Anxiety, Life, Menopause, Podcast

Podcast #35- Gynecologist Anxiety

https://anchor.fm/kari-wagner-hoban/episodes/Are-you-afraid-to-go-to-the-gynecologist-e1ehb4i

Because my WordPress podcast player isn’t working this week, you’ll have to visit the link above to listen to the podcast.


So, thankfully, I didn’t have anything wrong with me while I was spotting last week. I just had a menstrual period.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com Side note- I really need to write a post about how Pexels depicts “menstruation” in photographs. I don’t recall flowers emerging from my vagina every month. But it’s been a while.

After a year and a half of being in menopause.

After being without a period for two and a half years.

Menopause math is hard.

Apparently, irregular menstruation can occur during menopause. It’s extremely unlikely, yet it can happen. I’m special like that. 🙂

Photo by Laker on Pexels.com

Is Pexels even aware of what menstruation is?


After hearing a gynecologist talk about it on TikTok, I went on to address gynecologist anxiety. A female commented in that doctor’s post that she will never have a pap smear again because of her fear, adding something to the effect of, “if I die, I die.” A pap smear is done to check for cervical cancer.

Photo by Oles kanebckuu on Pexels.com

I asked my gynecologist about this anxiety, and she explained that many women are hesitant to go because of prior trauma, fear of pap smears, they don’t think they need a pap if they’ve never had intercourse, and so on. I mentioned that my biggest fear was in-office biopsies.

I also shared an event that I had kept private for a long time due to feelings of shame. It happened during Anna’s birth, and it made me feel weak, which I believe is at the root of a lot of gynecological trauma and fear.

This will undoubtedly be a podcast that you will need to listen to in order to fully understand. I generally prefer to end posts like these with a question, but it felt too intrusive this time. So, if you feel safe sharing, I am here to listen. However, I understand if you do not. Just know that you are not alone.

Pelvic exams can be ‘traumatic.’ Here’s how experts suggest lessening anxiety.

I’m 28 Years Old And I’m Scared Of The Gynecologist

When a “Routine” Exam Feels Like an Assault

Painful Gynecologist Visits Can Be Traumatic Instead Of Healing

41 thoughts on “Podcast #35- Gynecologist Anxiety”

  1. I’m glad that you are well after this last surprise period appointment. When you mentioned the in-office biopsy, I cringed. If it’s the same one I’ve had twice in my life (about 18 years ago and then again about a year and a half ago) it is the most excruciating pain I’ve ever had and I will never do it again without some sort of drug. Never.

    Just last week I was reading an article about a woman who was sexually assaulted by her gynecologist. I can’t even imagine. You are so vulnerable in their hands.
    Ever since I realized that you have a choice on WHO your Dr is, (around 22, the first few years I left it up to the office staff) I’ve only visited female GNYO’s. I’m just way more comfortable with a woman than a man when it comes to my lady parts.

    That shitty Dr. ruined your childbirth experience. That is trauma Kari and I’m so sorry that happened to you. What a horrible human.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Then I believe it is the same procedure. It’s frustrating because I’ve never been provided a pain relief option. The good news about my gynecologist is that she is quick, so it doesn’t last long. It just feels like it does. BUT STILL, there should always be an option for pain relief no matter the procedure.

      I’d never considered SA from a gynecologist until my gynecologist (who’s a woman) mentioned it! I’ve seen three different male gynecologists, and each one made me feel uneasy. But I honestly think it’s due to my hospital experience.

      Suz, I never believed it was trauma until I did my soul homework. Honest to God, I thought I was defective.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wasn’t offered pain medication, but if my Doc ever suggests that I need this again, I will demand it. Just thinking about it now brings back that horrid feeling.

        There is nothing defective about you my friend. You are a perfectly imperfect human. (like, we’re all imperfect humans, right? )
        XO

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am happy to read that your bleeding was actually a period and not something more sinister, Kari. I will have to find and listen to your podcast to understand what happened during your daughter’s birth, but know that I am already sorry that you had to go through it. Once, when my mother was in hospital having surgery on her foot, her roommate was a woman who was so afraid of getting breast cancer that she refused to have her breast lump looked at until it grew so big it burst through her skin into a weeping mass of exposed (cancerous) tissue. She was relatively young too. I wonder what made her so afraid that she couldn’t make herself see a doctor about it until it was way too late.

    Deb

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am glad everything is okay. And thank you for sharing your experience. I am full of molten rage toward your old OB/gyn. W. T. A. F. I’m so sorry he put you through that. I know so, so well that feeling of being somehow weak, also from my birth experience. (I wrote about it here: https://lifeofadoctorswife.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/let-go/) And, on a lighter note, my daughter was ALSO born two weeks late!!! 42-week club, what what!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was something I carried with me for a long time, believing I was less than. Thankfully, he has since retired. My current gynecologist said that he had done similar acts against many other women. It made me quite sad.

      Thank you for sharing; I’ll read it now!

      The 42 week club!! I love that! I knew there was a reason we felt kindred. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m glad all is well for you. Doctor visits of all kinds unnerve me. I don’t like to go to the ob-gyn in particular, not because of the exams but because of a family history of cancers. I’m scared almost to death to go, yet I know I have to go.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh my goodness, I haven’t listened to this podcast but just your written blurb is enough to give me second hand anxiety. Whatever some ass**** put you thru… I am outraged on your behalf.

