When Doctors Won’t Take “No” for an Answer

imagespePeople were outraged when the furtive practice of performing pelvic exams without consent on anesthetized women undergoing surgery came to light.  People discovered that women who were admitted to hospital for surgery were not being informed that their vaginas could be penetrated when they were unconscious by groups of medical students practicing pelvic exams.  Andre Picard from the Globe and Mail helped bring this troubling practice to the public’s attention with his piece titled Time to end pelvic exams done without consentwherein he asks “Do you consider this okay, or an outrageous violation of your rights?”.  Picard’s article was one among many – mainstream media had a heyday.  The public’s awareness was raised, and people expressed shock mingled with disgust that the pelvic exam practice was being permitted without women’s knowledge or consent.

However, what many people may be unaware of is the fact that women experience similar health care-related practices outside of the hospital.  When women visit a doctor, they often face a similar withholding of informed consent in regards to pelvic exams.  Thousands of pap tests/pelvic exams are routinely being performed in doctor’s offices without women’s informed consent.  Many women are not being given information nor are they being asked for their consent prior to doctors going ahead with invasive exams.  In fact, many women are not even aware that they have a right to informed consent.  In addition, the pap test/pelvic exam situation goes beyond a lack of informed consent because in many cases women face coercion when they say “no”.  Yes, you read that right; when women go to see their doctor they often face coercion to undergo a pelvic exam/pap test, regardless of the original reason for their visit. And often they are unable to obtain medications or have their health issues addressed unless they submit to a pap test/pelvic exam.  Unethical practices in women’s health care include the following:

  • Many doctors are not offering women any information or asking for consent, and so many women don’t know that they have a right to refuse any/all exams
  • Many doctors are not informing women about the purpose of pap tests/pelvic exams
  • Many doctors are not informing women about the risks of harm of pap testing (further testing that may be necessary due to false positive test results, unnecessary cervical biopsies, irreparable injury to healthy cervix’s, heavy bleeding, risk of miscarriage when a woman is pregnant, infection due to improper cleaning of speculum, psychological harm, etc
  • Many doctors do not disclose the fact that cervical cancer is rare
  • Many doctors are failing to disclose the fact they are able to charge more fees for pap tests, and/or in some cases are offered incentive payments to screen a certain percentage of their female patients
  • Many doctors remain silent about the high rate of inaccurate pap test results
  • Many doctors give pap testing priority over a woman’s own health concerns, and often ask the question “when was your last pap test?” ahead of any questions that address the woman’s health issue
  • Despite ACOG’s stance that a pap test/pelvic exam is not necessary prior to prescribing birth control prescriptions, many doctors still insist that women need to undergo the exam prior to being granted a prescription
  • When women are pregnant they are often subjected to pap test coercion
  • Some women refuse to visit doctors in order to avoid pap test coercion, even when ill and/or in need of medical attention

Given that women’s vaginas are being penetrated without women’s explicit consent in the doctor’s office in a manner similar to what is being done to women when they are in the hospital undergoing surgery, one has to wonder at the discrepancy between the public’s awareness of one practice over the other.  Where is the mainstream media coverage in relation to these insidious and unethical practices that occur behind doctors’ closed doors as a matter of ‘routine’?  And, perhaps more importantly, where is the public outrage?

More on this topic:
Informed Consent Missing:http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2009/11/informed-consent-missing-pap-smears-cervical-cancer-screening.html
Why Doctor Does Not Have Smears:http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/2234123-why-i-don-t-have-smears
Questioning the Pelvic Exam:http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/29/an-exam-with-poor-results/
Do New Guidelines and Technology Make the Routine Pelvic Examination Obsolete?:http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/jwh.2010.2349
What some male doctors do when women say “no”
Top Five Reasons for Opting Out of Pap Tests


  1. After the linked Globe and Mail article (2010), there are readers’ comments. One anesthesiologist commented that only the gynological surgeries would have a few students attending and there is never any parade of students coming in the operating room. However what happens before and after on the wards to patients? One reader also asked if unconscious male patients are given rectal exams without consent.

    It really difficult to believe what really happens in Canadian hospitals when after this article was written several medical associations made official policies regarding consent to pelvic exams and several doctors wrote articles about what actually happens. Then there is the case of the doctor who was on trial for sexually abusing patients before during and after surgeries (2014). No wonder some patients duct tape their underwear to their body before any surgeries.

    • The answer to whether or not men are given unconscious rectal exams without consent is a resounding YES. My husband is also frequently coerced and bullied into prostate exams, and has been coerced and bullied into accepting a very ineffective prescription for “enlarged prostate” with a ton of side effects…. with very little evidence.

      It’s a matter of doctors paternalizing their patients more than it is (male) doctors treating their women patients like second-class citizens.

      • Beth, that’s interesting, the men in my family are always treated respectfully while many of the women have a different story, doctors pressuring them, talking over the top of them when they decline, trying to scare them, tut-tutting them, misinformation etc.
        It comes down to doctor-shopping, they’re all safely in respectful hands now.

        The difference in treatment is like day and night, personally, I believe the profession has a problem with women making their own decisions and being in charge of their health, so we see strong resistance to anything that might put women in control, like informed consent, taking the Pill off script or offering HPV self-testing.
        Women are expected to do as they’re told…I think the States will see the OTC Pill long before we do. (especially considering the recent outrageous public comments made by two senior male doctors speaking on behalf of the AMA)
        I know it’s different in the States, I recall some posts from American men, one of whom avoided doctors due to the pressure to have prostate screening. Also, one high profile American doctor (can’t recall which one) said as a young doctor he was urged to pressure men to have prostate screening because it amounted to good business for the hospital, so many of these men ended up having biopsies, losing their prostate and then having issues like impotence and incompetence. Win:win for the hospital, a business model called healthcare.
        Of course, the inventor of the PSA test despairs over it’s use as a screening test that’s resulted in widespread harm, it was never intended to be a screening test, but something used by men after prostate cancer surgery to check all was well.
        The annual exam-everything and the well-woman exam are no doubt a large part of the problem faced by Americans. I’m horrified how “thorough” these exams can be (I’d say weird)…on Dr Bernstein’s forum there was an American man complaining that female doctors don’t thoroughly examine his genitals at his annual. What?
        He obviously expected that every square inch should be examined together with a battery of tests. These exams started a long time ago, from memory it was promoted by insurance companies who thought it was a way to save money on healthcare. The UK decided to do a trial and found they provided no benefit to the patient, but the exams triggered a lot of extra testing…thankfully, they were never introduced in the UK, much of Europe, NZ or here. (although we have our problems too…)

      • Elizabeth,

        My husband had an incident several years ago while undergoing surgery on his hand. He was taken to the operating room wearing his underwear and socks. He woke up during the surgery…. stark naked and COLD. He’d had the surgery on his hand before, and he’d always woken up in recovery clothed. Why remove the clothing for HAND SURGERY, and why lie about it?

        He wonders if there wasn’t a “form a line to the left” to give students a practice rectal exam. He did complain of…discomfort… afterward, but chalked it up to the anesthesia causing constipation. He’s not so sure now. We’re trying to find a way to watch each other’s surgeries, or have them filmed. One can see splices in a video, or the camera being turned off and on.

        Another time, he had a cholesterol test taken after a very fatty lunch. It was a little high, and the doctor thought he should go on a dubious cholesterol med with a lot of side effects. He refused. The doctor literally chased us out into the waiting room screaming “If you don’t start taking (drug X) you will DIE!!!” That’s so unprofessional on so many levels that it’s beyond belief. BTW, a second test done about a week later in another practice was normal. Men get pressured and iatrogenicly abused too…. just differently.

      • Beth
        I fear ever needing surgery because I simply don’t trust the system. I know they’ll agree to most things, but once you’re out to it, well, I suspect anything goes. (well, almost anything) I’m not sure what we can do about it, some suggest a patient advocate, someone who goes into surgery to protect us from abuse and insensitive treatment.

        I know women who’ve asked for a female technician only to find a male calling them into the room, “we swapped shifts”. My friend returned when the woman was available, but others may have just given in. If you’re unable to stand up for yourself, you’re in trouble…but then it becomes more and more difficult to do that when you’re about to be wheeled into theatre or about to be put under.
        I was reading the Birth Trauma website (I don’t anymore, it was causing nightmares) and a woman was naked and in stirrups while they were preparing her for a c-section, at the same time assorted people strolled in and out of the room. Talk about de-humanizing treatment. It’s damaging stuff and I noted some of the accounts were still rare many years later, this sort of treatment often stays with us for life.

      • Ridiculous, stupid or whatever it may sound, I’m seriously thinking about a ”chastity” belt in case of emergency in hospital – who knows what can happen any time, any day. Oh, yes, you will say how stupid I am. Refusing to take off the pants when you’re asked (when taking them off has nothing to do with your problem) may not prevent them from taking them off by themselves when you’re under anaesthetic. Can you imagine a, let’s call it, ”chastity” belt, or something with letters in fron: f…k off! ?
        I don’t believe any letters or statements with the patient’s signature will work. The medical people don’t think about our feelings and thoughts, about our embarrassment, negative consequences of medical treatments – we are just (pardon the expression) meat brining profits for them and bodies on which and in which they can perform whatever they wish.

      • Jola,

        I don’t think it’s stupid or ridiculous to consider a chastity belt in case of a hospital emergency! I considered one too. I ultimately decided against it, because you and I know darned well that they are well in the habit of cutting off any article of clothing etc that the patient wears in with them that just MIGHT get in their way. I was taken in with a car accident, wearing a dress, which was cut into rags removing it – and it just slipped over my head with no fasteners. Underwear too were cut off. There are stories about someone coming in wearing a chastity device of some type, and those too have been cut off, making them unusable afterwards, There are metal cutters they can use too.

        It wouldn’t work. It would be expensive and a bit uncomfortable to wear for a false sense of security.

      • This is kind of a broad rant, but there’s something that I’ve noticed: other people don’t do shit like that. Cab drivers, mechanics, accountants- pretty much anybody, they don’t get like this. Medical personnel as a general rule have a real issue with anything that in any way blocks access to any part of someone’s body, including that person’s refusal. Doesn’t matter what the situation is, the background is that they figure it’s their call what they do to somebody & their call alone.

        I figure a destruction of their situation would work to mostly fix these sorts of things. Sure, the schooling can be altered. An overhaul of the information & the attitude that is transmitted would be very useful. On the other hand, they’re left to police their own situations as it is & would most likely re-approve all the same things.

        Actual, physical danger for them (that isn’t self-determined) is a good one. If they were going to be hurt bad because they pulled something, creepy or not, I bet that self-preservation urge would kick in & make them behave. Sociopaths tend to be big about making sure #1 is unharmed. Then again, they DO already take some degree of risk now & they don’t hold back on anything. Maybe it would just work to reduce their numbers.

