Guest Lil Tiger

Some Tips before you att your Gyno/Ob appt

70 posts in this topic

Your giraffe comment made me smile :-)

I am considering changing GPs anyway so maybe trying again in a different location with different staff may be the way to go. I can't contemplate that right now though. Normally when I'm anxious about something I just get on and do it so it's out of the way. This feels different, not sure why.

I have a problem with asking for what I want or need and put the needs and feelings of others first sometimes. Even with everyone telling me I'm within my rights to ask the med student to leave, I still don't know that I could actually ''make a fuss'. I am so want to stay in control yet in that situation I was too scared (or at least wasn't brave enough) to do something to make myself feel safer. What's that about?!

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Rachel, do you have a partner or close girl friend you could take with you who might be willing to go and advocate for you?

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I don't have a partner but I do have some close girl friends, 2 in particular. One is not so close geographically but the other could theoretically come.

I don't know how I would ask her though. I wouldn't want her to feel she had to come. I find it difficult to ask for help and I would feel a bit foolish having to ask her to give up her time for me. I'm not sure she truly understands how I feel about it, though she tries to be supportive. I'm not saying I won't do it, it's a good idea, thank you. I just don't know how to suggest it to her!

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It wasn't your fault or anyone's fault other than the person who hurt you in the past.

^^^^This, a million times.

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it's always ok for you as a patient to speak up for yourself, ask questions, say no. But, if you are comfortable and ok with it, I would advise trying to allow yourself to keep the med student in the room (not if it's not ok for you though). I still remember a lot of the patients I saw and took care of when I was a student and those experiences shape you and make you a better doctor.

- Kara

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Hello all

I've decided I want to try again with the smear test/Pap smear. Partly I've been encouraged by one of my friends (who is far far away living in Aus at the moment, I'm in the UK) and somehow she's convinced me I can do it. (She's not convinced me that I want to do it, I did anyway, just convinced me that it may be possible).

Urgh! Now I feel sick at the thought of even booking an appointment! I'm still unsure whether to tell the nurse. I didn't before (though I had planned to) but others (non survivors) have said it makes it a bigger thing and gives me an extra challenge in having to tell someone. Though a lot of people on here say it's helped. Not sure if I'm just finding more decisions for myself to make so I can put it off until I've decided!!!!

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Thanks Hellothere.

I'm not sure what the equivalent of Planned Parenthood would be here. I think there are other places I could go that might be more experienced but would need to find out where.

I think as I'm changing GPs (for other reasons not related to this) I'll try to start from scratch with the new Practice Nurse there and see how it goes. Thanks for the idea though, I really appreciate it. I'm not going to do anything until the end of January though as I'm so busy at work until 31st Jan passes. I can't cope with having to do this as well as all my work!

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Wow I am glad o found this place. I m in England we don't do annual gyn examination and I've never had children. I have been having symptoms downthere for mmonths but I been too scared to ask my doctor or in fact say anything about that area. I have finally booked THE Appointment for 10 days. And the thought of being exposed touched and vulnerable is horrific. Any ideas on how even describing symptoms .

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write things down beforehand that you want to say like details about what symptoms you are having or what you need/want out of the appointment and when you get there you can read from what you've written or even give it over to your doctor if you don't feel like you can talk about it out loud. Let them know you are feeling nervous, a good doctor or nurse will be able to help you relax so that the appointment goes much smoother. Try to remember that your doctor is there to help you take care of you. It is ok and so normal for survivors to feel icky about being exposed and being touched in that area. You can say stop at any time. Be proud of yourself for making the appointment and for everything that you do beyond that yay.gif

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Oh it's getting closer.Honestly, if I say a few symptoms and the examination goes ahead, will the doctor know physically or by looking down there? I couldn't bear being questioned while vulnerable.

Should I shave around there? What if I make a mess? Oh holy crap. ..

