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Some Tips before you att your Gyno/Ob appt

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#16 gateway

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Posted 28 April 2004 - 07:00 AM

Thankyou for those suggestions.
I finally did it this morning after 10 years of trying to make the appt!!!
It was my first ever proper exam (they did everything all in one go!) the only ever exam i had was after a rape at a clinic just outside  Los Angeles airport (jet lagged, no american money - i had to interrupt a flight).  I was sooo dissociated the DR was soo horrible... but anywhoo!

I cannot tell you how kind they were.  I wrote a mammoth letter in bullett points explaining exactly my experiences, what i was scared of, what i wanted to know, what i didn't want to know < key point for me.
That letter will stay in my file.  I also spoke to a counsellor they had available before and after.  

She got the nurse to get a smaller 'one' for me.  I just cannot tell you how kind they all were.  It was a very positive experience.

For me I did get terrible pain.  But it wasnt unbearable, i was expecting it prepared etc

I had to have a longer examination because of some probs iv bn having but even then it was all over and done with very quickly

They were so considerate.  I would advise writing it out in a letter.  and asking to get everything all done with at one time.  

Also, i was referred there from the SARC  (assault centre), even if you havent say you've been referred from Rape Crisis coz as soon as they hear that then theyre ever so good. (well they were to me)

She said I'd done the right thing in being checked out.  THey all said they were so proud of me etc.  bless!!!

Ok so if i've done it after 10 years then u can!!!

#17 Loops83

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 04:06 PM

Well done for making your appointment Gateway!  Way to go girl!  i'm feeling pretty nervous because I have to go for a servical smear in a couple of weeks.  The only other time I've ever had one was when I was in the relationship where I was raped.  I went because I'd been experiencing bleeding and pain during sex (I'd blocked out my memories of being abused/raped and had convinced myself that it was the result of 'normal' sex).  I now realise that I was bleeding because he kept raping me or at least having very rough sex with me.  So I associate having a smear with that time in my life and feel very anxious about how I'll respond to the examination.  I found all of the posts on this topic really helpful and will certainly bear the advice in mind when I see my GP.  Its good to know you're not the only one who's worried about something.

amy xxx

#18 woundedangel

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Posted 05 August 2004 - 07:00 AM

Hey everyone. This is probably a separate topic but I don't have the ability to create new topics on the board, so I hope it's okay to post this here.  

Does anyone else have problems with chronic vag. infections?  I feel like I'm constantly on Monistat for yeast, or Metrogel for Bacterial Vaginosis and I'm not sure if it's connected to the abuse/r*pes or not. I read on another site that sometimes women who've been abused this way can have frequent "female" problems but I'm not sure how that could be given that my last r*pe was ten years ago.  

I've been to the gyn and the reg. doc and have been tested over and over for everything from HIV to STDS and luckily nothing like that has come up.  What's frustrating is that when I "know" I have something like a yeast infection and go to the doctor to make sure it isn't something else, I'm always told that they can't "find anything" and that I'm "fine".  Grrr....I am very glad that soon my husband and I will be switching insurance so I can go to a different doctor.....

Meantime, I'd love to know if anyone else is dealing with this and what if anything your docs have said the cause is.  

Thanks so much,
Wounded Angel

#19 Star of the Sea

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Posted 05 August 2004 - 11:49 AM

I also think I have chronic vaginal infections.  unfortunately although I tried to get help from my pmd about this last year, lived through three attempts at a gyn exam only to be told it was candida... which then I had a hard time treating and even after I did the treatments twice it didn't seem to go away. I thought it might be bv but that didn't show up on the tests they did.  I've sort of gotten used to living with chronic itchiness. I have such difficulties with the whole pelvic exam thing I can't even imagine going back to see her and tell her I'm still suffering.  I guess I just am not persistent enough to find a doctor solution.

When I was younger I switched away from antibacterial soaps and that helped some.  

I guess i'm just a me too and no help at all. I wish I had a solution every so often I just get sick of being uncomfortable and dealing with it.


#20 woundedangel

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Posted 05 August 2004 - 01:07 PM

You are TOO a big help. Just having someone else understand and know what I'm going through is a HUGE relief!  I was beginning to feel like something was wrong with me. lol

I hope that both of us get healthy soon and find doctors who are able to help us out.