        Something like arguing with the intention of gaining their support (trying to convert them) is usually useless. Overall, that’s the only thing that tends to happen- an invitation to change. Even when the research of their own fucking profession contraindicates the shit they do, they just stick to it.

        This is with everything. Them getting bossy with women (or anyone, really- but women are the general targets) takes various dimensions & their quality control lately is appalling. The medicine isn’t safe, they’re too arrogant to catch their own mistakes, they lie constantly, and any chance to stick something in someone is persued like an junky after a fix.

      • I have made a pact with my 23 year old niece that if either of us is ever in hospital for whatever reason, the other will be standing by watching every move, including any A&E visits or operations that may take place, they always have a room with a window for any students or sales reps for the equipment used and whoever else they want, so if they can watch then so can we. If we have no advocate then we have no operation! She has strict instructions as to what they are allowed to do and what they are not, including non- removal of any organs (especially reproduction) which are non-related to the original reason for the operation. If it was an appendix then only the appendix can be removed, so they shouldn’t need to go near my sensitive private areas, which is why we advocate for each other.

  2. Not to be crude, but don’t forget: that’s not the only area involved sometimes. This includes men & women. They seem to fixate quite a bit on people’s colons & such lately.

    They have a tendancy toward thinking that anything that deviates from the conclusions THEY’VE reached is untrue. There’s a movie called Perfect Getaway that illustrates this type of thinking toward the end. Can’t explain it without giving away the plot too much, but I was watching it last night & this came to mind. Doubly so, since a lot of serial killers are drawn to the medical professions because of a perceived control of life & death.

    There was even a scene where an EMT was NOT listening when someone was trying to tell them something & was trying to hold her down while one of the killers was chasing her. That part rang true- the disregardive manner, that “I’ve made a decision & I think it’s perfectly fine” tone, the near-immediate attempt to get a hold of someone instead of them doing things on their own. Definitely made me wonder what would happen if they were in an ambulance or a hosptial & they were trying to do something to her that she didn’t want.

  3. I am still thinking about performing pelvic and rectal exams on anesthesized patients for training purposes without informed consent.
    If physicians feel this is a necessary and benign practice they should volunteer to do the procedures on themselves. Let the senior gynecologists have his/her interns perform these procedures on themselves.
    Guess what?
    They’d never do it.
    It’s too embarrassing and invasive.
    Training physicians like this strips them of essential empathy and adds to many of the problems patients experience with their physicians.

    • I agree with you, Cindy. It’s this sort of conduct being viewed as acceptable that adds to the attitudes we see in women’s healthcare, where there is little or no respect for informed consent and even consent itself can be violated. Women are treated like mere bodies, not independent and competent adults.
      Cervical screening is often performed as a result of medical coercion, hardly surprising some doctors view this as an acceptable practice when they see consent being disregarded for women in other settings, like pelvic exams without consent under GA.
      It’s these attitudes and practices that must be addressed and challenged, our bodies belong to us and we have the same legal rights as men, and doctors have an ethical and legal obligation to respect our right to choose what happens to our body.
      When you allow consent to be ignored, you leave women open for abuse and that’s exactly what’s happened.

      • Cindy: Great point! I didn’t even think of that & I’ll bet they’d be much less ignorant of the effects & utilities of whatever the procedures were. Then again, they might be willing to “take the hit to keep on swinging,” so to speak.

        Elizabeth: Keep in mind that you’re not very likely to get any support from them. If they were inclined differently, they’d act differently. All the bullshit that they dispense & supposedly don’t know anything about has to come from somewhere & there’s plenty that they pull all on their own. I’m not saying their REPLACEMENTS wouldn’t act better, but the current population is a bit of a dry well.

        They see patients as disease entities, not people. Even if they DID see them as people, they see them as inferior people by comparison to themselves.

  4. Count me among those who does not go to the doctor when I have a real health concern mainly out of pap (and other screening) bullying and coercion.

    If I go to a doctor with some immediate health complaint, the first question is “When was your last pap?” That is soon followed by “When was your last mammogram?” and “When was your last colonscopy?” When I don’t give them a specific answer within the past year, or give any answer at all, the rest of the visit is taken up with them talking to me about how important it is that I have this test TODAY for this very rare cancer. Then, they either talk about mamograms or colonscopies if there is time in that visit, and/or I’m given information about where and when they’ve made appointments for me to have these screening tests. Meanwhile, whatever my complaint is has gotten no attention or even asentence of discussion. I’ll have to come back. Their next appointment is weeks away. By then, the problem has resolved or it’s gotten worse. It’s more pap coercion and more mammogram and colonscopy bullying – “Why didn’t you keep that appointment we made for you???” I try to explain the health concern, and it’s still ignored.

    This continues until the problem goes away on its own, or it becomes so critical that I go to the emergency room. In the emergency room, the question and admonishment is, “Why didn’t you see a doctor for this sooner?” (Possibly followed by more pap admonishments and shaming for letting it go so long that it was an issue at the doctor.) By this time, the original problem is now a major problem, unless it has resolved.

    My attempting to see a doctor early for the problem has gotten me nowhere. I got no evaluation or treatment until it was a critical concern. The only difference between seing a doctor or not about it is the stress I’ll undergo while refusing these unnecessary tests and the costs for undergoing that stress and no treatment. I’ll take no treatment without the stress, thank you.

    Yes, on the larger scale it is a huge health risk to the public. Focusing on a rare cancer to the exclusion of everything else It prevents any medical care leading to more critical conditions.

    Of course, then, if part of your complaint about the immediate medical concern is “I have a pain “here”.”, the next 5 minutes willl be spent telling me how they will not prescribe pain pills – as if I am some druggie. If I’ve gotten that far, I want TREATMENT, not hiding the symptoms. Then, that’s another visit to maybe get treatment…

    • I’d be staying away too, Beth, what a nightmare!
      Thankfully, my doctor-shopping found me a great GP, she listens, is respectful and accepts my decisions. My file has been marked, screening is never mentioned to me unless I raise it or my GP is away and I see someone else in the practice. I must say though most of the doctors I’ve seen have been respectful, one GP asked me about pap tests, she must have been curious about the note and there was no screening history on the computer, we ended up having a chat about informed consent and evidence based screening. I saw it as an opportunity to educate, it still amazes me though that most doctors are surprised when a woman has any knowledge on the subject or someone who refuses with sound reasons to back it up. (and that should NOT be necessary)
      “How did you find out about that?” was the response when I mentioned the target payments for pap tests, it’s easier for the program if we don’t know about these things.

      I suspect if you’re informed, you’re more likely to get co-operation, rather than orders and pressure. It becomes dangerous to push an informed women into screening when she’s concerned about false positives, excess biopsies etc. These things are so common and a decent doctor knows cc is rare. It changes the power dynamic, or so I’ve found.

      Once again, I know things are different in the States and informed women are more likely to be coerced, pressured or sacked. I also, know that doctor-shopping is difficult with your insurance company dictating what practices you can use.

      So much for screening adding to our health, IMO, it was a dark day for women’s healthcare when screening was introduced (read: mandated)…now the focus is on a rare cancer and breast cancer while far more likely risks to our health are largely ignored, like heart disease. A colleague told me her GP goes on about pap testing far more than about her smoking…but then our GPs get target payments for pap testing.
      It makes no sense from a healthcare point of view: smoking is far more concerning than someone refusing pap tests or should be…

      • The need to doctor shop to find one who is even acceptable is time consuming and EXPENSIVE in the United States. That’s especially true in a rural area where doctors may be as little as 16 miles (about 30 KM), or more are 50 miles (roughly 85 km). Then, insurance won’t pay for the “new patient” charge – basically, a charge to set up a chart which may be negligable to $100 or more. When you’ve seen several doctors with the same complaint, and no treatment, you end up… explaining… excessively. I hope with the ACA, and insurance companies more motivated to go after fraud on the part of the caregivers, a lot of this screening coercion and refusing care until/unless it’s completed goes away, but I’m not holding my breath.

        The whole situation would seem absurd when applied to a visit to any other professional. Take an accountant or an auto mechanic. If the mechanic says he will not even look at my brakes until he’s been able to penetrate me sexually, or if the accountant says he will not do my taxes until he’s penetrated me sexually, I would have a case of (attempted) rape by coercion, as well as a complaint against either his mechanics or CPA license in the state. If a doctor says that he cannot evaluate my staph infection without a pelvic exam/pap results, he’s just “being thorough” and is taking care with my health. What’s the difference?

        I do smoke. It’s asked on the same questionaire that asks about my last pap and my periods and all that. If they mention smoking at all, they say, “Quit it!” No lectures to the exclusion of everything else.

        I have had plenty of bad experiences with doctors and hospitals. I may write up a long letter of “Dear doctor, this is why I don’t just trust you”.

        In my last pap, the doctor (a woman) asked if a (woman) student could watch. I agreed. Then, she was showing her what was what, and pointed out that I didn’t have a cervix because I’d had a hysterectomy! No I haven’t. I have a retroverted uterus, and the cervix is on the side, not in the center. I had to point it out, and “oh yeah”. I’d been seeing her for paps for several years, so what WERE they doing? A pap of the vaginal vault is useless. When I seem to know more about my anatomy than the doctor does, something is very wrong with this whole set up.

        …Then I started looking into it further, and know that these are WORSE than useless!

        Part of my experiences in hospitals are that my express refusals are often not adhered to, and what I didn’t want was done anyway. I keep learning more about what has to be documented, and how – and I’ve seen things that DID happen not documented. I’ve been injured more than once! I’m learning to document EVERYTHING for a potential court case. It’s a sad situation, and not one likely to produce any health care. So, I just take my chances and not get health care. Health care that gives me even basic human rights to bodily autonomy is unavailable.

      • It’s incredible that many of us can’t get medical care unless we basically hand over our bodies to the medical profession. The questionnaires you complete, I can’t recall ever completing one, except providing basic information.
        One some US forums people complain about the information “required”, things like, “Do you engage in anal sex?”. What?
        In comparison our medical system is easier to negotiate if you’re informed and dodge the pap-zealots, it’s just that many women here don’t question the so-called established fact that pap tests are vitally important for all women. I think more are waking up though…

        When excess and non-evidence based testing and exams are the norm and there is lots of pressure to have them, some/many women fear moving away from them, “I haven’t had my ovaries checked in 2 years!”. Umm, I’ve never had my ovaries checked and never will unless I’m symptomatic and the exam/test is absolutely necessary. I don’t live in fear because of that decision, but I might if I’d been raised to view my ovaries as a threat to my life, something that needs regular checking.
        We often don’t question what has always been the case. An American colleague (here for 2 years) said she doesn’t like the way Australian doctors barely touch you, the consults are so brief, I think that’s a bonus.

