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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Bodies » First gyno exam soon.

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Author Topic: First gyno exam soon.
-arsyn-
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Actually, in two days!! [Eek!]

I know there's an article about it.. I know generally what's supposed to happen. I just need some help to stop freaking out. I'm scared out of my mind. [Embarrassed]

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cool87
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A gyn exam is something almost every woman has to go through at some point of her life. So it's no biggie at all. I think you already know that it shouldn't hurt and last only a few minutes. But the first one can be pretty scary I do admit. It really doesn't need to but it often is even though.

What I suggest you to do up until your exam is to try not to think to much about it. Do something to get your mind off of that : sports, reading, watching movies, whatever.

And when the exam time will come, just tell your gyn it is your first exam and ask him/her to explain to you what he/she will be doing. It should make it easier for you. And while he/she's doing the exam try to relax, try to think about another thing other than the exam itself.

Here's a funny story Heather told me last time I asked for a similar advice. I tried to think about it during the exam and it helped. So it might for you too, you knows. (Just hope Heather's fine with me telling it again)

quote:
My mother is a hospital administrator and infectious disease expert. Years back, when I was having some health issues, as I did not have insurance (still don't, joy), I flew to see her so I could get some help via the clinic of one of the hospitals she managed.

The doctor assigned to me did a really big workup, and also suggested a GYN exam. Given what I do, I pretty much never say no to a pelvic and screeniong, since I figure you can never have too many. The doc asked if I minded if a resident observed, likely figuring that both growing up in hospitals and doing what I do, I'd be pretty relaxed about something like that. Which I generally am.

I said fine. And I SWEAR she said resident. Singular. As in one.

Nope.

Around TEN resident students filtered into my GYN exam. Plus doctor. Plus nurse. And me, in the stirrups, with quite the audience.

I'm not shy, but that was....yeah. Thankfully, the whole situation was so comical and so surreal that it didn't stress me out at all, though it was really hard not to laugh in both utter amusement and some degree of nervousness.

So, if need be, both know that not only will your GYN exam be SO much better than that, but you also can have that in your head as a source of comedy to help you to relax.

And can I ask what you're worried about exactly ? Worried about the pain ?

[ 12-21-2006, 05:39 PM: Message edited by: cool87 ]

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-arsyn-
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That story made me giggle. Thank you. [Razz]

And yeah, the pain for one, as some things are a little off and it's painful just sitting here. Also I'm incredibly shy about my body. No one looks down there but me! I don't even let my boyfriend get too good of a look!

That and the rectal part of it all.. nothing has ever been in.. there.. I wonder if I could just ask if they could skip that part?

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-Lauren-
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Never in my 5+ pelvic exams have I had any sort of rectal exam. Usually that's only done in a full exam when they need to be able to feel your organs more in depth; in the case of, say, pelvic pain.

But seriously? No big. Tell the doctor you're nervous and would like them to go slowly and warn you before they do anything. You can ask for a nurse to stay with you, or bring a friend or mom/sister for support.

Most pelvics last a whopping 5 minutes, and while you may be a bit uncomfy (more from nerves than anything), it shouldn't be painful. [Smile]

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cool87
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No problem, Heather's more the one to be thanked for.

As for your worries about a stranger seeing your body, just know that gyn sees a lot, lots of genitals each single day and they are so accustomed to that, that really they don't even care anymore. It has just become routine at this point, hon, really.

Per the rectal issue, the gyn does not always do it. And really it takes like tiny seconds and does not hurt. I've gone to the gyn before and did not even get one, nor did I get the speculum exam. So no the doctor won't necessarily do the whole complete exam. This depends on what your case is.

[ 12-21-2006, 06:02 PM: Message edited by: cool87 ]

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daria319
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Only thing you might worry about is if you're scared of needles -- I am, so I wigged out the first couple of times. They might draw a tiny bit of blood from your arm to check your iron and do a few screenings, and it really shouldn't hurt. I've never felt the needle go in, and the nurses were always so gentle -- there are some really great people at my local health department.

Seriously,though, relax. Keep in mind that you're going to the doctor, and it's all going to be fine.

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-arsyn-
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Well, I have no idea what they're going to do. I told them I was having some weird problems and they set me up for a "problem check", and said to have "nothing in the vagina for 48 hours prior to the appointment".

Frightening.

