Anyone else Anti-pelvic exam? (or anti-gynecology.)

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Anyone else Anti-pelvic exam? (or anti-gynecology.)

AndroAngel AndroAngel
In a world where our medical technologies are perpetually improving, why do we still subject ourselves to uncomfortable, invasive, outdated procedures every year (or more than once a year)?
Pap Smears should already be replaced with the CSA (Cervical Specific Antigen) blood test. It's considerably more accurate and it can catch cervical cancer much sooner. The fact that gynecologists are still using the PAP smear is a detriment to their patients.

There are blood tests for STDs. There are ultrasounds to look at internal structures, rather than working blind. Unless there's actively a problem with the vagina itself, I can't see any reason that pelvic exam should still exist.

So, is there anyone else out there that's anti-pelvic exam or anti-gynecology? What are your reasons? Share your knowledge and your opinions.
01/01/2012
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Chilipepper Chilipepper
Most of them can't afford the technology - or the insurance won't pay for the procedures. I go to public health. We're lucky that they have latex gloves. :-/
01/01/2012
AndroAngel AndroAngel
Quote:
Originally posted by Chilipepper
Most of them can't afford the technology - or the insurance won't pay for the procedures. I go to public health. We're lucky that they have latex gloves. :-/
To be honest, I don't mess with any of it. I don't see the need.

But the fact that insurance won't cover potentially life-saving testing is pretty upsetting to me. The thing that bothers me the most about it is that it's difficult to get birth control without being subjected to testing I personally consider unnecessary.
01/01/2012
True Pleasures True Pleasures
Quote:
Originally posted by AndroAngel
To be honest, I don't mess with any of it. I don't see the need.

But the fact that insurance won't cover potentially life-saving testing is pretty upsetting to me. The thing that bothers me the most about it is that it's ...
I don't mess with it either. A doctor I had in early development (had my first period at 9) made me very uncomfortable with all of it. I had no idea there were blood tests that could replace pap smears and that an ultrasound could be used instead. If I'm ever forced to, I'll definitely keep that information in mind.
01/01/2012
Ms. Spice Ms. Spice
From my understanding, pap smears test for something called cervical dysplaysia, something that occurs before cervical cancer. The test you're talking about doesn't test for that. Sorry, I'll stick with my invasive pap smears.
01/01/2012
AndroAngel AndroAngel
The CSA Blood test tests for the CSA molecule, which manifests in high levels well before the cancer metastasizes. It's a much more sensitive test than the Pap smear and can detect cervical cancer much sooner.

True Pleasures: I didn't know either, because no one had the good grace to tell me I had other options until I pitched a fuss and demanded they tell me my options at the hospital when they wanted to do a pelvic exam. After that, I decided to do some research to find out the truth, since they told me "There is no other option." until I refused their option.
01/01/2012
Cherry21 Cherry21
Quote:
Originally posted by AndroAngel
In a world where our medical technologies are perpetually improving, why do we still subject ourselves to uncomfortable, invasive, outdated procedures every year (or more than once a year)?
Pap Smears should already be replaced with the CSA ...
I'm not. Its can be kinda dangerous not to go too.
01/01/2012
GonetoLovehoney GonetoLovehoney
I don't mind a pelvic exam once a year, ovary-related complications run in my family (poly-cystic ovaries) and I don't like needles that much. I also discovered I had bumps on my cervix and had them check me out to see what the hell it was, thankfully they're just benign cysts.
It doesn't seem invasive to me as I don't really give a damn and it's only once a year.
01/01/2012
Vanille Vanille
I'm anti-gyno. -shrug-

I'm just not comfortable with someone other than my girlfriend poking around down there, I don't care if they see cunt all day long. Stay out of mine.
01/01/2012
AndroAngel AndroAngel
Quote:
Originally posted by Vanille
I'm anti-gyno. -shrug-

I'm just not comfortable with someone other than my girlfriend poking around down there, I don't care if they see cunt all day long. Stay out of mine.
I kinda wish I could give you a high-five. Internet high-five?
01/01/2012
Ghost Ghost
I've been abused (told my vulva is fat, ugly, hairy, etc.) by gynos on more than one occasion but I still go. It's too difficult to get birth control otherwise and I have no insurance, so I would never be able to get the other tests. I just kind of suck it up and deal with the pain and blood that ensues each and every time (I am very sensitive).
01/02/2012
Tagmstr Tagmstr
Quote:
Originally posted by Vanille
I'm anti-gyno. -shrug-

I'm just not comfortable with someone other than my girlfriend poking around down there, I don't care if they see cunt all day long. Stay out of mine.
Sounds just like something my fiance would say lol
01/02/2012
Chirple Chirple
I'll ask about that CSA test next time I'm there.

