Rectal exams! (possible "trigger warning")

Rectal exams! (possible "trigger warning")

K101 K101
OK. I know just reading that title makes some of us cringe, but I was really curious. Do you get rectal exams? Have you ever refused one?

I'm asking because I had a long awful visit at my GYN today and since they recently got new nurses, things have changed with all yearly exams. Usually I go in yearly and there's the dreadful pap exam and all the lovely needles and scary stuff, but they never tried to do rectal exams there in the past with their patients.

Today when I went in they actually done the FULL breast exam, which is unusual as they usually don't, but I had some lumps to look into. I can handle that, no problem. It's just my boobs. The pap exam usually bugs me because it makes me feel weird and just sort of brings up yucky feelings. No big deal though. I can handle it. A rectal exam?! Are you kidding me? That I cannot handle! I'm very, very weird about it to the point of it actually giving me a nervous breakdown.

So when my nurse told me that they've been doing rectal exams my face paled and she asked me why that had gotten me so upset. Thank God she didn't push, but simply told me that if I had been traumatized or feel uncomfortable to that extent then she would never force me to go through it. I said no, that I absolutely could not do it and she simply wrote "refused" on my papers. I know for some rectal exams are really important to their health, but it's something I can't do for my own reasons, but maybe way later in life.

I was surprised though, that she didn't make me have the exam because in the past I was referred to some female doctor before I was diagnosed with endometriosis and we were still trying to find the problem. She told me I had to have the exam no matter what and that I couldn't leave the office without it. As pathetic as it may sound, it had me upset for days! I'm just weird, I guess, but it did make me freak when my GYN mentioned doing it today.

So, have you ever refused a rectal exam or something else maybe for any reason (past experiences, traumatization, etc?) Also, have you ever had a doctor tell you that you HAD to have something done such as a rectal exam? How uncomfortable do pap and rectal exams make you?

I'm just asking because I'm a little curious to know if I'm really... a freak, I guess. Lol. I really appreciate when y'all share your own experiences/feelings with me Feel free to share any of your feelings about things like this
Answers (private voting - your screen name will NOT appear in the results):
I have never refused any exam.
18
I have never had a rectal exam (explain why, if you feel comfortable.)
20
I have refused rectal exams.
I have refused other exams.
6
Because of past experiences, being traumatized or something else, I have refused rectal exams.
3
Please! Me refuse a rectal? That's nothing!
7
I avoid exams that involve my privates at all costs.
5
I've never been asked to have a rectal exam, but when the time comes I will do it.
16
I've never been asked to have a rectal exam, but when the time comes I will NOT do it.
10
Other. *I may have left something out. If so, I apologize*
5
Total votes: 90 (42 voters)
Poll is closed
02/23/2012
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fredacarl fredacarl
Quote:
Originally posted by K101
OK. I know just reading that title makes some of us cringe, but I was really curious. Do you get rectal exams? Have you ever refused one?

I'm asking because I had a long awful visit at my GYN today and since they recently got new nurses, ...
I avoid exams that involve my privates at all costs.
02/23/2012
Shellz31 Shellz31
I've never been asked to do one. I avoid any poking around down south by Drs. Over here, pap smears are every 2 yrs or suppose to be. But I just get them down whenever I can be bothered. For me, I don't see the point in really being tested cause even if they found something, I would never have surgery or chemo to just prolong what will end up getting me eventually. I'd rather enjoy the rest of my days that I have.
02/23/2012
indiglo indiglo
My first GYN (when I was a teen) did not do them. My current doctor does. I have no problem with it, don't find it physically painful, or uncomfortable, or anything like that. So I get the rectal exam each year with my pap test and breast exam.
02/23/2012
Tuesday Tuesday
My gyn does a rectal exam every time. She's very thorough. While I'm not at all into anal, the rectal exam doesn't bother me. It's a lubricated finger and only lasts ten seconds or so.

