrual periods) negates any standard of care which the doctor could bring up. That alone could be the grounds for a medical malpractice case.

        The fact that he is performing medical procedures which are outdated would seem to be a matter for a complaint against his medical license, as well as the ethical complaint of lack of informed consent. If this was accurately billed to any insurance company, they would have grounds to not pay – it was not medically indicated according to several national and international organizations, including the ACOG, AMA, CMA, BMA, WHO, or any other European or Asian medical association. It does not meet the test of “standard of care”.

        As it was outside of any medical indication, and was done with coercion rather than consent, it is a sexual assault or rape. The question about age of consent is whether it is just “ordinary” rape, or if it’s sexual assault on a minor. No parent has the right to ask for, demand, or request that another person sexually assault their child.

  14. I agree with your comments, i certainly view this as coercion and assault, but when the profession does nothing to stop these so-called doctors and most women don’t complain, I suspect many will just keep on abusing…over and over again.
    I also, think some of these doctors must be delighted mothers drag their teenage daughters to them and support this abuse, a predator’s dream come true.
    It’s appalling anyone could think this amounts to healthcare.

    • This will continue as long as girls and women do not complain, and as long as the authorities continue to take a blase attitude toward it.

  15. You guys are forgetting something important: Anything at all can be sanctioned & you’re only dealing with actions, anyway. It can be made legal for parents to outright sell their children, too. Ultimately, this being imposed on someone is an attack. It doesn’t matter if it’s specifically for the purpose of attacking someone or if there’s potential utility to it.

    What I think really trips a lot of people out is that this CAN be an avenue for a parent to molest their children. It’s almost like the idea of someone getting attacked in their sleep- how are they supposed to do anything?

  16. You are right Bethk this is not easy to put behind me. It has been three days and that exam is all I think about. I know I made a mistake getting in the car and going to his office. I should have known I would not be able to stand up to all of them. I think I may have made another mistake not having the nurse in there. Maybe he wouldn’t have treated me the way he did if someone else was there. If he would have treated me the same then I am glad I was alone without people watching. I hope I am making sense it is very confusing to me and I was there. I don’t know what is normal because Web MD says what the doctor will do but not how long you have to be naked.

    I went to the age of consent for my state to see if I have legal rights and it looks like I don’t. It said:
    An individual who is legally a minor cannot give effective legal/informed consent to treatment and therefore, conversely, cannot legally refuse treatment.
    It says my mother has the right to give them consent and I can’t change that. My mother has changed from trying to get me to agree we did the right thing to telling me that her mother brought her in for a female exam when she was sixteen and it worked out for her. She did not get pregnant until she was married. She says I will thank her some day.

    • Pretty serious hole in that logic, though: A consensual thing is considered a problem due to the age of the person involved, even if it’s consensual- but something imposed on someone of that age is just fine.

      She thinks you’ll thank her for all this? She’s warped! It’s always a wonder to me that the same women that won’t put up iwth a backhand or a dinner order think the world of someone not having self-determination in a medical environment. It’s not LESS of a punch in the face if their husband does it, but it IS less of an issue if mommy backs her little girl into corners. I bet if the “mean man” did the same thing, it’d be seen as a problem.

    • It seems dubious that the nurse was not in the room with the doctor giving the pelvic examination. One use of such nurses is as chaperones – which are actually witnesses for the doctor in case an allegation of misconduct is brought against the doctor. Almost never do they protect the patient from any sort of sexual misconduct. Various police departments have had to send female police officers in posing as patients to investigate misconduct by doctors. The same things would have happened had the nurse been there. If the patient wants someone to witness for them in cases of medical or sexual misconduct, they have to bring in their own witness – a friend or family member, usually.

      I have to wonder why the doctor would not INSIST upon having his own witness there, especially having a reluctant underage female patient. It does not seem reasonable or prudent on his part.

      The whole thing about “age of consent” and “age of consent FOR MEDICAL CARE” are convoluted and confused here. So is the term “Legitimate medical procedure”.

      “Age of consent” is the age at which you can consent to engaging in a sexual act. Below that age, it is considered “statutory rape” regardless of whether the underaged person wanted it, or even asked for it. The history behind these laws is interesting. They were specifically put in place to prevent some parents in the 19th century from forcing their children into prostitution.

      “Age of consent for medical care” is the age at which a person can seek medical care. It is also the age at which one has the right to refuse any medical care offered or suggested. Usually, that age is 18 – when one also has the ability to make a binding legal contract – so that they get paid. It varies among states and circumstances. For instance, if it is an emergency situation, the minor may seek and is entitled to receive medical care. If the minor is married, in the military, has graduated from high school, has a court order, or is pregnant, it may change. In some states though, minors who are 12 or 14 and capable of understanding the implications of what they are doing are specifically given the right to refuse medical care.

      The problem comes in concerning “LEGITIMATE medical care”. As pelvic exams are no longer required to prescribe birth control pills, nor are they recommended by various medical organizations, including the American Medical Association or the American Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecology, this is not legitimate medical care. Moreover, an insurance company would have grounds to refuse payment for such if it were billed to them.

      The fact that it is no longer considered LEGITIMATE medical care opens another can of worms involving informed consent – e.g., the sexual kind. As a pelvic exam involves penetrating the sexual orifices of a person, and it is NOT in accordance with current, accepted medical care, it is a sexual act, done against the expressed will of the person (you cannot consent anyway), and WITH the wishes of the parent.

      Again, from the history of informed consent laws, which were specifically put in place to disallow parents to permit a sexual act done to their minor children, that is precisely what this is. It may not have been in the context of prostitution, since your mother paid the doctor, but it is in the spirit of the whole 19th century argument.

      Moreover, Title X, a federal law which, among other things, allows a minor to seek contraception, abortion, and prenatal services WITHOUT INFORMING THEIR PARENTS, allows one to consent to examinations and treatment in connection with contraception. As I said before, the right th consent to medical treatment is closely tied to the right to refuse medical treatment. As you were taken to be given contraception against your expressed wishes or needs, the doctor did not refuse to do this in accordance with your stated needs or wishes,

      I cannot find a specific case of parents trying to force their teenaged daughter into birth control, but I did find one in Texas of parents trying to force their pregnant teenaged daughter into having an abortion. http://abc13.com/archive/8989325/ This was not allowed.

      The whole things is a medical ethics issue with the doctor. Although your state may not declare in law that a minor with the ability to understand and reason participates in her own healthcare decisions, it seems highly unethical to engage in this behavior. That would be an issue to report to your State medical association.

      You BADLY need to get your father involved in this situation! If that is not possible, go to a counsellor at your school, and see if they can get you some family counsellling.

      • Good info-hunting, BethK! Didn’t know about that 19th century prostitution, but it’s interesting that they are so against consensual screwing-around & not against imposed things. Apparently, even if they’re the same age it can still be considered a crime. I remember a case where it was two 16-year-old GUYS and both sets of parents filed statutory rape charges!

        Nancy: Do you actually bother taking these pills, by-the-way? I figure it could screw around with your hormones & such- might lead to problems which, of course, your mother would probably try to drag you into a doctor’s office again. Either way it’s something you didn’t want to be put on, so I guess that’s a good reason for not bothering. Rosemary Gladstar has a bunch of good books on this subject (actually, she writes general herbal things, but also stuff specifically for women). Might want to start getting more into self-sufficient care, for obvious reasons.

        You might try getting emancipated, too. A physically or sexually abusive environment is grounds for that. You’ll most likely have to explain reality to people when elaborating what you mean by this being a problem. Not to pat myself on the head, but the earlier post I made would work well for that. I’ve been told by someone on here (Ro) that when she would get all kinds of arguments on this that putting things in that way worked for her- not just for ending the argument, but also for gaining more supportive attitudes!

        Not entirely sure what all that entails & how you’re supposed to do that without your parents in the first place, but it seems mostly you just need to prove you can provide for yourself. I guess you can accelerate your schooling (maybe talk to a guidance counselor or something), you’d be able to graduate early. Getting working papers may or may not be an issue (since you’d probably need to work full-time to pay for a place to live). Not sure how all that’s supposed to come together with child labor laws & purchasing property. A lot of it seems like a “do it with nothing” situation, but apparently people DO get emancipated so it might be worth looking into.

  17. I heard this sort of story before: a teenager complains that everyone hates her. Her mother took her to the doctor when she was 12 and out her on the pill. She told her that she wanted her to learn what life was all about. This girl went out and had sex with almost every boy in her class. Then all the girls hated her. She had no friends. She goes to camp and talks to some other girls and finds out that this just is not normal. What damage has happened? The abuse continues generation to generation.

  18. I think your mother is brainwashed and thinks all girls need to be on the pill. there are other ways of preventing pregnacy and I know plentey of girls that got pregnant on the pill. Also it is wrong of her to asume you are haing sex when you went to the movies with the boy.

  19. I am sorry but I am so confused. Is Web MD outdated or wrong? Everyone here says the doctor should not have done this exam on me but Web MD says: When should you start seeing an ob-gyn? The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that girls have their first ob-gyn visit when they’re 13 to 15 years old or they become sexually active, whichever comes first. It then goes on to say the doctor will do a breast exam, pelvic exam, pap smear and rectal exam. It says a nurse may or may not be present during the pelvic exam. My doctor did everything they said he should do. I asked that the nurse not be there because when I read what he would be doing to me I didn’t want anyone else watching.

    There is something I think maybe he did wrong. As soon as the exam started he had me drop the top of the gown for the breast exam. He left me that way for the heart and lungs check. Then he went right into the pelvic exam so I was topless or bottomless during the whole thing. If I had let the nurse stay maybe he wouldn’t have kept me so naked. Or maybe that’s the way they do it I don’t know.

    No I am not taking the pill but my mother is happy knowing it is ready for when I need it. She is not a bad person. She uses Web MD a lot and from what I have read on it she is doing exactly what they say. Is that a bad site?

    • Certainly sounds like it. I would be real cautious about American medical guidelines- there’s a tendancy toward “more & more & more” as far as I’ve noticed. Also, they’ll never advertise their failures (or fix them, a majority of the time).

      Advising that girls get all these things done to them at 13 if pretty off-the-wall. It’s high-risk & low-utility anyway, but that’s especially true for younger girls. No mention of if this is against the grain for the one this is directed at, or it being an attack if imposed.

      I believe that they see female bodily functions as symptoms of a disease, so when she starts having these functions they see that as the time to start “treating” these conditions.

    • WebMD is not a *bad* site. It’s a good place to go to get a general overview of something, and perhaps a place to find links about more relevant information, or ideas on how to structure your search on a ***first source*** information source.

