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Old 06-30-2008, 05:45 PM   #1
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Fear of pap because of bad experience and rape

Advice needed!

I am 22, and was drugged and raped by a trusted friend at 15. I never reported it and have since only had two sexual partners. It took a long time for me to trust either of them. Even now I often cannot relax enough to enjoy sex.

Three years ago I was ordered by my doctor to have a pap smear. I explained my fears and was referred to a specialist. I felt ok about this, and my partner at the time came to the appointment.

When we went into the exam room I undressed etc. My partner was then ordered out, against my wishes. I explained the situation but was held down by two nurses while the exam was done. It was agonising and I bled for nearly a week.

Now I am traumatised by the memories and pain of rape and the pap, and am overdue for my next exam. I have booked it, and am insisting that my partner be there. I have been having panic attacks and barely sleeping for a week. This is a new doctor, and I have seen her a few times for other health stuff but I am still so scared. I 'm even having terrible cramps and pains because I can't relax my pelvic muscles. Because I was drugged before my rape the thought of being drowsy or taking pills to relax only makes me worse.

The appointment is tomorrow, so any last minute advice or help would be great. I will also post as to how it goes.

Wish me luck!

 
Old 06-30-2008, 07:32 PM   #2
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Re: Fear of pap because of bad experience and rape

You might want to try some deep breathing techniques, or meditation. It's not hocus-pocus. When you are calm, your breathing slows down. Deliberately slowing your breathing eases the physical reaction to stress and has a somewhat calming effect on the mind as well.

Have you had counseling? Was it helpful at all?

 
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Old 06-30-2008, 07:52 PM   #3
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Re: Fear of pap because of bad experience and rape

I am sorry that the doctor you went to last time was so evil. Talk to you doctor and make sure that she really listens to you and respects your feelings and wishes. If there is anything going on that makes you uncomfortable, you have the right to stop the appointment right then and there and walk out. This is your body and you have the right to decide what goes on with your health and care, no matter what some doctor or nurse thinks. Try the deep breathing, and seek counseling. Remember that whatever is said in counseling is kept private, so no needs to know except whom you choose to share with. Your last experience at the doctors office was horrible, that doctor and the nurses should have to face some consequences, but I understand if it is too hard for you to say anything to anyone. What I really hope is that this doctor is compassionate and understanding and really takes good-and gentle-care of you. You are very brave to keep on going and facing another pap after all you have been through. I admire your strength. If you want a bit of relaxation/pain relief, without the drowsy feeling, maybe something mild such as ibuprofen or Tylenol. Ask the doctor to tell exactly what she is going to do before she gets started, and then ask her to talk you through everything as she does the pap so that you know exactly what is going on. If the speculum is painful for you, ask if she has a smaller size she could use for you. Some doctors will also warm them a moment or two in their hands(with gloves on) so it isn't so cold and uncomfortable. Good luck and best wishes.

 
Old 06-30-2008, 10:11 PM   #4
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Re: Fear of pap because of bad experience and rape

It's so important to find a doctor you feel comfortable with in general, especially for something as aggrevating as a pap. And if you are ever subjected to that kind of treatment again, I suggest you need to report those people to the medical board, because having nurses hold you down like that is totally unacceptable!! And it should never have been allowed!

A good doctor will listen to your fears and do her best to explain everything as she's doing it and make sure you're ok the whole time. So, I know the appointment is tomorrow, but if in case this one doesn't work out, you might want to consider interviewing the doctor beforehand before even scheduling the actual pap so that you can get to know her better and maybe feel a little bit more comfortable ahead of time. A really good doctor will honestly take your feelings and experience into consideration and really try to make it as easy as possible for you. I hope that you can realize that all women despise having a pap done, I mean it's really unpleasant, let's be honest. But if you're with the right doctor whom you feel comfortable with and that you trust, it doesn't have to be a traumatic experience, just more like one of those annoying things you have to do to stay healthy like getting your teeth cleaned, you know?

I think that since your appointment is so soon, just make sure you speak to the doctor before you even get undressed and tell her what happened before with the other doctor and how traumatized it made you feel, especially given what happened to you in the past. You will be able to tell by her reaction and how she handles the situation whether or not it's worth it to even get undressed. I think it's really important to have an open communication with your doctor, because the more they know about how you're feeling when you go in there, the better able they will be able to react to the situation.

 
Old 07-01-2008, 01:09 AM   #5
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Re: Fear of pap because of bad experience and rape

Doctors always seem to think they know best don't they? I'm sorry you had such a traumatic experience.
I think this time the best thing you can do is have your partner there, explain to the doctor - request a female one - that you've been through sexual abuse in the past and your last pap test was agonising and left you bleeding for a week. Ask if the doctor can explain to you what is going to happen, and get them to agree to go slowly and carefully and check you're ok before going on. Like someone said before - you can always stop the examination at any time, I would like to add that if this is a really bad thing for you, don't worry about going until you've dealt with some of your issues, ask yourself if the pain and bad feelings are worth it?