I did refuse a follow-up sigmoidoscopy after my first one though. The first one was very painful and continued to hurt for hours afterward. I dread the day when I'm forced/pressured to have a colonoscopy. I just don't have the sturdy intestines that others have.
02/23/2012
switzerland switzerland
i have never even heard of regular rectal exams. it has never been brought up at my doctor's. unless there were specific reasons for needing one, i probably would never get one.

for personal reasons, my first pap ever was SO stressful and upsetting. i'm okay now, but i will never forget how i felt that first time. i know what you felt like freaking out when the nurse mentioned a rectal exam.
02/23/2012
catgirl9 catgirl9
I've never had a rectal exam, but now watch....next time I go in for a pap, they'll probably want to do one lol. But whatever, I'd just rather get it done and over with. I don't think it would bother me.
02/23/2012
geliebt geliebt
Never had one. Can't say I'd be excited about it but I'm pretty relaxed about that, since I trust my doctor for REAL REAL! So I think it'd be fine.
02/23/2012
Sir Sir
I rarely go to the doctor's office, so I cannot really speak for this. I've never had such an exam. In fact, my genitals and ass have not been seen by doctors since I was...probably eleven.
02/23/2012
wetone123 wetone123
I've never been asked to submit to one, but wouldn't be surprised if the doctor insists on one soon. Everybody else seems to want in my ass lately, why not him!
02/23/2012
Ahatmadeofshoes12 Ahatmadeofshoes12
I've never been asked to have a rectal exam, however, if I ever do end up needing one I don't think it would bother me at all. Its for my health and I'm pretty comfortable with my body and health care professionals. I'm also pretty comfortable with playing with my ass so I think it wouldn't be too hard to deal with it. If it will benefit my health I am all for it. These regular check ups are important and I have no problem with a health professional doing a proper check up to make sure I am healthy.
02/23/2012
kawigrl kawigrl
if I thought I needed it and the doc asked I would do it
02/23/2012
Gunsmoke Gunsmoke
As you probably know men over 40 or 50 have rectal exams annually. It's obviously for prostate issues - but I don't know what they are looking for with women.

All of us post 50 should get a colonoscopy every 5 years or so to detect colon cancer - but that's not done during a routine office visit.

It would be interesting to know what they are looking for.
02/23/2012
P'Gell P'Gell
There is a good reason for rectal exams, the "back" (or inferior, in medical terms) part of the uterus can only be felt with a rectal exam.

These are VERY common exams in GYN, GI and other forms of medicine. Many doctors don't like to do them, but this is not to say they aren't very helpful for many people and can give data for a wide variety of serious medical conditions. I am seriously concerned that so few people here have never had rectal exams. All the GYNs I've worked with do them with most pelvic exams and ALL GI doctors do them as a matter of course.

I know it's scary. I can empathize and sympathize, NO ONE likes these exams. I was sexually assaulted (more than once) as a child, and I was really scared of pelvic, breast and especially rectal exams. I also had all the symptoms of endometriosis and heavy menstrual bleeding and pain. I HAD to have a full exam before surgery was planned. (I ended up having endo, many of my endo "implants" were on the inferior part of the uterus, and they needed to be taken care of. I also was able to get pregnant after the procedure and surgery. To this day I also need a rectal exam with most of my pelvic exams.

I knew why this was important, so I took it up with the therapist I was seeing and we worked through some issues from my past and addressed my fear, worked on some visualization and relaxation techniques, and after a short period of time I was going through exams like a pro.

I knew these exams were necessary for my health and they my issues were perhaps unusual (as most doctors do these exams for everyone) and that if I wanted babies, the things I was going to go through during pregnancy were going to be much more invasive than a 30 second rectal exam.

I had to work through it, both medically and psychologically. I worked on it and learned not only to handle the exam, but to handle the trauma as well. I wouldn't be the same person I am now if I hadn't taken these matters seriously, told myself it was something "I just can't do" and continued to believe "there was nothing I can do about it" and my health, both physically and psychologically, got a LOT better.

I have now little fear of exams, nor do I dwell on the abuse anymore. The trauma happened, I didn't give consent, it wasn't my fault, it sucked, but it is in my past and I learned to handle it. I no longer have any association between the abuse and the rectal exams that I have needed for both gynecological AND digestive health. (When you hit about 30 most doctors start doing occult blood exams, by a quick finger in the anus to grab some mucous and then testing it for blood, which could be a link to rectal, anal or colon cancer.)

I've grown and my mind and body learned to handle a LOT with learning to handle this issue.

Maybe the technique would not work for everyone, but I think it's a good place to start. I am FREE from the man who assaulted me, he was keeping me prisoner in my own mind, and therapy helped me get free from this stuff and live a freer, happier and more open life.