      Note that ALL pelvic exams are not useless or outdated. They are as a screening test, or as a required test before hormonal contraception is started. Pap tests are recommended on a schedule of about every 3 years from ages 21 or 30 through 65. If a girl or woman has various symptoms, the pelvic exam may be useful, although there are often other tests which are just as good, if not better. For instance, a self-swab of the vagina if you’re showing symptoms of a vaginal infection, or ultrasound tests if you’ve got pain in an ovary. In those cases, what happens or is required was correct.

      The pelvic exam is not without significant risk, nor is the pap test. That’s part of informed consent.

      Let’s talk about quality of information. This is something that will help you throughout your education as well as throughout your life. Anybody can write anything on the Internet. As such, “the internet” by itself is a dubious source. If your friend tells you something, it’s a questionable source, depending on your friend. Check their information source. Wikipedia is user-edited, and as such is a questionable source, but the references to first or even second-source information can get to some reliable information on a topic. If it comes from a known-reputable source of information, such as a national newspaper such as The Chicago Tribune or the Miami Herald, it’s probably true information, but find out more, It’s a “second source” If it comes from a reputable magazine or TV station, it’s the same thing – check their sources.

      The first source is the person, organization, or entity that did the study and/or made a particular recommendation. In non-research areas, they are the people who saw it, heard it, had the experience.

      Check the credentials and affiliations of the people who wrote the article and researched. Do they have degrees? From reputable universities? In the relevant fields? Who do they work for, and who funded the research? Sometimes, the title “Doctor” is questionable. I once found an AIDS article written by several “doctors” – all of whom had PhDs in physics! That does not make them experts in medicine! Likewise, having a doctorate from a diploma mill is meaningless, as is having a PhD in an unrelated field (mathematics, business, information systems, English, etc), as is having something like a DoD (Doctor of Divinity – the author is a minister).

      Look at their affiliations and the funding source. Who is making money, or likely to make money on this information? Whose non-financial agenda does this support or refute?

      Also, what is the date on it? Even good research done in 1973 is likely to be outdated, and either refined through further study, or disproven with further research. How old is “old”? There’s no hard-and-fast rule, but the older it is the less likely it is to be relevant.

      When you told the doctor, “I read on the Internet that….”, he was right not to be swayed by the statement. Anybody can write anything on the Internet. So, SOURCE your information! I put my sources in () with a number between the parentheses, and the reference is at the bottom. Had you said, “In 2012, the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued a set of guidelines, supported by the ACOG, American Cancer Society (ACS) and the US Preventative Services Task Force against doing pap tests on women under 21, regardless of the age they begin sexual activity, while as of 2013 the World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend pap testing on women under 30.”(1)(2) and “JAMA, back in 2001, states that a pelvic exam is not required to begin hormonal contraception”(3). “The University of California at San Francisco in 2011 said that pelvic exams for the purpose of screening asymptomatic women is useless”(4), and if all else fails “Heather S. Dixon wrote in ‘Harvard Women’s Law Journal; Spring 2004, Vol. 27, p177-233, 57p’ an article entitled, ‘Pelvic exam prerequisite to hormonal contraceptives: unjustified infringement on constitutional rights, governmental coercion, and bad public policy.’ where she gives her reasons for that. “(5) and “The JOURNAL OF WOMEN’S HEALTH 2011 Volume 20, Number 1.” an article by Carolyn L. Westhoff, M.D., M.Sc., et al suggests that screening asymptomatic women in routine pelvic exams does more harm than good. (6)” Furthermore, the screening tests which are indicated for girls 13-18 for chlamydia are ONLY indicated in sexually active girls/women.(7) …As is an HIV test, BTW.

      (4)http://www.ucsfcme.com/2011/slides/MOB11001/updated/29PolicarHealthCareScreeningForWomen.pdf (page 8)
      (5)Harvard Women’s Law Journal; Spring 2004, Vol. 27, p177-233, 57p
      (6)JOURNAL OF WOMEN’S HEALTH 2011 Volume 20, Number 1.
      *** Note that there are a great number of references in that article. I would suggest that you look at those too.
      (7) http://www.acog.org/About_ACOG/ACOG_Departments/Annual_Womens_Health_Care/Pt_Exams_and_Screening_Tests_Age_13-18_Years

    • Nancy,
      The ACOG says that pap testing should start at 21;
      They state clearly that a pelvic exam is not needed for birth control unless you have an internal device fitted such as an IUD;
      For that bullshit ‘first visit’ for 13 – 15 year olds, they state;
      ‘you usually do not need to have a pelvic exam at the first visit unless you are having problems, such as abnormal bleeding or pain.’
      No mention of breast exams, either.

      So, the good doctor was not following medical guidelines, and if Web.MD is informing your mother that you needed all those awful exams then their information is seriously outdated.

      These routine exams were never evidence based, and many countries around the world stopped performing them years ago when they realised how useless they were. Here in the UK, the only test they’ll perform before prescribing the Pill is a blood pressure check. We don’t perform routine breast exams on any women, let alone teenagers.

      Gynecology is a billion dollar industry. Now that these quacks have convinced the female population that a woman’s body is a walking disease and needs constant maintenance, women will continue to go along for whatever checks the good doctor deems ‘necessary,’ and the good doctor will continue to do whatever he or she pleases, as long as the insurance covers it. It’s practically a scam!
      The idea of mothers taking their 13 year old daughters to their first gyn visit… this was promoted after the Pap test guidelines changed. The ACOG finally admitted that yearly testing was too frequent and recommended scaling back to 3 yearly testing for many.
      But, fewer paps means a drop in income. So, what better way to make up that money than to get gullible mothers to drag their children in and get them ‘used’ to the gyn setting as young as possible? It’s a form of grooming. But as long as the person molesting you is a ‘healthcare professional’, it’s all fine. Excuse me a moment while I go and throw up.

      You were abused, plain and simple. And so was your mother. She’s come to believe that this is ‘all part of being a woman’ and is trying to brainwash you into following her religion.
      You see the same attitude with childbirth – when a woman has a traumatic delivery, it’s often due to medical interference, yet she’s reassured that ‘well, at least you have a healthy baby’ as if the awful experience she suffered didn’t matter at all.
      I don’t suppose it’s occurred to your mother that you might want to use condoms, that you might be smart enough to say ‘no jacket, no entry’ – after all, the Pill doesn’t protect you from STD’s… but that’s okay, your annual visit to the Gyn will take care of any infections, right?
      All the responsibility placed squarely on the girls shoulders, then we complain that boys are irresponsible! Elephant in the room, anyone?

      I was raised to believe that my private parts were exactly that – private – and they should only be shared with someone I cared for. So the idea that I ‘have to’ bare all for a stranger for a medical exam just goes against everything I’ve been taught. Just because they’re a ‘healthcare professional’ and have ‘seen it/done it all before’, it doesn’t make me any more willing to drop my knickers. And now I know how worthless most of these tests and exams are, and how searching for diseases is more likely to harm me than help me, they can shove off!

  20. Some great comments here.
    Web MD mentions pap tests are generally recommended for those 21 and over, it says a pelvic exam will be necessary for an IUD or if you’re symptomatic, breast exams in your 20s or 30s.
    I think the exam performed on Nancy would be VERY difficult to justify, it goes against recommendations. If a doctor plans to depart from guidelines he shoud at the very least explain to the patient why HE recommends these exams and test.
    In the States:
    pap tests are not recommended before age 21 (still far too early)
    Routine pelvic exams are unnecessary for birth control scripts.
    Routine breast exams are mentioned on the site for women from 20s on…
    I disagree, they are unhelpful at any age and expose us to risk, same goes for the routine pelvic exam and now we know pap tests can only help (but still won’t help most HPV+ women) the roughly 5% of HPV+ women aged 30 to 60.

    We know many US doctors are ignoring the changed recommendations, when a doctor could put a teenager through the works simply to get the Pill, more must be done to stop the abuse. I’m sure some doctors love that they can do as they please, permitting this to continue endangers every woman who steps foot in a consult room.
    I plan to write to the AMA and run Nancy’s experience past them, who is protecting women, especially very young women, from this sort of continuing medical abuse?
    I know some research here revealed some girls under 17 had been pap tested, instead of just making a negative comment, “that shouldn’t be done” a clear warning needs to go to both doctors, women and mothers/parents.
    Interesting too that Nancy’s mother took her to a male doctor, even the brainwashed mothers on the health forums took their daughters to female doctors. Nancy’s mother also, permitted her teenage daughter to be examined with no chaperone when she knew her daughter would essentially be naked and terribly vulnerable.
    We rely on our parents to protect us from harm, yet sadly, some women can’t see the danger when a white coat is involved.

    • As you, Alex, Moo, I, and a few others have shown by now, a pelvic exam and/or pap test is not an accepted medical procedure. Moreover, it has not been at least since 2001.

      This was not a legitimate, evidence-based medical procedure!

      So, what was it?

      Let’s tell the story and leave the medical setting out of it and see how it sounds:

      Nancy’s mother took 15-year-old Nancy to a man for the express purpose of inserting objects and his fingers in her and hold, caress, and feel her breasts first.

      Although Nancy protested, he did it anyway. Her mother as well as a woman who was where the man was – and them both knowing what would happen – offered to stay with her. Nancy refused. She felt it was bad enough to have it done to her, but didn’t want others to watch while she was forced into her first sexual experience.

      Afterward, Nancy’s mom acts like it was a rite of passage, and she’s happy that her daughter is now a “woman”. (IMO, that’s rather creepy.)

      If this story were to hit the news, without mentioning that the man was a doctor, it would be picked up by the wire services and make national news. There would be calls to have the man imprisoned UNDER the jail, the woman who was there with him charged as an accomplice to sexual assault, sexual assault on a minor, rape, rape by instrumentation, and demanding that Nancy be removed from this abusive situation while they investigate the case and decide whether to charge Nancy’s mom as an accomplice.

      If the investigation showed that Nancy’s mom had the same thing done to her by her own mother when she was about that age, with a different man, and truly believed it was helpful in some way, it would be looked at further to see if there was some cultural something that permitted abuse of daughters, or if it was just something that SHE thought. If it were found so, there would be PSAs, education in the schools, education anywhere else they could find to educate people this is not a good thing to do – as is the case with FGM and to educate that culture. If it were just the Mom’s thinking, she would no doubt be given some serious mental health intervention.

      If it turned out that her mother really and truly thought she was doing the right thing, doing what she’d been taught by her family and culture, she might get some education and counseling while she was sent to prison, but she would not get away scott-free.

