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July 8, 2019 at 9:05 pm #25290
I posted this in read this first, but I’m not sure if that’s active/the right place so. I’m here because I had a pretty awful experience.
I’m not even sure this is what is going on with me but it seems closest and I just had the most humiliating and depressing doctor’s visit so.
I’m 36, I’ve only had one partner in my life as a teen and she was female. I’ve always had painful pelvic exams and pain using internal menstrual products and pain trying to use toys on my own. My previous primary doc, on an exam, said that my vaginal opening was much smaller than she would expect to see on an adult woman and recommended seeing a GYN to help with that, especially if I was considering dating men.
I was embarrassed and then had a big move so I didn’t. Finally decided to try and was basically laughed at by the doc. They couldn’t understand why I would bother coming in if I wasn’t sexually active, and also seemed to have a great deal of trouble understanding that I wouldn’t be at my age.
The doc point blank told me – it’s going to hurt a lot the first time and probably for a while when you first have sex, you’ll bleed a lot and I won’t consider referring you for any treatment unless you’re having repeated sex with men that’s excessively painful. The fact that I also can’t use anything penetrative on my own and might want to is apparently not an issue.
I left crying and shaking and I basically am at the point where I think maybe I should just give up dating and never leave my house again. It took me so long to finally look into this and now…
Has anyone been taken seriously with this issue if they aren’t in a sexually active with a male partner? I think at this point I’m stuck with anything I can find on line because I don’t think I can ask a doc again in person after this. Or is she right and I’m just being stupid?July 9, 2019 at 12:50 am #25291
First, let me say I am sorry you went to a medical professional for help and ended up feeling badly about yourself. I am not very adept at comforting others, but please believe me when I say that is my intention here. I hope you are able to use the situation as a learning tool to help you become a stronger advocate for your health. I do know exactly how you felt, I had a similar issue and outcome in the past. In that regard, after 42 years of going to GYN’s for various (sometimes “off the grid”) problems myself, I’d like to help you understand how doctors think. Not saying it’s wrong or right, just saying that understanding them is a tool you can use to help yourself. Does my mechanic need to know that I want my car’s brakes fixed so I can drive it as the getaway car after a bank robbery? Well of course not. He only needs to know that the brakes don’t work properly – and all cars have brakes and all brakes should work – so that he can wrap his mind around the facts and do his job to the best of his ability. When a doctor asks you questions of a personal nature, they are not really asking you to tell them what your emotional/social/dating life is like. They want to know about your body, as in the human organism, so that they can fix something that’s wrong or cure a disease. For a female problem, they don’t want to know what or who you are having sex with in the context of “sex”. A GYN is not a sex therapist and they will tell you that in a flying minute. (I have had some tell me they are also not nutritionists and also not “hormone specialists” either, so you have much future humiliation to look forward to around age 50). In your case he only wanted and needed to know if your body was functioning as it was designed to. Do you see what I’m getting at here? There are times when there is no need to make yourself more vulnerable than you already are. My suggestion for you would be to find another doctor and during the discussion of your issues limit the conversation to how your body is not functioning as it was designed and intended… which means, on the most basic level, it cannot be penetrated by a male body part. You might want to throw in some detail on the difficulty you had when you tried to insert the “male body part.” Don’t get into the whole hardware/toy thing… provide the facts in the context they can understand and advocate for your body in order to get the healthcare you deserve.July 10, 2019 at 12:56 pm #25302
Cathleen Kneidl, RPA-CModerator
I am so sorry you were treated that way. You need to find a new gyn. Regardless of who you choose as your partner and how you want to have sex, you deserve to have pain free sex! Sex should not hurt. And there are treatments available. You need to find a provider knowledgeable about vaginismus or pelvic floor dysfunction. I am sad to say that in my experience not all gyns are knowledgeable in this area. But this is a very treatable issue. If you have any questions, please feel free to call us here at the office.July 11, 2019 at 9:38 am #25309
sgmivy, I’m so sorry for how you were treated. Just about everyone here who’s dealt with vaginismus has had a really negative experience with a medical professional, which is frankly shameful and not how it should be at all. Doctors should not make their patients feel embarrassed about the issues they’re having with their bodies, but all too often it still happens. I think sexual issues are particularly difficult because we bring so many emotions into the room when we talk about issues with our vaginas, more so than we’d have if we were dealing with a broken arm or a gallbladder issue. Sexual performance is such a large component of how many of us see “being a woman,” so the smallest stray word while we’re making ourselves vulnerable to a doctor can cut like a knife.
I think 60istheNewfifty has good pragmatic advice about dealing with doctors you don’t know – try to treat your situation like you’d explain a broken arm and you may find yourself feeling less at the mercy of a doctor’s judgment. However, I want to emphasize that there ARE doctors out there who bring empathy and warmth into their treatment and help you feel less alone in your issues – everyone who works at Maze completely changed my perception of how well I could be understood and supported by a medical professional, so I am super grateful to them for all that they’ve done for me! Better and more nurturing medical professionals are out there if you’re prepared to look. But more than anything, know that you have a right to be cared for and treated knowledgeably!
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