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Women and the Medical Industry - Page 2

post #21 of 302
Regarding the whole issue- I just go by my own comfort level and always have. I am not comfortable having strangers anywhere near my genitalia.

I'm 30 and have had two pap smears/pelvics in my lifetime. I wasn't even sexually active until I was 28. Hell no was I going to buy into the "get yearly exams from 18 on" because that's when MOST people are sexually active (or whatever). I don't happen to be most people.

The first time I went, I was 25 and cried to my mother afterwards. It was a horrible and degrading experience for someone who had never even had sex (not that it isn't for people who HAVE had sex). The second time, I was 28, and thank God, had met and married my husband (who was also a virgin) by then which, for whatever reason, made it easier for me.

I'm considering boycotting future exams, yearly or pregnancy related. I definately will go no less than three years in between them. I do check my own cervix for charting purposes. FTR, I have never once had a UTI or yeast infection. ??? Maybe because I've only had one partner and limited exams?

Whatever someone else wants to do is fine by me!
post #22 of 302
Having several abnormal pap smears in a row, I had to have a colposcopy, in which the dr uses a scope to look more closely at the inside of the cervix to determine the areas with abnormal (pre-cancerous) cells. They then take biopsies of those areas, which are sent to the lab to determine the level of dysplasia (change). The more the cells have changed, the closer you are to cancer.
Luckily, mine was caught at a point where the cells were still mildy dysplastic, meaning only minor changes had occurred to the cells at that point. I had cryotherapy performed to remove the top layer of cells on my cervix, thereby removing the cells that were slowly turning into cancer.
Therefore, I believe a yearly exam is empowering for men AND women because it enables them to know what, if any, health concerns they face and they can then choose which path of treatment to follow, or they can choose not to treat at all if they don't feel they are at risk.
However, one is not empowered to make a health decision if one is not in possession of all the facts regarding their health. If you do not know that the cells on your cervix are slowly morphing into cancerous cells, (which you cannot know without a pap smear, because there won't be any symptoms until you have full blown cancer), then you cannot make an informed decision on your health, because you simply don't know the state of your own health.
post #23 of 302
I get a yearly exam from a good female doctor. That's sort of my compromise, if you want to call it that. In college I went for a yearly exam at U of M and it was my first woman doctor and what I learned at that exam was amazing for me. Nothing about it was shameful of my body or teaching me to not trust my instincts. Instead I was given more tools to trust my instincts. It was the first time I learned how hard to push for a self breast exam, it's pretty darn hard. It was there I learned that any bad smell coming from my body shouldn't tried to be covered up with perfumed products but if it was that bad it meant something was wrong. That a body doesn't inherently smell bad anywhere even your vagina. That visit empowered me.

Since then I've lived in 5 different states, 7 different towns and been through at least 10 different insurance plans and have always been able to find at least one slightly crunchy female doctor who accepted my insurance. And at the yearly exams I usually learn something new. I like the check in aspect of it b/c I'll often think of things beforehand I don't feel worth making a special appointment for and I've never gone to a doctor where the instruments weren't a one time use.

Is there something else besides the instruments being unclean that makes the exam dangerous?

Also, in dealing with an aging grandmother and a hypochondriac mother, I think having regular check ups helps to tune you in a little more to your body than actually remove your control at least for some people. For both of them the only time I can tell they've had dismissive doctors who told them not to trust their instincts was when they were pg. go figure.
post #24 of 302
I get my yearly exam because I cannot get prescription birth control without one. They've got me over a barrel.

Pap smears have been proven to be a cost effective way to prevent illness and death. That equation doesn't take into account the emotional effects of the exam or the unplanned pregnancies caused because women could not get the birth control they wanted without the exam they didn't want.

I am very interested in the self-exams that other countries have explored. There is no reason why you cannot insert the speculum, do the pap smear, take the chlymidia swab, etc. yourself. These examinations can be conducted oneself if desired.

Until I began working in women's healthcare, I didn't know how many women had never ever touched the inside of their vaginas. There is a huge range of variation in comfort levels in american women. While I would hope that that might change in the furture, I really don't want women to die because I declare their closely held beliefs to be "wrong" and I want to make them do it my way.
post #25 of 302
Quote:
Originally Posted by bri276
However, one is not empowered to make a health decision if one is not in possession of all the facts regarding their health. If you do not know that the cells on your cervix are slowly morphing into cancerous cells, (which you cannot know without a pap smear, because there won't be any symptoms until you have full blown cancer), then you cannot make an informed decision on your health, because you simply don't know the state of your own health.
Exactly how I feel. Well said.