      The only difference between Nancy’s situation and the story I just told is that I just left out the medical office part. Now, since this is not a recognized, legitimate medical procedure, nor has it been at least for the past 13 years, the doctor should have known better. It is a common procedure formerly performed by his specialty, and birth control pills remain part of his specialty – and if he didn’t he’s woefully out of date, and at the very least the State should suspend his license until he can demonstrate that his training is up to date. He had a DUTY to know better.

      While her mom can give consent to medical care, that does not apply to crimes. If a doctor were to want to kill someone by injecting a shot of cyanide, he is a murderer. The medical trappings will not alter that fact. If someone gives consent for a doctor to give their child an injection of cyanide, that person is an accomplice or co-conspirator to murder, as would a nurse who helps prepare the syringe.

      If a doctor were to bleed a patient who was seriously ill with pneumonia, a procedure which is 200 years or so out of date, that doctor who SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER would be charged in the assault or death (probably manslaughter, unless there was evidence for murder). This is NOT malpractice, and the doctor’s malpractice insurance would not pay for the damages from this. A person could not consent to such a thing, on their own behalf or on behalf of a child or dependent. If the person REALLY did not know better, or had some strange beliefs involving this, they would get a lighter sentence, and counselling and education. A reasonable person who consented to such a thing on behalf of someone else would be charged as an accomplice or co-conspirator with the doctor.

      Again, the reason that statutory rape laws came into existence was that some parents were forcing their children into prostitution. This dis-allowed the parents’ approving such things, would not permit the child to consent to having sex, and criminalized the customers of said child prostitutes.

      I think you are right to write to the AMA, or other medical organizations and institutions, to see what can be done to (better) protect teen girls from being forced into these non-medical procedures – and to educate the public that this is NOT RIGHT!

      • Correction:


      • Brilliant analysis, BethK! I use that example of a doctor poisoning someone with a needle still being murder all the time. Reality doesn’t take a coffee break for doctors (“there is no cessation of existential dynamics for medical personnel or situations” is probably how the legal jargon would go).

        A lot of arguments amount to “what happens is NOT what occurs.” I believe that would be called an “ontological contradiction.” Sometimes words like this used in an argument gets someone to think “Oh, shit- I won’t be able to play any mind games on them & they’ll be able to aim their case dead-center in court.” Mental vitiation is potentiated by holding the enemy in a higher intellectual regard than oneself- maybe seeing them as sneaky instead of smart would be helpful? So many words that hit the situation right on the head that you never learn in school!

        Also, I’d imagine if her FATHER put her through all this, there’d be a bunch of people with “clear vision” raising Hell. All the feminists in the country would jump on that (at least, theoretically- because they have a bit of a tendancy toward giving women orders, too). They’d say “That’s not really different from the father doing these things himself, since he’s orchestrating a situation which consists of penetration as a product of someone else’s decision-making.”

      • Well said. I read somewhere that the parents who sell their children to child pornography productions were often featured in child pornography themselves, perpetuating the abuse is a way of coping, making it seem right.

      • Also you have to wonder how psychologically damaging the gyn industry is- we are talking about a mother who not only witnessed her daughter being abused, she actively coerced her into letting it happen!

  21. I am not very happy at all. The top of the page says this is a woman friendly site. I thought I would be safe here. I don’t want to be reported to the AMA! I have read many of the posts here on all the different subjects. I get it that women are mad because doctors are not following the newer guidelines but that does not make my mother a criminal who should be in jail. She has always been a great mom to me. Trusting your doctor should not be a crime. And I am sorry but where does Alec come off saying my father is abusing me when I have made it clear that he has nothing to do with this? I don’t think I will post here any more. Things get twisted around.

    • Hey Nancy, sorry if it seems things got twisted around. Why do you think anyone would report you to the AMA? It would hurt you. This website is about thinking together, how can we talk, how can we engage in a conversation about the damage the gyn industry does. People do not know, we do it and learn it by doing it. I am sure no-one here would want to hurt you.

    • Nancy- I never said he was abusing you. I had said “imagine if a father did this,” not THAT he did. I just notice that if a man does something, there’s no disqualifications or any bullshit- what happens is what occurs & no one acts otherwise. When a woman does something, however- it’s made out to be non-antagonistic no matter what. It’s as if the reasoning is that anything a woman does to another woman isn’t an attack.

      I also don’t remember anyone saying YOU should be reported to the AMA, but that you should report the DOCTOR to them. I skimmed one or two posts, so I don’t know what was said exactly- but a major part of the subject matter on this site is that doctors get pushy & impose things on people (women & girls, especially). This tends to get creepy, debilitating, or both. This is all referenced in the negative, so why would anyone be against you for getting something aimed at you? That’s how a lot of those Ancient Greek stories went, but I don’t think the people here tend in that direction.

    • You’re obviously having trouble understanding these posts, so let me spell it out to you;
      What happened to you was WRONG. There was no need for any of these exams. Your mother may have insisted on you having them because she doesn’t know any better, but the DOCTOR is the one at fault here. He should know the medical guidelines have changed over the years, yet he chose to ignore them. It’s the DOCTOR who’s the criminal here. A good doctor would have told your mother that things have changed since she was young, that these exams are no longer necessary… but he carried out those exams anyway. He abused you, and he abused your mother’s trust. You are the victim here.

      Elizabeth was talking about writing to the medical board to ask them what they’re doing about this kind of doctor who ignores medical guideline. Again, it’s the DOCTOR who did wrong here, and it’s the medical board’s responsibility to make sure that bad doctors like him are punished.

      Beth is simply saying that, had these exams occurred in a non-medical setting, both your mother and the attacker would be labelled criminals. But you live in a world where doctors are gods and seem to do whatever they like in the name of healthcare. This has to stop.

      Do you want your own daughter to suffer the same way? Because if these bad doctors aren’t dragged into the 21st century, they’ll still be getting away with this crap in 20 years time.

  22. Mothers used to bind their daughters feet. It would be for their own good because a daughter with small feet would get a better husband and the whole family would benefit. Some Cambodian girls are today sold by their parents into prostitution. They are called good daughters for making money for their families. Some places in the world women are not allowed out when menstruating because they have no reliable means of containing (and concealing) their menstrual flows. Once anyone knows a young women has started menstruating then she is fair game to sexual predators. Misogynistic attitudes and practices are embedded into almost every culture. How do we think that western culture is any different?

  23. Karen, Maybe I didn’t make myself clear. I am so upset I am shaking.

    Elizabeth (Aust) said: I plan to write to the AMA and run Nancy’s experience past them, who is protecting women, especially very young women, from this sort of continuing medical abuse?
    I don’t want to be a test case or something. I just want it to go away so I can stop thinking about how embarrassing and horrible it was.

    BethK said: If it turned out that her mother really and truly thought she was doing the right thing, doing what she’d been taught by her family and culture, she might get some education and counseling while she was sent to prison, but she would not get away scott-free.
    My mom may not be right all the time. Who is? But she makes decisions based on what she thinks is right for me. I know now I was stupid not letting her in the exam room to watch out for me and I probably paid a high price for that. But it was not her fault and I still don’t think I could have laid there with her watching the doctor do those things to me. It seems to me it would be more abusive and embarrassing to have people watching.

    Alex said: They’d say “That’s not really different from the father doing these things himself, since he’s orchestrating a situation which consists of penetration as a product of someone else’s decision-making.”
    I already said my father had nothing to do with this. He doesn’t know what the doctor did to me or about the pill. How can people say he is at fault?

    My mother made a mistake in trusting the doctor to do the right thing. And I made a mistake insisting on being alone with him. But they were mistakes. We are not criminals.

    • Nancy. I repeat. It’s the doctor who’s the criminal. But if your mother believes that the doctor can do no wrong, what make you think that your exams would have been better had she been in the room with you? You shouldn’t have had those exams in the first place. She thinks they were necessary. And by the sound of it, she thinks you’re making a fuss over nothing. Nice.
      And you wouldn’t be a test case. This happens to thousands of young women in the US.

      I’ve had a few ‘women’s problems’ over the years for which I had a few speculum exams. The first one wasn’t too bad, but the last one made me determined to NEVER allow another doctor access to my vagina again. Just thinking about the experience still makes my skin crawl. And no, it didn’t help to identify my problem. I was 35 at the time!
      I dread to think what a full ‘annual’ must do to a teenager, especially a virgin.

    • Nancy you are not 15 years old . You are trolling. I came to this conclusion after reading your posts. I don’t know if you are female or male ….I suspect male. The language used in your posts had considerably matured . If this is how you get your kicks … do he it. I copped you quick

  24. Kate,
    I was thinking if my mom was there he may not have left me topless for so long during the breast, lung and heart check. The speculum was terrible even though he said he was using the smallest one because I have never had sex and don’t even use tampons. He kept getting upset because I couldn’t keep my legs apart as far as he wanted and they kept shaking a lot. By then my head was in a fog and I felt ten miles away. Maybe my mom could have held my legs apart and it would have gone quicker but how creepy would that have been. The absolute worst part was the bimanual exam. It hurt even before he got his fingers all the way in. He did the rectal exam at the same time because I think he knew I couldn’t take it much longer. If my mom was there I know she would have stopped him when she saw how much he was hurting me. He promised it would not hurt and he would stop if it did. He did stop but it was several minutes later. He lied to me like so many adults do to get you to do what they want.

    I was reading a case where a doctor got out of trouble because of local standards of practice. It said that the local standards are set by what most doctors are doing in the area. So if most doctors are still doing these exams every year then you can’t go after one doctor for doing the same thing. It sounds like a catch 22. I just saw that movie it was hilarious.

    • Nancy: I was talking just making a point about how someone would see the situation as a problem if a man was orchestrating it. Not THAT he orchestrated anything. That there would be a more clear view of what takes place & no pretending that it wasn’t a problem. It’s just making the point that some people are being selectively blind about these types of problems.

      I figure this shouldn’t have ben pushed on you & maybe your father would support you if he knew about these things. You might not need to get into graphic detail, since I doubt he doesn’t know anything about what takes place- but maybe he sees medical things in the “Category of Non-Issues” & if he was to find out that these sorts of things was being imposed on his daughter he might be inclined to reinforce your future refusals. I don’t know if this is pre-scheduled in your mother’s mind & I’m not telling you what kind of relationship to have with her, but she really doesn’t seem to be against dragging you into these sorts of things.

      You shouldn’t have to fend off medical advances when you go to get medical products or treatment for something. It’s not always this kind of thing, either. It’s pretty common that they want to give you some kind of scan, shot, surgery, or some other procedure & it’s like dealing with a pushy salesman that might just cause you problems if you don’t buy from them.