Thanks so much for sharing and good luck!
Wounded Angel

#21 pixie

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Posted 09 August 2004 - 07:42 PM

Health info for survivors

From a website selling the book:
The Truth About Rape
intellectual property of Teresa Lauer, M.A.
I pasted it here bc the link keeps breaking.  The url changes slightly every 3 months and I think it could help people to know about it.
"I'm nervous about my next OB/GYN appointment.  What can I do?"
"Should I be tested for AIDS?"
"I'm terrified that I'm going to become pregnant from the rape. What can I do?"
"I think I may be developing an eating disorder; how can I stop this?"
"Why do I want to hurt myself?"
"I feel disconnected from my body; why don't I "work" sexually anymore?"
"What can I do to feel safe again?"

"I'm nervous about my next OB/GYN appointment.  What can I do?"

A Personal View

My first gynecological exam following the rape was filled with apprehension. A gynecological exam even without the experience of rape is difficult because you're in a position wherein you have little control.  You're on your back, with your feet up, a (virtual) stranger is inserting things inside you.  And generally it's a male. I did come up with some ideas though that served to make my experience a little more palpable.  First, I made the appointment with my gynecologist – a male doctor that I'd been seeing for about seven years – for first thing in the morning. That way I knew I wouldn't be waiting if he got backed up throughout the day.  Waiting means anxiety – something you don't need.  And I requested that I be able to see him for 15 minutes longer than the regular appointment so that we might have a consultation prior to the exam.  I wanted to see him in his office, with my clothes on and my feet on the floor. 

This would be the first time since the rape that someone touched me and I wanted it to be on my terms.  Second, immediately after making the appointment I dropped off a copy of the report that the examining doctor at the hospital had prepared after the rape. I asked his nurse to add it to my files and requested that my doctor read it prior to our appointment. Third, I made a list of my injuries at the time and how I was feeling now.  I was very succinct.  I knew I'd be nervous and didn't want to miss anything.  Fourth, I took the remainder of the day off from work and did exactly what I wanted – I had an early lunch with a friend, went shopping for a couple of hours and then went to a movie and dinner with my boyfriend. This was a pretty big deal for me and I was proud of the way I went about it.  You must take care of yourself and taking care of, and following up on your physical injuries is of utmost importance. – Janice, 33 

A Clinical View

What Happens During a Gynecological Exam

What happens during a gynecological exam is a mystery to most of us. Whether or not you received injuries during your sexual assault, it's important that your OB/GYN know that you were raped.  You may have been treated by a physician in a hospital or may not have been treated at all, however, your own physician is in the best position for determining your follow-up care.  In addition, knowing what to expect allows you to be prepared for the physical sensations you will feel in various phases of the pelvic exam.  Informative guides on gynecological exams can be found on the internet sites in the following resource section.  In addition to a breast exam, a very brief overview of the pelvic exam includes:

The External Genital Exam

A visual examination of the vulva and opening of the vagina; abnormalities, rashes, cysts, genital warts, etc. are noted.

The Speculum Exam

A speculum is inserted to facilitate examination of the cervix; abnormalities are noted; testing for STDs is performed as is a Pap Test.

The Bimanual Exam

One or two gloved, lubricated fingers are inserted into the vagina while your physician presses down on the lower abdomen to feel the internal organs. Size, shape, tenderness, pain, swelling and enlargement of organs is noted.

 Rectovaginal Exam

A gloved finger is inserted into the rectum to local possible tumors and check the conditions of the muscles.

General Resources

American Medical Association (AMA)
Phone:  (312) 464-5000

American Medical Women's Association
Phone:  (703) 838-0500

National Woman's Health Information Center, The
Phone:  (800) 994-WOMAN (800) 994-9662

Internet Resources

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
(Excellent source for violence towards women)

American Medical Association

American Medical Women's Association

National Institutes of Health

National Women's Health Information Center

OB/GYN.net's Women's Pavilion

Book & Pamphlet Resources

Color Atlas of Sexual Assault
     By Girandin

Everything You Always Wanted to Ask Your Gynecologist
     By Dr. R. Scott Thornton & Dr. Kathleen Schramm

Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness
     By Jon Kabat-Zinn

Sexual Assault: A Manual for Emergency Care
     By Patricia A. Hargest and Robi Findley, R.N.

Violence and Abuse: Implications for Women's Health
     By S.B. Plichta"


Planned Parenthood operates approximately 875 health centers in 49 states and DC, serving nearly five million men, women  and teenagers every year.  Enter your zip code for the nearest location.  Planned Parenthood Federation of America,  Inc., is the world's largest and most trusted voluntary reproductive health care organization.  You can get a medical  examination at one of these locations if you don’t have a regular gynecologist.

