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Fear of Gynecological Exam
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Fear of Gynecological Exam

Over 20 years ago, when I was a teenager, my mother forced me to have an abortion.  It was my first visit to the gynecologist.  I haven't been to the gyn in over 10 years because just being there produces severe panic attacks, and sometimes self-injurious behavior.  Has anyone ever had this happen to them?  I know that nobody LIKES going, but now I am having abnormal bleeding between periods and pelvic pain and I just can't bring myself to go.  Tried therapy...didn't work.   So what now?
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Avatar_n_tn
I have the same probelm I passout during the exam, it is hard I know but you should really go.
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Avatar_n_tn
I know I should.  I tried to go last week.  I explained everything to my doctor and she seemed very understanding. All I did was cry while I was talking to her.  I thought I could go through with it, but as soon as I saw all the stuff (speculum, gloves, etc) laying out on the table, I just grabbed my purse and RAN.  I cried in the car for about an hour.  Thank goodness my husband was home, but it didn't keep me from cutting.  It has been a rough four days.  This is as bad as it has ever been.  I feel like I am the only one in the world with this problem.
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Avatar_n_tn
You can call back and ask for a mild tranquilizer to be taken prior to the exam.  It might also help to bring your husband, too, or other friend who can be there for you.  

In extreme cases of this kind of anxiety, the exam can be done in a day surgery center under anesthesia.  You are not alone, and good for you for at least trying to get this checked out.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have asked about conscious sedation.  I need to feel in control, so going completely to sleep freaks me out.  I guess when you let things like this build up for 20 years, this is what you get!  I am just waiting for the doctor to call me back.  This is my family practitioner.  I don't have to make appts to see her, so I thought it would be easier if I could just walk in when I got up my nerve rather than waiting for two weeks and freaking out.  I had previously tried to find an ob/gyn who would sedate me a little, but with no luck.  Most of them just seem to think "deal with it".  

Thanks for all of your help.  Any suggestions are welcome.  It is horrible to feel like I am the ONLY person on the planet with this problem.  Ever since I went last week, I have been having anxiety attacks and nightmares.  It just seems so ridiculous, but that is the way I am, I guess.
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Avatar_n_tn
I went for a military medical when I was 18 or 19 years old when I was in the process of applying to one of the officer programs.  I was harrassed when I went in for the gyno exam which resulted in me leaving before they could do the exam and being rather tramatized (probably not on the same level but it caused me to have an enormous fear of going to the gynecologist.)  I went for the first time a couple monthes ago (over 7 years later).  My suggestion (and what I did that helped me a lot) would be to ask your husband to go with you.  Mine was fantastic and held my hand through the whole thing, and talked about something unrelated so I wasn't thinking about what was going on.  If for some reason you aren't comfortable asking your husband (although I think this is the best option) you might want to consider asking a close friend to come with you.  If they stand beside you they won't see anything.  

The other suggestion I would give is to let the doctors know about your fear/past experience when you make your appointment.  If seeing the tools freaks you out, ask them to keep them covered and out of site as much as possible.  If thinking about what is going to happen makes you nervous ask them just to do it not explain what they are going to do.  On the other hand you might feel more comfortable if they explain it.  

For me I needed to get an exam so I could get a birth control perscription.  Because I was so uncomfortable and this was my first time I asked them not to do the breast exam, and I opted not to pee in a cup and stuff ahead of time.  They only did the minimum required to clear me for birth control.  I know that this isn't recommended, and next time I think I might be able to handle having a full exam, but it made the first one easier.

Good luck with everything, and know you're not alone.
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Avatar_n_tn
Does anyone else feel pain during the gynecological exam.  If yes, what do you do to ease it?  I am told by most people that it is not supposed to hurt.
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Avatar_n_tn
I recently went to planned parenthood to get an exam.  My first time going to a gyno in about 8 years because my fisrt time I was a virgin, and the whole experience traumatized me.  I actually chickened out during part of the exam because the preparation for it was painful and made me really tense and unable to relax.  If there is a gyno who will go through with putting you under sedation of some sort to get through routine exams please let me know.  I wont go back now just because of how much anxiety I have.  I am glad to hear other people who have the same issues, because the doctor looked at me like I was some kind of big baby, and I just left.  I need to get these routine exams done, but I just can't without being sedated.  Any suggestions?
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Avatar_m_tn
I have been to the gyn 5 or 6 times over the years. I have always dreaded going, and when I initially went it was to planned parenthood to get on birth control. It was uncomfortable but not painful, however, the woman was rude and condescending, which did not help. 3 years ago I was raped and have only gone to see the gyn only once since then. During that appointment I had extreme anxiety and cried to the point of hysteria the entire time. The doctor explained that the more tense I was, the harder it would be. She was a very sweet doctor though and told me jokes the whole time. I realize that I need to go for the sake of my health, but I do not know if I can bring myself to do it. It is nice to hear that I am not the only one out there who fears it. I just thought maybe it would help to vent.
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Avatar_f_tn
It's kind of comforting to know I am not the only one.. I am supposed to make an appointment for January at my Ob-gyn office, but just can't bring myself to do it. I've had the same ob-gyn for years, but I make every excuse not to go. I've had 3 yearly pap smears, they've always been fine so that is why we made an agreement that I visit every 3 years. I guess I could visit more often, but... Last time I went I took Valium and Tylenol and told the doctor about it. He was very understanding, very gentle.  Pap smears always hurt, probably because I am always so tense. They have always been painful.