 
Old 07-01-2008, 06:33 PM   #6
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Re: Fear of pap because of bad experience and rape

Wow I am SO sorry this happened! Especially after a rape, a doctor should never do this kind of thing! That's terrible. I hope this ia a better doctor this time. I would ask before going in to make sure it's okay if your partner stays with you. Under these cirumstances, I don't see why this would be a problem. I agree that it would be good to find out more about this doctor, but since it's tomorrow, maybe just go in early and talk to the people up front about the situation and make sure it will be okay. Good luck!

 
Old 07-01-2008, 09:49 PM   #7
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Re: Fear of pap because of bad experience and rape

Thank you all for your suppot and advice, it really helped me. I took some ibuprofen to help stop the cramping, but I was so anxious and cramped it even hurt to pee this morning!

I had to wait about an hour after my appointment because the surgery was busy, and when I got in to see the doctor she explained because they were busy all consultations were limited to ten minutes. Gotta love it.

The doctor was caring but not really sympathetic or understanding. I know it is the honest truth but her attitude was ver much "get over it, this is a routine medical test and the trauma of reliving your bad experiences is nothing compared to cervical cancer." I was told to calm down, had my partner hold my hand and copped an elephant sized cold speculum. The test was painful, but she didn't do the breast exam, pelvic poking or the rectal, only the actual smear. I don't know if this was due to the lack of time or because I'm still in my 20's... At least it was all over quickly.

As for afterwards, I was (and still am) as cramped as hell and my insides felt very funny and out of place. I'm very aware of all the weird sensations in my cervix and uterus- Is this normal? I found more ibuprofen and a really hot shower helped so I could scrub down and not feel so dirty. I was very sore and bleeding a fair bit, so I douched so that my partner and I could make love (very gently). I found the 'good touch' very relaxing even though it didn't make me climax. Now the pain is pretty similar to a bad period.

I still don't feel right inside downstairs and I'm quite panicky, but am proud of myself for getting through it. I think I am going to see someone for my anxiety so I can cope better with these things for next time. I haven't had kids, needed major surgery or been to a dentist in five years, so statistically and realistically I will need to really work on my fear of doctors and medical procedures in general before I may be thrown in the deep end!

Thank you once again for all your help and support. Much love.

 
Old 07-02-2008, 02:06 AM   #8
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Re: Fear of pap because of bad experience and rape

I'm glad you had an ok experience, but sorry that you still hurt. At least you got through it and you should be proud of yourself. It sucks that doctors are so horrible about caring about our feelings. They all think that they know best just because they went to school!! I mean, ok, so they KNOW things, but that doesn't mean they know how to treat people and deal with them in the best way.

I do think you should seek some help in dealing with your issues. I was raped three times when I was younger and one was a gang rape. For the longest time, I could stand the color red and would not wear it nor could I be around anyone who was. I would have dreams about the walls bleeding and turning red and everything around me was red and I felt scared anytime I saw red. I also didn't like anyone's hands around my neck area. When I first started dating my husband four years ago, he wore a lot of red. I hated it. It made me not want to see him. I even told him about what happened, and he continued to wear it. He told me that it was time to deal with it, it had been 10 years already. I got raped at 13, and 15 twice. He said that he is with me now and there is no need to be afraid anymore. He wore red on purpose to make me get over it and even though I hated it at first, red is now one of my favorite colors to wear. I didn't know how nice I looked in red!! He even helped me get over the feeling of someone having their hand near my neck.

So, let someone help you. I know what's it like to live in fear and depression, and it isn't fun. There is so much more to the world that you may not be experiencing because of your pain. So I hope you can find a way to deal with it and enjoy life again, even though no one enjoys a pelvic exam!! Good luck to you!!

 
Old 07-02-2008, 05:17 PM   #9
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Re: Fear of pap because of bad experience and rape

It's normal to be a little sore and even bleed a little bit after a Pap smear. Since you said you were having cramps and such before you even went, a lot of the discomfort you are feeling is probably due more to the anxiety and everything. Your pelvic muscles may even feel sore from having clenched them prior to the exam.

Doctors sometimes don't do the rectal exam until you're older, but they usually do the breast exam and the poking around with their fingers no matter of your age. I imagine she didn't do these things so that you could get the exam over with as quickly and with as little discomfort as possible. At your age, the risk of breast cancer is very low, and the finger-poking is just to feel the size and position of your uterus and ovaries, so not doing them isn't a huge deal. The Pap is the important thing.

As a side note, douching is bad. It can disrupt the natural healthy balance of your vagina and cause infections. It's best if you don't do it at all, but if you must, keep it to a minimum.

I'm glad you got through the exam -- hopefully it will get easier for you each time! Give yourself a reward for being so brave and taking care of your health!

 
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