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Women and the Medical Industry - Page 5

post #81 of 302
The medical community is not just abusing and ignoring females. We could go on about how the medical community ignores and male treats various groups but at the same time we have to admit that "modern" medicine has its purpose.

My father got Viagra for prostate cancer. Why?? Because his questions were ignored. My poor husband got his pain ignored after his first hernia surgery. I wasn't thinking and didn't ask what different they would persribe a c-section mama. Then maybe dh would have gotten relief. We were told he was being a "male" aka a big baby. When he had the other side done pain relief was much better. The medical community does not promote male self exams like female exams. Testical cancer is more deadly than breast or cervical cancer.

I could spend hours on the neglect and miscare of elderly and children that I have seen.

Yes, I won't argue the medical community needs a change in attitude towards the humans they are treating.

BUT!! To understand the need for Papsmears you need to read up on the most common STD the HPV (human Papilliomavirus). It is almost synonomus with having sex but you can also get it from your mother (at least one article/study I read showed a corrilation). You can be effected and never know about it. It can also take 20 years to show cervical changes do to the HPV (there is about 100 strands of this). HPV is not just genital warts.

There are many things you can and should say no to in the doctor's office. There are things you can do less often than recommended. Empowerment comes when you educate yourself. Empowerment comes from understanding why you are doing something this doesn't mean you won't feel it violating, agravating, or annoying.

I do not feel it violating to get a pelvic exam because my mother was smart enough to teach me why I need one. She also made me feel that my private parts were not dirty and shouldn't be touched. I know that many women do not have this education or have had things happen to them that cause them to feel differently about their bodies. I might be odd but I feel more uncomfortable hugging some people than I do getting a pap smear from a stranger.

I would not trust my eyes to look at my waste line and assume my cholestrol was ok. I will admit I am over weight but I have lower cholestrol that my underweight relatives.

I could feel something wrong in my knees but I had to go the doctor to figure out what exactly was wrong and the best way of treating it was. Just staying off and letting it rest would not have cure/relieve the issues.

Also, you can get a pap done buy any doctor or nurse practitioner you feel comfortable with.
post #82 of 302
I have read this thread twice now, and still don't fully understand. So I'll address some confusing points.

You are saying that yearly exams are unnecessary? Okay. The docs around here have moved to doing pap smears every three years, as long as all previous smears were normal. Mostly, I suspect, to save money.

I would like to see some sort of evidence that performing a pap "weakens" the cervix. Having pushed a couple of babies through there, I'd say that the cervix is a pretty tough piece of meat. A Q-tip isn't going to somehow puncture the thing.

Evidence is important because there are limits to our intuitions. "Everybody doesn't know" that smoking and caffiene are harmful during pregnancy because we lack the ability to intuit this information.

And men DO have their genitals examined. This is shame-inducing for neither men nor for women. Although I get a yearly checkup, I still am not in any way shamed for touching my body however I see fit.

Hell, I could be checking my cervix as we speak!
post #83 of 302
Quote:
Originally Posted by eightyferrettoes
Hell, I could be checking my cervix as we speak!

:
post #84 of 302
I admire all the women in this thread who have spoken out and provided good solid evidence. I do Pap smears all day long as well as STD testing and many other things. I believe in what I'm doing and I have made a difference in many women's lives.

One thing that comes to mind, and my mind is reeling, is the apparent faith that the OP has in tumor markers as reliable tools for diagnosis. These are notoriously poor indicators of disease mainly because they are very highly sensitive but not very specific (good example is PSA). Tumor markers are used to monitor treatment and should never be used as a sole indicator of the presence or absence of disease.

Oh, and we use only metal speculums in our clinic. I can't fathom the idea of using plastic and throwing them away! We make enough medical waste as it is. The metal ones are autoclaved and are far superior tools to the plastic.

Really, I'm just so gosh-darned glad that more than a few people mentioned HPV. As I read the OP my heart began to sink thinking that the information on HPV has got to be more widely disseminated to the public.

Argh, in many ways this was an extremely frustrating thread to read.

-Laura
post #85 of 302
Thread Starter 
Yes. I have read all about HPV. Know all about it.