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Appointment tomorrow. Big questions, will i say what I need to? Will I be honest? I keep rememberinf it's Friday and smile, then I remember the doctor and my heart sinks!

In 16hrs time I'll be done. Give me strength.

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Good luck Louise. I'm in the UK too and will be thinking of you.

You can do it!

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Dear Louise77

I thoroughly urge you to see your gyn. It's important to have checks.

Seven years ago I was diagnosed with cervical cancer and this was followed by 2 years of treatments, surgeries and a lot of poking around "down there." Afterwards, checks every three months for 2 years and every 6 months for 3 years. Last year, at the 5 year clear mark they found some suspicious cells so back to surgery and back to being checked every 6 months - I'm going tomorrow.

It's very hard and I understand. I still find it awful but my gyn knows why and Dr's will do everything in their power to make you feel OK.

This is what I did - I wrote down on a card that I was a SA survivor and that gyn procedures were very upsetting for me and that in the past, I have had flashback experiences during internal examinations. I wrote something along the lines that I was unable to speak these words but I think you need to know .....

Good luck

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I still haven't done this.

I know I need to but I'm not sure I'm ready. I don't want to be retraumatised again.

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Hi everyone!

I am new on this forum and joined specifically to respond to this thread.

I am here both as someone who has been sexually victimized in the past and also have recently found out that I am in a relationship with a man who disclosed to me sexual victimization in his past, just to clarify things.

I actually currently have a job as a Genitourinary Teaching Associate at a very prestigious med school. Several of my colleagues who do this, such as myself, have been sexually victimized in our past. For me knowing how important sexual and reproductive health is, as well as knowing how a trauma-informed approach is vital, is a major reason that my helping med students learn how to give pelvic exams is important. I have male colleagues who teach the male exams to students as well since male prostate exams with a trauma informed approach is also incredibly important, because sexual victimization occurs to men, too, as many of us are aware. Some of my colleagues also teach specifically to forensic nurses who are learning to do Sexual Response Team trained nurses to take Rape Kits, etc.

I, myself, prefer to go to a Nurse Practitioner for my own exams and as my primary care doctor rather than just a clinic or gynecologist in general and this is something that some of you may also be interested in. I find that they tend to be much more thoughtful and aware of many social issues as well as sensitivity to body language and have better communication skills.

There are a few tips that I might also be able to offer in terms of feeling like you can have power during your exam to help you feel more comfortable. I actually teach the med students these things.

Please remember that our sexual and reproductive health is important. It is perfectly fine to take all the time you need to get yourself there and to ask for anything you need. Feel free to state openly that you need a compassionate and caring approach if you feel you can. The person giving the exam should tell you that you should feel free to ask any question at any time or to stop the exam if you need to. I know that not all medical people have been trained in this, but this is what we are currently teaching now... at least in the program I am a part of. We are sent to other colleges and universities to teach these exams, actually.

If the person you are seeing does not tell you this then please just remember that I am telling you you can. If the person doesn't respect your needs and boundaries then they are not the ones to do your exam!

You can also ask that the exam table be raised up to a better angle so that you can watch the exam or the person doing it. This also opens up a line of sight so that the person doing it can see your expressions. Not all of us can verbalize, but we can communicate through facial expressions, body tension, etc.

You can bring a mirror so that you can watch what is happening. We teach the students that they can have one in the room and offer it, but sometimes just having your own just guarantees one will be there.

The fear of not knowing or not being able to see can definitely trigger re-traumitization responses and the less control you have the more likely that fear will be triggered and the more we are triggered the more tense we will be. The more tense you are the more painful the exam will be so do whatever you need to help prevent that fear from being triggered!!

One thing I tell all my students is: "You never know. You may be the first person that has ever respected your patient."

That is a powerful sentence when it comes to issues surrounding sexual abuse.

There should always be two people giving you the exam. One who performs it and one who is a chaperone and they are there for OUR comfort in knowing that the one performing the exam is not there to take advantage of us. They are there for our safety.