        It’s a shocking thing when people have to manage without medical care because of the risks associated WITH medical care. I hope things improve in the States with all of the recent changes. I know my US colleagues (I see in HK from time to time) gave up US medical care years ago to avoid the well-woman nonsense, all had been traumatized by these exams and where they led…excess procedures.

      • Whoa, hadn’t thought or known about that – ‘target payments for pap tests’. I’d thought doctors get what I call ‘kick-backs’ for prescribing pharmaceuticals, but didn’t know they do for invasive and dangerous tests too. Thank you for that information. And to BethK (below), I agree (with bethk).

    • Couldn’t get it to show up on my computer (it said something about the security certificate or something, so it’s probably just mine). What did it say?

      Also, you had suggested moving to the Czech Republic to me at one point & I’m still thinking of it, but I might not be able to get citizenship in the EU from my heritage (apparently, the Italian government considers the American Citizenship Oath to be voluntary renounciation of Italian citizenship, but I don’t know if that’ll get in the way of anything).

      Anyway, I was wondering if anybody you knew moved there & maybe had told you anything specific about actually moving & how it is there. I’ve been looking things up on & off, but it’s hard to find information about other countries in America, I’ve noticed.

      Hope all is well with you.

      P.S.- Someone on here had posted something about when they tried to make pelvic exams mandatory for employment in Poland & I told her that they TRIED, but it didn’t go that way- was that accurate or did I remember things wrong? Also, did they publicize that, like putting it on the news & in the paper or did they try to do things in a more sneaky way?

      • Hi Alex

        The video is about how to avoid cancer – the main reason for cancer is SUGAR and GMO. It’s not only the breast cancer, but about all different types of cancer as well as other diseases. The doctor also said that oncologists don’t tell people not to eat sugar, especially people with cancer. They know that cancerous cells feed on sugar. Cheeky medical business. He also said that mammography is harmful as it gives a lot of radiation. So, the conventional medical procedures are for nothing. Whatever the cancer, we must remember that the main cause(s) of the disease is sugar and GMO.
        The doctor’s name is Russell Blaylock: http://www.russellblaylockmd.com/

        Alex, it’s not a problem to go to the Czech Republic or to Poland to work and live. You don’t need citizenship – later yes, but it’s unnecessary. There are so many native speakers of English going all over the world and teaching the language with no citizenship of the country they are going to.

        In Poland the former, unbelievably stupid minister of health wanted to impose such humiliating compulsion on women (the idiot – a woman herself! – wanted to impose it because she was pressed by the gynaecological lobby). It didn’t go through at all. We didn’t let that moron do anything. We sent the message about it all over Europe and the world. One Polish lady wrote a very moving petition to the now falling government of Poland. If I found more time, I would translate it one day – the petition is written greatly and worth being translated.

      • Thanks, Jola. You know, I was just reading a book called Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagal & it mentions sugar as a major cause of tooth decay by throwing the body’s chemistry out-of-whack. Apparently, just like when someone is starving & the body eats its own tissues, teeth will degenerate from a lack of minerals. Sugar throws things out of balance, so the body draws from the teeth to even out the pH. Haven’t read all of it, but there was something to that effect in there. The industrially processed foods cause trouble wherever they go.

        There’s another one called Nutrition & Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price that is referenced heavily in that book & it seems that his findings were more or less swept under the rug around the same time as they started really fostering allopathic medicine & making all kinds of false claims to bolster its growth. The first one give more how-to advice, if you’re wondering.

        I’m glad to hear that it’s not so hard to get into the country. I guess I could just get a residency permit that’ll last for a few years or something? Either way, I guess the whole teaching language thing might work, although I don’t have any certification for that (then again, I guess I don’t necessarily have to- I’ve heard a bit about teaching it informally for some spare cash & doing that for a few people on their lunch break would probably help with finance & making friends).

        I hope you do translate & post that petition when you get the chance. I’d really love to read it. I know you don’t necessarily need other people to reinforce what you already know, but I think you’ll agree that it’s so helpful to see that you’re not “the only one that thinks the sky is blue.” I worry a lot about how things are going here in America & it gets to the point where I feel like I’m living enemy territory. Not quite the “warzone cliche” with snipers & landmines, but still an environment that is inhospitable. It’s not just general risk of life, or even like going parachuting- it’s more like someone cutting a whole in your parachute & acting like they didn’t interject anything on top of it.

    • It didn’t come up for me either. It’s not your computer, it may be censored, as government and corporate ISP’s are now deciding what we can view, and/or maybe only available to medical people, who don’t want you to see it either.
      SUGAR is deadly, as are Sugar-substitutes too, which are made to be habit-forming (so you will buy more) and GMO’s, ghastly. Buy ORGANIC, which must also be Non-GMO, but look for both insignias, and remove sugar from your diet. If you must do sweet, chose a good quality, pure, Honey instead (preferably Raw).
      I cut out sugar several years ago, when I learned it’s an inflammatory. I wanted to see if my joint injuries would improve without it. I did one better and cut out all simple-carbs too that become sugars in the body. Just 4 months later I was 30 lbs lighter, lost the gut, the gas and bloat, and mood was better too. A huge difference!
      Suggest you stay away from red meats too, as they are very hard on your body, takes a lot of water and energy to digest. Buy a good water filter pitcher, or an reverse-osmosis system to your home or apartment, and drink Distilled water once a week or so. Regarding water & food, do the same for your Pets, too. Remember: the worse you eat, the more you end up at the doctor’s office, which they like, well, because it makes the money-go-round. It’s a business, nothing to do with our health or our care. For years now I’ve thought that there is no illness that clean air, clean water and clean food won’t cure, or rather prevent.

  5. I still find it strange that in some hospitals ALL surgery preps are asking patients to remove all clothing including underwear when the surgery is not that part of the body. I had minor day surgery procedures twice. I had both on my back. The first was very minor, a small incision only. The prep nurse was very upset that I would not remove my panties. She said if something happened and I had to be taken to surgery then they would have to cut them off to insert a catheter. Really? Then the surgeon showed up with a student to watch (they asked just then). I was bent over a gurney for the procedure with two male doctors behind me. Ok. I definitely was glad I kept on my panties. Bad enough I was in a hospital gown with people coming in and out of the area. Second time I kept on my shoes, shoes, panties and a skirt. The nurse said that I might get blood on my skirt. So what, I could wash it or get another. Why is the policy to remove all clothing? Even if someone comes I to ER and needs to remove clothing quickly they just cut it off.

    They want the underwear off so they can let students do practice rectal and vaginal exams. Why is anyone surprised at this? Otherwise why would the official medical bodies just have to make up some grand documents about their students having to get consent?

    • Moo, we MUST ALWAYS REFUSE TO TAKE OFF OUR UNDERWEAR. You did a great job!

      What about the cases when we are under anaesthetic? Will those robots consider our written objection? They have no pangs of conscience! I believe we need to raise the concerns about this furtive and degrading procedure, here on this forum.

      • We are under anesthesia, and they do practice vaginal and rectal exams, even though the surgery does not relate to anything like that.

        WE pay extra money for the anesthesiologist to keep us under longer. WE assume the increased risks from being under anesthesia longer.

        What do they call it when a vagina or anus is penetrated without consent? What is it called when that is done by multiple people? What do we call it when those multiple people as well as others planned in advance to penetrate the vagina and/or anus of a nonconsenting person? Oh yeah. Rape, gang rape, and conspiracy. The only difference between this and when it’s planned to do to some girl at a frat party is that the girl is not charged thousands of dollars for her rufie! Putting it in a medical setting doesn’t change the facts of the case. It seems to change the willingness to prosecute it.

    • I worked in the O.R.for some time.All clothing was removed. Including ” panties .” This was done for sterility purposes.If my gloved hands would drop below my waist , not touching a thing , I had to immediately re-scrub and re-glove. All this is taking precious time away from the general anesthesia.No-One ever practiced rectal exams.In med-school a girl was paid WELL for us to practice. Good-Doc

      • Wow! So happy you had a good experience.
        I was not in O.R. or under general anesthesia. Both times I had procedures done under local anesthetic. So there was no “sterile” operating room. There was really no need to remove my underwear or most if my clothing. I was appalled at the lack if privacy I received.

        Ever notice how the dentist office is so clean? The chair and surfaces are wiped down between patients. Is a general doctor’s office including the table that pelvic tests are done ever cleaned between patients? Is there any difference between mucus membranes in the mouth and throat and those of the anus and vagina?

    • i was 8 and had surgery in a hospital and was mad because i had to remove my underwear. the surgery was on my ear, and okay maybe the cather helped me use the restroom but maybe that should be explained? plus i couldn’t do anything because i was a child. but i cried because i had to remove my underwear. (think i just uncovered my first distrust of doctors here!)

  6. If you don’t answer the question about whether or not you engage in anal sex, or (I presume) respond that you do, the records will show, “Counselled patient on the dangers of engaging in anal sex.” What???? They had no such conversation! Or, if you have some bowel problem which was caused by an early rape/mollestation, you WILL be counselled on how dangerous it is to engage in anal sex, and the records will show that anal sex was the cause of the problem. So, insurance may or may not pay for it – especially after the problem recurrs after they “counselled” the patient.

    What is this about women being upset that they haven’t had their ovaries checked in 2 years? The bimanual exam cannot papate the ovaries in any except the THINNEST women. They cannot examine them that way on a good 95% of women and girls. The real problem is that these exams are not even explained to women who get them, which completely negates informed consent.

  7. I think misogyny plays a HUGE role in the gyno realm. I mean, think about it. Isn’t it lopsided that there isn’t a routine once a year pap smear equivalent for men? Pelvic exam for men? How about a routine heart exam? I mean, heart disease is more common than cervical cancer. Then why on Earth are women forced and coerced into opening their legs once a year? It just doesn’t make sense. The tests are sh** and the whole thing is just laughable.
    Here’s where the misogyny kicks in:
    A while ago, perhaps 40 years or more, most gynecologists were men. If anyone would like to read some 1950’s-1970’s med school gyno text books, be my guest. You will find a plethora of sexist, chauvinistic teachings toward women.
    A little harsh you say? I know, I know, I’m starting to sound a bit feminist. But hey, don’t take my word for it. Obstetrics and Gynecology (1971) says:

    “The traits that compose the core of the [female] personality are feminine narcissism, masochism, and passivity.”


    • MANY things are more common than cervical cancer! Kidney cancer is a rare cancer, but more common than cervical cancer. It’s devistating for the 20,000 people or so who get it, and it’s worse because it’s in a late stage usually when it’s detected. Asymptomatic people are not sent in for an ultrasound, MRI, or CAT scan every year to see if they have kidney cancer.

      Heart disease is the #1 killer of both men and women. The cardiac risks and symptoms are never discussed, even if the woman asks about it. She may get a cholesterol screening and medications, along with advise to exercise, but that’s about it.

      If they were serious about early detection of health risks likely to be fatal, they’d give everyone an annual cardiac stress test and EKG every year. But, they don’t.