RedPony, you have to do what you're comfortable with but pap smears are unrelated to sex. I know you now have a husband and a child so I'm guessing you're no longer a virgin but just for future reference when discussing issues like this with your child(ren) virgins get cervical cancer so not having sex is not a reason for an adult to skip the pap smear. I hear you that it was a horrible experience but wow, imagine not catching cancer in time to treat it effectively and how that would leave your child(ren) feeling. Maybe finding a different GP or GYN and getting to know him or her? I don't feel my GP is a stranger at all.

I've had a good share of partners and have been having an annual exam since I was 16-17 and have never had one UTI or yeast infection - my guess is they aren't related at all. Maybe one of the nurses will chime in?

ETA: I don't rely on a yearly exam only. I do self exam as well but am thankful for early detection techniques requiring equipment I don't own.
post #26 of 302
:
friend from HS was a virgin and had lots of trouble with her cervix. She never went into too much detail. I was pg and she was told that due to all the procedures her cervixal opening was so small that she probably couldn't get pg.

I'm also a RN and have witness "penis exams". I agree not as indepth as a vaginal exam, but a check for discharge from the penis, hernia exam. I've swabed inside a penis checking for STD. The MD or NP does the prostate check and also does a visual for swelling, undecended testes, etc.
Used disposible stuff at our office, nothing steamed.
post #27 of 302
Another suggestion, you dont have to go to a regular OB/GYN for a pap smear. Alot of midwives can do that too.
post #28 of 302
Thread Starter 
Has anyone considered the fact that there are less invasive and less damaging ways to check for cervical cancer and STD's?
Every time they scrape your cervix it opens it up for an increased risk of infection. Also, biopsies leave scar tissue and damage the cervix.
Why not focus on changing your diet or taking other preventive measures regarding your health and well-being?
post #29 of 302
I just finished neoadjuvent chemo for breast cancer. I'll be having surgery in a few weeks.

My tumor was found through a routine exam. My breasts have always been lumpy and change consistancy during a cycle. I did not have any idea I had a fairly substantial lump until the doctor found it, despite doing self-exams.

I had not gone for a routine exam for a couple of years. I wish to God I had--I'd be looking at a better prognosis. I am very grateful that I went when I did or it is very possible that the cancer would have spread, which it appears not to have.
post #30 of 302
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies
Has anyone considered the fact that there are less invasive and less damaging ways to check for cervical cancer and STD's?
Every time they scrape your cervix it opens it up for an increased risk of infection. Also, biopsies leave scar tissue and damage the cervix.
Why not focus on changing your diet or taking other preventive measures regarding your health and well-being?
So what are these less invasive and less damaging ways to check for cervical cancer and STDs? Do you have any data showing you have an increased risk for infection from a cervical exam? I'm not trying to be snarky. I'm just not used to not having some back up article or source on MDC when someone posts something like this.

I look at a pelvic exam as part of my overall health and do preventative measures, etc. to safeguard my health. But I could have the healthiest lifestyle in the world and it doesn't mean I'm not going to get cancer. Or even an STD.
post #31 of 302
Argh, just lost my post.

To clarify, I'm not a virgin anymore and I do not yet have children.

I can understand that paps aren't related to sex. But, I'm not afraid of cancer. There is no history of cervical cancer in my family (very low cancer all around, actually). Of course, I realize I am not immune, and am leaving the possibility open for future exams.

Having a personal relationship with a doctor/examiner I see less than fifteen minutes a year... that's not going to make it any better for me!

I think as long as I'm honestly doing this:
Quote:
Why not focus on changing your diet or taking other preventive measures regarding your health and well-being?
my kids won't have to worry about losing me too early. Of course, God could take me tomorrow!

Geesh, I sound like I just don't care. That's not it all, I just haven't been convinced that for me, personally, I need a yearly ANY kind of exam. But, heck, I go to the dentist twice a year, and still have terrible teeth. :
post #32 of 302
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lisalou
So what are these less invasive and less damaging ways to check for cervical cancer and STDs?
Personal experience. I do not rely on studies or research that is written by men who have only been studying cervical cancer for the last 65 years.
Urine and blood samples will give a more accurate diagnosis. The problem lies in everyone not asking for change from something so archaic, invasive and damaging.
I found this out after being kicked out of every clinic and the only hospital for refusing a vaginal exam. I took my 5 mos pregnant self into the Nursing Home. Yes, the Nursing Home. Old people get their testing done through urine samples and blood samples, because the doctor there knew it was more dangerous to be scraping cervical cells off of elderly women, or scraping the inside of a male's penis.
Besides, damaged cervix's make big bucks for the medical industry and no way will the medical industry say different.