I was wondering would hypnosis help? I don't think I'll ever get used to these exams. Every time I feel violated, upset, even if there was no pain or discomfort- but there always is because of the smear test. So far I have always refused rectal exam (hemorrhoids make it worse) and always tell the doctor to give me full anesthesia, then he can do whatever he feels necessary. But of course I never get it.
It's kind of early to start thinking about booking the appointment- I can easily do it in early January, but the thought is so disturbing.. Maybe Valium is the only way for me.
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Avatar_f_tn
How did it go? Did you make the appointment? I have never thought about hypnosis. What I ended up doing was buying myself a really soft robe (so I did not have to wear the paper gown) and nice socks. It made me feel a little more at ease. I also asked her to not do the breast examination and promised to do it on my own. It just freaks me out to have some one inspecting with my breasts AND vagina. I can only take so much in one day. Doing all of this made it a little better, but by no means a day in the park. I wish you the best and remember - it is only a couple minutes. You could stand on your head for a couple minutes. Take care!
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Avatar_f_tn
I think American women are the only women who believe they need routine annual gynaecological exams.
I'm 51 and have had one pelvic exam in my life - when I was symptomatic - it turned out to be nothing....
The medical journals have lots of research and articles to show that these exams are unnecessary in asymptomatic women and can be harmful...
Question the need for these exams.
Also, breast exams are unnecessary in women under 40 - breast cancer is uncommon in this age group.  After 40 or 45 many women choose to have an annual breast exam. (I just started)
This rule would be different if you have family history...

Also, cancer screening has risks as well as benefits - women are not given risk information, so can't make an informed decision. Also, if you're required to have the Test or an exam to get the Pill, you can't consent - it's forced on you...
BTW the only exam required for the Pill is a blood pressure check - some women are forced to have full and invasive exams to get birth control - it's disgraceful to put this hurdle in front of women.
IMO this is about power, control and making money - lots of it...
The medical profession has a long history of disrespect
and abuse of women.
After I did my own research 30 years ago, I refused to have pap smears.  I know lots of women who have been harmed and traumatized by false positives and unnecessary colposcopy/biopsies...
Did you know that 1000 women need regular pap smears for 35 years to save ONE woman from cervical cancer? (Dr Angela Raffles research)
Did you know that 78% of women who have regular screening will have a colposcopy, with only a tiny number having malignancy? (L. Koutsky, Cancer Prevention)
Did you know that mammograms can increase your chance of getting breast cancer? Also, false positives and unnecessary surgery for ductal carcinoma in situ (see Screening Wars by Professor Michael Baum and his other Interviews)
It saddens me that women are still used in this way - treated like children and left in the dark..
We should all demand better treatment - make your own informed decisions - also, never have a male Dr forced onto you for invasive exams - these exams are unpleasant enough - only agree to a male Dr if it's YOUR choice.
My heart goes out to the symptomatic lady - you need to find a regular DR you can trust...you've lost trust - I interviewed three female doctors before finding a Dr I liked, trusted and felt comfortable with....of course, in Australia we don't have routine gynaecological exams (unless a woman asks) so, my exams are more general checks, blood tests and a breast check. (the latter only started a year or so ago)...
The important thing is to take it slowly - once you've found your Dr, hopefully, you'll find the exam bearable...when you know you're having the exam for a reason (symptoms) it makes it bearable (with your choice of Dr)
Good luck everyone....
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Avatar_f_tn
I forgot - for women who decide to have cervical screening - write to your politicians and demand access to the new blood test - it's called the CSA Test (Cervical Specific Antigen) - it was patented in around 2004 - unlike the unreliable pap smear - this simple blood test is almost 100% accurate...
The pap smear should be a thing of the past and the only women reporting for colposcopy and biopsies, are likely to have cancer or serious pre-cancer - we won't continue to harm healthy women.
Pathologists and doctors will be unhappy to see the introduction of this blood test - it will mean  the loss of the lucrative pap smear and follow-up "industry"...
Men rejected rectal exams and got a blood test very quickly - I suspect women will have to wait years to get access...unless you fight for it.
Information is found on the Cervius and Onconix websites.
The women worried about not having routine gyn exams - STOP WORRYING - the medical literature and research is on your side - asymptomatic women do not need routine invasive exams and tests.
Also, it's YOUR decision whether you participate in cancer screening.
Stop living in fear - make informed decisions and look after your health, mind and body.
My legal training means I don't just follow the leader - I question the need, find the answers and make my own informed decisions.
Join me - it'll free you up to really enjoy your lives!
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Avatar_f_tn
I find it horrible to read how women force themselves into these exams when it causes such severe anxiety and trauma.  You are certainly not the only one (and you can find like-minded people here: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/womenagainststirrups/ )
, it should never be forced on you, but women should also demand better alternatives and see through the brainwashing machine that bombards women with unfounded fears about their wombs and breasts ready to kill them in no time, unless they submit yearly to these invasive, inaccurate exams.

Please, respect yourselves and stop forcing yourself to go through such emotionally upsetting procedures. Stress is a major factor in causing disease, so how much good is a gyn exam going to do that seems to come straight out of some horrifying SM scenario?