      Bodily autonomy & self-protectiveness are NOT immature or defective traits. Neither is thinking compositionally. These things are attacks when imposed & there is the point that it’s not really someone making their own decisions if someone else is lying to them (that’s exactly what fruad is). They don’t even work as advertised when they aren’t imposed & I don’t figure it’s up to the doctor whether they purvey things that are untrue or unsafe, anyway. Ultimately someone can just say “I know it’s a problem, but I like problems,” instead of asking “Why?” a million times over- but that definitely burns away the camouflage they were using & they are now an obvious enemy.

      P.S. (to everyone): Look up “Reinforcement Theory.” Not a huge article, but it’s very informative. This post is already pretty long, but I put down that the basic idea is that someone might avoid information that clashes with a preconceived notion that they had. The things is, a comforting lie only facilitates whatever you’re worried about. They don’t seem to include that in the article.

      • You might be surprised about the number of men who don’t know what these sorts of exams entail. They often put it into the category of it being “a women’s thing”, something in which they have “no business”, and kind of feel like they’re walking into the ladies room if they discuss it. I’m in another group and you’d be amazed at the number of men who come in, shocked, when they find out what’s been going on with their mothers, wives, and daughters for decades since they got married. They often think that the doctor just talks to them about their periods and such, take some blood tests, and that’s it.

        My OWN husband was shocked when I told him, after we got married in our 40s, I got on his insurance, and he suggested some “well woman exams” – after more than a decade of skipping them. He too thought it was blood tests and talking.

        I wouldn’t bet the farm on Nancy’s Dad knowing what these are about.

        As these exams do not meet current medical guidelines, insurance companies can legitimately refuse payment. With the ACA, and there being a standard set of things it pays for, when pelvic exams are not paid for just for BC pills, and they don’t pay for one or more of these every year for most women, people are going to complain. First, it will be about “Obamacare”, then about the insurance companies, but then it will come out – probably in a hearing – that these things are NOT indicated.

        I doubt that many women will question their own doctor. Many people seem to adore their doctor, no matter what he does, and are convinced that he would only do what is best for them. Most do not bother to find out what the current guidelines are about their conditions, and preventive care.

        …I’m reminded of the protest that occurred outside my grandmother’s doctor’s office when, in the 1970s, he was convicted of Medicare fraud and sent for prison for having most of his patients diagnosed with a rare, expensive-to-treat disease requiring lots of visits. They protested that nobody else would treat them for this disease!

        My opinion, like yours, Alex, of a doctor who would do these sorts of things to a teenaged virgin is also unprintable.

    • As far as “Standards of practice”, they are not LOCAL. The “community” to which those laws refer is the community of experts in the field. There is a community of cardiologists, community of oncologists, community of gynecologists.
      According to http://malpractice.laws.com/standard-of-care “malpractice lawyers and judges rely on medical associations, doctor’s guilds, and other professional community guidelines to litigate disputes over existing malpractice laws.” They use as an example that many states have adopted malpractice laws that mirror the American Heart Association’s guidelines for malpractice suits involving heart patients.

      Performing a pelvic exam on an asymptomatic, not-sexually-active teenager before prescribing her birth control pills does not meet the standards of care by any recognized organization.

  25. Nancy Its up to you. He kept doiing the exam when you told him to stop that is a crime. You can report him for that. I herd some doctors get a warning and you may not have to go to curt for that. I dont know if your mom whould stop you did you tell her that the doctor keep doing the exam when you told him to stop? And your Dad may not know how invasive these exams are or just doesnot want to know. My uncel keeps complaning about my usin noct going on birth control its as tho he tinks yhou can just walk in and ask for it. He hs no aidea of what they whould push my cusi to hav. u

  26. Sorry if my words upset you, Nancy.
    I hear your story from many young wmen and teenagers and it angers and upsets me. For many years now doctors have been told NOT to do these exams, yet they carry on, now that may be with all of their patients or just some. When an exam or test is done unnecessarily, when it is not a clinical requirement, it becomes a serious matter. ( or should be)
    In this case it exposes women to health risks, deters them from seeing doctors or using the Pill and exposes them to the risk of assault. It’s easy for a doctor to point to a standard of care when he’s actually using his position to take advantage.
    ACOG and other medical groups KNOW this is still going on, they’re simply not doing enough to stop it. It’s wrong on every level.

    These doctors are either out of date and incompetent, keeping up the farce to protect annual visits and profits or simply taking advantage. When I was a young woman I know a doctor at Student Health only put some women through invasive exams, it seemed to me the attractive got the works, while the overweight etc. got the Pill with a blood pressure test.

    My email to ACOG is general in nature, simply asking them when they plan to act to stop this abuse, which goes on and on. Nancy, you are one of many women who faced these exams over the last week, simply because they wanted the Pill. If we remain silent, this abuse will never stop.
    I know ACOG have now said the Pill should be made available over the counter, but they need to release a clear statement to doctors and women, and take action when a doctor does the wrong thing.
    In Australia they examine the conduct of the doctor when a complaint is made, “was the exam a clinical requirement” if not, the doctor is in trouble.
    If that Q were put to your doctor, he could not justify that exam, it was clinically unnecessary.

    Women should be free to seek medical care or get the Pill without the ever present threat of medical misconduct…there should never be a casualness when it comes to access to our bodies.
    If it’s not clinically necessary, DON’T do it.
    You are not at fault, and your mother (like many others) is also, a victim of years of brainwashing by the profession and no doubt, thought she was acting in your best interests, but more needs to be done to clean up women’s “healthcare”.

  27. Kleigh
    I don’t think there is anything I can do. My mother consented to what they called a well woman exam and the pill. Everything I have read says at 15 I can not change her consent or refuse treatment. Even though I said to stop he was still working with my mothers consent not mine.

    I still don’t get it about the exam itself. Everyone here is saying he shouldn’t have done so much to me but I just googled well woman exam and every one of them said to expect a breast exam, pelvic exam and bimanual exam in your teens. Most of them said to expect that terrible rectal exam also. All of them said a pap depends on age but start at 21. I don’t know if he did a pap on me or not. He definitely used a speculum but I don’t know if he did a pap since I felt I was a hundred miles away when he ratcheted it open. What a disgusting thing to do to someone. But how can I complain about him if he did what all the sites say to do and what most of the other doctors are doing also?

    I think the only other thing I can do is to put it behind me and make sure he never touches me again. I have already told my mother I will not go to a guy doctor again and she seems alright with that. I am looking up women doctors in my area to be ready when I need one.

    • Nancy, don’t worry about what the law says. Anything at all can be sanctioned & you’re only dealing with actions, anyway. There’s all kinds of loopholes, technicalities, and contradictions that work in both directions. There’s been rulings that got people off Scot-free that were dead wrong & rulings that got someone locked up for life for something they had no hand in, so “legal actions” can be a bit maneuverable.

      A lot of the medical sites will phrase things as a fixed situation- like there exists no capacity for reality to “unfurl” any other way. Saying “WILL be having” & “GOING to be doing” are examples of this. It’s just a mind game. This is not true at all, since an action has to be engaged in order to occur- but people tend to presume honesty & accuracy from other people in kind of a knee-jerk way. If you think that’s nonsense, think about when you ask someone what time it is: If they look at their watch & say “It’s 3:30,” you presume that’s what their watch says- which is not really misplaced, since it’s pretty weird for somoene to randomly lie like that but some do try to capitalize on this tendancy.

      That thing about how the doctors get off the hook if a bunch of other doctors in the area do it amounts to some kind of group immunity against malpractice, no matter what they actually did. “Well, the other doctors do it,” isn’t an excuse for iatrogenic attack any more than it is for fraud. Occasionally, a case will get ruled one way at first & then be overturned in a later battle.

      I know this is going to sound like I’ve got a swelled-head, but if you carefully read my first post to you it should help you deflect these things in a big way. It might very well get your mother to change her thinking & if not, it might very well make the doctor too scared to accomodate her wishes. They’re iatrogenically attacking you, whether they come out & say it or not. All these things are against their own guidelines, but they’re not going to go by them? This turning into a court case or whatever happens with a medical board might not turn out in their favor.

      However far back you want to trace blame, at some point you’ve got to start worrying about what your actual situation is. I honestly am suprised you still love your mother, but love or hate her she’s steering you wrong & it might cost you big time. What happens if these tests falsely indicate something & you get sent for some tests or surgery that you have no say over? What about complications from that situation or ones that come from “fixing” whatever problems arise? If this or anything else is a concern, don’t be so resigned to other people making their own decisions & imposing them on you. Just aim toward making the situation go in a different direction.

      I’m sorry if anything I’ve said was hurtful for you & I don’t mean to rub this situation in your face, but you shouldn’t have to get over your own life or recede from it. If you’ve got to “zone out” to cope with a situation, then this situation shouldn’t be happening.

  28. Alex
    Thank you for your post. I have to be honest with you. You are a lot smarter than me because some of the things you say are over my head. I have never zoned out before. For me it was like my head was filling up with liquid and his voice kept getting farther and farther away. It was not something I tried to do but it happened because the whole thing was so barbaric. He had this tray of instruments just like in the movies when they are going to torture someone and they bring out this tray showing them what they will be using on them. As soon as he held up the speculum and showed me how it would open up inside me I was gone. I lost all muscle control and couldn’t even keep my legs apart enough which made him angry. Some of my friends asked why I didn’t just get up and leave. They don’t understand what it’s like when you are so scared you can’t move. I had trouble just sitting up when it was all over.

    I see why everyone in here is angry if these exams are useless but the doctors keep doing them anyway. I don’t see how you can change these doctors minds when they seem to be enjoying what they are doing. My grandparents are very set in their ways. When my father talks about them he says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I don’t know what they are teaching new doctors at medical schools about these exams but it seems that is where a change needs to start. As long as doctors are doing what they were taught in school it is going to be hard to change them.

    I have one question that may seem silly to you. BethK said I was forced into my first sexual experience. Am I still a virgin? Was I spoiled by him doing things inside me?

    • Thank you for the compliment, Nancy. If there’s anything you’re having problems with, just ask & I’ll be happy to explain. I think the term for being frozen with fear is “catatonic.” Sexual dissonance or distress can cause that as well. To clarify: the first one would be when things are “against the grain” that way overall & the second would be when something is aimed AT you, specifically. Neither one seems to get referenced very often- I wonder why? (add sarcastic tone).