I just think it is insane that so many mothers will do anything for a natural birth, but then let doctors have so much power over their genitals and breasts without even questioning it.
post #86 of 302
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies

I just think it is insane that so many mothers will do anything for a natural birth, but then let doctors have so much power over their genitals and breasts without even questioning it.
How does getting a checkup constitute a ceding of power to a doctor? That doc performs a service for you; I feel no more abused by the doctor's services than by the pizza delivery guy's.
post #87 of 302
I faithfully have had my pap every year since I was 18yrs old. Because I don't buy that you only get cervical cancer from HPV crap. My mother and two of her four sisters had precancer cells, or cervical cancer in their mid 20's to early thirties. 4 of my 13 female cousins have had it show up, as well as my older sister. Most between the ages of 23 and 28. I find it a bit hard to believe that 8 close family members all had abnormal paps, and/or cervical cancer all around the same age and it's not genetically linked. The odds just don't add up. So I will faithfully get my pap every year.
post #88 of 302
Quote:
Originally Posted by queen bee
A well-informed powerful woman in charge of her own health is *also* going to know how to get the most out of what good there is to be had in modern medicine when it suits her needs, and may roll her eyes when someone suggests it means she is giving up her power..
But sometimes getting screened for something you probably don't have is really not in your own best interest.

Let's say a hypothetical test for cancer is 99% accurate, and let's assume that 1 out of every 1000 people has that kind of cancer. That means if you screen 1000 random people you find one cancer and make 9 mistakes (either telling someone they have caner and they don't or else missing a cancer and not treating it). In other words, any abnormal result is proabably wrong, AND the screening might not even find the disease if you have it.

From a medical standpoint, that's OK-- It was worth the 9 mistakes to "save" one person. From MY standpoint, though, I'm more likely to get a wrong diagnosis than to get "saved".

I believe that's why there is currently an argument about breast cancer screening. Pro-screening doctors act as if everyone treated would have died from cancer, but that is simply not true. If you get screened, it becomes much more likely that you'll have a mastectomy or radiation treatment, but it really doesn't change how likely you are to die from breat cancer.

Screening is probably good for public health in general, but sometimes not so good for individuals. Personally, I try not to get screened for anything unless there is some convincing reason to think I'm in a high-risk population.

--AmyB
post #89 of 302
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies
I just think it is insane that so many mothers will do anything for a natural birth, but then let doctors have so much power over their genitals and breasts without even questioning it.
Dr. Mendelsohn told the story about a wife of one of his collegues who went in for a routine PAP, and got a suspicious report back...indicating further investigation.

She went in for the cervical biopsy cryosurgery to be sure.

Her cervix was fine. NO CANCER!

However during the procedure, she began to hemorrhage uncontrolably; this complication necessitated an emergency hysterectomy.

But she is just fine now!

If this is preventative medicine, I will take my chances with disease, thank you very much.
post #90 of 302
Quote:
I am saying that a woman who does self exams will detect an abnormality way before a yearly exam would. You are talking about having an abnormality, while I am discussing the healthy body and how to know it, so that if an abnormality occured, a person would seek medical attention, before their yearly exam.
Not necessarily. You can be healthy and aware and still get cancer. I watched my 46 year old aunt die of cancer last year. She thought she had a cat scratch that got infected.......8 months later I was sitting there next to her dead body in my grandmother's living room. I think it is very naive to think that eating healthy alone will prevent this.......we can only do so much. Our environment is full of toxic crap......you can do 100% of things healthy and still get cancer. Cancer is nothing to mess around with.

That said, IF I get cancer, I would try Hoxsey (alternative medicine) before chemo and radiation BUT I still want to know if/when I have it which is what a simple pap smear can tell me. I havent had one in a couple of years, I dont do them every single year but every couple of years I do.
post #91 of 302
Ask your doctor if all of his patients follow his advice.

Answer: No doctor has a 100% compliance rate. Therefore, not all of his patients follow his advice.

Ask your doctor if he follows up on the patients who do not follow his advice.

Answer: Doctors do not follow up on the patients who do not follow their advice. They are too busy. Probably they do not care.

Ask your doctor since all of his patients do not follow his advice and if he does not follow up on the ones who do not follow his advice, how can he be sure the ones who do NOT follow his advice outlive the ones who DO follow his advice.

How can any doctor know about the long term effects of patients who do not go in for regular checkups?
post #92 of 302
I don't think any one doctor can say with any certainty what goes on with all of his patients.

Is that not why researchers spend years doing population studies?
post #93 of 302
ITA ^


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post #94 of 302
Okay, MITB. Out of sheer and utter insomnia, I went back and found that you had posted this exact OP in a thread in Activism, regarding mandated pelvic exams for oral birth control.

Basically, the women there were very unhappy that a Pap is required for birth control, and that doctors use that requirement to keep cash rolling in. They felt violated by the pap, and they pointed out that no man is obliged to have a prostate exam prior to getting a script for Viagra.

I totally agree with the sentiments you expressed there, in the context of that thread. It's a crock of doo-doo. Women should be out in the streets protesting this mess.