Besides, as the poster above me already explained, the pap smear is outdated and inaccurate.  Obviously doctor's do *not* care that much about women's health as they try to make us believe, since they still force women into unnecessary, unreliable tests instead of offering the better alternatives.

And that's why women are going to have to stand up against this B.S. and refuse the current practice, because it's otherwise not going to get better.  Start lifting the veil, inform yourelf and realise it's not for your own good, it was for Big Pharma and the doctor's benefit. Your feelings are right, it is a wrong way to treat women in such a degrading, disrespectful matter.
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Avatar_m_tn
I'm 22 years old at the moment.  I've been looking for the past 3 years to find a forum as helpful as this.  I have a pathological fear of going to the gynecologist.  I've tried everything to get rid of the fear, but nothing seems to help.  It made me feel so much better that someone actually fears this exam than me.  
Everyone keeps telling me that there's nothing to be afraid of, but they just don't understand.  I cry at night, I have massive panic attacks everyday that last up to 3 hours or more.  I felt so much better when I read this, and it started to make me feel so much better about not wanting to go.  Sometime's I come to think that it's worse to have people mess with your vagina, especially sticking unwanted things like a speculum and jelly up there, can really screw up your cervical cells.  You don't even know if they cleaned them probably, or maybe they never even washed the speculum because it could have been up inside a vagina that had cancerous cells, and now they're sticking it up inside your vagina.  GROSS!  I don't want that thing stuck up there!
I want to go to the gyno. when I turn 23 and I'm having a friend go with me, but I was able to talk to my doctor a bit and she told me that just because I'm young doesn't mean you have to get the pap every year.  I can go every 3 years, but no longer, when I find very stupid.  I just wanna make sure that everything is ok, but I'm really not sure if I wanna go at all.  Women don't have to get paps if they don't want to.  Getting pap tests aren't the law, if you don't want to get them done don't let someone)(Doctors) force you (which, is what my mom is trying to do to me).  It's about time they rewrote the description on who gets the pap and who doesn't.  The guidelines for them are 50 years old!  Rediculous.  It's about time the Pap Test and smear disappeared for good.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have the same "pathological fear" emmartin and all. I found a DR who did everything while I was under general antithesis. Its the only way for me. Wish I could fix this but at least I can get medical help. I hope you find a DR like this.
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Avatar_m_tn
Ok...so Im a 21 year old virgin and I just had my first pelvic exam and transvaginal ultrasound today. All I can say is that Im completely traumatized. the pelvic exam was uncomfortable/alot of pressure. I was scared out of my mind but the doctor and nurse calmed me down a little and the gyno was very gentle. I got thru the  pelvic exam with mild traumatization but the ultrasound was horrible. The trasnducer they stick up you felt really uncomfortable for me, i started sliding up on the table and tensing up when the tech inserted it. She looked at me and talked like she was annoyed with me because of this And I started crying. I was very upset with myself for crying cause I felt like I was giving people the impression that I was a cry baby. When I got home I started crying again just thinking about how I reacted and I guess Im just embarrased about it. But she didn't make me feel comfortable or explain the procedure to me at all. After this I never want to go to the gyno again!!! But Im supposed to go back in a year to make sure that a possible dermoid cyst i have  isn't growing. I don't think I can do it.  Im that traumatized. Im scared of ever even having sex now cause of this visit.
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Avatar_m_tn
Why did you go the gyn in the first place? Did you have some symptoms that needed checking?
I'm Australian and I've lived in the UK - healthy symptom-free women don't need pelvic exams, in fact, they're a bad idea - they can lead to more unnecessary and harmful things.
As for cysts, if they're not bothering you, they're not treated.
I think American women are often misled by doctors - routine gyn exams are not recommended and can be harmful. (virgin or not)
The only exam/test a woman might think about here is a pap smear. I rejected them as the risks exceed the benefits for me. An Australian woman has a lifetime risk of cervical cancer of 0.25%, my risk is close to zero - my husband and I were virgins and are faithful. You can't catch HPV from another virgin.
The risks of screening are often undisclosed to women and doctor's often exaggerate the benefits, so it pays to do your own research....never accept the advice of a screening authority or doctors, they all have a vested interest in you screening....money and screening targets.
I'm sorry you had such a bad experience, but unless you have symptoms, you just don't need gyn exams and if you choose to have paps, AFTER you're sexually active (don't get talked into them before you're sexually active AND at least 25 or 30 AND if your partner is a virgin too, I'd be very careful with testing - you're most unlikely to benefit and likely to be harmed by false positives and over-treatment, a common problem with screening) don't let doctors over-screen you, you'll end up in day procedure having futile treatments.
A high risk woman has a low chance of benefiting from smears - women always over-estimate the threat from this cancer because doctors are obsessed with it, but they're usually chasing money and targets or worried about legal liability (in the States) and all the women having biopsies, well - most of that treatment is completely unnecessary and caused by false positives.
This testing has lots of problems that are largely hidden from women - I don't agree with that at all.
If you want smears later when you're sexually active - 5 yearly from age 30 - 5 to 7 in total is sufficient and reduces the risk of false positives and over-treatment. You can use self-test kits too, they're often used in the Netherlands.
You should remember that cervical screening is of no benefit if you're under 25 - they are VERY unreliable and unsafe in that age group and cancer in that group is very rare. If you wanted to read up so you can protect yourself from your doctors, take a look at a great website I've been reading...Dr Joel Sherman's Medical Privacy blog and take a look at the references in women's privacy concerns. Really excellent site.
Also, regarding routine breast exams - they're not recommended any more at any age - the Nordic Cochrane Institute website has some information and research on mammograms and CBE.
The former is quite scary - be really careful agreeing to mammograms at any age. CBE's - they don't bring down the death rate, but they cause unnecessary biopsies and some doctors think they can increase the risk of breast cancer.
We need to be so careful with these blanket recommendations - less or nothing is usually more!
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Avatar_f_tn
I know it seems like sex and pelvic are related, same region of the body. BUT, for me, its totally different. Doesn't even cross my mind in the process. Actually, makes you feel happy and normal. Hope it will be for you too.