      As for virginity: You’re a virgin until you willingly screw around with someone. You might not literally go to “bed” with them, but that’s the dividing line. That doesn’t spoil or taint you, either. You’re also not tainted from someone imposing something on you- there’s a big difference between being treated with dishonor & being dishonored. I suppose when something severe happens, it’s a little like looking at a painting with a cigarette burn in it. When you look at yourself, you might look at your whole self- history included & if there’s shitty parts to it, then some “signals” might get crossed. Don’t know if I’m reading too much into what you said, but I’d seriously suggest that you don’t start doing that “Oh, it’s nothing anyway” thing that seems so popular in psychology. Already mentioned that in another post & this one’s getting kind of long, so I won’t get into that again here.

      I figure it’s a question of accuracy. It DOES get very complicated when someone tries to act like a situation is OTHER than what it consists of. I think that’s usually the point- did you ever hear the phrase “Too stupid for words”? There it is, but used as a tactic for mental vitiation (mind games, which IS a mental version of what wrestling & fighting is physcially- so it’s not quite so innocent & it can be a pretty serious sign that something’s up, too). Someone keeps chasing something that isn’t there or they try to get someone to understand something that they were never really confused about.

      Also, when they try to pull something that’s multi-faceted (because instead of just one problem, there’s a bunch fused together- now it’s harder to figure out what to call it, especially since calling it one specific thing leaves out the others). That happens in fights, too- someone does a bunch of things at once & it kind of overloads the brain. If you notice someone doing these kinds of things, it might very well be a sign that they’re trying to pull something sneaky, or that they’re trying to set things up for a more direct approach (the movie Payback has a scene that illustrates this perfectly- it’s right after they rob the Chinese in the beginning).

      This is just putting things into words. One thing I’ve noticed is that you don’t need to be able to articulate something in order to have a grasp of it, so don’t worry too much at first about vocabulary- that grows (sometimes at random).

    • Any accredited medical school is going to be teaching current guidelines – or at least up-to-date as of a few months ago. Any medical school teaching material that no longer met professional guidelines 13 years before would lose its accredidation – and hence its ability to receive financial aid, grants, or have its graduates eligible to take professional licensure exams.

      Another good thing that’s been happening for the past decade or so is that those enrolled in OB/GYN programs in all medical schools are a vast majority women. Thus, women gynecologists will become more and more common. As the older (male) ones retire, it’ll become an overwhelmingly female profession.

      Your current thing should be to deal with your current and future situation. Get the current AMA, ACOG, CDC guidelines, print them out, and show them to your mother. If that doesn’t do it, take those printouts of the CURRENT guidelines and show them to the doctor. If you can, have him put into writing that he’s doing an ANNUAL pelvic exam to a non-sexually-active girl (at whatever age you are) for the purpose of prescribing birth control pills, and sign it. THEN, take a copy (KEEP THE ORIGINAL) of that letter to the State Licensing Board, and file (another) complaint.

      You might want to talk to your school counsellor about this situation too.

      I’m not angry at you, Nancy. I’m not angry at your mother. She’s been told old or untrue things, and is acting on that – a definition of FRAUD. She’s also a victim. I’m angry at all of these doctors doing so many unneeded, unwanted, and even refused pelvic exams, for no benefit. I’m angry that so many doctors and other clinicians proceed anyway in spite of refusals unless the refusal is legally documentable. Pressure to have these exams in any physician’s visit for any sort of injury or unrelated disease has discouraged me and many others from seeking medical care. When the pelvic exam sales-pitch happens to the exclusion of examining the medical complaint, and delays treatment so it’s more expensive, and harder to treat, that’s a real public health concern.

  29. Nancy,
    Your first experience of a ‘well woman’ exam is clearly a traumatic experience for you and understandably so. I really feel for you. Unfortunately, many American doctors have tied this exam to the pill and seem very reluctant, despite the guidelines, to alter these practices. Change will only come when enough women complain in sufficient numbers. Either that, or the pill being sold over the counter at pharmacies.
    The perverse and disgusting gyn industry seem to have little or no concern for the psychological damage they inflict on women and girls. Indeed, they have a nasty habit of turning the problem back on women with the implication that women should ‘get over it’, it’s ‘part of being a woman’, ‘the doctor has seen it all before’, ‘no need to be embarrassed’ and that old chestnut ‘it’s for your health’. (psychological health excluded of course, because they don’t appear to care about that)
    For a doctor to inflict this exam on an asymptomatic 15 year old virgin so that she can be prescribed the contraceptive pill beggars belief. My views on doctors like this are unprintable.
    I’m so sorry this happened to you Nancy.

  30. I am surprised that when Alice and others made a list of reasons why doctors stick their fingers in our vaginas there was one glaring reason omitted – because male doctors get an erotic thrill from such actions. Males are sexual voyeurs – by nature – and a few years of medical school and doing it every day in their practice, doesn’t change their genetic nature. I came across a fascinating article entitled “Gentlemen Don’t Look Up Ladies’ Skirts” at http://www.modestyxxx.com. It is a long article (10 pages ?) but the heart of the matter is discussed on about page 4: “Oh Say Can You See – Male Sexual Arousal.” The author is well-versed in sexual psychology and anthropology. What happened to Nancy Edmonds at the hands of that male gynecologists is shameful, but could be better understood by the knowledge that males like to look at female genitals. Why do we trust men?

    • The statement that women need to go to their doctors yearly for exams and to “receive important information about their reproductive health”. Excuse me? I learn important health information from the media (magazines, newspapers, radio or tv shows) or on-line. I have NEVER received truthful and complete information from a medical professional EVER.

      I think my tie can be better spent doing my own health research and maybe even ordering some lab tests online. Going to a doctors appointment ……Let’s see take a half day or whole day off work, then wait for an hour or more in the waiting room, the doctor spends a whole 3-5 minutes with me. I am not getting much important information about my health in 3 minutes. I am not getting my tests results either. I want copies of them and not get charged $30 per page. The only reason to see a doctor is to get an “official” diagnosis and a prescription. I can somewhat guess at a diagnosis by looking up information online but without certain tests a doctor cannot tell either.

      Sorry the whole medical system needs to be revamped. Some of the walkin clinics which are so commonly popping up around the city where I live were not doing pelvic/pap exams anymore because it was not cost effective. The exams tied up too much time in the exam rooms for pelvic and women changing especially when they can grind through patients at 12-15 per hour. The extra fees paid out for doing paps were not enough and the incentive payment was to the doctor not the clinic owner. But sign on to a family doctor and once on their roster the harassment for cancer screening is abusive. They do benefit from the incentive payments.

      I believe the public health dollars should be spent on sick people not well woman exams or screening incentives. Some of the baby and child exams are only for weight/height and immunizations which do not need to be done by a doctor. Having diabetes and other chronic care patients coming in every three months or every three weeks to “review” test results is a waste too. I live in Canada so I like public health care.

      The FDA is going to recommend HPV tests but they do not say how they are going to be done. Considering that they just approved new ones that are done with a pap, the pap is not going to die. It might be recommended less often such as every three years. However women are still going to be told by their doctors that they should get a pelvic exam and breast exam every year anyway as long as someone pays for it.

      • I would agree with your entire statement, Moo! The most infuriating part of this article for me was : ” The procedure—which is routinely initiated early in a woman’s teen years and conducted annually—can aid in “establishing the clinician–patient relationship” and provide “an excellent opportunity to counsel patients about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and minimizing health risks,” ACOG reported. In other words, according to ACOG, while the annual pelvic exam might not be worthwhile in and of itself, it can be a useful device for bringing a woman to her doctor every year to get some necessary information about her reproductive health.”

        First – why do we need this “Clinician patient relationship” and why does it need to be established by having someone stick their fingers in my vagina. If you’d like to have a good or comfortable relationship with a medical professional – that is great and your option. I also have a good relationship with my dentist and mechanic, but they don’t stick fingers in my vagina in order for us to maintain this relationship.

        Secondly, if a patient needs “counseling about maintaining a healthy lifestyle” – why do they need a pelvic exam (which has been found to have no value with asymptomatic women) Couldn’t we just talk?

        Finally, why are we “checking in” every year to talk about our reproductive health? I don’t see men doing this, and rarely does it say that a woman should assess her current risk, lifestyle etc and then seek medical care if she desires. No. It’s “go every year and talk about your sex life.” I’m not even sure if I talk to my best friend of 25 year about my sex life that often!

    • As always with every article about the low clinical value of these exams there are the ones who are convinced that they were saved by these exams. They think that the benign cyst or CIN1 would have been cancer and they would have died had it not been found. Even in the face of scientific evidence showing otherwise they will not concede that the tests and worry they went through was for nothing and they will continue with their yearly or even every 6 month appointments. Unfortunately it is their Dr’s who convinced them that their lives have been saved and how important the tests are. When in reality the Dr is protecting their income.

      • Great we’re seeing more articles on this topic and yes, it speaks volumes when the very young posters make their, “I had precancerous cells, the exam saved my life” testimonials….umm, it would probably be a pap test, not a pelvic exam, that picked up “pre-cancerous changes” and at their age, we’re almost certainly talking about a false positive and over-treatment.
        Now to be convinced someone “may” have had necessary treatment, I’d want to hear they were 30 or more and HPV+…almost ALL of these women have had an unnecessary exam that exposed them to risk…false positives and over-treatment etc. Their comments made clear they haven’t a clue. (which is what the medical profession have always wanted and relied upon, they have abused our trust, well, not mine…other women)

        The routine pelvic and breast exam and the other nonsense some tack on (routine rectal and recto-vaginal exams, for example) amounts to a great business model, but it’s not healthcare. It’s harmful, VERY bad medicine and morally and ethically corrupt, USING, worrying and harming your patients to boost profits. Disgraceful.
        It also, speaks volumes that some defend the practice suggesting it’s a great way to connect with your patient. Words fail me…
        Do they communicate with male patients through the penis?

      • Elizabeth- I understand the concept of pointing out the disparity between how one gender is treated as opposed to the other, but it would still be just as much of a problem toward women if they DID act in the same way toward men. It’s like when people talk about war & say “Well, why don’t THEIR kids go over there?” There own wouldn’t be out of the line of fire & that’s the primary goal.

        It didn’t sound like you wanted medical affronts aimed at men or anything- but if it went the same way, it would only add problems for them to the situation. I can say that men would most likely not give the flying-est of shits about if the doctor was upset with them about not getting whatever tests done on them. They’d just see the doctor as “a fag that wanted to fondle or probe them.” That would be the end of it. I always wondered why women don’t presume some kind of lesbian angle with the female personnel? It stands to reason with the male ones that sexual arousal can be a motivator, why would that DEFINITELY not be a motive for a woman? Especially if she’s trying to push this on someone or gets aggressive when something is refused, I’d think that would be an instant indicator.