      BTW, men who receive anal sex from other men are told to consider getting an anal pap. This is DISCUSSED with the man, told the risks of having it and not having it, given his lifestyle choices, and he makes a CHOICE with the doctor, rather than being railroaded into getting undressed and prodded.

  8. How someone could take the fact that people are undergoing penetrative “pelvic exams” without even their knowledge, let alone consent, and not immediately recognize that is rape is beyond me. Even if from an emotionally detached legal point of view, one should understand that that fits the definition of rape to a T. According to the article, it seems most doctors, and medical students apparently, never even consider that it may at least be unethical. I just have to conclude that doctors are freaking sociopaths; what other explanation is there?
    Also- I’ve been reading this site for a while now and just want to say thanks to the author and all you commenters. It’s a relief to know some sanity exists around these issues, no matter how rarely. Remember, for every person who comments, there are likely a ton of women like me who don’t. But we’re here and we’re with you.

    • That’s what I tend to think. They act like they’re unaware, but that’s just a cover. They maintain a course of action that includes these details. They grasp the disparity between just raising their hand in the air & sticking their fingers into someone while they sleep. Their actions require orientation, basically.

      There’s probably all kinds of bullshit arguments about how someone being this way would be a good thing, but it’s counter-effective to quality medical care. It’s much like a disease that draws a paycheck.

  9. and sh*t like this is the reason I avoid going to the ER at all costs. I just had my first UTI/bladder infection. Of course it was sunday so I couldn’t see my GP I adore who has been my dr since I was 14. I have issues with doctors and with being touched by people I don’t know. As soon as I got there before I even gave a urine sample the Dr who came in said “Well we better check you out. Go ahead and undress and put your feetup here.” My head started spinning and I nearly vomited at the thought of him touching me there.When I asked why he said. “Oh just to help us rule out anything else that might be causing this. It’s pretty standard.” When I refused he got offended. HE was the one who wanted to invade MY privates-my very sore privates-and yet he felt he had the right to be offended when I wouldn’t submit. I got tired of arguing with him and ended up walking out and suffering through the pain until the next morning when I could see my GP. After seeing my pain and a fever of 102 he said he wished I had gone to the ER. I was agitated and upset and started crying when I told him what happened. He shook his head, patted my back and said “I can’t say I blame you. That’s not really necessaryfor this and I think it would’ve irritated you more. You know your body and if you tell me something is wrong I’ll listen. I would never push you into anything that scares you like that just for the sake of investigating.” While we waited for the urinalysis results he gave me tylenol had me lay down. He turned on a fan and started sponging cool water on my face and then he *ASKED* me if he could unbutton my shirt to cool my chest down. Hmm imagaine that. A dr actually asking if he can do something and waiting for you to say yes rather than just assuming and doing it anyway. He got my fever down and after the urinalysis obviously came back positive he simply gave me antibiotics and a note to stay home from work. now THAT my friends is the difference between a doctor who listens and cares about his patient and one who just wants to accomplish his own goals. An excellent example of how annoyingly chauvanistic docs are when a woman can’t even get treated for a simple urinary infection without being invaded by fingers/tools for no valid medical reason.

  10. You do not need a gyn exam to test for a uti. all they gave me was a urin sample test. They assume some woman do not know there body and that all young girls are walking stds. I had a uti and if the clinic wanted to do a gyn exam for that i whould have refused to. on the other hand my aunt thinks she needs to see a gyn every time she gets a uti bc she thinks it has somthing to do with the vagina and her gyn has lead her to belive this.

  11. A lot of times there seems to be an association with different things going on (ex: if someone IS a woman, she’s somehow inherently likely to get a problem that ONLY a woman can get). If there’s an issue in the chest area, that would probably get connected to a breast exam. If she was having ankle pain, that must be an inner thigh issue. Wherever she’s having problems, she should be completely naked to overlap that area.

  12. On a side note sh*t like this is also the reason I haven’t pursued BC yet (and also why I keep telling the BF I don’t want kids). I don’t want some doctors hands/tools in that part of my body PERIOD. Is it so crazy to be revolted/terrified by the idea of someone I don’t know/love touching me there?Although they claim “it’s not sexual” it IS sexual for the woman because they are touching her sex organs and if someone invades/damages that part of her body for the sake of needless potentially harmful testing it damages her sexually. Right? It’s not just me being a paranoid weirdo right? When a woman’s doctor refuses to write a script or address another health concern without her submitting to an invasion of her body they seem to think it’s alright. However if a woman’s boss brings her into his office and says “We need to make some cuts and unless you have sex with me you’ll be let go.” he isn’t forcing her to have sex with him but he isn’t really giving her a choice either. Hmm…what do they call that? Oh yeah. RAPE. So when it comes to medical professionals somehow having a degree (or even being in the process of getting one) makes it completely okay?? Maybe I’m just young and naive but the whole thing just seems completely wrong and I hope that I can avoid anything gyn related for a VERY long time.

    • Well stated Emily! I was on birth control for a few short months but when I discovered I would need a pelvic/vaginal exam before I could get more I decided to stop taking them. That was years ago, and since hearing about the side effects of birth control pills I’m glad I had made that decision. There are other options available that seem far safer. You might be young but you are FAR from naive. Good for you to be questioning all of this! I don’t know if you’ve read some of the other posts on this blog, but if you check out this one: https://forwomenseyesonly.com/2012/09/09/the-other-side-of-the-speculum-a-male-doctors-point-of-view/ you will see you are on the right track in relation to the sexual aspect. This one is also revealing: https://forwomenseyesonly.com/2013/04/19/sexual-abuse-under-guise-of-health-care-presents-barriers/ and this one: https://forwomenseyesonly.com/2013/08/27/pelvic-exams-and-porn-trigger-warning/

    • You’re completely right about all that & maybe your youth gives you an advantage. I’ve noticed a lot of women from my mother’s generation seem like they’ll put up with absolutely anything as long as it’s not a backhand to the face or a dinner order!

      It’s not immature or otherwise defective to have bodily autonomy & self-protectiveness, just like it’s not stupid to think compositionally. A situation is what it consists of & this situation consists of an interface with a sexual area as a product of someone else’s decision-making, which is an attack. It doesn’t HAVE to go all the way to being penetrative to be a problem, but in this case it does.

      The additional ramifications (injuries, miscarriages, tests & surgeries over false results, complications with either, etc…), if realized, are aggravating factors. If someone were to say “let me play doctor on you or you’re getting evicted” that is a coercive attack. Same if they were to say “let me get a look at you naked or you’re fired.” That is, at a minimum, sexual harassment in the workplace.

      It’s actually illegal for them to back you into these things to get birth control, so you can probably force them to give them to you if you simply mention that (or demand that they put it in writing that they refuse to give you these pills until you get probed)- just try to get everything recorded like with a cell phone on “record” in your bag or one of those spy gadgets (which, by-the-way, doctors sometimes have pens that they wear as necklaces, camera watches, hidden cameras, etc…).

      It really doesn’t matter what’s legal & what isn’t, since anything at all can be sanctioned & you’re only dealing with actions anyway- but I suppose the legal term would be “coercive iatrogenic sexual assault & reproductive endangerment.” Overall, properties don’t change by designation- just like if a doctor poisons someone with a needle, it’s still murder. What happens is what occurs & someone can’t accurately say otherwise. If they do, they probably wind up looking crazy, too- not a fitting quality to have in a medical occupation.

    • Hi Emily,
      I felt the same way, it’s one of the reasons I’ve never taken the Pill.
      There were significant barriers around the Pill in 1980, when I might have used it, almost all doctors were male and they would only prescribe the Pill after you submitted to pap testing (which is supposed to be an elective test and is completely unrelated to the Pill, it can never be medically required for anything) and a pelvic and breast exam, some tacked on a recto-vaginal exam as well, why not, when you can do as you please with the body of a woman who simply wants contraception?
      I did my research, knew these things were not clinical requirements for the Pill and refused to submit to what I viewed as an assault.
      I saw first hand the damage this coercion did to so many women. It was quite frightening and at 22 I wondered how I’d protect myself from doctors into the future with their “requirements”.

      I’m now 56 and have never had a pap test.
      We shouldn’t have to live around medical requirements/abuse, but the system leaves us little choice.
      You’re wise to question the whole rotten business of women’s “healthcare”. Being informed has protected me, doctors KNOW this is wrong so an informed woman tends to be treated with more respect and care. I know many women fear not having pap testing with all the “awareness” and scare campaigns, but when you have the evidence these tactics have no effect, I know the lifetime risk of cc, I know the lifetime risk of colposcopy and biopsy, I know what these things involve, so you’ll never persuade me to screen with a scary story about a woman who didn’t screen and got cancer etc.
      I KNOW…means it all falls on deaf ears, except to register, “they’re still lying to/misleading women…and treating us like ignorant sheep”.
      They rely on that ignorance to reach the screening target.
      A doctor can’t mislead or scare an informed woman, and coercion is likely to lead to a formal complaint, so it’s “unsafe” FOR THEM to treat informed women like members of the compliant herd. We might just bite back!
      Welcome to the forum.

  13. Could this be the basis for a post? Here’s a great example of how the healthcare industry tries to advertise paps to women as “responsible.”

    I got this postcard from my health insurance company, LA Care. Yes, it’s ripped; I started tearing the postcard apart in disgust before I decided to take a photo.

    1. They are making women feel that they are empowered and are making conscious, informed decisions to do something when in fact they’re just being coerced and misled. They’re making it seem, through this ad, that paps = the only healthy choice. How about something that says “choose to GET THE FACTS about paps and whether you actually need one?”

    1. They are “choosing” paps to be the #1 health concern for women. I wonder why they aren’t telling women to choose to be concerned about heart disease, diabetes or ovarian cancer, which kill more people than cervical cancer ever will? The #1 killer of women is heart disease, and ONE IN FOUR have it.

    2. They are saying that getting paps carries the same magnitude as immunizing children. Sure, of course, screening for a rare cancer that affects less than 1% of the population is right up there with ensuring that your kid doesn’t get polio or measles! Got it!

    3. Of course, there’s the whole “over 21” nonsense, when it has been proven that paps do nothing for young women; there’s also the whole “1-3 years” thing, which is also wrong.

    4. We could also point out that the whole “keep all your doctors appointments if you’re pregnant” line basically ignores women’s choice to receive their prenatal care from providers that are not OB/GYNs, such as Registered Nurse Midwives.

    At the same time they are wasting money to send out these postcards, they are completely tuning out the ACTUAL CANCER RISK that I have. I have a VERY strong familial history of skin cancer – it appears on both sides of my immediate family – and I have Type 1 skin, which is the highest risk. My grandmother got skin cancer from walking 5 minutes to work every day, so even without sun exposure, I’m in trouble here. I have been told that I need to see a dermatologist and get checked for skin cancer regularly because I have such high risk. I’ve been trying to get a referral to a dermatologist and get my insurance to take this seriously, and they won’t listen to me.

