Here's my deal; I am 22 years old, and I have never, ever, been to the gyno for a pap or pelvic. I have been absolutely DREADING a gyno visit since I was 11 or 12... to the point of crying at the mere thought of it. I am terrified, embarrassed, horrified, and violated at the slightest thought of being in the middle of the exam. I feel like this kind of exam is similar to rape- being "invaded" by a stranger.
I've searched all over the internet for ways to reduce anxiety, and almost everything online mentions "knowing what is going to happen" during the exam. I am a senior nursing student- I know all of the steps that go into the exam, all of the instruments, everything to expect. I know that it's
uncomfortable, but not painful (for most women). I understand how important it is to get checked out - but it's like a smoker, they know it's bad for them but don't change!
My main concern is the awkward factor. The embarrassment, the violation, the "what the heck kind of conversation goes on while someone is looking into my vagina?" I can't put myself in the professionals shoes and convince myself that it's "purely professional" to them.
I would love to hear some reassurances, and what happens during that part of the visit, especially the time spent during each step of the exam - all of this would help me out so much. ahhh! I feel very childish making a big deal about this (especially as a future health care provider), but after 10 years of getting myself worked up over this, I honestly don't know if I can do this...
Last edited by Mod-S4; 11-13-2010 at 04:33 PM.
Reason: Please don't survey members. Thanks.
Hi I felt that way also. I was a virgin. I forced myself to go because I was in agony with sickness from periods. I did not know any women Gynecologist at that age and there was no internet at that time. Women doctors seemed few and far between. You may find youself more comforable with a woman Gynecologist with an excellent reputation. If she is well liked chances are she may be able to help you feel more at ease.
What you need to keep in mind is the Dr does this for a living. She has seen hundreds/thousands of private areas & they all look different. There is a reason she is looking "down there" so there is no embarressment. She will probably explain everything she is doing in a calm professional way and then be done. The actual "looking" part probably lasts less than a min.
My first time I was at least not a big nervous wreck, so that may have helped. I just looked at it as something I had to get through (like going to a dentist, I guess) and tried to think of something else during the actual physical part of it. I went to a male doctor because I couldn't find a female one back then (this was a long time ago). But he was professional about it and it wasn't so bad. Now, later on I found a GYN doctor who was really the BEST one ever! Even though he was male also, he was really SO nice and SO professional and knowledgeable that I didn't care that he wasn't a woman! Really, once I had complete confidence in him, it was so much easier! So I'd suggest you ask around in medical circles or even your friends for the nicest, best GYN doctor you can find. Do you homework well on that part. Then explain your problem to either the doctor or a nurse (NOT just anyone who answers the phone) in his/her office BEFORE the exam is scheduled. If they know what the problem is, they can arrange things so it will be less stressful and they can be more reassuring and explain things more. Yeah, I know...you know the clinical facts...but when it's about YOU, it makes a difference to hear it in person. And maybe bring someone with you for holding your hand while you're waiting to go in! Good luck and really...don't put it off too long!
I think you're building it up in your head to be more than it actually is. To use words like "violated" undermines the true horror that a woman goes through that is actually traumatized by an attack, so I think that's a way exaggerated comparison. It's like comparing a simple eye exam with open heart surgery. The two don't even compare!
The thing you need to realize is that no woman out there finds a gyn exam to be pleasant. None of us enjoys it, we ALL hate it. But we do it for our health and to make sure there's nothing sinister going on. Wouldn't you rather be able to catch something like cervical cancer way ahead of time when it's still treatable than to find out when it's too late? That's why it's so important for women to have regular exams every year.
It's awkward as hell to go through the exam but once you do it once it's like, ok, whatever. But as the others have told you, the doctor isn't judging your privates. She/he is just looking to make sure everything is as it should be and there aren't any physical problems. The way it looks means nothing to the doctor unless there is something actually wrong.
These doctors see thousands of vaginas per year, I'm sure yours is no better or worse than anyone else's. They aren't there for a beauty contest. Stop thinking of it in those terms because that's a huge part of your problem.
Perhaps it would help to have someone go with you like your mom or sister the first time? I know I plan on going with my daughter for her first time.Not to be at the end the doctor is at,but next to her head and holding her hand if she so needs me to.That way you would feel more comfortable with someone you trust being in the room.
I dread it to,and I mean absolutely.I have panic attacks every time I have to go to.But then when everything checks out after wards I get a big sense of relief.If you are at all sexually active it is just a must for your health and state of mind.