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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 universal
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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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?
Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal
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 universal
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....
Avatar universal
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!
Avatar universal
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 universal
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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1556906 tn?1294545253
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 universal
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?
Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal
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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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
Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal
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!!!!!
Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal
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 universal
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!
Avatar universal
im 15 and im completely afraid to go to the gyno .....plese give me i need segestions ....
Avatar universal
So is there a Ob/Gyn out there that will put you to sleep for a Pap smear?
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no youre not alone. many women are terrified of a pelvic exam. But have you heard of the delphi screener for pelvic exams. its small as a ball point pen. google it
973741 tn?1342346373
COMMUNITY LEADER
There is nothing to fear from a traditional pelvic exam.  doctors are fast and it is over in a flash.  Do not fear, it will be okay. :>)
Avatar universal
Every time I go to my gynecologist, she hurts me during the examination.  My daughter told me it's not supposed to hurt.  I have gone through menopause and am very sensitive in that area.  I understand that as a woman gets older and has not had sex, she gets smaller and more sensitive.  I am thinking about finding another gynecologist.
Avatar universal
hi,i have the same problem.i feel a lot of pain during the examination and I'm desperate
Avatar universal
I want to speak to with other women who also have pain during examination
Avatar universal
Hi,me too.I have to do pap smear but i can t .The pain is horrible .suffered sexual abuse
Avatar universal
But  trust in your husband's faithfulness?I do not trust any man
Avatar universal
i hate too i hate men i hate my life
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