Do NOT go back to the same place you had the transvaginal. The tech was an idiot. You deserve to be treated better.

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Avatar_f_tn
i'm 18 and just had my first visit to the gynecologist for pelvic pain. my doctor was rude. the exam was very painful for me because of my intense pelvic pain and i was holding back tears telling her that it was very painful and she just replied "yeah, i would think so" and just roughly used her tools. she immediately assumed that i sleep around like a skanky teenager and basically told me without test results (which ended up negative!) that i definately had chlamydia and dismissed me with an antibiotic for chlamydia and refused to consider anything else...guess what! a month later and my pain is worse, and its really messed things up for me.  i think that gyn's need to be more considerate of their patients.
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Avatar_f_tn
I discovered the Nordic Cochrane Institute looked at the value of clinical breast exams and found they don't help, but cause biopsies and some believe they are a risk factor for cancer.
I've decided to be "breast aware", a method devised by Dr Joan Austoker from Oxford University - you look at the shape and texture of your breasts every morning in the mirror after showering (no touching) - and report anything unusual to my Dr.
Breast self-exams have been OUT for years, they don't help but lead to biopsies.
See: Hands off my chest Dr (online) & the research on CBE's at the NCI site.
The entire gyn exam pushed annually in the States is unhelpful and likely to harm you - if you want a pap smear,
look at the risk factors and your level of risk, if you're sexually active and want one, consider the Finnish program of 5 yearly from 30 - any more than that and you carry a much higher risk of false positives and unnecessary and potentially harmful over-treatment and biopsies. Routine pelvic and breast exams are unhelpful, unnecessary and likely to harm you.
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Avatar_f_tn
Also, before you even think of starting mammograms at 50, look at the information sheet put together by the NCI - they were so concerned about the misleading and incomplete information given to women, they drafted their own unbiased summary.
"The risks and benefits of mammograms" is at their website.
I don't have mammograms - the risks exceed the benefits, in my opinion...
Make your own decision after reading the risks and benefits.
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Avatar_m_tn
A pelvic exam is rape.

"Discomfort/pain, shame/embarrassment, and/or a feeling of being violated, as a result of penetration of the sexual organs by a person in whom a woman has no sexual interest, achieved through coercion, fear, and/or intimidation."

http://agalltyr.wordpress.com/2010/11/28/a-pelvic-exam-is-rape/
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I seriously believed I was the only one. The missed appointment. The crying before, during and after. I've been sexually active since last year, am 21 and have only had one swab test which had to get stopped half way through. The nurse could only get one swab as I couldnt bare it. And that was WITHOUT the speculum/opening device.  I get tense, it is a SHOCKING, stabbing sharp pain and I truly believe the women who say it s only uncomfortable either have a different pain threshold or are not as restricted/tight down there I seriously only see SEDATION as an alternative. And Id love to have the all clear health wise.
I've always gotten urine and blood checked but this is something that makes me anxious, upset and teary everytime I think about it. I believe it will until it gets done. Simply relaxing and taking a pill will not help. I am so sensitive down there and during sex it hurts. Its such a consolation to know I am not the only one. Woen, you are brave for trying to combat this issue, I like some of you do not cry easily but something as invasive as this? I feel your pain. I am seeing a doctor at a sexual health clinic on friday and will keep you updated. They seem so reluctant to provide sedation as 'everyone else has to do it' without considering we are all DIFFERENT.
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Avatar_n_tn
Why are you even bothering? At 21 you wouldn't even be tested in most countries - the test risks your health for NO benefit. The UK - 25, Finland and the Netherlands, 30...
Don't take my word for it, look at "Cervical cancer screening" in Australian Doctor, 2006 written by Associate Professor Margaret Davy, Director, Gyn-oncology, Royal Adelaide Hospital and Dr Shorne, GP...
Quote:
"No country has reported any decline in the incidence of or the mortality from cervical cancer in women under 30, irrespective of cervical screening.  Many countries do not perform screening in women under 30".