But extrapolating the unfairness of that practice into a vague proclamation that pap smears are useless, degrading, and anti-feminist is guaranteed to cause a trainwreck. Routine exams are not useless; those of us who choose to have them are not brainwashed into a fear of our bodies, and no one is completely safe from reproductive cancer.

But pap smears should NOT be tied to access to birth control.
post #95 of 302
Fantastic post eighty. I totally agree.
post #96 of 302
Not sure how a pap stops me from educating myself.

If somebody allows themselves to be led around by a doctor and told what's best for their bodies, more power to them.

If something doesn't seem right to me, I discuss with my doc. Usually, he asks me what I think it is. He will treat the symptoms at first, and if that doesn't work, then he'll do an exam to see what the problem might be.

I have a family history of cancer in the women on my mothers side, so I trust my own instincts but still get annual paps to ensure that there's nothing sneaking up silently on me.

FTR, Dh gets the "cough" test every year, and his prostate examined as well. He's got a history of prostate cancer in the men in his family, so he and his doc are vigilant about looking out for it.
post #97 of 302
I guess if you wanted to make the point that you don't understand why women blindly go in for pap smears and dont' question their doctors. Then I could understand.

Women should educate themselves. Make sure doctors are getting to the root of a problem rather than loading you up with stuff to treat symptoms. If they feel uncomfortable getting a pap exam then they should tell their doctor and make them help them. My first vaginal exam at 16 was with an idiot doctor who didn't bother to explain anything, family friend and should have known it was my first one. I asked some question and the nurse in the room realized that it was my first one, said, OMG and started to explain everything that was going on and why. I've never had any hang ups with my body but yes a vaginal exam can be quite scary if you dont' know what's going on and women should be encouraged to demand that they do know what's going on and be made to feel more comfortable.

If you posted b/c there are alternative, less invasive techniques to do the equivalent of a pap smear, that's great. The one posted is still in the testing phase. If there are other techniques proven to detect cervical cancer that I can do at home, I'd be happy to hear about them. I doubt that I would ever want to wait until I can feel something on my cervix to discover I have cancer. Sorry, it's just been proven time and time again the earlier you can detect it, the better chance for recovery.

If you posted b/c vaginal exams cause more harm than help, I'm still waiting to see some proof of that. It is a doctor's job to explain the chances of false positives on tests. I never worried when my quad screen came back positive b/c my midwife has explained quite well about false positives and what the test actually does. I've never had a pap smear come back abnormal but all of my doctors have explained the test to me before doing the exam.

No, applejuice, no doctor has 100% compliance with what they recommend. However, that doesn't make the recommendations any less valid.
post #98 of 302
I'm pretty torn about this.

On one hand, I avoid doctors, and gynecologists in particular, because I think they are not the be all and end all for proper and routine well woman care. I would never see a gynecologist for pregnancy or birth (unless I had a severe issue that warranted it.) and generally avoid annual exams for their general worthlessness...

BUT

I have suffered through many gynecological issues since January, and I now see my gynecologist as an intregal part of my care. At the end of March I had surgery to remove the majority of my left ovary due to a large dermoid cyst. I now have a massive septated cyst on my right ovary. I have been in nearly constant pain since late January. Several weeks ago my new cyst partially ruptured, leaving me incapacitated for days. This week it happened again. I am probably faced with surgery once again as it does not seem to be shrinking. Without my gynecologist I never would have known why I was in so much pain in the first place and I probably would have continued suffering until one, or both cysts, had a torsion or fully ruptured, leaving me with no healthy ovarian tissue. (And a much longer hospital stay.)

Now it's true that vaginal exams et al can cause much more problems than they help. After surgery I had a massive bladder and kidney infection from the instruments. My gynecologist can be a little "internal-exam happy", and I disagree with her on many points regarding my care, -but she does have good points too.

I think you need to be your own patient advocate. Ask questions, make joint decisions, and research your own stuff too. Of course following blindly is not a good course of action of care, but neither is complete avoidance in the face of a problem.
post #99 of 302
MamaInTheBoonies I understand what you mean and concur. Only, in this day and age,most people in general have handed over most instinctive "knowing" (for lack of a better word) to the 'all knowing' dr.'s ect. . The "knowing" is dying out in all levels of it I don't think an annual at a dr's office is empowering the feminist, it just makes the feminist feel empowered.
post #100 of 302
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by reeseccup
MamaInTheBoonies I understand what you mean and concur. Only, in this day and age,most people in general have handed over most instinctive "knowing" (for lack of a better word) to the 'all knowing' dr.'s ect. . The "knowing" is dying out in all levels of it I don't think an annual at a dr's office is empowering the feminist, it just makes the feminist feel empowered.
Thank you.
I was starting to feel like the only one who 'sees' what is going on and how it impacts all human beings, but especially women.
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