So I'm guessing they're going to be looking around in there. [Frown]

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cool87
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quote:
nothing in the vagina for 48 hours prior to the appointment".

Well, this is what everyone supposed to do prior to a gyn exam. Perfectly normal to have them telling you that. It makes the pelvic exam easier.

And of course, they're likely going to look around there. Isn't it what a gyn appointment is for most of the time ? [Smile] But like I said it really is no biggie, really.

Just relax and try not to think about it too much and everything will go fine. Believe me. There's things far more worse than a gyn exam in life. [Smile]

[ 12-21-2006, 06:31 PM: Message edited by: cool87 ]

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daria319
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quote:
Originally posted by -arsyn-:
So I'm guessing they're going to be looking around in there. [Frown]

That's what they're supposed to do. It's no different than having a dentist look around in your mouth, really. Seriously, the visit is nothing to be afraid of -- it's quick, painless(the most I've EVER felt is a very brief pinch), and pretty necessary to make sure you're healthy. Everything will be much easier if you relax.

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PM
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As someone posting from the UK I was slightly horrified to read this article:

www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/how_long_can_i_put_off_reproductive_health_exams

In the UK pap-smears are only ever offered - no one is forced (you can get birth control without one). It seems that the doctors in the US have got it wrong when it comes to how old you have to be too - in England paps are offered when you reach 25. It's not necessary to have them before that age (so few women get cervical cancer before they turn 25, plus growth of the cervix means many get false results and have to undergo unnecessary further treatment). It's also not necessary to have yearly check-ups. In the UK gyn exams are only given if a woman asks. Asymptomatic testing is done by request only - not regularly. I think American doctors ought to give women the right to decide to have exams when women (not doctors) think something is wrong with their bodies.

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eryn_smiles
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I dont think women are forced to get pap smears which ever country they live in. But... for a woman who is using birth control (and is therefore likely to be sexually active) it is known to be beneficial to have regular smears (in order to prevent cervical cancer). And its the doctors responsibility to encourage that women to have smears.

Where i live, we offer smears from age 20 (ending at age 70). It can be later than 20 if thats when the woman first becomes sexually active. We have a national cervical screening programme which ALL women belong to. If you DONT want to belong to it you have to withdraw yourself. Otherwise they send u annoying reminder letters every 3 years...

Screening, by definition, is testing asymptomatic people. Cervical cancer is a good disease to screen for because it has a long natural history to develop(years) and the early stages are easy to pick up. And if you treat the early asymptomatic stages you can prevent progression to the later symptomatic cancer stage.

As for the other STIs, im almost inclined to agree with you about whether yearly checkups are necessary. In my opinion, I wouldnt do yearly tests on every asymptomatic person. I would consider each individuals situation- if they had multiple partners or irregular use of contraception or prior STI history, then sure. But not on everyone who walks through the door...unless they themselves are concerned.

Just one more point....i think a major argument for regular testing is that by the time a woman realises something is wrong, there can be alot of harm done. For example, regular testing will pick up asymptomatic chlamydia before it complicates into something symptomatic like pelvic inflammmatory disease leading to fertility problems.

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Heather
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You know, it's not just the US that has the standards we do, and the standards differ to some degree internationally.

If you go looking country to country, you'll find that the age range suggested to start pap smears for women who are not sexually active varies from around 15 to 26. In fact, in the UK, it's only England that says 25 for women who have not yet been sexually active: Wales, Scotland and Ireland set their first-pap-smear age at 20. On average, it's generally advised between the ages of 18 and 21, or after a woman becomes sexually active, whichever comes first. But because one country suggests one age doesn't mean the other countries are wrong. These are suggested ages, not requirements, and you'll also find that the suggested ages change frequently enough in a given place from time to time. But if you have the idea that we only base suggestions here on US standards, you're incorrect. When I write materials here, I consider international AND national sources.

One reason why a younger age is suggested is that because cervical cells are still finishing in that window, younger women are at a higher risk of many infections and in some cases, from bigger health complications from an infection. (As well, it's also common to see older ages or less frequent exams suggested in countries like the UK where you're dealing with national healthcare per budget issues.)

Too, in general, if and when a woman has an abnormal pap, it's usually suggested she just repeats that pap first: she is not generally told to get treatment like a biopsy or LEEP. And doctors who aren't idiots know that younger women's cervical cells aren't finished devloping, so they won't tend to overlook that in considering the results of a pap.