BUT, evidence and research from the UK and elsewhere shows us young women have a 1 in 3 chance of an "abnormal pap" or false positive - cervical cancer is incredibly rare in the under 30 age group and screening usually misses the tiny number of cases (false negatives). These poor women false positive women are either left worried sick and re-tested in a year or are referred for unnecessary and harmful treatments/biopsies.
Look at the evidence - it is ridiculous to consider sedation or a GA for a pap test - those things carry FAR more risk to your health.
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Avatar_f_tn
I too have had excruciatingly painful pap tests. I've only had three in my life and I'm 53, I just can't handle the pain. To
make it worse I suffered years of sexual  abuse in my childhood. Having to go through the whole pap/pelvic exam is my worst nightmare. It's physically, emotionally and psychologically painful for me. Medication and therapy can only do so much. I am angered at the doctor's indifference to my and women like me pain. For some of us it hurts and it hurts a lot. I don't have them routinely but a problem has come up that necessitates getting one of those godawful exams. The urologist I saw wanted to do a couple tests because I had blood in my urine. When she mentioned pelvic ultrasound, I blanched. I immediately said I would refuse to have the transvaginal, I would only agree to doing it on the outside.

That's just brutal that none of the sadistic gynecologists will sedate a patient if the internal exam is INTOLERABLE for them to go through. No wonder I and women like me run the other way when they see a gynecologist coming at them with their torture instruments. I really seethe when doctors make comments such as, "Everyone has to do it, and it's not that bad." "No I don't have to do it and Yes it IS that bad for me."

I wonder how many women die from cervical, uterine and ovarian cancer because their fear of the barbaric tests prevents them from getting help until it's too late? Many times these women ignore the symptoms because a trip to the doctor would mean getting the horrid pap/pelvic exam and likely even more invasive procedures for which they won't be given sedation/pain control.

Yes sedation carries risks but women would be more likely to seek help if they knew they wouldn't be brutalized. My brother died from colon cancer because he wouldn't get a colonoscopy back when people weren't sedated for this test. Colon cancer has one of the highest cure rates when detected early. Every women wouldn't need to be sedated but those with SEVERE pain/anxiety/panic attacks should be able to receive it. It is cruel and unjust to deny this to them.

If there are any doctors reading this, why aren't you helping women like us? Would you rather let us die than come up with an acceptable  solution to our problem? Must be because women are still being tortured by the misogynist medical profeesion.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have a terrible fear of the OB/GYN mainly because my very first pelvic exam was so traumatic. I was a virgin and it hurt so much that I cried. And even after I told the doctor to stop, she kept trying to collect the sample after telling me she would stop any time. I felt violated...scared...and I hurt so bad I had to take pain relievers. I was bleeding when I got home and discovered my "cherry" had been popped because the doctor was too rough and rushed with the exam. That made me terrified of ever getting one again. But since then, I've had no choice but to go since I frequently get infections. I've tried everything and nothing works. The only time I was relaxed was when I had been given morphine and valium in the ER. I had had a urinary tract infection and needed to get a pap test done just in case I had an infection. My psychiatrist prescribed me some medication that will sedate me enough so I can handle the exam better. My only fear is that it won't work and I will faint during the exam or start crying and not be able to get it over with. It's this Friday...what do I do?
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Avatar_f_tn
The same exact thing happened to me the first time I had a pap smear. The doctor, who was a woman, didn't care at all. I was still a virgin and I was so traumatized and felt so violated. I just cried for hours afterwards. I only went to get the exam because I wanted birth control pills to help regulate my period. Ever since then I've been terrified of going to the gyn. I finally found a nice doctor, but it still scares the crap outta me. :/ I'm glad to know I'm not the only one out there with this.
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Avatar_m_tn
It is so nice hearing from all the women who have the same fear as I do. I may have a bladder infection, so I have to go in. My husband is driving me so I can take some anexity medication, hope it helps and I can get through it.
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Avatar_f_tn
You should challenge any doctor suggesting a pap test if you're a virgin - the test can only harm you. Also, Pap tests do NOT change the tiny death rate in women under 30, but it produces lots of false positives - the most of any age group. I'd assume any doctor suggesting a pap test to a virgin is either incompetent, suspect or after the money and prepared to risk your health or he/she is assuming all women are liars at a certain age and must be sexually active. The last one is outrageously paternalistic and unethical - pap tests are elective and require your informed consent. It is not the doctor's place to assume anything, to make decisions for you or accept risk on your behalf. Any doctor who "requires" pap tests, pelvic or breast exams for the Pill is incompetent or unethical/chasing money - none of those things are clinically relevant or required for birth control. Also, the routine pelvic and breast exam are not evidence based, are unhelpful in the absence of symptoms and expose you to risk - unnecessary procedures and even surgery.
There is a lot of information available now - take some articles with you to your next appointment and change your doctor if he/she doesn't listen - your health and rights are more important than profits or anything else.
Dr Robert Hatcher has made some strong comments about doctors who "hold" scripts for BC
http://www.managingcontraception.com/newsevents/dr-bob/pelvic-exam-necessary-for-contraception-rx/
Dr Carolyn Westhoff (and others) has confirmed the routine pelvic exam is unhelpful and potentially harmful and may partly explain your high hysterectomy rates and the fact so many American women lose healthy ovaries.
http://www.mailman.columbia.edu/academic-departments/epidemiology/research-service/routine-pelvic-examination-obsolete
"Hands off my chest doctor" contains some comments by UK doctors and the Nordic Cochrane Institute has some information on their website and there are other articles if you research the area - routine breast exams don't help, but cause biopsies.
If you want pap tests, consider a program that gives you some protection from false positives - cervical cancer is rare, so don't overdo it....5 yearly from age 30 is the Finnish program and they have the lowest rates of cc in the world and send the fewest women for biopsies. The HPV test can also be used to reduce the number of pap tests or stop them altogether. As a low risk Aussie woman, I don't have pap tests, the risks are too high for me, I'm content  to accept my near zero risk of cc. Our doctors do not recommend routine rectal, pelvic or breast exams, I'd refuse them anyway. I've also declined mammograms due to concerns about over-diagnosis and I'm doubtful of the benefits. Prof Baum has warned women of the risks there..."Breast cancer screening: the inconvenient truths" Utube & the
Nordic Cochrane Institute have an unbiased summary, "The risks and benefits of mammograms" - at their website. Prof Baum also wrote, "Scrap breast screening" that appeared in a UK paper recently after more damning evidence emerged about breast screening - the fall in the death rate from breast cancer is about better treatments, and not screening. (The research is linked from comment 3 or 4 of the article)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/aug/02/breast-cancer-screening?INTCMP=SRCH
http://www.cochrane.dk/
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I went to the gyno ONE time. They made me feel like crap. I have severe anxiety and when the nurse realized I have had sex before she made me sound like I was a *****. During the breast exam I got nervous and covered my breast when she was finished checking and she said with an attitude "let me do my job". I was so embarrassed. A couple of years ago I went to get tested for STD's (all negative) I was an emotional wreck. The dr told me I had a deep vagina!! WTF?! Anyway, I haven't been to a gyno in about 5 years and I really have no clue when I will go again. I have PCOS and should go, but I am terrified to be embarrassed again and made to feel stupid.
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Avatar_f_tn
I had HUGE anxiety regarding these visits and kind of wonder if I'll be rescheduling my next appointment for a later date! If I'm having too stressful a month, I might just postpone, though not too long a delay! If things are going well in the weeks before my visit, then I'll be in a better mood & more relaxed, easier on everyone!