        Either way, gratification of any kind is only an accentuating/aggravating factor. If a woman ran another woman over with her car & didn’t receive any gratification from it, it’s still an attack! Yet, this is used pretty frequently as an argument against something being a problem. I wonder if someone is in a same-sex marriage & gets beat by their partner, if this is considered an abuse? What about if there’s an affront that’s along sexual lines? Is it maybe only an issue if it happens in the bedroom? Because some people make the point of what setting something takes place in as an argument, too.

      • Alex, I don’t think anyone should be treated in this way, but it never ceases to amaze how they continue to view and treat women. I have always felt what is acceptable treatment of women, would never be considered acceptable for men. (for all sorts of reasons) If you turn their arguments around to include men, well, I don’t believe anyone would ever suggest such a thing for men.
        I’ve heard so often that women are “used” to invasive exams or need to get used to them, whereas men found the routine rectal exam unacceptable so an alternative had to be found. (the routine rectal exam is not recommended here and in many other countries anyway)
        I think they know it’s easier to capture women and “get to” us (scare, mislead, intimidate etc.) It’s also, been acceptable for many years to use coercion and other unethical (and even illegal) tactics and strategies to “get us” screened.
        Men are much harder to capture and an attempt might backfire badly.

        I certainly don’t believe men should be subjected to the same appalling attitudes and treatment. We have a long way to go though when doctors still say outrageous things like, “the (useless and potentially harmful) routine pelvic exam enables us to connect with a woman” or “it gets her into our Clinic every year” etc.
        Misleading a woman into the need for an unhelpful, unnecessary, invasive and potentially harmful exam simply to get them into your consulting room every year for dubious benefit (a chat about our reproductive and sex lives…what?!) is an astonishing argument to make, yet they’re happy to make that statement publicly.
        IMO, it shows contempt for our dignity, privacy, health and rights. I think treating women in this shocking manner has become the “normal” and preferred way to handle women.
        That needs to change…yet how often are these attitudes challenged by other doctors, by anyone? (except us, of course)

      • The other annoying thing is the tendency to talk down to women, to tell us what to do and scold us if we don’t…others know best. The main theme, women are hopeless creatures and the system has to herd them here and there for their own good…oh, and our bodies are out to kill us so the female asymptomatic body must be closely monitored.

      • Elizabeth- I didn’t mean to sound like you did want these things, I was just pointing them out. I definitely agree with you about things backfiring badly. I can say with some assurance that if someone started getting loud & insulting or threatening in any way- that would cause some serious problems.

        It’s interesting: If someone said “You don’t get condoms or viagra without a rectal exam” to a man, anybody would see that this is trying to coerce that guy into getting something up his ass. This wouldn’t get made out to be anything but a subtle attempt to force these kinds of dynamics on someone. It’s odd that with women, it gets made out to be HER choice even though it wasn’t & that these properties don’t apply when they occur!

    • Ugh why did I read. The comments clearly show how none of them gave informed consent. They do not understand the difference between a pap and a pelvic exam. And the young women who had abnormal smears do not know or want to know how common it is to get abnormal smears at their ages because of the maturing cervix and should not have been tested. Now they are going for paps every 6 months. It is so sad and frustrating and behind it all are the Dr’s who are acting unethically and not following clinical guidelines.

      • I mean how crystal-clear can the evidence get, how loud can it scream into their stupid faces… one fool has stated that pap smears saved more lives than the purification of drinking water, I kid you not. These people are so, so very deep in denial, but it takes a lots of energy, and they will eventually have to stop and think at some point….

      • I mean I don’t want to blame the victim, but I think these people are obviously somehow interested in keeping up the pretence. Probably good little self-righteous responsible women, who would not want to get off their pap high horse and admit they have been conned and assaulted.

      • Karen- What?! “Saved more lives than purifying drinking water?” I’ll bet “she” is something medical. That’s the kind of directly-stated bullshit that they tend to throw out. I wonder if someone were to comment “Actually it only prevents heart attacks, not cancer.” Then when someone replies to that in dispute, they could just say “Well, I was merely dishing out bullshit like (whoever said that comment about water).”

        You’re right to be reluctant to blame the victim, but the victim shouldn’t facilitate the situation. If they “construct reinforcement” at other people’s expense, it’s not really that much different than selling them out for a high. It’s a harsh point to make, but it’s not other than that going on- maybe they don’t realize the implications of that situation (that they’re basically passing along a con that they didn’t invent). Deception facilitates attack & camouflaging something like this will convey an impression that it’s a safe, effective way of diagnosing something that someone has a high chance of getting- instead of the opposite.

        I’ve got to wonder is some women are self-hating. What I mean is they see themselves as a bad situation, feminity included- that they are an instance of low-quality. That would probably foster a belief that their biology is garbage. If this were true, wouldn’t their conclusion of these things be of low-quality, too?

    • Alex, many women are self-hating. The media tells us that unless we look like some unrealistic skinny ideal we’re fat and ugly. The medical profession perpetuates that unrealistic ideal with their use of the BMI which has been shown to be inaccurate and basically useless. If your BMI is “high” you are fat shamed and weight loss is discussed. Of course they ignore the fact that women who are athletic and have muscle mass will have a high BMI. Women aren’t athletes so it’s not muscle it’s fat. Then there is the perception that women’s sexual organs are dangerous and pre-cancerous and must be monitored all the time. Some Dr’s would remove all of them prophetically to prevent cancer because you don’t need them after having children and women don’t enjoy sex. Then look at the attitude that building a connection with patients is done through a pelvic exam. So our value as women is with our sex organs but they’re dangerous and will kill us. No wonder women hate themselves.

    • I’m not on Facebook, almost tempted to join just so I can give the “physician” (who thinks ordering women around in an aggressive and scare-mongering manner is appropriate behaviour) a serve, oh, well, hopefully someone else will call him out. Even if he or she believed in pap tests, you don’t speak to women like that, screening is our choice, not a law. Someone who speaks like that has no respect for women and couldn’t care less about our health. Avoid this doctor like the plague should be the message.

      • The one thing about doctors who so authoritively tell all women that we HAVE TO be screened in order to receive any sort of medical care keeps me and many others from seeking medical treatment when it is so indicated. If I choose to see a doctor about some problem, since I am not a “regular patient” of any doctor, I have to wait a couple of weeks or more than a month to see the doctor. In the mean time, the complaint has worsened if it has not resolved on its own – with or without home remedies. If it has resolved, I usually cancel the appointment. If it hasn’t, rather than examine and treat the problem, I will have the entire consult taken up with pressure to screen – pap testing, pelvic exam, mammograms, and all of that. There’s no more time to examine the problem at hand. So, I have to come back in a week or two. It’s probably gotten worse still with no treatment. This second visit will be mostly taken up too with pressure to screen, shaming for not having screened, scare-mongering, fat shaming, and all of that. This time, I might or might not be prescribed some antibiotic – without even checking about whether that antibiotic is effective for this condition, or if it is a bacterial infection, whether or not it’s resistant to that antibiotic. This is part of the problem which leads to over-prescription of antibiotics, causing resistant strains to develop!Then, I come back in a week or two. If the problem still hasn’t cleared up, it might then be addressed.

        More likely, somewhere in all of this, if the condition does not resolve with home remedies, it will take me to urgent care or the emergency room. So, why bother? Why not just leave the doctor and the screening sales pitch out of it and get to urgent or emergency care if it becomes a problem? It’s just as likely and at the same time whether or not you’ve had an appointment or two trying to keep his hands out of (my) panties! In short, I don’t find what passes for healthcare to be at all beneficial as a woman.

        But then, that other “doctor” said he could tell about the health of a woman by looking into her vagina. Certainly, this is always the answer to any sort of health problem I could come up with – whether it is a skin infection or brain cancer.

      • Beth
        Bullying women is an accepted practice, screening is never presented to us as a choice, one with risks.
        Here we have a new awareness campaign for heart health for women, surprise, surprise, lots of women die from heart disease and heart attacks. Who would have thought!
        This is the result of focusing and spending millions on one rare cancer and breast cancer (and too much money goes into screening, not research into better treatments) we forget about the REAL killers. A lifetime of pap testing and most die from a heart attack.
        Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men and women. Lung cancer is the most common cancer, yet we talk endlessly about cervical and breast cancer. The most pressure is to screen for a rare cancer.

        The attitudes we see in women’s healthcare are rarely challenged, so they persist, but
        every complaint, every report, every time we challenge these people or reject their tactics and propaganda, we hopefully, move a tiny step forward. At the moment some women in some countries can access respectful medical care, I’m one of them, we should not be isolated cases. It’s every woman’s right to access medical care that does not include screening pressure and coercion. Amazing the “offer” of a pap test turned into this nightmare, it’s not only the worry and harm, but also, the impact on our lives. (not being able to access the Pill, feeling harassed etc.)

  31. That sentance at the end was great! Couldn’t get the comments, though. What do they say?

    Also, I think it proves things about the medical personnel (including the boards & schools & such). These things don’t really have much, if any, diagnostic value & yet they keep them in place. I don’t figure they have any right to purvey (or perhaps the spelling “PERVey” is better?) things that are untrue or unsafe. How many times have I said that it’s not a confusion? That malice can be a motive all on it’s own & the pay-off might only look like the point? This can apply with a lot of things, but it keeps being a recurring theme in medical situations.

    About these women that refuse to conclude that these tests are of low utility: If she’s only going to believe what she prefers & have/exert denial whenever things don’t turn out that way, why not just have/exert denial about whatever problem she’s worried about having? These women don’t want to believe that anything was bullshit, in the face of it being bullshit- so why not just declare everything fine, instead of getting any tests or surgeries?

  32. The general tone of comments about the Slate article only go to prove what an excellent job the medical profession have achieved with convincing so many people that female reproductive organs are highly dangerous and likely to kill their owners in large numbers unless continuously monitored.
    Here are a selection of comments:

    “Look, as a physician maybe I’m a bit biased here — but what’s up with Slate, Salon, Jezebel etc. having their non-medical staff writers put out trashy, provocative pieces about medical topics? In a world of HPV, you had better DAMN well be getting pap smears unless you truly don’t care whether or not you get cervical cancer. Seriously. This is a terribly irresponsible article. If you’ve ever had sex please get those cells checked, ladies.“

    “The papsmear has saved more lives than clean drinking water people. Not even exaggerating. Cervical cancer used to be the number one cancer killer of women.“
    (I didn’t notice any medics stepping in to refute this ridiculous claim)

    “An OBGYN examining your UTERUS is not examining your genitals! You might want to look up that definition!“
    (A lesson in anatomy needed here)

    “I don’t mean to sound insensitive, but if a pelvic exam is causing anxiety because of past trauma, seeing a therapist would be a better use of time than writing a misinformed op-ed piece for Slate. But women who are sexually active must be examined regularly to rule out disease and abnormalities.”
    (Nice, keep blaming the women)

    “A woman’s reproductive health is often and indicator of her overall health. What would be really nice is if technology in women’s health could finally make out of the 19th century.”
    (The irony of their comment was probably lost on this poster)

    • Sigh. The article wasn’t a trashy opinion piece but reporting on an actual scientific study with an outcome showing that the pelvic exam is useless. It was not even commenting on paps. Again people haven’t made an informed decision because they don’t know the difference. Even the supposed Dr doesn’t appear to know the difference. But women must be punished for having sex through unnecessary possibly dangerous exams. The comments show how engrained the necessity of the well-woman exam is in the US.
      I had no idea that my uterus could let the Dr know if I have a brain tumor or heart disease or lung cancer. Maybe I should be getting these exams (sarcasm of course).