    I guess what this postcard means, then, is “choose to care about a specific isolated, rare cancer and get a useless, invasive and humilating test; choose to ignore the illness you might actually get.”

  14. Everyone, you might want to check this out: Go to kevinmd.com & read “Man sues hospital for a forced rectal exam.” We’ve touched on the story before, but look at the comments. Holy shit, so many of those doctors are so appallingly arrogant it’s a suprise their head hasn’t exploded!

    It got to the point where someone actually said “The trauma room isn’t your private doctor’s office and you don’t have an unlimited right to decide what will and won’t be done to you there unless you check out AMA. And if you are intoxicated or are behaving unreasonably and are screaming “don’t touch me” at the top of your lungs, the staff do not have to follow your instructions on how to evaluate you or how to practice medicine in any other way.”

    (1) Now, if someone is screaming at the top of their lungs “don’t touch me,” this somehow indicates something OTHER than refusal? Maybe someone should say “no” in a quiet tone so that it’s easier to deny that it happened later on? Maybe it makes sure that someone that would help them doesn’t hear what’s going on, so the assailants are left in peace?

    (2) Them deeming something “unreasonable” or someone “mentally unfit” when their actions are refused is a fairly simple tactic & a huge conflict of interest- especially considering that it outsources consent to the doctor.

    (3) A stay in the hospital is not supposed to be an act of persecution. They don’t decide that someone has some kind of strike against them for being in the emergency room & now they’re getting deprived of something. This goes for everywhere else in the hospital, as well. Considering that someone generally gets BROUGHT to the emergency room, they can’t even make the point that it’s their fault for coming there- but they shouldn’t be generating an inhospitable environment in the first place.

    (4) If they feel that they have the right to include iatrogenic attack in their methods of practice, they are unfit for medical service. If they feel attacked by the patient comporting their own medical situation, particularly in regard to what is inserted into them, that’s too bad. I’d say it’s good for them to suffer through this pain, but it’s better to not have someone like this in a position to access the patients & do them damage. If this is their alignment, they’re actually a very unsafe factor for the general public, as well.

    (5) Hypothetically, if they thought that reality took a coffee break for them or simply didn’t apply in a medical setting, they’d be crazy & unfit for medical professions because of that. Since they obviously do grasp when something isn’t going their way, formulate countermeasures, and even try to implement them- this points to antagonism, not to insanity.

    Any thoughts?

  15. Okay so now I’m a little freaked out because today I got a flyer in the mail similar to diane’s but I didn’t even bother taking a picture before throwing it into my firepit and burning it (:< "YOU ARE DUE FOR A PAP TEST" "SCREENING SAVES LIVES" blah blah blah. My thoughts were: "F*ck you people! I'm not "due" for jack sh*t until I am d*mn good and ready!" I'm only 24 and the BF and I were both virgins when we started dating almost 4 yrs ago and we always use protection. I can't help but feel a little scared though…what if I do get pregnant? Also my great-gram and my gram both had cervical/uterine cancer…nothing wrong w my mom so far other than benign cysts/polyps but she told me about what they did to her to find out that those were no big deal and what they did while she was giving birth to me and my brother (via c-section after horrendous difficulties w him)…I don't think I could stomach that. ANY of it. Now I'm just kinda depressed…i LOVE kids and I really would like to have a baby but not if it means having my bodily integrity violated on a regular basis. -SIGH- it seems like a no-win situation ):

    • Emily- You could just have kids naturally. There are numerous books on the subject & ones about more self-sufficient care of your health, too. Rosemary Gladstar has a bunch of good books, just to get you started. I was actually just reading Birth as an American Rite of Passage & it might be a book that you’d be interested in since it gives a lot of information about the underpannings of things in that situation. Not especially hard to understand what they’re saying, but more than a few parts are a rough read- just to give you a heads-up.

      You’re right, “due” implies that this has been established & is already set down. This is an outside orchestration of a penetrative situation. One word of advice, though: You really don’t need to explain anything to them. Ultimately, they’ll either try to shoot down whatever you say or they’ll try to lie & trick you into things. I know you didn’t mean it as leaving it up to them, but they try to “grade” people’s conclusions & decisions all the time. It really is like they’re trying to crawl into someone’s skin (or other areas, a bit more literally).

      As for cancer- it seems that it has a MASSIVE amount to do with lifestyle & a little to do with genetics. Keep in mind: They misdiagnose things all the time & with everything. This particualr subject tends to have a “cut it out, just in case” manner of response. There’s also plenty of financial incentives (which I’m not all that knowledgeable about, but other people on here are). I definitely remember a situation which amounted to “Hey, you want an organ removal with that?” Very creepy.

      However far back you want to trace blame (your mother’s generation, her mother’s generation, etc…), you still have to worry about what your own situation is. Some people really just keep arguing even when they’re wrong or keep asking you “why?” on something even thought you’ve given the answer. Don’t be too distressed- an action has to be ENGAGED in order to occur, so these things aren’t just going to mystically appear.

      What does your boyfriend think of all this? He might be very supportive & it could suprise you. Keep in mind: You might need to elaborate on dynamics a bit, since it might be in the mental “Non-Issues Bin.” Dynamics don’t change because standards do & sometimes you have to prove reality to people. If you need any help with getting things across, I’ll be glad to provide advice. With men, it’s important to be direct & unsubtle, as well as persistant. Also, the point of “How would you come to know something?” tends to come up. You’re notifying him that this IS the situation.

    • Yikes, if you are in the USA, it would seem that a postcard that said “you are due for a Pap” would totally violate HIPAA privacy regulations. They’re not supposed to be disclosing anything about your medical records – including whether you are due for exams – to the general public, and if it’s on a postcard, anyone can read about it. If you ever get another postcard like that, please save it and make a complaint to HIPAA.


      And in terms of having a baby, there are nurse midwives and doulas out there who will NOT violate your privacy the way an OB/GYN would. You just have to find them,

  16. Thanks alex I feel a little better now (: btw I did read that article you posted (i even found a more detailed version) and yeah I agree that’s pretty creepy. The most puzzling part of it is that no one seems to know/understand his mental capacity. If a man is coherent enough to say “No, please don’t do that.” and fight back when a doctor does something he doesn’t want he is obviously able to also perform other tests and answer questions that would have rendered a rectal exam useless. Also people who are not mentally sound are generally not penalized for such things.To arrest him and hold him accountable implies that he was cognizent and aware of what he was doing. So he was not cognizent enough to know/communicate the extent of his injuries yet he was cognizent enough to be responsible for the damage he caused fighting against his attackers?? How can it be both ways?? Oh wait I forgot reality doesn’t apply when it comes to doctors….riiiiight.

  17. Just an odd thought but for those women worried about what might happen in a surgery situation and getting violated when under GA well maybe put in a tampon and then well if you find they took that out for another unrelated surgery it might let you know things ‘went on’ obviously don’t think you could insert one up your bum though without drawing attention to yourself so no way of knowing re rectal exam? Wouldnt have thought in uk or anywhere they would allow non medical staff in operation to watch or allow it to be filmed, as they would not want to open themselves up to being sued if bad practice was captured or reported by the person persent?

    • Hi Jane. That is the all time best solution I have ever heard to that problem. In my mind you are already a very valid and welcome new member. X

    • But what if they removed it and then put it back, how would we know? Too scary for words, I’d want to stitch myself shut…..ouch! Or design a pair of undies that locks tight LOL! I think I would insist on having an advocate present who I trust, which I know they would refuse but then I would refuse to go under GA, surely they should allow this as there is always a room with a viewing window to the theatre, god knows who gets to watch, I’ve seen referenced students/visitors etc, visitors can mean sales men/women of the equipment they are using – Awful!

      • I’ve considered getting a chastity belt and wearing it into the surgery. Then, when it had been cut off during the surgery for an unrelated part, start questioning it. Then again, they’d probably scream “paranoia” and “needs psychiatric care” just for wanting to avoid the gang-anesthetized-pelvics.

      • There’s always the problem that you might lose the key to get it off, just when you have a poo coming, and then you’d end up at accident and emergency with them trying to get the darn thing off.

    • I’ve thought about that myself. I suppose the easiest way would be to avoid going to a teaching hospital — but that’s way easier said than done, because especially in the USA, most hospitals are teaching ones. However, in another country, I once had surgery in a small private hospital that absolutely did NOT have students, residents or interns. People paid a premium to go there (and luckily for me, the exchange rate to their currency was very favorable).

      I suppose in the UK or USA there might be some surgeries that could be done at ambulatory surgery centers or outpatient clinics which again lessen the possibility of students using your unconscious body for target practice.

      Also, perhaps going to a specialized hospital helps. I had my tonsils/ear surgery in a hospital that was specifically for ENT and eyes — there wasn’t a single gynecologist, obstetrician or even general practice doctor in the place.

      Another thing is that now a lot of people actually *are* filming their surgeries. I heard of someone who had their entire ankle surgery (done under general anesthesia) taped, and I know of someone else who had the nurses take a disposable camera into her lung transplant surgery. Asking for someone to be in the OR specifically to film might cut down on the possibility of those student pelvics quite drastically.

      I think if I needed surgery I would specifically note on the hospital forms and anything I had to sign that I was NOT consenting to any sort of student exams at any time, including under anesthesia. And then I’d use a medical Sharpie (used to mark skin during surgery) to write STOP. I HAVE NOT CONSENTED TO DONATE MY BODY FOR EXAMS across my legs and stomach.

      What gets me about it, in addition to the violation, is that these teaching hospitals actually risk patients’ well being when they do this. Doing these student exams means that the patient is going to be under anesthesia longer. The longer a person is under general anesthesia the more post-op brain fog and other issues they can have.

      • Moreover, in the US, they charge the patient by the minute that they are under anesthesia. If these lines of nonconsensual gyn exams are done under anesthesia, they’re probably adding 30 minutes of expense to the anesthesia for the surgery… not to mention the extra brain-fog and risk to life or long-term effects.

      • That’s a really great point. And there are often two charges there: one for the amount of anesthesia drugs administered, and another for the amount of time the anesthesiologist is working. And it’s super expensive. It defies all logic, as well as common decency, that the extra billed time means that patients are essentially being forced to pay to be medical exam subjects without their knowledge or consent.

      • Not meant as a jab, but all that is pretty much worthless in an honorless society. I figure “honor” would be “quality of action when there’s no threat to your survivability to do otherwise & sometimes in spite of this kind of risk.”

        This doesn’t sound VERY much like this part of the world, overall- but especially not in medical settings. Actually, it strikes me as LESS likely simply because they have low accountability (self-review when complaints are made & large amounts of people acting like reality basically takes a coffee break for them), general egotism & sense of superiority (particularly on a mental level: their assessments & decisions are an “A,” but what comes from everyone else is a “B” at best). I don’t think it’s LIMITED to them, but I figure that it happens often & is an fairly unsafe environment because of that.