I ignored some red flags, especially pain on my right side, so finally was referred to a gyn.  She was a little impatient, raising her voice at me at times, but it didn't stop her from saving my life in a 5 hour surgery two days later!

Turned out I had a 20 pound ovarian mass--Ovarian Cancer Stage A.  (And I thought it was just winter weight gain! Others thought I had a hearty appetite.  I looked like I was pregnant but tryed to hide it with one size fits all clothing. I wondered what the heck was wrong with me ... still I dragged my feet overly long in getting myself checked out.)

Now I have to be checked more closely.

One suggestion I have is that gratitude, (even prayerful gratitude), for the skills of the gyn/surgeon can help to lessen some of the fear. Even a little less fear probably helped me through the exam, though I was a big baby and still had to hold the hand of one of the office staff! This is true with a lot of other difficult visits such as the dentist ... Gratitude knocks out fear a lot of times, (though not always)!  I felt a lot of pain in the visit, so half cried and nearly screamed a couple of times. But the visit is very, very short.  

I think some kind of sedative is a good idea for those patients like myself who are very fearful ...

There sure are a lot of us who feel just the same way!

I just have to tell myself that it's not a torture session, and that my own fear could have killed me! The doctor certainly wouldn't!  This doctor I feared the most--a gynecologist--actually saved my lifed with her great knowledge and skill when it came to having surgery.
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I am an adult already had a child and yet still get anxious at just the thought of a GYN exam...I get extremely anxious , I cry and half the time getting the speculum in  is nearly impossible to the point of frustration for the provider....it is so embarrassing for me that I get like this ......part of the problem is I get embarrassed about my behavior I know its no big deal to have a GYN exam but I cant seem to control the sense of dread that over comes me when I go.....I really was thinking I am the only one with this problem ......in many ways its comforting to know I am not. I had a GYN exam today and almost didn't get to complete it everything in my body said run. I ask the doctor to let the medical assistant in the room just so she can hold my hand  and hold my leg because I involuntarily close them making it worse...the doctor going to have to give me one pill like valium before I can do this again next time .....its just to much for me....I am home now and anyone would think I went through some type of trauma ...I still feel so upset so anxious.........I am a nurse I seen a surgical procedure where they removed a gigantic tumor and the leg was completely gone.....been present when eye sitting top of a friend head after a horse kicked it out.....was present and assisted a neighbor who was shot and screaming for help I went to him not thinking if the gun man was still....he had bullet hole in his head through his eye and 4 more shots in the abdomen but I did leave his side while all the other women where screaming.....  so I am not a squeamish nervous scary cat person....I seen stab wounds...I had an infected thyroglossal tumor in my neck and the doctor came to me with a gigantic horse needle .....I am not exaggerating..... and I let him stick it in my neck with out anesthesia so he can drain the infection...I didnt move or cry..........yet this very common exam that most women can do with ease and simplicity I perceive and experience as a traumatic nerve wrenching event....I have no problem with sex ......my partner and I have great sex with out any drama from me.......yet I can not  do a GYN exam without crying.......I know something happened to make me like this but can't and won't discuss it.....I can say that the doctor makes all the difference...I have had only two female doctors who where so great that If I knew where they where I would fly there just so they can do my exam.....my first great experience was with a provider in missouri her husband and her had a practice together and she saw how nervous I was and without me saying anything she began helping me to relax by talking about my son....then she relaxed my legs muscle in the inner thigh....... she first did an exam without the speculum and even that she did with great care relaxing the muscle there first...then when I least expected it she placed the speculum ever so gently and kept talking to me and never judged me and before I knew it it was over......I was even afraid to tell her what was hurting me but she was so good at what she does she told me where it hurt and she says I can tell it hurts and its ok for you to tell me she said your not imagining the pain you have a tumor there .......my previous GYN had told my husband for years that I imagined the pain and it wasn't real......even now thinking about this great doctor... I want to hug her ...I pray she is well where ever she is and wish with all my heart she could still be my GYN but I no longer live in missouri......any way hope that all the ladies out there who have this problem know your not alone and I pray you find the right provider who will help you get through this exam with out judgement or criticism...........PS for give all my typos and bad grammer writing in a hurry
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I´m not sure wether Im releaved or more unhappy about reading your questions but one thing I do kno is that Im not the only one-thank god. Im squeamish and I act extremely "ridiculously" every time I go for any kind of these tests. One test I had back in England, well, the doctors made me do it myself because I was under so much panic and crying continously. The other day was my very first smear with an appointment in a Spanish health centre. Every thing was going through my head, the difference in language (which I guess isnt the main problem as Im rather fluent these days), moreover: the fact that its normal to have 3 people in the room, the other fact that because Ive missed my period (still praying that it comes soon) they were shouting in a rather unsympathetic way if I thought I was pregnant before my smear, they thought I as getting pissy with them because I as nervous and they didnt really understand why I was acting like a baby....the list goes on. But anyway, they managed to get me in the chair and I was breathing deeply with anxiety. I have to agree with some of the people in this forum that, because Im so low down in the chair without being in control I star to have the panic attacks. The women couldnt do it and I began crying uncontrollably, thinking