I'm not really against the practice as a whole. I think a lot of people suffer needlessly because they DON'T go - toughing it out through terrible periods when they don't have to, not getting birth control because of myths and fear, not knowing they have something like Endo, et cetera.

I think gynecology is as necessary as any other specialty in medicine.

I would guess the testing issues are more monetary / political than anything, unfortunately. :/
01/02/2012
Sapphires13 Sapphires13
Visiting the gynecologist doesn't bother me. I've never had a mentally or physically uncomfortable experience with one. To me personally, an actual physical examination of my vagina and cervix is more thorough than a simple blood test would be. I feel like several important things could be missed if the doctor didn't take a look. Pelvic exams are not just about testing for STDs and cervical cancer. The doctor also looks at your muscle tone, checks the position of your ovaries and whether or not there are any growth or cysts on them, or elsewhere in your pelvic region. As well as a breast exam for lumps. To me, that's necessary.
01/02/2012
Ryuson Ryuson
As a pre-med student, I feel like Gynecology is a necessary school of medicine. The specialization in lady bits is just as important as the specialization in pediatric cardiology, specialization allows for a better environment and better results.

I feel like they may do things in a bit of an arcane fashion, but that is common all over medicine. Once someone graduated their residency they assume that they know best, and that means that any new technology is not to be trusted.

Pelvic exams have very good uses but I feel that they are over performed. (You get the insurance companies to pay you for a 10 minute feel and a few second swab? And you don't DO any harm usually) People under 30 really don't NEED them unless they have a reason or a medical problem that runs in their genetics.
01/02/2012
CoffeeCup CoffeeCup
As some one who has had menstrual problems from a young age, my first reaction to the idea of being "anti-pelvic exam" was, "Wow, that is a luxury only those blessed with consistent good gynecological health can afford!"

Though, I realize, what you are saying is that they perhaps need not be as routine for generally healthy.
01/02/2012
CreamySweet CreamySweet
Quote:
Originally posted by AndroAngel
In a world where our medical technologies are perpetually improving, why do we still subject ourselves to uncomfortable, invasive, outdated procedures every year (or more than once a year)?
Pap Smears should already be replaced with the CSA ...
Nope... I actually enjoy going to mine. My doctor is super cool and I have never had an issue. Plus he has delivered all four of my kids - and I drive an hour to still go see him even though we moved because he's a damn good doctor. I agree there are probably more modern ways of doing the tests but I have had a whole lot more screwed up experiences going to a lab or dealing with an inept phlebotomist. For me I don't care if someone takes a look at my pussy - hell check under the hood - I need that damn thing to run right!!!
01/02/2012
P'Gell P'Gell
For those whose insurance will pay for a CSA, it is usually used by thorough doctors along with PAP smears. There are other things that a PAP and total pelvic exam can tell your doctor or Nurse Practitioner.

Many insurance companies don't pay for CSA tests and if done properly and well looked at, PAPs are still a good tool in a GYN or Internist's arsenal for total pelvic health.

The practitioner does more than just a PAP when you have a pelvic. She can tell whether you have problems with your ovaries through palpation, the placement of the uterus and cervix is determined, the color and even the odor during a pelvic can tell a practitioner a LOT about your pelvic health. Many GYNs and Internists even do a general anal exam to make sure everything is healthy in that area. Most also do a breast exam, as well as full physical and blood work.

The CSA is a good tool, but not a replacement for a full exam and total pelvic exam, in my opinion.

I have absolutely NO problem with a doctor or NP doing a pelvic exam, it doesn't hurt and it's part of taking care of yourself as a mature woman. Saying, "Nobody gonna touch me there!" is quite immature, medicine isn't used for "Fun" by doctors. What is done is there for you if you choose to take your own health into your own hands and hire the right professionals for the job. Of course, if you choose not to have pelvic exams, it's up to you. But, of course, if something were to occur years later, you could be denied coverage by most insurance companies under their "due diligence by the patient" clauses. Meaning, you didn't take the effort to care for your health, so they won't cover anything that could have resulted from YOUR negligence.


I have to say that in decades working in medicine I have never heard a doctor, nurse, midwife or NP tell a woman she had an "ugly pussy" or anything of the sort. Never. If something like that happens, it is illegal, and of course, a nurse should have been present during the exam in the first place so you would have had a witness. The doctor should be reported to the hospital he works at. But, every doctor I know certainly is more professional than to do something like that, and NONE I have ever run into would risk losing their license by saying something like that. Also, doctors and NPs and midwives see vulvas all the time, and don't comment on them, nor do they usually form opinions about the "beauty" or lack of it (is there such a thing?) of any woman's vulva and genital area.

Part of your sexual health is up to you, in fact most of it is. Denying yourself proper care, for ANY reason (yeah, I've been sexually abused, too. What does that have to do with a pelvic exam?) is simply hiding your head in the sand.