        Anyway, doing all that with the sharpie might be a good idea (especially if it’s documented seperately beforehand). At the very least, it takes some of the sneakiness away- like stealing something in the dark would have a more “stealthy” ambiance that is more tasteful to the one doing things. Similar sutff applies to other things: if a person fights back against a rapist, it might take the flavor out of things- they wanted a “sledgehammer against a teacup” situation & it’s not that way.

      • I’m not sure how what I wrote is “worthless,” Alex, so I do take exception to that. I’m not sure how what you said has any relevance, either.

        If you’re not in a teaching hospital or a facility that doesn’t even have gynecologists or internists, there’s no logical way anyone’s coming in to do pelvic exams during a surgery. It’s that simple. If someone’s in the room taking video of the entire procedure, likewise. They don’t tell patients or their families about these exams, and they don’t want documentation of them — if your husband or wife is sitting there with a video camera in the corner of the OR, or even witnessing the entire surgery without documenting it, it foils the game completely.

      • Yes, that also came up in my mind, being under Gen Anesth longer than is necessary brings addition risk to the patient, and is NOT what I call ‘care’. It’s totally irresponsible. I think those institutions that commit this crime, (yes, crime) are doing so to save money; they’re too cheap to pay those persons who are willing to be subjects for pay.

  18. The tampon idea is no good if you need a catheter for a longer surgery. The nurse will remove the tampon because of the risk of toxic shock syndrome. It will be replaced by a pad or you will be lying on some absorbant pad.

    If you are having a shorter surgery such as one hour and you are not needing a catheter then the surgeon is not going to care if you use a tampon or pad. I did a day surgery under local twice and refused to remove my underwear once and was told I could keep on my underwear and petticoat the second time. I was told that if there was an emergency and I needed more surgery then they might have to cut off my clothing or it might get blood on it. I told them I did not care. Of course I was fully awake and would definitely never verbally consent to having unneccessary exams of any kind.

    I heard about some who had a very expensice bra cut off during gyn surgery (why did they do that?.). The next time she duct taped over her nipples. It was a painful experience to remove the duct tape.

    • One of my friends told me she woke from sergery with a tube in her vagina collecting her menstrul blood with out concent.

    • Using alcohol can work for removing tape (kind of like how you peel up a sticker, the alcohol makes the glue loosen up). Don’t know how to describe the movement, but it’s on Youtube- I’d think it would work with vodka or something like that, too.

  19. This is not a problem facing only women, it is far more widespread than so, and pelvic exams are only a part of the practice of performing secret exams under anesthesia. Fairly frequently patiens wake up with symptoms and arrangements indicating that something untold has been done. Disturbingly often it occurs to children and teens of both sexes. I have done some research about the issue, and have written the following article based on my studies:


  20. What you’re saying doesn’t surprise me actually. The medical profession seems somewhat focused on the private areas of our body. It makes you wonder why as they could just examine each others snd leave us alone.

    • I’m in the US and yesterday my grandmother was reading the local paper. A doctor wrote a coll about woman need to keep having Pap smears because when they do the pap it also test for hpv referring to it as a terible std. And my grandmother who had a full hosts rectory over 20 years ago said she had not had a Pap smear in years and she acted concerned , she has no cervix. These doctors really spit out Mia information and fear. We can see thru it. Notice they never go into real facts or details? It’s a pap for every woman mentality. I just had to vent.

  21. I notice hear where I live in the states there are a lot of tv adds pushing for young woman to get IUDs aka skyla. It seems any thing they can have acces to inter woman’s vaginas. I see thru all this.

  22. All I can say is Ewww Kleigh! Om doctors advice I had a coil fitted. It moved! I was in agony for ages bcoz according to doctors it was safe and couldn’t move.. It did! And I could’ve got pregnant bcoz it did but I never knew. My doc at the time literally went fishing at my insistence to get it out bcoz I didn’t want to be put under anaesthetic to get it. She got it out. It’s sick the way women are treated

  23. Hi!
    I absolutely love this thread and articles. They have helped calm down my already anxious mind.
    Today I had my first pap in about 5 years. During the exam, my MD said she noticed a yellowish cyst maybe 1-2cm in size on my cervix. She seemed very concerned and said she needs to refer me tel a GYNO because she has no idea what she is looking at.
    Imagine how anxious I felt since A) she had zero idea what it was and B) informed me that she’s only actuly been practicing for maybe 5 months and has no idea what she is even looking at. She said she’s sending off the pap test and will call me with results, meanwhile pushing me anxiously to see a GYNO to look at the cyst or mass or as she stated ” big yellowish glob”. The whole situatio has had me googling and panicking all day. I’ve read about certain cysts that are normal and common on the cervix that most GYNO consider a normal part of the exam. I think I need a new MD because this one had zero answers, but damped up the hysterics and isn’t cervical cancer slow growing? Why the huge rush to check out this “cyst”?
    Anyone else had this type of experience?

    Now I remember WHY I postponed the pap in the first place because of all the hysteria and stress that seems to come with it.
    I already suffer extreme anxiety and am weaning off a strong benzo and she tosses this at me?? Lol
    I was diagnosed with HPV at 22 when I noticed warts and went to the GYNO to get them frozen off. Never had flare ups since and never had an abnormal pap ever.
    Are they trying to get me to freak out and worry about cancer? Why did she seem sl concerned about the cyst?
    She really seemed clueless and basically said ” she has zero idea what she’s looking at”. Wtf?

      • @Moo on

        THANK YOU!!
        Ive literally NEVER had a doctor act as clueless as her. Again she is a Physicians assistant and not a gyno so her experience is very low. I found out shes younger than me! Im 35 and shes 27!
        Ive always seen actual gynos before so they would never say anything during the pap just let me know the results.
        I plan to wait for the results. ..what would be the point of seeing a gyno if everything is normal? ?
        Its just another reason I avoid these appointments Lol

        Thank you! !! I feel a lot better.

    • Benzo’s are NOT necessary, period. The drug, given to ‘relax you’, I later learned is meant to induce amnesia & make you compliant. I say, if you’re going to be under Gen Anesth, than what’s to forget? …to drug a patient beforehand to shut them up! Geezzz

  24. I agree doctors have a general lack of respect for consent. I’ve experienced this a number of times and find it very distasteful. I also agree that doctors can get a bit testy when you refuse the treatment they want to provide. Hell I even had a nurse get upset with me for asking that they stitch me up when I cut myself open. Apparently in the mind of the nurse this made me a doctor because I was ”practising medicine without a licence” by prescribing a treatment. (the stitches) That wasn’t even refusing treatment (which I do regularly) I have had doctors blatantly disregard my refusal of a treatment and then try to proceed with it also. Doctors who hide what they want to do, administer the treatment and tell you afterwards. This has happened to me over at least 4 different hospitals and clinics. There is some really mentally unhealthy characters in health care. At least that’s what I gather from all this.

    But did that doctor who tried administering treatment after I refused end up doing it. No, cause I yelled at him. Would I have taken it further if yelling didn’t work? You bet! I never went back to the doctor who hid what he was doing and told me later. (unfortunately, there is no way to stop a treatment that only takes a second to perform, you’re not expecting and is hidden from you) And doctors do sometimes say very shocking things. One doctor told me that there is no known side effects of mercury, after I asked if a treatment option would expose me. Ya. I resisted the urge of bringing him research on mercury poisoning (which he dismissed as urban legend, or something like that) and just never went back. Do you seriously think I would let someone that mentally ill do surgery on me? NO WAY.

    So I do want to say I’m on the same page as you when it comes to the sorry state of the mental capacity of a large percentage of or health professionals.

    But seriously now. I have to disagree with much of the conclusion the article draws. A health care provider should not have to get explicit convent for everything. And education is a part of what they should be doing. That means trying to convince you of the company punch line. Doctors are encouraged to perform pap smears, so they encourage us in kind. That’s just good medicine. It does not matter if it’s helpful or harmful. It’s a system. It has rules. You don’t like the rules of medicine? Why are you there then? The rules are one set of recommendations that simply get applied to everyone (practically speaking it’s generally determined by what they were taught in med school, and not so much about an abstract policy) but you get the idea. It simply can’t work for everyone. Your not one of the people it’s working for. As am I. But I don’t conclude medicine is wrong because of it. I went to them. Nobody forced me there. There is no bars on the windows and men with guns enforcing treatment.

    If a doctor wants to do a pelvic exam and asks you to undress. That is Concent! What the hell did you think you were taking your pants off for?

    The solution to your complaint of people not knowing that they can say no… while that is solved most easily by informing people that they can say no. I might point out how silly it is that one would make an argument in an article the way that you have. If someone reads this article, they will then know that they can say no, and at which point for all your readers while now that they know they can, so would no longer apply to anyone reading it any longer. Although it is a good point for children who have recently reached age of majority. There still very young and haven’t fully mentally matured by that age, and don’t always really know what’s going on. So assuming the parents aren’t involved for some reason. Extra care should really be taken with them.

    You also make the point that people fear not getting the medication they need. While I can’t disagree more strongly with this. This is not medicines fault. This is the fault of the patient. There are loads of great doctors out there. (there is also loads of doctors we’ve been talking about up to now) medicine in general can’t filter out the mentally ill doctors. It, in fact, attracts them. Its part of the baggage of medicine. Its the job of patients to find and secure a good doctor ahead of any serious illness. Failure to take such measures constitutes not a failure of medicine, but a lack of planning on the part of the patient. So if one doctor fails you, what’s stopping you from visiting another? Seriously. You don’t expect every mechanic, plumber, lawyer or (insert perfession here) to have your best interests at heart and do a fantastic job. Why would you think doctors are any different from vertually all of your existing experience? They are all there in part for the paycheque and because of that, it will always impact the treatments that they encourage, or are taught to encourage. Nobody should be under any illusion about this.

    Let me share this tip with you. You don’t want the doctors susceptible to this mental illness. It hosts it’s self in those doctos who have weak minds. You want a doctor who is capable of independent thought. One that has faculties of mind that don’t get swept away by the particulars of there training. Doctors who can think on their feet make better decisions and are more insightful. Anyone with an insight thinks differently. That is what defines an insight. An insight is something others don’t see. So instead of blaming all the doctors who just are not capable of thinking past their training. Say no to the pelvic exam, even if you do want it. See how your doctor responds. If he’s an ass, see another doctor. If he treats you with respect and you get the responce you hoped for, change your mind and get the exam after all. Keep that doctor. You’ll get better care than with the other guy anyhow.

