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Gyno exam- ever had this happen to you?

So, I've had my very first gyno exam when I was 20.5 years old. It was very uncomfortable, of course, but I got through it and the doctor was able to do what she had to do. Actually, I was supposed to have another doctor, but she was absent and I had a replacement- and the replacement was very good and I felt comfortable with her. So, 2.5 years later (today), I went to the gyno (the one I was originally supposed to see to get my routine check-up 2.5 years ago), and immediately I could just sense that I didn't get that warmth feeling. So, when she began the exam and inserted the speculum (or tried to insert it?), I tensed up and couldn't relax no matter what she told me to do to help her out. Thus, she told me she couldn't complete the exam and come back 6 months after I begin a "relationship," so that way I'll be more relaxed and it'll be easier for me to complete the exam. I don't know exactly what she meant by that (I mean can't you have a relationship and not have sex?). I have never been sexually active at all (and I don't feel ready at all yet), so at least I don't have to worry too much about HPV and other STDs. I'm just a little worried b/c I feel like I should have a check-up? And also as I get older, I'm worried this will keep happening again. Afterwards and still now, I've gotten emotional. Not sure exactly why or at who...but I feel disappointed in myself and embarrassed maybe...and what's going to happen when I really do need the exam further down the line?

Has this happened to anyone else? Thanks.

Mon. Jun 29, 4:37pm

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OP here

Oh yeah...forgot to mention...I'm thinking I couldn't complete the second time because I knew what would happen..?

Monday, June 29, 2009, 4:42 PM

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I can relate to the uncomfortable feeling - I think most of us feel that way. Even though you aren't at risk for STD's is important to have regular paps (once a year is recommended) because it can catch all kinds of other things like growths and tumors.

I don't believe you have to be sexually active first, but maybe you should shop around for a new doctor. I don't think there is anything wrong with you at all, but perhaps this doctor isn't the right one for you. My doctor always tries to act like we're having a conversation (weather, vacations, iPod apps, etc.) to totally take my mind off of it. She also uses KY jelly to make things easier.

Good luck!

Monday, June 29, 2009, 4:48 PM

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My guess is she said relationship to suggest regular sex. You tensed up, got too tight. Sex generally makes things a little looser more relaxed (though clearly, can also teach you control and how to tighten...) If you're not sexually active, and quite young, no need to panic if you miss a pap one year, unless you have a family history of reproductive cancers. Otherwise, relax.

Personally, I've never feel uncomfortable at the gyno.

Monday, June 29, 2009, 5:16 PM

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Most of the docs I've had over the years have been pretty good in this area.

The one I see now knows to use the smallest speculum they have on me so maybe they were using one that's too big for you?
He's been doing it a long time so he's more of matter of fact just get in and get it done.
Plus - if they try to hard to be gentle about it that seems to make it worse!!
I had a student doc one time that was AWFUL because she was so SLOW trying to get it in and was trying so hard to not hurt me.... which had the totally opposite effect. They finally had to call the real doc in to take over.

It IS hard to relax but I guess I tell myself that if I relax it only feels like a tiny pinch and will be over quickly.

Anyway - make sure you focus on breathing and when you relax you have to just let your knees fall naturally to the sides when your feet get in those stirrups.

Don't be embarrassed or anything in yourself. I say find another doc.
BTW - if you are not sexually active or pregnant why even see a gyno for a routine exam? My family doc does all of that plus knows everything else that's going on with me health wise.
And I will say that the men docs I've had have all been better at the pelvic exam stuff than the women. That's just my experience but just thought I'd share.

Monday, June 29, 2009, 5:19 PM

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OP here

Thanks's making me feel a bit better. I was actually discussing the situation with a close friend of mine on instant messenger and how I felt upset about it. After a couple minutes, her friend came to pick her up to go out. Thus, I barely got any advice or words of comfort from her since she left right away. This has happened several times before (unlike with me, I take time out to listen to her problems b/c I truely do care). Okay, anyway, this is a separate subject lol. So, yeah you guys are right...I'll just go see another doctor...maybe go back to the original. I just don't know when- it was very uncomfortable and kinda scary...probably take me awhile to get over it. With that doctor, maybe what made it easier was that she seemed careful and told me almost every step of the way what she was doing, whereas the other one just go to it lol. Also, the reason I went to the gyno when I was 20.5 was b/c my primary doctor told me it's time (now you're supposed to go when you've had sex or by 21, whichever comes first). Someone here said something about going yearly- but actually they changed that to every 2 years (assuming your paps are clear) because cell changes may not mean something serious or it could clear up (thus it would be unnecessary to perform a biopsy).