    • Oh, Chrissy, spot on, haven’t they done a great job brainwashing women?
      “In a world of HPV, you had better DAMN well be getting pap smears unless you truly don’t care whether or not you get cervical cancer. Seriously. This is a terribly irresponsible article. If you’ve ever had sex please get those cells checked, ladies.“”

      This makes me see red, the patronizing tone, the scare tactic, the ORDER and aggression, so typical. If s/he’s so damn concerned about cervical cancer, s/he’d be promoting HPV primary and HPV self-testing, instead s/he wants to order all women into testing. It also, shows s/he has no respect for informed consent, our right to choose. S/He speaks down to women.

      It’s easier to try and drag in everyone who has ever had sex (even once!) than address the fact that only about 5% of women can benefit from pap testing. (and most of them won’t benefit either) Instead of focusing on HPV status and perhaps, saving more lives, they want to keep doing unnecessary testing and “treating” the masses. HPV is used to drag all women into testing when it should IMO, be used to take most women OUT of testing.
      The comments say a lot of things about this subject, women have been deceived and used in the worst possible way to make these programs “work” regardless of the damage they cause, and to maximize medical profits. HUGE numbers have been harmed in this so-called fight with an always-rare cancer.

  33. Holy cow, they have a lot of nerve. Sexually active woman must have pap smears lol. What about the men spreeding stds why dont they get told they “must screen.” They are so ignorant.

  34. “not examing the genitals” they stick a lage insturment in the vagina and pry it open to see into the uterus. With a woman naked in sturips These people are insane. Do they have a place for coments?

  35. I wonder if being insulting would be helpful? I can tell you with quite a bit of confidence that men talking shit like that (particularly the blantantly stupid things like that uterus one), there’d be offensive language like you wouldn’t believe. By-the-way: The genital thing is bullshit because even if someone wanted to make the argument that the uterus isn’t an EXTERNAL sex organ, those external organs are involved in the process of examining this other organ. An interface is included.

    Some Advice: Let’s just say that the things that tend to sting the mind are the life-sustaining things: things that involve food, drink, screwing around. What types of things would someone NOT do with their own mother (or father)? Take that & make it a little more graphic (more like unsanitary, most times) & call them an eater or drinker of something nasty. Don’t know if that’ll always post, but it can be subtlely implied: maybe they like one exam or another for some complex psychological reason. Maybe you could lead with “Jesus Christ- What did your mother do to you?” If they’re going to be insulting, deceitful, AND try to undermine someone’s bodily autonomy & self-protectiveness, why worry about their feelings?

    On another level, if things get into the realm of direct confrontation, it might make it blantantly obvious that this is a serious situation. People try to downplay these things because it’s low-key & a medical situation, but these properties don’t make something non-existant. So, it might be helpful to have a more hostile reaction to simply make the explaination of your hostility be taken more seriously. It’s not a small response that is proportionate to a minor situation. You might not start screaming in the store, but maybe being a bit condescending or getting a shocked look on your face would be something workable.

    I know a lot of people don’t know about risks, inaccuracies, or alternatives & plenty of times there’s some bullshit argument that basically amounts to reality taking a coffee break for a medical employee, so I’m not trying to blame the victim. This is simply to counter & possibly inform. I figure it would be a more intense communication & if you’re acting like “Where have you been?” about it, maybe they’ll be a bit more inclined to go & look things up to see if maybe they missed the boat about something.

  36. Elizabeth- What does Facebook have to do with it? Is this comment on Facebook or do you just need one to post? I’m not real knowledgeable on all the various internet things and, while I’m not ashamed of may stance on things (actually, I hold it in pretty much the same esteem as shooting back if someone opens fire), I don’t want all my internet galavantings broadcasted.

    If you’d like to see a different back & forth, go to Happier Abroad.com & look up the thread “Why Are Flu Shots in America Free?” It’s in the General Discussions section. Me & this guy HouseMD go back & forth for a few pages. Just look at the various bullshit he tries to pull in that argument. I remember at various points him avoiding various points that I made, trying to argue that reality takes a leave of absence in medical scenarios, and generally demonizing anything that was against medical abuse or inefficacy. It was really like he was trying to re-write the situation & interject the story into reality.

  37. So much misinformation in the Facebook comments!

    – More than one person saying stirrups are needed to do a smear. Nope.
    – One person wanting girls to have “comprehensive exams” before they’re sexually active. She also suggests this should be done alone with no parent present, which will just make it worse for virgin girls in their mid-to-late teens. To capture everyone under such a system, the exam would have to be done aged 14 at the latest really…
    – Again, no comprehension of the idea of a couple where they’ve only ever had sexual contact with each other. If the woman was a virgin, the man couldn’t have been so we’re not even going to entertain that thought.
    – Another gem from the person quoted above (“come out of the 19th century”): “But women who are sexually active must be examined regularly to rule out disease and abnormalities.” I agree with Elizabeth’s point above, that some people put all the responsibility on women even though men play their part in transmitting STDs. That quote also just has me picturing female organs as something that can become diseased or abnormal at any second – our ticking timebombs.
    – “I had my annual exam and a year later found out I had Stage IIIB cervical cancer. I has now moved on to terminal stage IV.” Soooo…. how did the annual exams help? She did exactly what she was supposed to and still ended up terminal.
    – “In a world of HPV” – makes it sound like it’s lurking on every surface and the air all around waiting to give us cancer.
    – Lots of people wanting screening to start in late teens regardless of sexual activity (and regardless of the medical research already taken on-board in the UK that screening before 25 is particularly dangerous).
    – The whole idea of “reproductive health” only speaks to women who want children in future and speaks of women as walking uteri. I don’t want children so that appeal goes right over my head (as would that poster of a sad child).
    – A manual exam could find polyps and cysts but if they’re not causing me a problem – then why are they a problem?

    Plus so many people mis-read it and thought it was saying to do away with smears. Only a few people replying seem to have understood the article and nobody else has acknowledged the scientific research done into the effectiveness of manual exams.

    • I checked the comments on the slate website again, hoping to see something from Elizabeth, a raft on the sea of of BS….but instead I stumbled upon this gem:

      “So Amanda Hess, you know better than we unenlightened sorts? Ob-gyn’s are the only ones who DO make me feel safe. They DO understand about sexual trauma, more so than other doctors. They take care NOT to cause me pain or shame during examination. Gynecologists, especially women, are kind and compassionate beyond anything I can express in words. I trust them, and my trust has never been misplaced.
      This is an all-time low for Slate.”

    • Another appalling type of comment was from people who said they’d been abused in the past, saying they saw that as no reason to find a gynaecological exam distressing. I saw at least 2 comments along those lines. I was going to say “how can they of all people not understand why others would object?” but then I think any human being should be able to compute why sexual trauma can cause any physical exam (not just pelvic) to be distressing.

      • Maybe all these people are functional analphabets, and they only click on Slate for football news or pictures of new gadgets.. no, seriously, the whole thing makes me seriously despair.

  38. A female coworker was rather appalled that I do not go in for Pap tests. She said to me “you HAVE to have a Pap test. Pap tests prevent cervical cancer”. Really? I would like to know why women think they prevent cancer.

    • Related thoughts. I guess they figure that this is an action against cancer (or, with the intent of it on their end) & this would do something to keep it from happening. Maybe that’s an idea that’s kind of like peek-a-boo?

    • A very common misconception about cancer screening and one that is perpetuated and not corrected by the medical profession is that they prevent cancer. Screening is looking for the cancer while prevention is life-style choices such as not smoking and exercising. This is why so many people get cancer screenings. They believe they are preventing cancer. Another misconception is that catching cancer early means it can be treated easily and their life saved. In reality there are no guarantees if cancer is caught early or later when there are symptoms. The aggressive cancers tend to show up between screenings and tend to be fatal. Screening usually finds the cancers that grow slowly and may never be an issue. The person would die with not of.

  39. Something that I thought of: Why even worry about screening, since the treatments wouldn’t work anyway? After screening, then what?

    • Treatments do work. This is why the life expectancy with breast cancer is higher now because of better treatments. Cancer is not a death sentence.

      • There are many types of cancer. It depends on what cancer people have if there is treatment and how well it works. To me getting an early diagnosis and suffering through surgery, chemo and radiation, only to live in through an extra five years and then die of another cancer is not worth it. They call it the five year survival rate and it may not improve the quality of life after the cancer treatment.

        Cervical cancer screening programmes are pushed because of the perception that cervical cancer can easily be “prevented” by LEEP, cone biopsy and hysterectomy by removing precancerous cells or early stage cancer just when it is on the cervix. Most of the HPV infection that is considered precancer will heal on its own but there is no way to predict which cases will heal so many women are harmed by the treatments. The LEEP and cone biopsies are. It considered “harmful” to women. Hysterectomies are also not considered harmful. I know better so I avoid the screening. I consider my quality of life much better without Pap tests and the treatments they lead to. If I happen to get cervical cancer then too bad.

        Cervical cancer cannot be compared to other cancers such as pancreatic cancer which is usually detected very late and people usually within a few weeks or a month or two of diagnosis.

        Many breast cancers would never kill a woman either. The same chop chop is happening with DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ). It is a precancer that may or not become cancer but it does not kill. Some breast cancers will not kill either. It is just that doctors cannot predict which breast cancers and precancer will kill so they recommend chop chop for them all. I do not think that a mastectomy for precancer or a small cancer I cannot feel will improve my quality of life so I will no go for breast cancer screening either.

    • Wow this sounds great for women who do suffer from fibroids that are painful or heavy periods. I just wonder if this treatment is readily available and not some fairyland idea.

