Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Adventures in Gynecology: Part 1

So, I have this problem. The problem is that being penetrated hurts. Not just like a little moment of ouch and then everything is fine. It hurts badly and, though it does dissipate after a bit, it's really difficult to get through the pain and in to the fun part. I seem to remember partnered sex being less consistently painful, but it's been a while so I'm not really sure anymore. I do think that part of that was a position thing, and possibly an arousal thing. I'm not sure.

In any event, one day I got a diva cup and attempted to put it in and was prevented from doing so by the pain. I've lived with this pain for as long as I can remember and my GP told me that it was just because I don't relax enough, but I couldn't help but think that there was something very wrong with not being able to get a diva cup in, and that this was something that could be made better, so I made an appointment with a GYN. Besides, I thought, I'd really like to get on a different form of birth control anyway, so I'll just get it out of the way.

I was nervous about the appointment, basically a combination of the general nervous feeling that new doctors cause (I'm fat, I've had some doctors be jerks, it's a scary experience) and of the general nervous feeling that knowing you're going to have a pelvic exam causes. I went in and things seemed like they were going to be ok. When I told the nurse that I'd prefer not to see or be told my weight she went along with it without comment, then the doctor came in and began to ask questions. First, she suggested that I try nuva-ring and kinda scoffed at me when I said that I was unsure of how that would work for me because of the pain that I was also there to see her about. Then, somewhere in the conversation she asked me how many partners I've had in my lifetime and when I became sexually active (7 and 16 respectively) and suddenly the conversation became very much "oh, well you probably have an STD" specifically gonorrhea or chlamydia. Now, this is a reasonable thing to ask about and I understood that, so I said something to the effect of "that seems really unlikely, I get the screening for that done every year when I get my pap done, I also never have sex without condoms and know the general sexual history of everyone I've ever had sex with, and this has been this way since before I started having sex." This statement apparently didn't stick, because I spent the rest of the appointment being told about the importance of condoms and how I should make sure to be in a committed monogamous relationship before having sex.

The pelvic exam was painful, probably more painful than it could have been because by this point I was rather uneasy, and seemed useless. She seemed to blame me for her difficulty seeing my cervix (because clearly I can do something about the fact that it hurts a lot and I can't stop clenching my muscles because of the pain) and in the end suggested that some sort of trauma had happened to the opening area of my vagina. She said that she still thought it might be an STD and was going to do the test again just to see, I suggested that it may have something to do with the number of yeast infections I had one summer when I was about 15 and taking antibiotics for acne. In response to my comment about the yeast infections, she informed me that I need to lose weight so that I won't get those so much, I said that it had really mostly happened when I was 15 and that I almost never get yeast infections unless I'm on antibiotics. She continued to tell me that being fat causes yeast infections and that if I could just lose weight maybe this would go away. I told her that I have an eating disorder. She told me to try to lose weight without "going overboard." She wrote me a prescription for a steroid cream to try, and I left rather shocked by what had just happened.

After talking with some people, I decided that there was no way in hell I was going to go back to that doctor. The problem is that now I'm scared to try to go to another GYN, but I'd really like to fix this problem. I never tried the steroid cream, but I did get the test results. As I suspected, I don't have an STI. What I do have now is an increased fear of trying to figure this out, and much less trust that women who are GYNs will be nice and/or open minded.

The point of writing this, for me, is to get it out in to the world, to let other women know that these sort of appointments do happen to people other than them, and hopefully to find some help myself. So, does anyone out there in internet world know of any ways to find a GYN who isn't a jerk other than trial and error? Alternately, do you have any idea what could be causing this pain?

1 comment:

Varla said...

I would first try looking up a GYN in any "top doctor" lists published in your city. Sometimes in a local magazine or weekly. Or ask local friends/family for a recommendation.

Then make an appointment specifically stating that you've had your yearly exam and STI tests, and need to see a doctor b/c of pain during intercourse/vaginismus.

Also, look up vaginismus online to see if that's what's going on, there's many message boards and sites about this. I know they also make a series of progressively larger vaginal dilators that help some women, and you can work with them at home, on your own.

WebMD has a pretty comprehensive list of causes of pain during intercourse, including issues with the bladder/urethra here: http://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/pain-during-intercourse-treatment