But, it's up to you. The consequences of not caring for oneself by obtaining proper medical care is always worse than any temporary anxiety about something as simple as a pelvic exam. The CSA is a good test, if your insurance doesn't cover it, or you can't afford it, the PAP is still a good test. Even with a CSA you still need a full pelvic exam. I don't quite understand the total anxiety about this procedure. No, it isn't fun. But, neither are all the things that could be attended to or prevented by proper, mature pelvic health, which requires YOUR participation.

If money is a problem, Planned Parenthood will do pelvic exams at low or no charge. It IS up to you to make sure your health is taken care of.


Nuff said.
01/03/2012
AndroAngel AndroAngel
And I reiterate, a ultrasound can be used to check positioning of internal structures, to check for ovarian health, etc. I know I occasionally get cysts, because I've had an abdominal ultrasound to determine it, which they've basically told me "will resolve themselves on their own". I fail to understand how it can be helpful to me to know this if there is nothing that needs to be done about it.

I have had an extensive conversation with a doctor wherein they admitted that I was correct in every argument I presented. It isn't about anxiety, it's about paying for shit that doesn't need to be done to my body. And subjecting myself to unnecessary procedures to begin with. It seems that most of the things done in a pelvic exam can be self-checked easily enough with a little knowledge.

I'm not asking to be lectured on my stance, I'm asking who agrees with me. Kindly refrain from using shame tactics if you disagree. Facts should make your point.
01/03/2012
zwee75 zwee75
It's just a body part being checked out by a medical professional, IMO. I go to midwives, though. They're awesome!
01/03/2012
Beck Beck
I go and get mine every year, but my mom had cancer in her Uterine Lining by the age of 30, so I want to know if the slightest thing is wrong. I do feel like they are necessary, there are things that these test you are talking about can not determine and as many others have said they are not paid for by insurance companies. Plus it is kind of silly to do a bunch of test when all you need is a PAP.
01/03/2012
AndroAngel AndroAngel
Quote:
Originally posted by Beck
I go and get mine every year, but my mom had cancer in her Uterine Lining by the age of 30, so I want to know if the slightest thing is wrong. I do feel like they are necessary, there are things that these test you are talking about can not determine ...
But all you need to replace the PAP is the CSA. It seems silly to do a full pelvic when you just need a little pin-prick.

That said, people keep saying there are things a pelvic can determine that other testing can't. Anyone care to be more specific?
01/03/2012
PeaceToTheMiddleEast PeaceToTheMiddleEast
I wish they come up with something else to do those as well. I hate going to get my Pap each year it is so uncomfortable.
01/03/2012
SexyStuff SexyStuff
I HATE Pap smears! I did not know there was an alternative.
01/03/2012
eeep eeep
Quote:
Originally posted by AndroAngel
And I reiterate, a ultrasound can be used to check positioning of internal structures, to check for ovarian health, etc. I know I occasionally get cysts, because I've had an abdominal ultrasound to determine it, which they've basically told ...
It is helpful to know you get cysts on your ovaries, because if they happen frequently enough they can be signs of other problems (such as polycystic ovarian syndrome). They can also cause scarring, which can lead to fertility issues.

While I agree PAPs are a pain in the ass to get, due to being so uncomfortable in many ways, I think for a lot of people they are still necessary. For those who have no family history of problems and tend to have good gynecological health, I can see the CSA and an ultrasound being a solid alternative (with enough knowledge to keep up on other things a PAP tells). For those less blessed, a regular PAP can tell your gyno more. It's their job to deal with those issues, and they spend days on end watching for the signs, and are good at noticing smaller signs that an ultrasound may not pick up. Such as vaginal fluid, odor, discoloration, scar tissue, etc.
I've had enough ultrasounds to know things often get misinterpreted or overlooked, or get missed due to the angles they check from. I've had qualified doctors freak me out when an ultrasound apparently showed signs of something terrible, then I get referred to a specialist, wait a couple months to get in (while I freak out about the potential possibilities of what they say is wrong), only to find out the specialist says it is something else much more simple and tolerable (or in another case something else entirely).
But then again, I have a family history of problems and have PCOS myself.
01/03/2012
AndroAngel AndroAngel
Quote:
Originally posted by eeep
It is helpful to know you get cysts on your ovaries, because if they happen frequently enough they can be signs of other problems (such as polycystic ovarian syndrome). They can also cause scarring, which can lead to fertility issues.