    This brings me to the major issue I have with your opinion. You essentially suggest the medical system must change to fit your point of view. I say it’s impossible. We’re both people who demand an above average level of care. A system can only ever produce average. No matter how hard it tries it only ever produces average. Average is defined by the doctors out there! We’re always going to be questioning. Systems can’t do that. A system is a set of rules taught in education. You can’t educate people to be insightful. You educate people with knowledge. Knowledge we need. Nurses, I find are generally more insightful than doctors are! Its well worth taking the time to ask them questions (if they will answer) they are less educated and see what happens when treatments are given. The more we train our doctors the stranger they get and the more their thinking gets perverted. (it happens in many highly educated professions) all that knoledge just gets in the way of critical thinking.

    Anyhow. I can’t say I agree with your analogy having non-medically necessary pelvic exams administered while under anesthetic with no mention of the practise, to a doctor who suggests a pelvic exam to a fullly cognasant woman, who then proceeds to take her pants off without assistance (yes sometimes they will remove your cloths while under general anesethic) and then again without assistance jump on the chair and place her legs in the ”rests”. Gee. Wonder what that is for. Ya. We all know what is going on. Not so in the other case. It’s paramount to rape in one situation (as far as I am concerned) and in the other, a fully consensual activity.

    Might one not like consensual activities? Yes. Might one regret a consensua activity? Yes. But whos fault is that? Nobody can be blamed but the person who gave concent. The solution here is to say no next time. The scary part is saying yes when you feel it be a ”no”. After you verbalize the no. Things get a lot less scary. You get a new better doctor, or perhaps you find out that your doctor was always fine with ”no” all along. And the best part is that knot that always exists at the bottom of your stomach when you think if the next doctor’s appointment disappears.

    Hope you won’t judge me too harshly for saying “no” to your conclusions. It was an enjoyable read in any case.

  25. This is regarding the comment about how often are the ob/gyn exam rooms and tables cleaned and noticing how clean the dental office is. I went today for my annual check up- yayness. I always put them off because I hate them so much, and today was no different. Today, though I thought about something while I was sitting there naked in a freezing exam room on the table and that was how thin the paper was covering the table. It’s not only extremely thin, but it is also pretty narrow. I’m a thin chick and there was not a lot of room left on either side of my legs. The paper ripped very easily and in shifting around, my bare behind touched the plastic of the table. EWWW! How many other ladies’ parts had been there today? And do they wipe the tables down? I’ve seen them myself when I get in a room, just rip the old paper off and pull some clean paper down from the roll. And this is probably in the wrong spot, but speaking of consent….for the past couple of times I’ve been, the doctor proceeds to try to stick his finger in my ….other place – no warning, no Hey, I’m gonna do this… Every time I scoot as far away as I can and ask what do you think you’re doing? And I get admonished, corrected, shamed, etc. He told me he was going to do a rectal exam, and I said NO THANKS. I’m good. I told him I see a gastroenterologist (I have celiac disease) and he takes care of my digestive organs, thank you very much. He said, “Well, you know they really recommend it after 40.” So what! The point is I’ve refused it several times – I have NEVER – given consent but more importantly, I have NEVER been asked for my consent. Do women just lay there and let them do this to them, just accepting it. Not this one. And that moron asked me “What kind of diet are you on for the Celiac Disease?”

    • “Yayness” indeed. I don’t want to offend, but the vast majority of women who post here don’t just lay there and let medical people do anything to them, because we have chosen not to submit to this unnecessary invasive exam in the first place. You raise some valid concerns about hygiene and lack of informed consent, but most of us here have done our own research and concurred that pelvic exams are of poor clinical value and subject us to risks such as false positives which may lead to further invasive procedures and even unnecessary surgery.

  26. Brenda
    Far from accepting it, it horrifies me to think asymptomatic women are presenting for routine pelvic, breast and rectal exams. The evidence does not support them, there’s no doubt in my mind they’re much more likely to harm you. You say you hate these exams and put them off, actually you’re in for great news, these exams are completely unnecessary! More than that, they’re a bad idea…

    Research has shown (for many years now) that countries that push these exams at women have much higher rates for hysterectomy and oophorectomy, not to mention the excess biopsies etc, and the worry from false positives…also, the reduced quality of life you experience having these horrible exams loom up at you on a regular basis.

    I’d urge you to do your reading – if you’re worried about pap testing, just use a HPV self test – you’re most likely to be HPV-, which means you can get on with your life and forget about cc. HPV- women are not even offered a Pap test under an evidence based program.

    I think you’re right…I’ve heard that some gynaecologists throw a blanket or sheet over their patients, the same blanket or sheet. I do wonder about cross-infection in these surgeries, whether some women were infected with HPV with dirty instruments, most doctors use disposable instruments these days – but even better is to stay far away!

    I’ve never had any of these exams, I’d only agree to a pelvic exam if there was a sound medical reason. Of course, when you don’t present for these exams, I think you’re very likely to stay healthy, I’ve noticed over the years the women who never miss these exams are also the ones who seem to have a lot of gyn issues – another biopsy, more pre-cancer cells being removed etc. etc. In my view, in the vast majority of cases, it’s the exams causing the issues, nothing else..

    There’s lots of research on the poor clinical value and risks with routine pelvic exams – head over to our Reference page.

    • Very true re the blankets/sheets being reused.
      The doctor who gave me a smear test when I presented with bleeding between periods (I now know this shouldn’t have happened as it is a screening test, not diagnostic) asked me afterwards “Did this (sheet over my legs) get soiled?” I was embarrassed and mumbled “I don’t think so”.
      “Great” she replied. “We’ll reuse it, we don’t have enough sheets for a fresh one for each person”. I was so shocked I didn’t say anything. So yes, it does happen!
      No surprises, the smear test was normal. Shouldn’t have had it but yet they wouldn’t allow me to get blood tests I requested to test for hormone levels as “not necessary”. Recalled again for a years time for a follow up smear. Not going.
      I have since formally complained to the feedback line and removed myself from the national register to avoid the never ending smear reminders.

      • I go to a dental practice that is extremely clean. All the furniture, floors, equipment is clean. Even the waiting room is clean. All surfaces such as chairs are wiped down between patients. All equipment touching patients is cleaned, disposible or STERILIZED. Dental staff always wear special clean clothing, gloves and masks.

        Medical offices are always dirty, surfaces never cleaned between patients, no idea if disposible or even sanitized equipment is used. If you have to give a urine sample their washroom is always filthy. The waiting room is always crowded with sick people. I avoid medical offices unless it is an emergency.

  27. My new doc has beeen pretty good about not pushing me. I made it very clear I don’t want or need to be screened for a disease for which I would decline treatment. I still get the annoying prompts from my insurance company and the practice, but that’s all. My big fear is having to have surgery there. It’s a university practice and I’ve heard the horror stories about them letting students do pelvic exams on sedated patients!!! Ladies, be sure to read your consent forms and write that you forbid students, residents and experimental and teaching procedures on it!!!!

  28. The papers are meaningless. They do it anyway. Once you are under, you are powerless. And by not allowing an advocate (of your choice) in the arena with you, there are no witnesses.
    In a hospital, esp. ER, once you sign papers allowing treatment, you are treated like a prisoner. I was refused my purse and cell phone after surgery, told I’d get it back when I was released. I was literally a prisoner there, for days.
    Also, I read there are no rules, no oversite for the use of personal cell phones (all with cameras) in the arena, or anywhere in a medical facility. Think of all the staff present and watching… I read one woman found herself on a Facebook page.
    Be wary of any exam room with a lot of equipment in it. One may be a camera, and you simply cannot accept anyone’s word that they’re not filming you. Gone are the days before easy tech.
    **If you are young, resolve to protect the elders in your family, your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc… Be there for them, as they were for you.
    The medical industry has become so powerful, they can get away with anything… obviously, or this discussion thread would not be happening…. it would not still be just discussion, it would have changed..

  29. Ladies, please can you name the articles in medical journals that you cite to support your decision not to have cervical smear tests? I need to compile a list of articles for a gynecologist who is pressuring me to have smear tests. Thank you

    • Hey, for somewhat more immediate responses, try Reddit diversity r/Wedeservebetter. If you don’t have a Reddit account and don’t want one, I could put up a thread with your question so you can just visit and read answers. Though it’s better to just get an account, then you can get your answers faster!

    • To start with, why are you seeing a gynecologist if you don’t want a smear test? Perhaps you could better get your health needs addressed by a different type of physician? Access to adequate medical care is universally recognized as a basic human right. If that is denied in deference to an OPTIONAL screening test, that’s an “undue burden” placed on you to get it. Moreover, as a pap test involves penetration, if it’s done without your informed consent, it falls under the rape statutes. Note that “acquiescing” to such penetration, in exchange for access to medical care, is NOT consent!

      If you’re going to or have to support your position using medical journals for reference, you have already lost. They have access to LOTS of medical journals, have expertise on massaging the data, as do many of the researchers. If you’re faced with one of these, you’re going to need to have expertise in statistics. For instance, look at the “p value” that is somewhere deep in the paper. That is the probability that the results were chance. I was given a paper that appeared, on first glance, to show that pap smears were HIGHLY effective in preventing death from CC…. with a p value of .7. WAIT! You’re telling me that there’s a 70% chance that this result was chance! That this is insignificant! Generally, anything with a higher p value than 0.05 is considered “irrelevant”, and will not be published by a reputable journal.

      There’s a LOT more to look at in any research paper, including conflicts of interest, which may not be easy to discover even though they’re supposed to state them. Also, look at the funding sources for the research.

      http://www.treatmentactiongroup.org/sites/default/files/tag_drtb_know_your_rights_full.pdf This shows what your rights are regarding health care “optional tests” and your right to treatment – not “patient abandonment”.

      Back to your question, you could look at https://knowyourchances.cancer.gov/special_cancer_tables.php Which shows what your chances ARE of being diagnosed with CC or dying of it. You can compare that to most other issues, which shows that this frenzy about paps is an outsized focus.

      You have to dig quite a bit, but finding the number of death from all causes in screened vs unscreened populations shows that this number is SLIGHTLY HIGHER in the screened populations. A place to start is https://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/10/28/women-informed-consent-and-cervical-screening,

      • Bimanual examination has poor sensitivity and specificity for the detection of ovarian cancer.
      • The ritual of a routine pelvic examination can act as a barrier to needed care as a result of fear, embarrassment, discomfort, and inconvenience.

      Source: Do New Guidelines and Technology Make the Routine Pelvic Examination Obsolete? JOURNAL OF WOMEN’S HEALTH Volume 20, Number 1, 2011, Carolyn L. Westhoff, M.D., M.Sc., Heidi E. Jones, Ph.D., M.P.H.,*and Maryam Guiahi, M.D.