Mileage etc.
02/23/2012
P'Gell P'Gell
Quote:
Originally posted by Shellz31
I've never been asked to do one. I avoid any poking around down south by Drs. Over here, pap smears are every 2 yrs or suppose to be. But I just get them down whenever I can be bothered. For me, I don't see the point in really being tested ...
Shellz, you have every right to refuse treatment for any illness, but colon and rectal cancer have a nearly 98% survival and cure rate if caught early enough.

For me, it would be worth fighting for my life. (Although very little "fighting" is required for early colon or rectal cancer.) I'm important to a lot of people, they need me and I'm not ready to give up my life for a completely curable disease.

My MIL had cancerous polyps, which were first found from a occult rectal exam nearly 30 years ago. She had early treatment, which was nothing more than removing the polyps (no chemo or radiation required) was cured and went on with her life. Her father refused the treatment, or even to see a doctor and was killed by the exact same disease a good 40 years before he should have died.

It isn't like pancreatic or stage 4 lung cancer; It's one of those things that many feel is worth fighting. It's actually one of those cancers that has a very LOW chance of "getting you eventually." Most patients who find and treat it early survive and are totally cured.

I'm just saying, it's your choice, but make sure you know your odds before writing it off as an "incurable illness" it is everything but.
02/23/2012
bayosgirl bayosgirl
I'll take the chance on cancer, frankly. It's already bad enough having a stranger look at my vagina...let alone stick a finger up my butt.
02/24/2012
indiglo indiglo
Well, I'm not sure if this will make a difference, because it sounds like everyone is pretty well set in their own ideas about not having a digital rectal exam... but I still feel compelled to share this WebMD article just in case anyone is open to reading it and maybe changing their minds to save their lives. It's about Farrah Fawcett and her battle with anal cancer. Farrah Fawcett Fights Anal Cancer

Keep in mind that these cancers have an EXTREMELY high cure rate when caught early (anal, colon, etc.) and the treatment is easy. But once they spread the treatment is hard on your body and the survival rate drops dramatically. (Now I'm just repeating what P'Gell already said, and said so much better than I am.)

Then try to do an honest costs/benefits analysis. 10 seconds of "weirdness" once a year to save your life. Seriously folks, your life is worth it.
02/24/2012
K101 K101
Quote:
Originally posted by Tuesday
My gyn does a rectal exam every time. She's very thorough. While I'm not at all into anal, the rectal exam doesn't bother me. It's a lubricated finger and only lasts ten seconds or so.

I did refuse a follow-up sigmoidoscopy ...
I'm with you on that! I've had some serious stomach issues incluing the awful and embarrassing IBS I usually DO NOT tell anybody in my life that I dealt with IBS, but that and the endo has caused me some serious problems. SO painful! I still have some small issues and there were many times where I'd get ill and be that way for an entire day. My intestines looked like they were literally trying to come out of my abdomen! When the pain happens, I can see something move in my stomach at the very bottom and a lot of times any pressure is very uncomfortable, even when my cat lays on my belly. I couldn't imagine what kind of problems a colonoscopy would cause. I really ain't at high risk of anything like that so I don't feel to bad refusing it.

Now as for cervical cancer and breast cancer, I'm extremely careful and like to keep as informed as possible. I never skip an exam and have had many breast exams because they've found lumps before and today she finally discovered that it's just cysts. I just like to be careful about those because girls get those cancers so young and I'm only 21. One reason I'm always up to date on my exams is because they have to do one every year when in order for me to stay on meds that help with endometriosis.

As for any kind of cervical cancers or HPV or breast cancers, I want to stay on top of that and if something were there, catch it early. I would absolutely prefer finding it early and having a small procedure like simply cutting or burning it, whatever, rather than wait until it's so progressed that I've no hope. Everyone's diff. though.

Pap smears always stir up some bad feelings for me. I can't figure out why it bothers me so badly, but it brings back yucky feelings from a past experience. I've had some upsets about it, but I usually keep it together while it's being done and with most of my GYN's, it's been as comfortable as something like that can be, but I've had some awful ones. I know that that's something that is necessary for someone my age and I'll suffer through a day of cramps and yucky past feelings of being violated, but not my booty! Today, I wasn't expecting them to try a rectal exam and I really flipped! My dr was very nice and handled it well and even apologized a million times for getting me so upset. Of course it wasn't bad since she let me refuse it, but with my being crappy from the past feelings I get when a pap is due, I was already on edge. Plus, that dr that told me I wouldn't leave her office a few years ago without a rectal exam really F'ed that up for me!