While I ...
I'm going to pay good money soon enough to ensure fertility issues (sterilization costs a pretty penny.) but I suppose I can see the importance for people who want to use those systems to reproduce, or have a history of problems. But for people who don't need such things monitored, I still feel it's unnecessary. For me, it's pointless. I know what my vagina looks and smells like healthy, and I carefully monitor it anyway because one of my many layers of birth control is fertility awareness.
01/03/2012
Miss Morphine Miss Morphine
Before the age of 30 or 35 my insurance won't cover a CSA for a well woman visit, which is what it considers the standard annual pap appointment. I've never had a negative experience with my current gyn or the previous one.
01/03/2012
P'Gell P'Gell
Quote:
Originally posted by AndroAngel
But all you need to replace the PAP is the CSA. It seems silly to do a full pelvic when you just need a little pin-prick.

That said, people keep saying there are things a pelvic can determine that other testing can't. Anyone care to be ...
More than just cervical cancer or ovarian cysts are checked for during a yearly or every other year pelvic exam. Ultrasounds are very expensive and as some internal abnormalities are similar in tissue density to normal tissue, things can be missed. Ultra sound doesn't catch everything. I know of NO doctor or nurse that would substitute a simply a CSA and an ultra sound for a full physical exam.

One can tell things from many points in palpating organs, skin tone, even the way the patient expresses herself. There's more to it than just catching one or two diseases. It's for total sexual, urinary and lower intestinal health.

There are also issues that effect fertility that can effect total health, and need to be addressed, even if one will never want to reproduce. There is more to the word "fertility" than simply wanting to have babies. Things that cause infertility usually, almost always effect total body health and need to be addressed. I also don't know of any competent doctor that will do a tubal ligation without a full pelvic exam first, as well.

This is from WebMD.

A pelvic exam is a way for doctors to look for signs of illness in certain organs in a woman's body. The word "pelvic" refers to the pelvis. The exam is used to look at a woman's:

Vulva (external genital organs)
Uterus (the womb)
Cervix (opening from the vagina to the uterus)
Fallopian tubes (tubes that carry eggs to the womb)
Ovaries (organs that produce eggs)
Bladder (the sac that holds urine)
Rectum (the chamber that connects the colon to the anus)

When Are Pelvic Exams Done?

Pelvic exams are performed:

During a yearly physical exam.
When a woman is pregnant.
When a doctor is checking for an infection (such as chlamydia, vaginosis, trichomoniasis, candida and others).
When a woman is having pain in her pelvic area or low back.


Nothing replaces good old fashioned hands on exams. I know lactation clients who want me to "diagnose and fix" them with a phone conversation with no face to face visit, it simply can't be done. The same goes for most forms of medicine. Seeing, talking to and examining a patient had been done for millenia, and no high tech test or imaging will replace these tools.

A physical exam is a lot less expensive than an ultrasound, and no doctor is going to order an ultrasound of the pelvic area without first palpating the area and doing a full physical exam. At least not where I practice.

No "shame" was used in my post, if you felt shame.... well, I can't really address that. I do think it's less than wise to try to convince others to ignore their health, however. (Maybe everyone else doesn't know as much about these things as you seem to know?) I am sure you will do whatever you feel is right, as a doctor told you "all your arguments were 100% correct." Did they say that physical exams were totally unnecessary? I can't see a competent doctor saying that. I've worked with more than a dozen of them, and know more. They know the value of good hands on, eye to eye medical care.

You may know your body well, many women do. While basic things you do know about may be fine, there are issues you may know nothing about that could easily be missed. But, it's your body....

It's obvious you aren't going to have a pelvic exam, but as it is not only the Standard of Care, but very useful for most women, most will continue to have them. And doctors, NPs and midwives, either with or without a CSA will continue to perform them.
01/05/2012
Ansley Ansley
Quote:
Originally posted by P'Gell
More than just cervical cancer or ovarian cysts are checked for during a yearly or every other year pelvic exam. Ultrasounds are very expensive and as some internal abnormalities are similar in tissue density to normal tissue, things can be missed. ...
Bravo!! I could kiss you right now!
01/05/2012
Ansley Ansley
For many, many women PAP smears are a very necessary procedure. I do so hate to hear that women have had traumatic experiences. I was initially going to make a light-hearted joke that seeing and touching snatch all day is the only reason I can foresee a man becoming a gyno in the first place so of course it's going to stay around. But, I see this thread has become much, much too heavy for that. It's a shame.

AndroAngel, you have the right to request or deny whatever medical procedure you're comfortable with. I think I would be pretty upset if my gynocologist suggested by-passing the PAP smear and pricking me with a needle---I don't like unnecessary blood work. I'm anemic and I hate taking iron tablets. I've also grown comfortable with the procedure and I have had extremely pleasant experiences with all of my doctors.

I don't know, totally doing away with PAP smears sounds a lot like the dentist taking blood to see if the patient has a cavity when all he had to do was look in their mouth.
01/05/2012
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