T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 45568
posted 03-03-2010 04:49 PM
I have my first pelvic exam scheduled in three weeks and I'm really nervous. I've been worrying about it so much that I had to call my doctor and move up the appointment so I wouldn't have to wait for another two months. The longer I've waited, the more nervous I've gotten. I have read through most of the articles on the topic on this site, which helped some, but didn't really address my issue.
I have PTSD stemming from abuse and am worried that the exam will be a trigger that could cause me to dissociate or have flashbacks (dissociation is rare for me, but I think this could be scary enough to cause that). My doctor is aware of my history, but is requiring me to have the exam before I leave for college next year. If I don't have the exam done before the fall, she won't continue to write prescriptions for my BC, which I'm using for Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (I have not yet been sexually active). Does anyone have any advice as to how to get through this? Did I make the right decision in moving up the appointment? [ 03-03-2010, 04:50 PM: Message edited by: polyprotic ]
Member # 37835
posted 03-03-2010 07:45 PM
If you are under 21 and not sexually active, a pap smear isn't necessarily recommended, but a bimanual exam only may be what she's talking about. First off, you should ask exactly what she'll be doing during the appointment, so that you can prepare for exactly what will happen. Now, you can always bring some support person with you (who can stand by your head and hold your hand, so it's not like they'd be looking at your vulva) if you feel like that would help. You can also just ask for a nurse to be present as well, if that would make you feel better. The other thing I'd recommend is to make sure that you tell your doctor about things she should watch out for in case you start to disassociate or have flashbacks. You can make up a plan to keep a constant conversation going with her while she does the exam, so she can listen for changes in your voice/willingness to speak. Personally I just have a preference that the provider describe everything that she's doing while she's doing it (as a survivor myself, I think it would be extremely difficult for me to handle a male doctor performing a pelvic exam, and thus far I've always been able to get care from women who do this description in general). For me it also does help to be going back and forth with some sort of conversation, even if it's Her: "So, I'm about to do the pap." Me: "Okay. Isn't the weather today terrible?..." The final thing that I would stress with your doctor is if you say stop or something hurts, she must stop right then. I would not assume she'd do that without an explicit conversation. If she's not willing to commit to stopping at the instant you say stop for something as routine as a pelvic exam, I'd say find another provider.
Member # 45568
posted 03-03-2010 08:07 PM
She will be doing a pap because of the chance that I could have picked up HPV. Having a support person isn't really an option as I haven't told any of my friends yet, but keeping a conversation does sound like a good idea.
Thanks for your response.
Member # 37835
posted 03-04-2010 05:39 AM
Okay, if an outside support person isn't an option, I'd still suggest asking a nurse to be present during the exam if you think that having an extra person around will help you feel comfortable. Nurses in these offices are used to those types of requests.