Switzerland, It's really relieving to know that I'm not the only one. I hate that you've had to be freaked like that too though No matter how much trust I had in someone, I would feel to violated with a rectal exam. I don't know why because I was not violated there, but the other hole instead! It's just something about it. I wouldn't even let my partner do anything rectal-ish to me if he ever wanted to. He would never, but trust would not make up for how it'd make me feel.
02/24/2012
K101 K101
Quote:
Originally posted by Gunsmoke
As you probably know men over 40 or 50 have rectal exams annually. It's obviously for prostate issues - but I don't know what they are looking for with women.

All of us post 50 should get a colonoscopy every 5 years or so to detect ...
Yes, that's true. The men in my family, I don't think have ever had it yet. Then again, I highly doubt my dad would tell me if he did! Lol. He's a very nervous person like me so I could imagine him being in hysterics the same as I was. Lol. I really don't know why they would feel the need to test a healthy 21 yr old female for a rectal exam? It's not anything high risk for me so it was strange.

Also, I recently had a laporoscopic surgery and that was due to endometriosis so my entire uterus and all were checked out, no need for a rectal here.

I know that most everybody is uncomfortable during exams. Like I said, I'm really careful about my health and that is why I never miss a breast or pelvic exam, but you have to understand that being uncomfortable and having something traumatizing come back into your life, a part you are trying to get rid of, is reason enough to not put yourself through such a large amount of suffering. For some people, it's really *that* bad! Plus having a DOCTOR, someone who's supposed to be trustworthy and professional and not force you to do anything, actually make you have an exam is going to cause a big enough problem for a young girl to never want to go through it again.

During my 3 years of doctor visits then surgery for endo, I was never asked to have a rectal exam, even when my GYN told me I had IBS. They NEVER tried that except that one damn doctor who swore I had a cyst on my ovaries although it didn't show on ultra-sound she wasn't letting me go without that exam. That's never OK. I don't care what the hell somebody's certified in. A degree doesn't make you trustworthy.
02/24/2012
K101 K101
Quote:
Originally posted by bayosgirl
I'll take the chance on cancer, frankly. It's already bad enough having a stranger look at my vagina...let alone stick a finger up my butt.
Thank you! I'm not such a freak afterall
02/24/2012
Destri Destri
I have had a digital rectal exam done once. Didn't particularly like it but I survived... I had a colonoscopy done once, and the only bad thing about that was the prep... you are asleep when they do it and have no idea what is going on.

Now, I tend to think that the people who say they will take their chances with cancer have never really been around anyone who is dying from it. I worked in hospitals for years, and let me assure you, cancer is nothing to take a chance on! It is unbelievably painful, degrading and horrifying, and no one should take a chance on it over a simple exam!

So I urge you to talk to a therapist to work through your fears, or discuss your feelings with your health care professional and just get it done.
02/24/2012
P'Gell P'Gell
Quote:
Originally posted by Destri
I have had a digital rectal exam done once. Didn't particularly like it but I survived... I had a colonoscopy done once, and the only bad thing about that was the prep... you are asleep when they do it and have no idea what is going ...
You are SO right. I agree with everything you said, MOST people who get cancer DO NOT have a "history of it in my family" of that particular cancer, so that doesn't protect you.

I think there's a lot of fear and a lot of anxiety and a lot of excuse making and selfsoothing when it comes to certain things like this.

Everyone is certainly entitled to refuse any test they don't want, but I doubt few of them really have spent a large amount of time with someone with end stage cancer (the kind you can actually smell on the patient, the metathesis has gotten so bad) nor had it themselves

30 seconds of a rectal exam is nothing compared to having to living through the actual treatment of advanced ano-rectal cancer. And seeing as these are some of the MOST treatable and curable cancers, I don't get it..... and I was also assaulted and abused myself.

As for IBS and colonoscopies; most people with IBS, especially severe IBS actually have to have colonsocopies to see what is going on and to rule out more severe and dangerous things. My mom has to have one every year or two, I go with her and although drinking that stuff isn't fun, she says (as do most patients I've worked with, although I don't work in GI) say the procedure didn't increase their symptoms at all. Many claim the cleaning out before the procedure actually helped the IBS. They do colonsocopies on people who already have colon cancer, the procedure, if you need one, isn't going to aggravate IBS.