Also, I have grown up learning my traditional ways of healing. Not just covering symptoms but actual healing of the body.
Have I myself had cancer? Yes. Did I seek out Western medicine to cure me? No. Am I cured? Yes.
post #33 of 302
I'm not connecting your statements to anything concrete - just a vague opinion and some made up stuff.

fwiw - my midwife (the one who delivered my dd) does my yearly exams and i get yearly mammos from a female imaging cente.
post #34 of 302
Thread Starter 
Since everyone seems so reliant on printed words, here is the one for prostate cancer. Now ask yourself why they can screen blood in men, but not in women?
The answer should be apparent. They do have blood screenings for women, they are just not made available.
Prostate Cancer FAQ
post #35 of 302
This got me to do a google scholar search - I don't have access to the article, but here's the info from PubMed:

Ann Acad Med Singapore. 1998 Sep;27(5):717-21.

The Polarprobe--emerging technology for cervical cancer screening.
Quek SC, Mould T, Canfell K, Singer A, Skladnev V, Coppleson M.
Department of Gynaecology, Whittington Hospital, London, UK.

The Polarprobe is a portable non invasive electronic device designed for the detection of cervical precancer and cancer. It measures both electrical and optical properties of cervical tissue to allow a real time comparison with a databank of previously determined cervical tissue types. The need for additional tests to augment or even replace the Papanicolaou smear has partly prompted its development. Indeed it has been shown to be associated with less pain and anxiety than the smear and has the capability of encouraging women to attend for screening. Some of the preliminary clinical trials on the Polarprobe are reported as well as the ongoing developments and modifications to the device.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lisalou
So what are these less invasive and less damaging ways to check for cervical cancer and STDs? Do you have any data showing you have an increased risk for infection from a cervical exam? I'm not trying to be snarky. I'm just not used to not having some back up article or source on MDC when someone posts something like this.

I look at a pelvic exam as part of my overall health and do preventative measures, etc. to safeguard my health. But I could have the healthiest lifestyle in the world and it doesn't mean I'm not going to get cancer. Or even an STD.
post #36 of 302
Quote:
Originally Posted by bri276
I had cryotherapy performed to remove the top layer of cells on my cervix, thereby removing the cells that were slowly turning into cancer.
Therefore, I believe a yearly exam is empowering for men AND women because it enables them to know what, if any, health concerns they face and they can then choose which path of treatment to follow, or they can choose not to treat at all if they don't feel they are at risk.
The same thing happened to me. I've had yearly exams religiously after that experience, but the OP's arguement really has me thinking. Never really thought of it that way before.

Oh, wanted to add that my doc uses a plastic, disposable speculum (sp?), which I guess is ok for cleanliness, but not so good if you imagine a bunch of them piling up in a landfill. Anyone else heard of this practice? Sorry of that OT.
post #37 of 302
Thread Starter 
bluets - thank you. I was just on the phone trying to find out the name of the thing that was used on me.
Here is a link
PolarProbe

I am pretty sure it is the same device, but called something different in the U.S.
They just looked at my cervix with what seemed like a telescope type machine. It didn't hurt or cause any discomfort. The discomfort I did feel was from the legs spread eagle and the Speculum.
post #38 of 302
I see my mw for paps on a yearly basis. I had pre-cancerous cervical cells about 10 years ago. I've just felt more comfortable having my mw check me out yearly just in case of recurrance. I would bet that blood screenings are more expensive than paps and vag exams. Insurance companies and state and the federal govt. probably don't want the added expense of paying for bloodwork. Not that I agree with that! I have never in my life been made to feel that my genitals are dirty or "untouchable" in any way. I know what they feel like and I feel like I am in control of my own body. I have no issues with seeing my mw for reassurance once a year.
post #39 of 302
Okay i wont go into all the whys and why nots about it Ill just say i get an annual exam and i am comfortable with my body

that said the only reason im posting is that instuments used are almost always disposable (speculums) everything else used cant be reused (swabs) and the rare doc out there that uses metal instruments does not just pop them in a "steamer" and hope it killed the bacteria they go into an AUTOCLAVE that steams and pressure cooks them nothing (Well im sure something could but you wont find it on land maybe in the deepes depths of the ocean) could survive the pressure that is used to clean the instruments.

okay go ahead i just wanted to say its not a rice cooker they are using
post #40 of 302
Thread Starter 
My bloodwork and urine samples taken for testing of STD's actually cost less than the Pap smear and swabs. And it was much more accurate.
Maybe someone else can find the information on false-positives from Pap smears and/or swabs?
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