      I read an article lately about a mid 20 year old women who wanted her fibroids treated. She saw three doctors in Toronto and all recommended hysterectomy. This is because none of them did myectomies (just taking out the fibroids). She finally found a doctor in Ottawa who would do what she wanted. She found out on her own. Not like any doctor would recommend her to someone who did that. I know a woman who asked about alternatives to hysterectomy and was told that the fibroids would just grow back. This was partly a lie because she was very close to menopause. After menopause fibroids shrink and bleeding stops. The risk of fibroids being cancer is also very rare.

      I love finding out about myectomies, self Pap tests, menstrual sponge tampons and birth control pills without a pelvic exam and other great stuff that is not easily available where I live.

    • That treatment is not readily available for fibroids and from what I read is also not necessarily effective in treating them long term and is not covered by the provinces in Canada. There is a new medication called fibristal that stops bleeding and shrinks the fibroids. The newest research shows that it can be taken for four three month rounds with two months off and will shrink fibroids and stop bleeding to the point of not needing surgery. Depending on how close the woman is to menopause fibristal is enough combined with dietary changes to prevent a recurrence of the fibroids and heavy bleeding until menopause. Up to date Dr’s know about this medication and will prescribe it before recommending surgery.

      • ADM
        After menopause they tend to shrink, as you quite rightly pointed out, but some women have hysterectomies for fibroids in their late 40’s/early 50’s on the cusp of menopause.
        I wonder whether doctors fully explain the issue is likely to disappear…my SIL had a hysterectomy at 48 or 50 for fibroids, and they sorted out some incontinence (after four babies) at the same time.
        The male doctor said a hysterectomy was his preference, “you don’t want to have periods at your age, they might go on for years, they serve no purpose at your age” (words to that effect)
        The clear message: it would be better to be rid of the lot and all of the issues that can happen during and after menopause, like irregular bleeding, flooding etc. Also, ovarian cancer is deadly and usually diagnosed late, the symptoms are subtle and there is no screening test for ovarian cancer. Umm, there is no screening test for other things either, but I don’t have them removed. Ovarian cancer is on the rare side too. Are we all going to start having our healthy ovaries out at age 50 “just in case”?

        Now not every woman has these issues during menopause, I didn’t…and BTW, how many periods has he had? Such an authority on the inconvenience of periods.
        My periods were a non-issue (in the main), certainly not bad enough to wish them away through surgical removal of my uterus. (not even close!)

        It never ceases to amaze me the readiness to assume problems onto the normal female body or to reach for hysterectomy without fully assessing other options. Our reproductive organs are viewed as less important, dispensable, risk our health etc.

        In my SILs case she had the surgery when menopause was probably not far away (her mother and grandmother were both early 50s when their periods stopped)…her fibroids may have become a non-issue and they were not really causing her any problems anyway, it was the incontinence that took her to the gynecologist.

        It’s clear to me there is a casualness when it comes to removing the uterus, on one forum a doctor said, “it’s much safer these days”…maybe, but is it REALLY necessary.
        600,000 hysterectomies are performed every year in the States, 1 in 3 US woman will have one, often after a lifetime of annual gyn “care”.

      • I am not too sure I have enough information about this new drug fibristal. It is only approved for use for three months. It costs $300-$400 per month. It is usually given to women who are waiting for a hysterectomy. Why? To help with their suffering while waiting for surgery or to shrink the fibroids to make the surgery easier, or for the doctor to trick them after partial relief into surgery? Do the for oils grow back once the three months of fibristal are up?

        Is there a known cause of fibroids? I know that estrogen mimicking chemicals are blamed. Just what to avoid and what to eat?

      • The drug is now prescribed in place of hysterectomy or is tried before more invasive procedures such as myomectomy or uterine arterial embolization or hysterectomy. The drug has been around in Europe for over 5 years so they have longer outcome studies. The drug is taken for 3 months at at time and what has been found is that 4 rounds of 3 months with 2 months off in-between each round shrinks the fibroids enough and relieves bleeding to the point that more invasive procedures are not needed. Long-term negative side effects of the drug have not been found. With dietary changes such as not eating factory farmed meats, dairy, and eating a whole foods diet can keep the fibroids from growing back.

    • Meant to add, there is no known cause for fibroids but I assume that it’s like everything and is an interaction of genetics and the environment. The natural health world links them to estrogen dominance but that is not necessarily true as it is now known that progesterone plays a part. The medication fibristal blocks the progesterone receptors and that is what shrinks them which would then put your body into estrogen dominance. Yet the fibroids shrink. It is a delicate balance of all the hormones that affects the growth of fibroids.

      • Thanks for the information about fibristal. I hope that it can help some women out there with fibroid problems.

  40. I should have said, 1 in 3 US women will have a hysterectomy “by age 60”. It would be interesting to have the lifetime figures, say over 80 years. How many US women still have a uterus at age 80?

    • The problem is that with most women the uterus is removed AND the ovaries. The hormones the ovaries produce are important. Only the doctors see the ovaries as just something else that can turn bad. Even if a woman wants to keep her ovaries the consent form they sign before surgery says that they can take out anything that “looks bad”.

  41. You also, often hear, “it serves no purpose after your childbearing years”…umm, so applying this logic, if you don’t want children, you should have it all out at say 30, 35 or 40? That way we don’t have to worry about contraception, periods, the cancer risk…win:win:win!
    This is an outrageous thing to say, I don’t have to tell the women on this forum these organs are important right through life. Value, respect and protect should be our motto.

    • It’s not even true. The hormones & such have an impact on things like heart disease- something not really harped on very much. It’s interesting how there’s a lot of fanfare for doing something that’ll lead to something else that’ll cause other problems- all basically attacking the body in some way & acting like it’s bolstering health, while it drains someone’s bank account more & more.

      • http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1644050,00.html

        Alex, exactly, and sexual dysfunction, bladder and bowel issues, depression, premature aging etc. The HERS website has lots of information.
        I’ve linked an article from TIME magazine…the message, it should be last resort stuff, not a casual or first option, there are usually alternatives. (for fibroids, heavy bleeding or endometriosis) If your doctor doesn’t mention them, you need a new doctor, not a hysterectomy.

    • There are Dr’s who want to castrate women with the removal of the cervix and uterus and ovaries to prevent cancer. With the removal of the sex organs and the ability to naturally produce hormones the woman is at greater risk of developing heart disease which is the number one killer of women. It makes no sense to remove the sex organs for the rare risk of cancer and put her at greater risk of the number one killer. Such a total disrespect for women’s bodies and their health and well-being. We don’t remove a mans prostrate or testicles or the penis to prevent cancer.

    • “It serves no purpose after your childbearing years” – this attitude can also swing the other way and lead to pre-menopausal women struggling to get sterilised or get treatment for conditions that severely impact their daily lives (with that treatment either guaranteeing or possibly causing infertility). Some doctors just can’t understand that women know what they want – or don’t want – to do with their reproductive organs, even if that means choosing not being able to have biological children.

  42. Anybody reminded of Mengele with all this? This has a real Nazi-like vibe (and so do a lot of general trends & patterns in this country, I’ve noticed). I’ve heard things about “technocratic” societies, may be it has something to do with that?

  43. Speaking of fibroids….Some doctors say that they are caused by iodine deficiency and they have seen fibriods shrink and disappear after women start taking iodine. Dr. Brownstein wrote book called “Iodine: Why You Need It” that talks more about it. He also talks about the link between iodine deficiency and breast cancer as well. In typical fashion, most doctors would rather cut than look into what the actual cause might be.

  44. Lol… well, I remember I was fingered… not examined but fingered when I was about eight months pregnant with my now nine year old son, and he stopped right before I had an orgasm. When he took his finger out, I was looking at him like, why do you stop? You might as well finish the job you started!!! Lol

  45. Sometimes it can feel quite depressing when you see how women are treated, you can understand why some women say they hate being female, they don’t feel safe etc.

    An Australian woman alleges she was raped in Bali recently, she identified her attacker, but the suspect was allowed the leave the country and fly home to Nigeria.
    Rape victims are required to have a virginity exam in Indonesia (and in some other countries) if they want the Police to proceed with their case.

    This is just sickening, can you only rape a virgin?
    Common sense tells you this is completely unnecessary, it’s just a way to keep women quiet, to protect men accused of rape.
    It’s also, a way of degrading and humiliating women, showing the woman who has the power.
    The young Australian woman endured this “3rd” assault, (she was raped twice) only to find the Police did nothing for months allowing the accused to get away.

    You know something…if a woman gets into old age unscathed by the medical profession and the system, she’s in the minority, you have the hurdle of the well child exams in the States and then the well woman business. (and yes, it is a business) Add the unnecessary exams and pap testing tacked onto a request for the Pill, the same thing with pre-natal care, excess and a lack of respect for dignity/privacy and consent in childbirth, disabled woman raped in State care, elderly women raped/assaulted in nursing homes, female psych patients raped in public psych wards, domestic violence etc. etc….the list goes on and on.

    Here is a statement about virginity testing, it’s spot on:

    “‘Virginity testing’ is a form of gender-based violence and discrimination,” Gerntholtz said. “Authorities exploit this unscientific and degrading ‘test’ even though a woman’s sexual history has absolutely no bearing on whether she is qualified for a job or determining whether she was raped.”
    (In Indonesia (and elsewhere) women are required to have a virginity test, this includes those who want a teaching position or to join the Police force)

    No wonder an 18 year old on one health forum said she hated being female and dreaded the future. (after being forced to have a wellness exam to get the Pill) I can understand why she feels like that…it seems we have to be on guard right through life, to protect ourselves from those who wish to exploit, take advantage, harm or kill us.

    There is a powerful documentary about the treatment of women in India, it’s called, “India’s daughter”…shocking stuff.
    (available until the 4th of May)

    • You know something that worries me? That they’ll pull the same shit in America- and they would (I’d bet it would be something like detecting if they have sex so they can impose medical procedures on them that they correlate to that act).

  46. Cervical cancer is a real threat & PAP smears save lives by catching it in its early precancerous stages like colonoscopies catch polyps. HPV causes 99% of cervical cancer so there is no such thing as “preventing” it unless you’ve had the vaccine before becoming sexually active.

    But the bimanual exam is absolute crap. I just had one (it was the most awkward thing EVER, done by an NP who acted like she’d never done one in her life & was somewhere between uncomfortable & turned on)… and she’s sending me to another NP to have yet ANOTHER bimanual exam in a week. Just the worthless assault-y part. Nothing to see here. Like thanks doc but I think I can fingerblast myself. 🫠

    NP’s are universally useless/deranged in my experience but that’s another topic.

    • Cervical cancer is NOT a real threat except perhaps to those in third world countries, and pap smears are an unreliable test for a very rare cancer. There’s a lot of excellent information on this site if you are able to think critically and care to enlighten yourself.

Speak your mind

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.