If you are not comfortable with someone of a particular gender performing the exam it is fully in your right to say so.

I specifically teach the students that the more they care about your opinion the more you know you have reason to feel safe with them and safety is not just about physical. I also teach them that pain and discomfort are not just about physical pain.

When setting up an appointment perhaps stating that you need someone who is trauma-informed would be a great way to let them know if you don't feel comfortable saying specifically what happened to you in your past. If they do their job right then you can build a space where you feel safe enough to trust them so you can open up.

Being trauma-informed means they should understand that trust built on mutual respect takes time and is something earned... it is not given freely and should not be expected nor taken.

It may take you several attempts to get yourself there and that is okay. Do whatever you need to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally.

You deserve your health, your dignity, and your self-respect. Only you can and should decide what should happen to your body and when. Do whatever you need to help yourself give you the healthy body you deserve and that includes the exams that have to do with preventative health and its importance in our lives and for our bodies.

Never forget to breathe! Take all the deep breaths you need to help yourselves relax and get past any triggers that come up. Sometimes we all have to stop and give ourselves time to do it another time if needed.

No matter what find a practitioner who respects your right tø say no and you will find a good health practitioner worth building a healthy checkup relationship with.

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Thank you SensesFelt for sharing your perspective.

I tried and failed to get through a smear about a year ago. I have friend who is a survivor who suggested I shouldn't try again straight away back then because of the retraumatisation. She felt it wasn't a healthy option for me then and insisted I would know when I was ready to try again.

I'm not sure I will ever be ready but it's something I would like to get out of the way. What do you think about retraumatisation? That was my friend's main concern.

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You're welcome Rachel.

Re-traumitization is something we all become wary of! Victim blaming is so all-pervasive that it happens far too frequently.

Finding a good health practitioner means finding someone you can build a professional relationship built on trust and open and honest communication. When talking to anyone who is going to give you an exam make sure that they respond well when you tell them you are nervous or afraid. If they immediately denigrate or dismiss your fear then they are not the right person for the job, imho.

The person should be able to open up a discussion with you in a way where you can begin to feel safe. It is literally one of those things that the more they are interested in our opinion the more we can learn to find them trustworthy.

Whomever gives you an exam should respect your right to say no first and foremost.

I am not sure if there are liability issues on the professional end in this context, but it sounds like you have a good friend who may be willing to go with you? If so perhaps you could look for a clinic to see if they would be okay with that. It makes complete and perfect sense to me that it should be okay.

What I did to help dispel those rational fears after such a horrific thing that happened was to remind my brain that I wasn't going to let the perpetrator rob me of my health on top of everything that happened. Sometimes I just had to hold my own hand, so to speak, and remind myself about rational fear (in context), and how we can so easily forget how much good is honestly out there... and good people.

It is okay to back out if you don't feel up to it, but it can be helpful to keep challenging those fears.

Keep reminding yourself that your health is important!

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i finally found this thread. i have my gyno apt today, yes i think its a good idea to wear a skirt, not skinny jeans or stockings cuz in my cotton swab, the fact i had to take off my stockings made me scared.

and i mad the mistake this morning of having coffee... so too late for that tip on not having caffeine. i think i will take a valium cuz i'm so freaked out right now.

is this wierd? but the reason why i'm freaked out is cuz i havent waxed my bikini line, i'm always shy and embarassed of anyone seeing my hair down there unkempt, needs landscaping and wear fresh clean underwear. i duno... trying to calm myself down, i should get ready to go now.

I AM SAFE, I AM IN CONTROL ... THIS IS ONLY 5 MINUTES OF MY LIFE... I WILL EAT CHOCOLATE TONIGHT... I WILL HAVE A GIRLS COMEDY DAY ... I WILL TELL JOKES WITH MY FRIEND... I AM STRONG ...

i'm gona call the crisis hotline number, i'm gona go see my psychologist

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