“I was 26, but I wasn’t a spring chicken by a long shot.”- personal quote.
It’s recommended nowadays that young women begin having regular Pap and Pelvic exams starting at the age of 21. This is according to the first website I happened to click on. And here I am reading between the lines to find the ‘false’ reassurances. The website lists some reasons for young women to start seeing a gynecologist a lot sooner than twenty-one years old:
If vaginal bleeding lasts more than 10 days.
(My note: the length of every woman’s menstrual cycle will vary). Back in my day this was only cause for concern if a woman used up six or more pads in one hour, then it’s very serious and required a trip to the nearest ER since not every town had a walk-in same day clinic. Same goes for if the bleeding stops, then starts again a few days later. This could signal an abnormal menstrual flow.
Missed periods, especially if you are having sex. (My note: In my day this equaled ‘potential risk of pregnancy’ but only if a young girl wasn’t using birth control along with condoms to lessen this risk).
The one that makes me scratch my head: Menstrual cramps so bad that you miss school.
You get a doctor’s note excusing you from school nowadays because of ‘so bad’ menstrual cramps? Come back and we’ll talk when it feels like “Rowdy” Roddy Piper snaps your spine in half and it feels like a mule kicked you in the ovaries. I used to skateboard to school in all kinds of weather conditions even on those excruciatingly painful days. So bad menstrual cramps wasn’t a valid excuse for missing school back in my day.
At 13 I was only informed about sex ed as much as they taught in public schools, handed down from my parents and the Always maxi pad company published their tame printed sex ed booklets about what a pre-teen girl can expect with cartoon drawings and lack of clarity as far as the descriptions went. This was my only ‘hand booklet’ I had at my disposal when I started on my long journey through adolescence. And because this booklet was so vague, I’d skateboarded down to the library to poke around not having much success in way of self-help or other advice books that dealt with teenage issues.
Back in my day the government didn’t get heavily involved nor was there this huge push to get kids vaccinated at younger and younger ages with questionable injections to maybe prevent some strains of STI’s (and Sexually Transmitted Infections weren’t classified as such to my then young knowledge). It was just STD’s.
And most of what this first website explains would have made me make repeated trips to my local library to skim through any medical journals, dictionaries and any other printed medical information I could secretively get my hands on and read. I say secretively because I didn’t want my parents finding out what I was trying to inform myself about. I was very timid and most topics were still taboo.
Back in my day when I wanted answers I read a lot and still do this very day. And whenever I found myself in doubt I educated myself.
By the late 80s going into the early 90s, HIV/AIDS was still considered the new fatal sexually-transmitted disease. And going further back to about 1986 before it was called “AIDS” it was termed “GRID syndrome”.
Back in my day there was no mention of HPV (human papilloma virus). According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) nowadays, HPV is in a class of about 150 viruses [warts]. There is no cure for HPV, but treatment *may* help and it can be spread through sexual contact.
Let me analyze that last sentence… “can be spread through sexual contact,” and skin-to-skin contact, but this doesn’t mean it will. But do practice good hand-washing just in case.
If I was still a teenager reading about HPV for the first time, I’d whip out my handy-dandy cassette tape cover that I still have to this day, unfold it and find a toll-free number for more information about sex, condoms, AIDS and STDs. That cassette tape cover was my ‘go-to’ secondary source of information if I ever had questions that I might have been too timid to ask my parents.
At thirteen I wasn’t forced or mandated by a school system into getting a Gardasil shot because it hadn’t been invented yet and the HPV virus that Gardasil supposedly protects against wasn’t even thought of. Even though there’s many different strains of HPV I didn’t see it crop up in online news articles until about 2010. And I didn’t see the first propaganda poster about HPV appear until 2013 in a doctor’s office.
Most childhood vaccines and school-recommended immunizations back in the day were once believed to carry over into adulthood or so I was always told this. New questionable vaccines weren’t heavily pushed like they are nowadays and most hadn’t even been invented. And there was no big push to get pre-teen girls (and even nowadays women of all ages) to receive such questionable shots like Gardasil. And I pray that I will never be forced to get one or that of a flu shot either.
Its to prevent certain types of HPV strains even though it goes onto admit there is no cure. What good does this shot do? None in my opinion and from what studies have shown it does nothing to protect against cervical cancer, either.
Gardasil is being implicated in a growing number of serious cases as having permanent and sometimes deadly adverse reactions. It can cause MS-type symptoms, neurological disorders, strokes, partial paralysis, fainting spells, death, vision loss, seizures and that’s just a tip of the iceberg.
And even if the Gardasil shot had existed when I was a teenager I would have raised hell back then and adamantly refused it. Adolescence is a very stressful time as is. And I feel for all the mislead parents out there who write about their horror, anguish, grief, sadness and disbelief that they were led blindly into all this all because the modern mainstream medical field is practically mandating this shot.