I might die if I never go through with this thing. (My auntie died recently of cancer of the cervix because she didnt go for smears and all the Spanish docs could say to me was, well "all the better for you to let us look at you". They dont understand and they think its so easy for women like us (and for someone who lost someone so dearly to me) but what they didnt know untill I said to them is that I cry when I see a bit of blood on TV, thats how "bad" I am.....So one doctor gave me Valium (2little blue tablets) for my next visit. They told me to put 1 under my tongue half an hour before the exam so it would sedate me but Im worried about having another emotional performance like the other day with more hours of uncontrolable crying and finally not being able to go through with it...... Anyone know how effective Valium is? Its my only hope because having someone at the side of me is not going to work...I need to be in control. Thanks for your messages guys, I was crying reading some of them as I feel the pain too.
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Avatar_f_tn
Can't they run blood and imaging tests instead of hands on? IF anyone knows please respond. I have a fear of the pelvic exam too from abortion years ago but am now trying to conceive but can't handle a stranger poking and proving. I can stand needles or anything .Anyone have info on a Dr.? Houston area
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm trying to find a Dr. That can use blood and imaging or sedation for exams....  I hv fear since an abortion ten years ago where I was thrown out in the middle for crying. I am trying to concrete at thirty five so I must do something. Any ideas. Houston Rx area.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm trying to find a Dr. That can use blood and imaging or sedation for exams....  I hv fear since an abortion ten years ago where I was thrown out in the middle for crying. I am trying to concrete at thirty five so I must do something. Any ideas. Houston Rx area.
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Dutch women are already using the Delphi Screener, the self sample HPV device. HPV negative women don't need pap tests, biopsies or treatments - they are not at risk from this cancer. The Dutch have a 7 pap test program, 5 yearly from 30, but will shortly move to 5 hrHPV primary triage tests offered at ages 30,35,40,50 and 60 and ONLY those positive will be offered a 5 yearly pap test. Only 5% of women are HPV positive by age 40. Those negative can follow the HPV program or if monogamous or no longer sexually active can forget all testing and revisit the subject if their risk profile changes. This will greatly reduce pap testing, over-treatment, excess biopsies and is more likely to prevent these rare cancers. The pap test misses 50% of adenocarcinoma and at least 25% of squamous cell. Routine breast and pelvic exams are not evidence based, are of poor clinical value and are more likely to harm you. Our doctors don't recommend them in symptom-free women. Most women having pap tests and potentially damaging biopsies and treatments are not even at risk from this rare cancer - they're HPV negative. Pap testing has created a highly lucrative industry in over-treatment and so many will not welcome HPV primary triage testing or a self-test option like the Delphi Screener....women will have to fight for access especially in Australia and the States were serious over-screening and over-treatment occurs and there is no real scrutiny of the programs/testing.
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I recently had my first gyno visit. As a 21y/o virgin I was nervous about the appt in general. I went in & met my gyn and he was very nice and professional, and I was okay as far as anxiety at this point thinking maybe its not so bad. The breast exam was first and that didn't really bother me a bit. The he put my feet in the stirrups and I got a tincy bit more nervous. But when he touched me i completely freaked. :( I started to cry, the nurse just tried to calm me. Nothing hurt. Nothing at all. I mean, I have never been touched in that area by anyone, and it is terrifying for me to even think about it. I really doubt that I ever go back until I am with child. :( Completely mortifying!!!!!
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Avatar_f_tn
I hate reading these accounts because it's not only unnecessary, it's harmful. The routine pelvic exam is of poor clinical value and exposes you to risk, just the fact you were distressed by the experience is bad enough. Routine breast exam...no evidence they help, but they lead to biopsies. Pap tests are an option for sexually active women, but evidence shows they don't change the incidence or death rate in those under 30.  Pap testing a 21 year old virgin is medical misconduct in my opinion...risk for no benefit. Even a sexually active 21 year old should not be tested. Many countries only test sexually active women at 25 or 30.
The evidence has moved on and now it's clear the only women who should be offered pap testing are the 5% who are HPV positive at age 30...those negative can be offered infrequent HPV testing or they could test themselves using the Delphi Screener. (being used in The Netherlands, Singapore and elsewhere)
You put yourself through an ordeal for no benefit...far from protecting your health, these exams cause physical and emotional damage. I think it's cruel to mislead women in this way.
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Omg! you guys have no idea how much better this makes me feel to know that there are so many other women that go through this.  I've been going to an ob/gyn since I first started my period when I was 12.  I had irregular bleeding and needed to be put on birth control to control it.  My first ob/gyn tried to do a pelvic exam everytime I went until he retired when I was 19 and I had to go to a new doctor.  He could never get one.  It was always too painful.  My second doctor was understanding and told me I didn't have to get a pap smear done until I was 21.  When I went in for my yearly visit after I turned 21 I tried to let her do one.  The pain was worse than I remembered and I screamed bloody murder and started crying.  I recently went back for anther yearly visit.  My first one since the last one and was so scared I was shaking and couldn't stop crying.  My doctor let it slide this time because she said the last thing she wants to do is tramautize me to the point where I don't come in ever again.  My mom asked the doctor if she would sedate me, but she said she would rather not to do that.  Little does she know it is probably the only way I will ever allow her to do an exam on me.