However, everyone IS entitled to say no to any procedure they don't want. I think as long as they understand the risks of refusing a few minutes of discomfort.
02/24/2012
Ms. Spice Ms. Spice
I've never had one done, but I think next time I go to the gyno I will. I don't get squicked by anything my doctor recommends that I do; they've gone through 8+ years of school and they probably know what they're doing. They're not perfect by any means, but I trust that they're not going to harm me at all. I'm not going to compromise my health because I'm scared of them poking me "down there."
02/24/2012
El-Jaro El-Jaro
I'd have no problems turning down a medical test if I knew I was going to be charged for it (no insurance).

I don't think I'd let anything in my past prevent me from getting a test though. It's not like the doctors/nurses are getting their jollies on it. They're there to help, treat, and maybe even cure. P'Gell has some good advice on this!
02/24/2012
unfulfilled unfulfilled
I avoid dr's at all costs. I've only had a handful of paps done and the last one was when I was pregnant with my youngest and he's turning 3 in March.
02/26/2012
PurpleCat23 PurpleCat23
A doctor cannot force you to have an exam, or tell you that you cannot leave until an exam/part of an exam is over. That is illegal. You have a right to refuse treatment for any reason. If a doctor tried to force me into something, or tell me that I could not leave the building, I would leave and report them. That's just me. If someone can't respect my wishes regarding my body, they're not getting anywhere near me. That being said, I have had a colonoscopy ( at 18, very rare), but I knew I needed it. It was a good thing I did it, because they found a polyp that was way bigger than should be found in an 18 yr old. If it hadn't been removed, it would have turned into cancer.
03/25/2012
Zombirella Zombirella
It's not something I'm comfortable with but hell, after what I've already been through I guess it wouldn't be that big of a deal.
I have horrible gastro problems, I'm talking BAD acid reflux to the point of vomiting. I've been put on all types of meds and nothing works 100%. I know I shouldn't eat some of things I do and I deal with it when I eat something I'm told not to. They ran all types of tests and can't find the problem. This meant I had a tube down my throat and one...well the title of this thread tells it. I cried when they suggested I get one but since they couldn't find anything wrong when going down my throat into my stomach I went ahead with it. I was SO humiliated even though the twilight sedate you but I cried before I was given the meds. The nurses and my doctor were really nice to me though because of my embarrassment and tried to assure me that they have seen it ALL and I have nothing to be embarrassed of. Needless to say they didn't find anything. They said meds I take could be the reason and I forget the other. They wanted me to wear this thing down my nose and through my throat for 24hrs but I kept vomiting so that never worked and I won't do it again, I'll just deal with it. Something about testing my PH and if it has to do with stress or something.

I heard you typically don't get rectal exams til 50 or so? But if for health reasons like what went on with me, if it was suggested I'd just do it. I mean eventually everyone typically has one done, it's humiliating but it's not like you are the first or last person that will have it done. It sucks though and I share the feelings of dread with you.
04/02/2012
Zombirella Zombirella
Quote:
Originally posted by fredacarl
I avoid exams that involve my privates at all costs.
Oh no! That isn't good! As a female you should have a yearly vaginal exam to avoid undetected cancer. A family friend went 5 years without having one, ended up having issues and it turned out she had developed terminal cervical cancer . Her husband cheated on her and gave her the strand of HPV that causes it. It makes me sick to my stomach to think if she had only went to her exams she would more than likely be here today. She lost her insurance and wasn't aware that planned parenthood will do it for free.

I think they saved my life. I had pre-cancerous cells surgically removed from my cervix my senior year of high school. If caught early enough like in my case it can be a matter of life or death!
04/02/2012
Sex Positivity Sex Positivity
I try to avoid all genital exams due to past traumatization, but I once had a really pushy GYN who forced me to go through a vaginal exam. I went into a hardcore panic attack and started screaming and crying.

I've had one since, but it sent me into a downward spiral.
04/03/2012
marriedlady123 marriedlady123
Quote:
Originally posted by catgirl9
I've never had a rectal exam, but now watch....next time I go in for a pap, they'll probably want to do one lol. But whatever, I'd just rather get it done and over with. I don't think it would bother me.
me either...i fact I don't really understand what they are needed for?
03/31/2013
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