#22 Star of the Sea

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Posted 20 October 2004 - 04:03 AM

Getting through medical examinations

More Links

I thought these were helpful.

#23 angel31

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Posted 24 October 2004 - 03:12 PM

Thank you for this post I have my appt for a pap smear in a few weeks. Im going to use some of the suggestions im scared to go. I was sobbing the last time I went cause of what happened to me it brought back flashbacks. I hope some of the suggestions will help me.


#24 Epona

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Posted 16 January 2005 - 07:16 AM

I thought I would never go have another smear as the first one was so painful emotionally/physiacally...now I know some good techniques I think I can muster up some courage to go make that appointment-thank you!

#25 tealight rookie

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Posted 04 May 2005 - 02:24 PM

Great thread!

I was like so many people have described... Just couldn't even think of it... But, at 29, I had my first smear test (we don't have routine pelvic exams in the UK, just the pap smear) this year!

Luckily I have a great GP who has been treating me for depression too, and I was able to tell her that I had problems in that area. Together we came up with a plan to split the test into sections... I cannot tell you how much this helped...

We ended up having three sessions, with each going a little further than the one before - and all the time at my own pace. She explained everything thoroughly, and reassured me constantly.

Now this is going to sound daft, but actually, by the last session, I really felt like I was receiving some kind of gift... It was actually incredibly moving & ended in me disclosing parts of my history. And now, I'm trying to get pregnant, so I must have moved!

All I will say is - although of course you must do only what you are ready for - please please please think about your health. I have a friend on another survivor board who went for her first pap smear this year too - unfortunately the results weren't good, and she was told that had she gone earlier they might have caught things sooner. That breaks my heart... Though of course I understand it so so much...

Sending lots of support.

:hug: Ruthie

Edited by tealight rookie, 04 May 2005 - 02:25 PM.

#26 Guest_painfullynumb_*

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Posted 20 May 2005 - 12:33 AM

so... i had to schedual an appointment to get on birth control... will i have to have a pap smear done or anything like that??? i might just cancel that appointment.

#27 Jennifer

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Posted 20 May 2005 - 02:26 AM

You most likely will need to have one done, as they want to make sure you're healthy before introducing those hormones to your system. Good luck...I think stressing about it may be worse than experiencing it for me. Is your doctor aware of your situation? That makes it a bit easier...telling the doctor can be hard, though. That's where I'm stuck now. I moved across the country and now I have a new MD. I know I should tell, but it's hard!

Again, good luck.

#28 MatthewJ123

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 01:57 AM

if any of you are in t for these issues, or have a good relationship with your MD, ask them to write a letter to the doc explaining you are a survivor, let them give it to you, (my t gave me the option of reading it before hand so i knew what was said) and you can take it in to your ob/gyn appt so if you don't feel comfortable telling them, then at least there is that explaining, so they know. i did this at first, and it helped enormously, the doc was very accomodating and gentle with me. i don't know if this will work for everyone, but yeah, just something i thought i might add.


#29 Kaitlyn

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 05:15 AM

if any of you are in t for these issues, or have a good relationship with your MD, ask them to write a letter to the doc explaining you are a survivor, let them give it to you, (my t gave me the option of reading it before hand so i knew what was said)  and you can take it in to your ob/gyn appt so if you don't feel comfortable telling them, then at least there is that explaining, so they know.  i did this at first, and it helped enormously, the doc was very accomodating and gentle with me.  i don't know if this will work for everyone, but yeah, just something i thought i might add.


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I hadn't thought about it, but that's an awesome idea. Will probably do that next time I have to go through that ordeal again. Last time i freaked out pretty good. :blink:

#30 survivor

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 12:26 AM

Something I found at the national center for post traumatic stress disorder entitled "PTSD Information for Women's Medical Providers:


If you have the courage, it might be something worthwhile giving to your gynocologist. It lists things that they can do to make the exam better for surivivors.


Pandora's Aquarium, Inc. is not intended to be a substitute for professional assistance. All members and visitors are encouraged to establish a relationship with a trained counselor, therapist, or psychiatrist. Pandora's Aquarium, Inc. offers rape and sexual abuse survivor-to-survivor support only. Despite any qualifications staff or members possess, they are not engaged in a professional relationship with any other member. Survivors in crisis are urged to seek local help by contacting 911 or their local rape crisis center. Use of this website constitutes acceptance of the Terms of Service located here.