I have talked to my mom, my sister, and my friends about it and none of them have experienced anything like this.  Some of them had even told me that they thought I was overreacting.  I wish they could feel the pain for me somehow so they would understand. It feel so good to find people that actually understands my pain.
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Avatar_f_tn
I was forced by my mother to have a pelvic exam and pap smear and breast exam when i was 14 by our family doctor, she refused to go in with me nor did she explaine what was going to happen. I was shocked and sick when the male doctor forced my leg's apart! Then all the stuff afterward's? Oh my God. I got pregnant at 16 and the doctor i was forced to go to did lengthy rectal exams EVRY time i had to go in... monthly. He also forced my husband to drop trowe and bend over, squat, push out, all with his finger in his anus and a hand on his shoulder. Horrible! I'm shaking thinking about it. The next one was a a clinic for birth control where the female doctor left me on the table with my feet in stirrups, leg's hanging open, to answer the phone that the nurse who walked in, no knock, handed her. Then she pinched and twisted both of my nipples, i was to motified to move. Now at 50 i CAN NOT be internaly examened. I had a hysterctomy at 38 with a cervix removal and my female doctor still try's to insist she just wants to look, for what?!? She comes up with all kinds of reasons... no go. I'm relieved that i'm not alone. Same with breast exam's, no. I just cant be fondled like that, it feel's like legal rape! Before i cant sleep for a week, after i cry for day's.  My life changed a little today being given all this information and seeing all of you brave women, i feel better, thank you. And I will never do anything that makes me uncompfortable again.
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Avatar_f_tn
I was forced by my mother to have a pelvic exam and pap smear when i was 14, she refused to go in with me nor did she explaine what was going to happen. I was shocked and sick when the male doctor forced my leg's apart! Then all the stuff afterward's?  I got pregnant at 16 and the doctor i was forced to go to did lengthy rectal exams EVRY time i had to go in... I'm shaking thinking about it. Now at 50 i CAN NOT be internaly examened. I had a hysterctomy at 38 with a cervix removal and my female doctor still try's to insist she just wants to look, for what?!? She comes up with all kinds of reasons... no go. I'm relieved that i'm not alone. Same with breast exam's, no. I just cant be fondled like that, it feel's like legal rape!
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Avatar_f_tn
im 15 and im completely afraid to go to the gyno .....plese give me i need segestions ....
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So is there a Ob/Gyn out there that will put you to sleep for a Pap smear?
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Avatar_n_tn
I am so glad I stumbled onto this website.  I was trying to reseach sedation gyn.  I'm 49 and in menapause and having some symptom I'd like to get checked out...dreaded hot flashes, breast pain, etc.  I haven't been to the gyn in 15 years because of my fear and anxiety!  It's real and I can't stop it.  I did make an appointment recently to go because I thought I'd try to talk myself into going through with the appt.  I cancelled it the next day.  The last two times I tried to have the pap test, I froze up and cried and fled without getting it done.  I can't tell you how many times I passed out in my younger years when I had to go to get my pills filled.  It seems like there would be some type of sedation which would allow me and all the others to have this done.  I know they have sedation dentistry now.  I really was made to feel silly and they tried to guilt me into having the pap test last time and I just can't put myself through this again.  I've tried to envision the whole appt. and talk myself into it, but it isn't working.  I really thought I was alone but am so glad to know I'm not and I'm not some freak.  It hurts and my anxiety is real and unavoidable.  
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