Monday, June 29, 2009, 6:09 PM

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Good. A different doctor can make a big difference. Teh assumption these days is that everyone is having sex. At one point, I almost (should have) reported one female doctor who was taking out her frustration on me bc I said that I was not using birth control. I later clarified that I didn't need birth control as I was not sexually active. She said nothing, but was obviously remorseful, i.e. guilty. It took me a good 40 mihutes to pull myself together to leave the building. My last gyn was wonderful. If you were in DC, I'd recommend her.

Monday, June 29, 2009, 6:46 PM

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i agree with PP. you might consider looking for another doctor or get an appt with the one you had a good experience with. the doctor should have been gentle and patient. good luck

Monday, June 29, 2009, 7:40 PM

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Ask around. Find someone who is recommended in your community as gentle. You don't have to tell the whole story, just say you need a gentle doc (every woman gets this).

Sounds like you need someone who is gentle and patient and you just need a good appointment under your belt. Tell the doc what happened with your last exam too so they can work with you to make you comfortable.

Speculums (the instrument inserted) come in a range of sizes and there are very thin ones. They should be warmed first and lubricated.

There is also a manual exam (with fingers inserted) and other hand presses on abdomen.

Some uncomfortable sensation may result, but nothing should be painful.

So sorry your experience was so uncomfortable both physically and emotionally. You just need a good, compassionate doc to help you through.

I worked in another branch of healthcare and I spoke all the time with patients who were frightened or upset by a previous experience. We always found a way to work through the situation. It helped me help the patient when I knew what happened before and how the patient felt.

Monday, June 29, 2009, 9:20 PM

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How presumptuous of her to tell you to go out and have a "relationship" so she could examine you! Wouldn't casual sex be something she should be discouraging? I agree with asking around. It would also be good to be up front with the doctor the next time around. NOT the same doctor! Please don't ever go to her again! But if you tell the next doctor about what has happened, they should be a bit more sympathetic and helpful in the process.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009, 11:04 AM

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OP, go back to the doctor you saw originally.

You had an intuition that this doctor was not a good doctor, and your intuition was proven absolutely correct. She was under a time constraint (usually they cannot spend > 7 minutes on an exam to stay on schedule) and could not take the time to wait for you to relax, so she blamed it on you.

And yes, it is ridiculous for a physician to suggest that you should have sexual intercourse to make exams easier. Hopefully she was trying to be funny.

You might not be comfortable with this, but I have found that male doctors are in general more gentle. They have never experienced that kind of exam, and so they are cautious about hurting someone. In contrast, a female doctor who has never had any trouble with an exam and knows what it should feel like may tend to generalize from her experience and assume that no one else should have any trouble.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009, 11:29 AM

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OP here

Thanks for adding more input, fellow PT members. It's helping a lot. I actually cried a lot yesterday...physically, the exam was terrifying when I think of it. I was actually almost like moaning in extreme discomfort when she tried to insert the speculum in me...or maybe it was in me (it felt like it) and she wasn't able to widen the speculum to see "me" lol. I'm trying to figure out why the other doc could and she could not. Oh well. I'm thinking I'll go back in 6 months to the other doctor..I'm just too freaked out to go right now.

Yes, and she did tell me that after being in a "relationship" after 6 months then I should come back....cuz I even told her I was able to have the exam the first time. I mean, what if I don't even have the act until I'm 30? (Because, seriously, I'm so not ready even in the next couple yrs).

Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009, 3:14 PM

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OP Look for new doc

I am so sorry you had this experience. Just keep focused on your first experience, there are very compastionate and fantastic doctors, Now as far as being uncomfortable for your first visit absoltully normal and common. No worries I mean especially as a virgin. I too went to gyno first time as a 21 yr old virgin, nervous ?yes ya know anxious not sure what to expect but the doc said she would just use the most narrow spectrum and would be very gentle, she was..I continued to go yearly and just knew what to expect, I was a virgin by the way till my wedding night at the age of I have my first child and believe me this gyno thing is not something that should stress you so much just find a doc that makes you comfy and also advocate for yourself, tell them something is uncomfotable or what ever, but to say you should have sex first crazy! of cousre it would be a different exam but certainly not a reason to have good luck to you and never ever change your mission to be completely healthy or question your virginity!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009, 10:54 PM

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Take Care

I hope you have recieved the comforting words you were looking for already, but I just wanted to add that you're not along in the "tightening up" department. It used to happen to me a lot when I felt nervous or uncomfortable. I am married and I was always VERY nervous to have sex again after giving birth....mind you I was/am "in a relationship" as your doctor put it (Can't believe her nerve by the way--no one has the right to suggest that), and it still pinched with someone I knew and trusted, thus causing me extra discomfort. Feeling comfortable with the right doctor is a great first step. Specifically requesiting the smallest speculum is another great step. Breathing and focused relaxation techniques can help too. The thing that REALLY seemed to help me was to squeeze those muscles as much as I could as many times as I could before a check up or the time anything came near me, my muscles were too exhausted to pinch so tightly. Finally, I always take some special me time after my appointments to reward myself and distract myself during the visit. Hope that helps!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009, 11:03 PM

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OP here

Thank you so much to the last two commentors for their further words of advice...very helpful and so nice.

Yeah, when she told me I need to be in a "relationship," at first, it did make sense. However, afterwards, it seemed silly that I would have to have sex in order to have the procedure. To further clarify, I did ask her when I should come back, and that was her response. And I don't think she meant I should have sex like right away and then come back...she meant once I enter a "relationship"...then come back...but I mean what if I'm not even ready to have sex I wait for my next exam when I'm like 30? lol. I'm so glad other people here thought it was inappropriate for her to suggest that I need to have sex in order to have the exam...I mentioned this to my mom and she even laughed!

11:03, yeah I did wonder if maybe she didn't use the smallest speculum...and I wondered if I could use muscle exercises for that area to help me haha. Ironically, just before the exam, I was thinking to myself if it's possible for people to be put to sleep for this (I didn't think that during my 1st exam)..amazing how correct your gut instinct is.


Thursday, July 02, 2009, 12:22 AM

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I'm trying to think of a way to put this delicately - have you tried to use your own fingers to gently explore your vagina? I'm not trying to be vulgar, just helpful. I'm not talking about masturbation, just using your fingers to loosen up the muscles(be sure to use some lubrication). I used to have this problem, making exams very painful. The anxiety caused me to tighten up. I couldn't have sex the first time I tried and it took some work to be able to. I actually used this technique just before exams and it was helpful.

Thursday, July 02, 2009, 4:05 AM

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No, I could never do that to myself...even just thinking about it makes me uncomfortable. I mean, that's the reason why I don't use tampons! And I've never tried either. But thanks though.

Thursday, July 02, 2009, 1:23 PM

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Gynecological Instruments

We think being well recommended can help you view the value of consistent pelvic exams and Pap streaks. We think this information can help you become your own best suggest, and to understand why this is all necessary, so you can view the process.


Thursday, April 26, 2012, 10:09 AM

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I am 43 and have had 2 live births and a few years ago a hysterectomy so I have had more gyno exams that I care too plus I have a mamogram every year too and have had to have a breast biopsy. I feel like my whole body is messed with too much! I know what you are talking about though. I remember when I was younger, it really bothered me to go for my exams. Once I went to a new doctor and the nurse told me to get undressed and wait for the doctor. Well, when he came in he was mad I still had all my clothes on. He said, why are you not undressed? I said can we talk first? He got a big smile on his face and sat down and said, um sure, what do you want to talk about? I think they forget that we are humans and it's not easy for all of us to just spread'um.
I agree with everyone else, keep shopping around, and next time you go in, tell the doctor about what happened last time. That will help them understand and will hopefully take there time. One problem is they book patients one after another and they get in a rush. I have fired more than one doctor in my years! Don't be afraid to walk away, it is important that you are comfortable!!

Friday, April 27, 2012, 6:10 PM

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