    On a lighter note… I didn’t know you were posting about this subject but guess what doctor’s appointment I just made? Weird topical coincidence! *And* I even took your advice to look for someone affiliated with the Menopause society you mentioned several posts ago. Hoping for a positive experience. Would be super cool to meet a doc who thinks peri menopause can cause more than hot flashes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just googled him and found out he’s dead (and presumably onto his next life), so it’s all good. I hope it’s as a tampon.

      WHAT?? We’re on the same spiritual plane!!

      I can’t wait to hear about your experience! Do you want to hear something else strange/cool? I was planning on writing a menopause post in the next couple of weeks. I love that we’re spiritually collaborating. 🙂

      Like

      1. Yay a menopause post! Words I never thought I’d write lol. I’m also reading a book on menopause. Who am I? 🙂 Of course what I really need is a book, doctor (support group? Lol) for surviving PERI. *sighs dramatically* Anywho, I’m gathering my resources and inspirations – and that includes your lovely blog Kari. Thank you for lighting the way!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am laughing at your excitement about a menopause post. (I relate to that)

        I can provide that support. I might just start reading chapters of my book on the podcast if only to provide support to my readers in perimenopause.

        Thank YOU, for calling my words light. 🙂

        Like

  6. OK, I just listened to your podcast. That doctor needs a jumbo tampon shoved up his ass sans lube while experiencing intense cramping from food poisoning. Then he can tell you (no wait, not even then) what you should or should not be experiencing. I didn’t have to deal with shit like that from the doc when I delivered but I had some nurses that were very unkind to me after a very rough delivery. WTF was that all about, I still wonder….although I know it had less to do with me and more to do with whatever life and career shit they were dealing with.
    I’m sorry you had to have this happen to you at such a vulnerable time.

    Deb

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG, you’re making me laugh so hard!

      I just looked him up and he’s since passed away, BUT I saw that he had a multi-million dollar lawsuit settlement against him for a childbirth incident three years before I gave birth. I am livid.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I find that any doctor/ dentist appointment gives me added anxiety but it does lesson with the right doctor. I love our dentists (they are a husband and wife team and they feel like family!) and I like my new gynecologist so much that I made sure he was covered under our new medical plan. I did have an in office biopsy but I apparently have a real high tolerance for pain as he actually stopped in the middle of the procedure to ask me if I was doing okay since I hadn’t moved or made a peep. He sounded stunned but honestly I was just so glad to be having something done towards fixing all my “problems” that I couldn’t have cared less what he was doing down there. I had no idea that you could have random periods during menopause… does that mean you have to go another full year before you are considered in menopause again?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dentist appointments cause me anxiety as well, especially the point when they start drilling? The sound alone is terrifying. We also have a great dental group.

      You’re fortunate to have a high pain threshold since those procedures can be quite painful.

      NO! I’m in exactly the same place I was before. But if this had happened during PERI-menopause, I’d be back at square one, which is aggravating.

      Like

  8. Is Pexels even aware of what menstruation is?
    Favorite part. So funny. Why are they taking those photos?

    I’m also a member of the 42 week club. With Lad. Sorry your birth experience was messed with by this nutty doctor.

    I had a weird spotting experience combined with horrid diarrhea – mostly just the pain, back in June. It was unsettling, but no doc found any answers. I don’t have trouble seeing my OBGYN but I am always REALLY glad when it is over. I almost passed out the first time I went to the gynecologist when I was a freshman in college? Or end of high school?

    Like

  9. Oh, I am SO sorry, what a traumatic experience for you.

    I didn’t know that you could get a period after menopause, but this same exact thing happened to a friend of mine just a couple of weeks ago, and she had to have the in-office biopsy, and when she told me about it *I* almost fainted, let alone how awful she felt. I had never heard of it before.

    In 2014, I had to have a LEEP procedure on my cervix, and they do numb the area. That was the worst part, I’ll never forget the super long needle – and I am not a person scared of needles – and the feeling of it. I cried and cried and the nurse with me just patted my hand and stroked my hair. Somehow, it hasn’t translated to gynecologist anxiety, I haven’t had issues with getting my paps since then. I’m not going to look that gift horse in the mouth, let me tell you.

    Big hugs to you, what an awful experience. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have so much history in this area, and I’m not in a right place to listen to the podcast as I’m currently dealing with some issues. My gyno medical history includes endometriosis, PCOS, vulvar vestibulitis, aggressive skin tags in sensitive areas (resulting in biopsies to make sure they weren’t cancer), and herpes (thanks, cheating college boyfriend). A male gyno who once made me feel extremely uncomfortable when I was alone in an exam room with him and told me I was “selfish” for not giving my unused IVF embryos to another couple was later run out of practice when multiple women accused him of SA. Another, when I suggested to him that maybe, perhaps, I had endometriosis? (after spending a horrific morning with my face on the floor of a McDonald’s bathroom because I was in so much pain I could not get up), told me that I should leave the diagnosis up to him. (I didn’t get that correct diagnosis until 3 doctors later.) I tell you all of this only to say, that whatever happened to you during your birth, if it made you feel terrible it was not and never would be your fault. I’ve been lucky to find good doctors (love my current gyno, who is a woman–but there are women on my list of horror doctors), and I will never again tolerate any who make me feel unheard, disrespected, or less-than in any way. I hope you won’t, either. Things have changed a lot since the 90s in medical care (thank God), but we still have to be our own best advocates. Sending you love and relief from periods. I’m so glad it wasn’t anything worse.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m really sorry, Rita. I hate like hell that you had to go through all of that, and that you’re still having to go through it.

      So much has changed, yet you are correct that we must be our own advocates. I am in much better place today, and I’m hoping that our daughters will be better as a result of what we went through.

      Like

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