In terms of yearly pelvic exams, pap smears and STI screenings, you may also find standards in the UK changing soon: the Chlamydia rates in the UK, for instance, have long been one of the highest, something health advocacy groups have been trying to figure out how to better deal with for some time now. As well, cervical cancer rates have been rising in the UK.

But no matter what, as eryn mentioned, women aren't forced to get sexual healthcare or gynecological exams. Many doctors will not give long-term BC prescriptions without those exams and paps, but if a woman was completely opposed to gynecological exams for whatever reason, she could certainly find a doctor who would make exception or did not require that. As well, women willing to make a habit of cervical self-exams can often have some screenings less often if they like. However, when it comes to Scarleteen, given our

But regardless, I don't think any of this, nor exams, are horrific, and stating that it is can contribute to women being more scared of exams than they would be otherwise. A pelvic exam or a pap smear isn't an assault: these are measures to help women stay healthy and alert to any possible problems, just like people getting yearly tooth cleanings and exams at their dentists office. Given cultural conditioning, it's certainly understandable that plenty of people are freaked out by their genitals being seen, but I don't feel that it's very positive to enable that. Genitals, from a healthcare perspective, are no different than ears, throats or elbows.

The readership here is more often sexually active than not, and because of the age of the readers here, sexual partnerships also tend to be shorter -- and result in more partners in a year -- than they do with older people. Our readership is a member of the group with the highest rising rates of STIs than any other. Those, as well as other reasons, are why what we suggest (and again, suggest is the operative word here) yearly exams and screenings, and that's simply our policy. We obviously understand if a given reader doesn't agree with that policy, but unless certain trends in sexual health and sexual behavior among our readership changes, or new information occurs in international sexual and reproductive health when it comes to all of this, it's not something we will likely change.

[ 02-29-2008, 03:03 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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LittleMissSunshine
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Ha! I've totally had the same "Can we have someone observe" story.

I've got Endometriosis, and since I'm young, and it's pretty severe, I suppose I'm "intresting".

Either way, at an appointment at a hostpital, the Doctor wanted to show to her student(s) (I assumed it was one) how sensitive a person with Endometriosis can be upon exam, but how there no is real "physical" evidence based upon a pelvic exam...yada...yada.

Anyways, here I though the Doctor said "student". Apparently she said "students". Like 7 or 8 little (seriously, they looked like my age lol) medical students got to observe my pelvic exam and give it a try themselves.

Needless to say, that is the largest number of people that have ever seen lady-town in a 24 hour period....

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JCFantasy23
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Not to sound discouraging, but I hate exams, as they usually are painful for me, particularly for my breasts. My mother and I both have unusual tissue and getting an exam usually leaves me in pain for a few days.

When I was a teen and on birth control I wasn't given a choice in the matter of the exam. They informed me that if I didn't get an exam, that I couldn't have the birth control pill refilled, and had me come in every 10 months instead of every year because my mother had cervical cancer when she was younger. (Of course, they say cervical cancer isn't genetic, but still...)

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hockey_player_19
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I am 18 years old and have never had an exam. Should I have had one by now? I have heard that they hurt. I have a body problem I hate seeing my self naked let alone letting some one else see me naked. The biggest fear is that I heard is that some peopkle enjoy them and get pleasure out of them. What happens if I enjoy it?

I was also wondering if any of you have a preference on a male or female doctor? I would think a female because they know what is going on down there and all that good stuff.

[ 05-29-2008, 10:52 PM: Message edited by: hockey_player_19 ]

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Bun Bun
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Since you're 18 it probably is a good idea to start having exams. Honestly, I have to agree with everyone else here in the fact that it's really not that big of a deal. It's like going on a rollercoaster for the first time- you're terrified, but when it's over, you wouldn't be against doing it again. It's really not that bad.

Personally, I do prefer a female doctor. Though it's important to remember that doctors are just that: they're doctors. They're professionals who have been training for years, and both the men and the women probably have equal knowledge about the workings of your vagina. But of course, if a woman doctor makes you more comfortable, that's fine!

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cool87
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quote:
The biggest fear is that I heard is that some peopkle enjoy them and get pleasure out of them. What happens if I enjoy it?
Just as a note, women generally do not get pleasure out of a GYN exam so that's not really something to be worried about. [Smile]

Here, you might want to check this out: Your first gynecologist visit

[ 05-30-2008, 06:54 PM: Message edited by: cool87 ]

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