      Overuse and overtreatment are huge contributors to overall runaway costs of health care. Pelvic exams and pap smears contribute significantly to this.

      https://www.theguardian.com/society/2003/may/22/genderissues.publichealth Risk of false negative – 20-45% and false positive – 1-10% (depending on which study) Also, from the NCI https://www.cancer.gov/types/cervical/hp/cervical-screening-pdq#section/all?redirect=true Using CIN1 as a reference, This combination gives a sensitivity of about 68% and a specificity of about 75%.

      The bottom line on all of this is “no means no”. It is meaningless to require “informed consent” then not accept an “informed refusal”, but instead using coercive methods to achieve acquiescence – not consent – but YOU might not know the difference, and they get their way. Meanwhile, any other health issue or concern is not addressed.

      Also, what will you do with results? If it’s abnormal, will you have another? If that’s abnormal, will you consent to a colposcopy and biopsy – where pieces are torn off your cervix without anesthesia? If that’s also abnormal, will you consent to have part of your cervix burned off (gratefully, with anesthesia)? With a possibility of nerve damage that will effect how you feel emotions, and whether or not you can orgasm, and other risks including incontinence? All of this carrying a risk of infection – including with treatment-resistant microbes? After that, will you consent to having more paps every 6 months? Will you consent to a hysterectomy? How about chemo or radiation therapy? If you won’t consent to those, you’re wasting your time and money testing for something that will not be addressed. But, if you get an abnormal result, the pressure will be EVEN HIGHER to continue down this path.

    • While, your doctor can pressure all they want. But it is against medical ethics to give treatment or assessment without consent. So perhaps a simple ”no thank you”. ” I have decided against it” or ”The decision has already been made” is enough. You don’t need to answer questions. I also suspect that no amount of medical evidence will persuade your doctor. They have quotas to fill and a whole lot of training that has taught them exactly what to think. Are you considering that you will take the tests if the doctor is able to beat you at doctor talk? I had an argument with my dentist once about mercury. He insisted to the very end that ”it has never been proven that mercury is dangerous” I felt like bringing him an MSDS sheet on mercury. Total blinders. Anyhow. I feel for you. I just wanted to check-in with you on if trying to disprove your doctor will bring the fruit you are hoping for.

      • “Bodily autonomy” and “bodily integrity” come to mind here,

        If you don’t trust them to follow your consent on this matter – an optional screening test, will you trust this person with making medical decisions in severe, diagnosed conditions, even if you have made your wishes known with a Living Will, Durable Medical Power of Attorney, making your wishes known to others in your life (who can testify to those effects), or other advance directives?

    • Hi there,

      As Beth has explained, it can be challenging trying to support a case against screening using articles in medical journals. The BMJ is a bit of an exception. This article published in 2016 might be useful: https://www.bmj.com/content/352/bmj.h6080 although not specific to cervical cancer it does highlight how cancer screening in general fails to reduce overall mortality, and can actually increase mortality.

      There are many comments and posts on this site that contain links and information to support a case against screening, including this post: https://forwomenseyesonly.com/2014/04/19/top-five-reasons-for-opting-of-pap-tests/ “References and Education” linked on the top of this site might be helpful as well. But I agree with drsassafras in that trying to convince a physician to see things your way might not go as hoped!

      Thanks for visiting. I hope it goes well for you!
      Sue xo

    • you dont have to cite anything. You don’t have to explain yourself. Just say NO. Be firm with these doctors. Don’t be afraid to be very firm if you have to be.

      We are with you all the way. Let us know how you get on.


  30. Hello, I’ve got a question. Is it normal to do a colposcopy as a standard procedure during an annual gynecological “preventative exam”? I haven’t realized it until now, but it seems that’s what’s been done to me all these years by two different gynecologists in my country (Czech Republic).

    I watched some instructional videos about what’s supposed to happen during gynecological exams on Youtube and I suddenly realized that no one there is using that microscope-like device that my doctors were and are using on me. Which is btw. extremely painful for me (and by viewing some images, I now understand why. Jeez: https://www.mayoclinic.org/-/media/kcms/gbs/patient-consumer/images/2013/08/26/10/34/my00236_im00350_w7_colposcopethu_jpg.ashx).

    I’m not sure exactly if they were always using the colposcope on me (I went to these exams every year since I was 16 – I’m over 30 now) or if it all started later, since, you know, I tend to kind of dissociate during these exams. But I had a terrible episode when I was around 28: My first gynecologist (a woman, btw.) used this device on me and I suddenly felt horrendous pain, my muscles started to spasm and I began shaking. The pain was so bad I wanted to cry. She didn’t seem to care and finished the exam as if nothing was happening. To this day, I’m not sure what caused this, as otherwise, everything felt the same (I wasn’t more nervous/tense than normal, etc.). But I felt very hurt by this, almost as if I was sexually assaulted. I knew I had to change doctors, as I couldn’t bring myself to go back there and be hurt again (they refused to give me my birth control pill prescription without undergoing this terrible exam every year).

    So, I changed to another female doctor, who had great online reviews, but sadly, everything was the same. She also used what I think is the colposcope – and again, terrible pain followed. The second time I went there, the pain was even worse. I’m probably not going back, and, to be honest, I kind of lost hope and am most likely not going to look for any other gynecologist. I feel like everyone here is the same. I guess I could argue with them and tell them I don’t want this done to me, but then they’re probably going to remove me as a patient because I’m being “problematic”. So what’s the point, really.

    I feel like something very wrong is going on in my country. Not only are we forced to have annual exams and pap smears (while almost everywhere else around the world, these are no longer recommended), but it also seems like they are trying to torture us as much as possible during those. Something really needs to change here. Fortunately, I’m able to get my birth control pills over the internet, but I wonder for how long this will be possible, since the government can shut this down at any time 😦

    • And also, there’s no point asking for a smaller speculum when they’re using the colposcope, right? I tried asking for that,and the pain was the same or worse (of course, how would I know if they honored my wishes or not, since I can’t see what they’re doing up there :/). I didn’t realize they were doing something non-standard until like a month ago after watching those instructional videos. And now I’m pretty angry.

      • Usually when using a colposcope to magnify your cervix they will apply liquids, one being Acetic Acid (vinegar) and this will sting a lot to all areas, more so if they biopsy your cervix as it is like a cut, if you cut your finger and applied acetic acid…..it is most definitely going to hurt wouldn’t you agree?

        A colposcopy is only recommended if you have an abnormal cervical smear test. My own abnormal was caused by early menopause, so why they thought I would put myself through all that without researching thoroughly, must have assumed I was dumb, they were banking on me just going along with it, not a chance.

        Research, research and research – it is the only way to protect yourself. It does not matter on the country, women are women wherever you are from.


    • if they’re doing a colposcopy on you, the extreme pain could well be caused by pulling off part of the cervix that appears to be a lesion of some kind. Sadly, most gyns still believe the myth that women don’t have nerve endings in our cervix, and cannot feel pain there. Even women gyns believe this, for the most part.

      There is something really wrong here, but you are unlikely to ever find out what it is.

      • Beth: Hmm, I hope I would be able to notice if they were pulling off parts (by the tools they used and such), but I can’t be sure, can I? What’s going is that they initially use a speculum, which is very uncomfortable, but not painful. Then they “connect” the colposcope to it and then they do something which causes extreme pain. It could be something with the speculum again, but I don’t know exactly what. But I tend to always bleed after these exams, which didn’t use to be the case.

    • WTH – Cervical cancer individual risk is 0.65%, 99.35% no cancer – simple maths & speaks volumes.
      These are not required or mandatory in any country & I would threaten to report them, see how quick you get your pill script then! These exams are optional/elective & if you say No then no means no.

      It sound like you had Vaginismus, have a look here https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaginismus/

      All cancer screening is on healthy symptom free people, they need huge numbers to save just one life. It is all about NNS (numbers needed to screen) followed by NNT (numbers needed to treat) followed by NNH (numbers needed to harm. All this & much more I quoted to my GP & he could not disagree on any part, he knows that I know!

      So when they quote how many lives saved it is a guess / estimate because there is no proof! Some UK sites say 2,000, some 3,000, some say 4,000 & some say 5,000 – Which is it, truthfully no-one knows!

      Abnormal cervical cells are simply that – abnormal, they do not know which cell will mutate to cancer & which will not but they treat them all. Most will clear themselves & go back to normal. IMO If they can’t say 100% its cancer then forget it! They do not care about the over treatment rates, as long it saves a life or a few lives, they do not even count the over treatment rates of cervical screening.

      The same with breast cancer, women are having treatments, breast removal, radiotherapy, chemotherapy for a small maybe. Think about all the associated risks attached to these treatments, some can kill you. Over treatment here is approx. 4,000 women treated to save the 1 life, yes that’s right 1 life! So what if you had treatment & got an infection which turned to sepsis then shut down all your organs – high risk you could die.

      https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-screening/why-its-important/ It’s your choice if you want to go for cervical screening.

      Since researching & finding this site & all the wonderful people here, I have gained the knowledge & courage to refuse all cancer screening, including cervical, breast & bowel.

  31. Interesting piece 2 days ago in daily fail. Dr Ellie Cannon answers a 68 yr old woman whose smear wasn’t processed bcoz of age. Woman asked of she’s really too old for a smear. Ellie replied citing they target the most at risk ages and telling how often the ages get “invited”. She then goes on to discus harms of prostate screening and that men could be over treated before ending by saying if a woman has actual symptoms she’d need a gynae referral not a smear

  32. Article also states screening outside the recommended age can skew results and lead to distress (she refers again to prostate?)
    No mention of over treatment and distress to any age group of women!

  33. Carolive interesting but some downright nasty. Calling non screeners pathetic. I’ve posted a few times. Let’s see what goes through

  34. I’m just going to add this to what i’ve experienced: What else are doctors lying about? i take thyroid meds, only recently stopped taking them- doctor just said i recommend you take them and not tell me why. Well tell me why i should not stop. not only that but overtesting- i get tested for chlosterol every 6 months! it hasn;t really changed much, but doctors want to keep overtesting and overtesting.. it’s just wrong! never mind the whole experience with the gyno, overtesting is wrong! even too, now we wear a mask and often times i find that wearing a mask makes me dehydrated more. plus when i’m hungry i start to be a little dizzy while wearing it, and my doctors insist on a fasting blood draw. overtest overtest… ugh

    • If you overtest, when all tests have an error rate plus there are a range of values any given person might have over time, there is a good chance that you’ll find something for which you can treat – and charge for the extra visits, follow-on tests, procedures, and let’s not forget the medications for which many doctors are getting a kickback for prescribing.

      We overtest, overtreat, and the life expectancy keeps going down.

      The US has by far the most expensive healthcare system, and the lowest life expectancy and one of the highest morbidity rates for chronic illnesses (read: Maintenance medications) of all developed countries. At the same time, our hospital system and workers are “overwhelmed” because of the extra cases that have been coming in for almost 2 years, yet they are going broke! They don’t do as many “elective” procedures – so how GD lucrative are these procedures that they get from all of this excessive screening???

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