Nervous for first gynecologist visit



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lion_crest
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27 Apr 2008, 8:35 pm

I'm incredibly nervous for my first gynecologist visit. I have a problem with people touching me and I can't think about the appointment without being frightened, anxious and self-conscious of someone being that close to me physically. I've never had sex before, but I understand it's vital to have at least a yearly appointment even if you're a virgin. Does anyone have any advice that may help? I would be very grateful.



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27 Apr 2008, 8:48 pm

lion_crest,

Tell the gynecologist that you feel nervous and ask him/her to tell you exactly what they're going to do.

The gynecologist will have to look and perform an internal examination. They probably will do a Pap Smear which involves placing a metallic looking object in your vagina and taking a sample. It is a little uncomfortable (and often COLD).

They will have to palpate (which means feel with their fingers) internally.

Helen



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27 Apr 2008, 9:26 pm

I worked in a hospital for years. I don't know of a patient who wasn't nervous. But as our lead gynocologist said, consider alternatives. They're pretty terrible. Cervical Cancer is one of the things they can catch on the exam...gotten early enough, it is serious, but not fatal in this day and age. If a male gynocologist makes you uncomfortable, than ask for a woman.

My wife has had exactly the opposite experience. She insists on a male (a particular male) and she's not really happy (since we moved) that he's back in California. She went to a woman this time, and said "I'm appalled. She was so unsympathetic." I'm sure some women are not, but it's an interesting sidelight. Remember this. The entire procedure is scientific. It is meant to keep you healthy and pain free, and alive if they catch something.

As a male, I can't tell you how uncomfortable a prostate exame is (they go in from the other end) but it catches some very nasty stuff if it's a problem, and catches it before it's too late to do something about it. So I submit to it. I don't like it, but I submit to it.

As Helen said, ask them to explain what they're doing and why. With a first-timer, they will, and look at it as any other type of medical procedure. It is meant to keep you healthy and pain free.

Try to calm down about it, good luck, and I'm sure everything will be fine.

Beentheredonethat (well, not in this case)



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27 Apr 2008, 9:38 pm

Just let her know (your health care provider is a her, right?) that you are probably less comfortable than most about the exam. They will often bring in another person just to hang out with you (read 'distract' you) while it is going on below. Sometimes you can bring your own distraction! Ask!

And it is a good health practice for any female past pueberty, cause you could remain a virgin all your life but still need to keep your insides healthy. They can catch things long before they become a problem.

Merle


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zghost
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27 Apr 2008, 10:15 pm

Don worry, they'll expect you to be nervous and try to make it as easy as possible for you.
It's not like people actually enjoy these visits.
My approach is to zone out if possible and stare at the ceiling.



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28 Apr 2008, 2:02 am

Know they're medical professionals but this is nonetheless an extremely intimate/invasive exam to endure. Am not talented at spontaneous smalltalk with strangers, but if I can come up with a potential safe & engaging topic ahead of time to discuss with the examiner, it may work as partial distraction while I'm trying to pretend this isn't happening. Knowing what to expect next and the duration is helpful in minimizing uncertainty (during the exam)-on the other hand, I don't want to get any more squeamish/disgusted/embarrassed than I already am. At least having a backup unrelated subject, of interest to oneself-though something socially acceptable to share, can smooth the situation/pass the time (which feels like forever yet is actually quite brief). Of course, it also depends on personality of the person you are assigned to, once you find a person you like get their name so you can ask for them specifically next time.


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Brittany2907
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28 Apr 2008, 5:00 am

lion_crest wrote:
I'm incredibly nervous for my first gynecologist visit. I have a problem with people touching me and I can't think about the appointment without being frightened, anxious and self-conscious of someone being that close to me physically. I've never had sex before, but I understand it's vital to have at least a yearly appointment even if you're a virgin. Does anyone have any advice that may help? I would be very grateful.


I don't have any advice but I can complete sympathise with you on this!
I'm in the same situation as you are.

In NZ, doctors say that when a female reachers the age of 20, they should see a gyno every 2-3 years. I am 4 years away from being that age (thank god!), but yet I still freak out at the thought of it.
In all honestly, I would rather die than have someone do that to me. But thats just my opinion.


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VioletClementine
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28 Apr 2008, 6:56 pm

I was in the same situation as you a few months ago. Even though I'd started having sex with my boyfriend about two months prior to the appointment, I was still really self-conscious about being prodded at, poked at, et cetera.

In my experience, it's not painful at all--it just feels kind of weird. There are big concentrations of nerve endings in some areas of the 'feminine parts' and very few in others. It's really not that bad.

And it's over very quickly. If anything, just count to yourself when the doctor is examining you. Say rhymes inside your head, repeat a mantra...whatever you have to do to keep yourself calm.



ClosetAspy
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28 Apr 2008, 7:08 pm

I have vaginismus/vulvodynia (vaginal spasm, pain at the vulvar entrance) so I can totally relate to the feeling of nervousness. It was years before I was able to have a successful Pap test.

If there is a gynecologist in your area that specializes in vaginismus he or she would be a good one to go to as they especially understand nervousness. I don't know where my disorder came from, I strongly suspect a rigid religious upbringing combined with being sexually molested almost every time I went out on a date. Although I am not sure that explains the vulvodynia. I could tell you a horror story about being taken to my first Pap as a teenager but I will spare you that. Needless to say it was not successful and I never went back.

Anyway, I found a gynecologist who specializes in vaginismus and she was successful in performing a Pap test and it did not hurt at all, it just tickled. She said that I am built a little differently than most women (apparently my vagina slants at a different angle--she said (and I am not kidding) that I have a monkey pelvis). She also used a pediatric speculum which is not quite so big and she warmed it before using. So that might also help.



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29 Apr 2008, 10:12 am

My doctor uses a pediatric speculum for me, too, but I have to remind him each time. For some reason most doctors reflexively pull out the largest size of speculum (there are two adult sizes), and many don't have the pediatric size on hand, but if you ask in advance, and you're small enough, they can go with the smallest size. You can also take a sedative in advance if you really have problems with stress/pain but still need the test. And of course you can always refuse to participate, regardless of what people say. It's your body, and knowing you have final say can take a lot of the stress off.



AnnieDog
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29 Apr 2008, 1:23 pm

A baseline exam is good to get. Each woman has to get their first exam sometime - just make it clear and they should go slower, tell you what they will poke next, etc. In some ways, it is like getting a physical + throat culture - some prodding, minor invasion, uncomfortable, but short.

If you are in the US, you may hear the party line that you have to have an exam and pap smear every year. This is negotiable - talk to your doctor. It may not be required if you aren't sexually active in ANY way and you are under a particular age. I was able to keep it (and other exams) to every 3 years for a long time.


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Chibi_Neko
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30 Apr 2008, 10:53 am

I had my first pap test when I was 21, I was very scared and asked a lot of people about it. I made sure that I had a woman do it, and the clamp she had was a slim plastic one, the doctor I have now has a large metal one.

The first time I had it done I was still a virgin, and the nurse was hesitant to do it. Because I was very nervous, I tensed up and thus made it a little painful. Relaxing helped a lot, but having pap tests since then are now a breeze, still don't like the whole 'being so exposed' thing, but the actual test is now a sinch.


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