It makes me weep when I read about these stories of so many countless women and their parents being led to believe Gardasil is ‘perfectly safe.’
I didn’t even read about an in-depth article covering pap exams until I was about fourteen from a Seventeen magazine. I cringed at what I read and was like, Not in a million years! to “Oh, my god! I’m so never getting married!”
See how much information has changed in the last twenty-five years?
I was raised to believe that only married women, if they were either trying to become pregnant or had some serious female reproductive problems, went to see a gynecologist and/ or their doctor. Teenage girls went to see one if they had been the victim of rape, were promiscuous, needed birth control for PMS issues.
I was always very healthy and physically-active even as a teenager and didn’t want to think about that unpleasant adult stuff. I didn’t smoke, drink or engage in any risky behaviors. I had a long distance boyfriend at the time, but it didn’t constitute an automatic referral to get placed on birth control at thirteen, fourteen, or even fifteen because times were much less, how do I put this other than ‘different’? Basic common sense and morals ruled. I also had a very good head on my shoulders and still do.
Back in my day parents were ultra-conservative and very strict. Mine were no different. Simply put, “You wait to find out about it when you’re married.” And that was it.
I sailed into my mid-teens without getting an embarrassing yearly exam. I could breathe a sigh of relief even though I knew my time would eventually come. I was very knowledgeable at fifteen and heard about ovarian and cervical cancers existing and it could strike a woman at any age in her life. The risks as I was told about back then were generally higher if she slept around, had unprotected sex with multiple partners or was in an open relationship (that’s were one person or both see other people while being together).
I was livid when the day came at sixteen when my mother made me get my first yearly exam. In fact, I was so p.o.’d at her that I didn’t speak to her for quite some time after this. I was so embarrassed, humiliated, in physical pain afterwards, left feeling numb, tricked, and a gammut of other emotions rolled into one.
I didn’t want birth control pills at sixteen much less ever take them at any point in my life. My mother made me get on those because she strongly believed they helped her with regulating her hormones then they’d do the same for me. I never shared her belief in this. I remember we argued about this tooth and nail on the drive to the doctor’s office. At sixteen, I wasn’t sexually active. How I viewed it back then [in 1993] was I thought my mom must have thought I was a tramp.
I thought at sixteen only morally loose teenage girls took the pill. I didn’t buy into any of the “The pill might even clear up acne” and “The pill will ease and/ or eliminate PMS symptoms”, “The pill will allow women to worry less about becoming pregnant” and this I knew was a flat out lie at sixteen. The pill even when taken at the same time every day and never skipped isn’t fail safe. I knew at that age no contraceptive measure is ironclad.
I got a heavy dose of nausea right off the bat along with more side effects that left me in a chronic state of aggravation because of it. I swore to myself back then that if I ever made it out of my teen years unscathed I would truly treat my body, mind, spirit and emotional health a thousand times better as an adult.
I was so sick to my stomach twenty four hours a day for the next three years straight I was on the pill. I was not a happy camper and I felt so lied to!
The first website I read through regarding womanly yearly exams states: “…Hopefully after reading this information, you will be reassured that it’s simple, not painful,” Right here, this is a red warning flag to me. I know from personal experience this is a lie, especially if the gyno, doctor or doctor’s assistant performing the exam isn’t good or they’re just having a bad day, frustrated, stressed, short-tempered, sleep-deprived or taking out their anger on the patient for whatever the reason.
Fast-forward to the future:
Men, if you love your women don’t send them to a Planned Parenthood, ever. And women if you truly love your partner, then don’t send them to Planned Parenthood. These places, at least the one I found myself in years later as a young twenty-five year old, was extremely unsanitary and slapdash. A small room barely large enough for two people to fit in was the exam room with a table, and a clip-on desk lamp. The specimen containers, long-handle cotton swabs, and speculum weren’t stored or prepped in a sterile manner and they were handled without the nurses donning latex gloves.
I didn’t see an autoclave anywhere and I began to feel a sense of dread wash through me. A used medicine bottle was packed full of already opened needles used for lab work, and as the nurse reached for one, I backed off and refused to have my blood drawn. If I can’t see new vaccutainers or new packaged needles opened in front of me, then ‘no-go’. And its especially a ‘No’ if they don’t wash their hands first and don latex gloves. I’ve read one too many horror stories of people getting infected with an AIDS infected needle in hospital and clinic settings. Plus I have always had a severe phobia of needles.
Red warning flags were popping up in my mind as I was there in Planned Parenthood. All of my past checkups were normal. Seeing it from the nurse’s perspective, they don’t know me. All walks of life come and go through their door everyday. I was directed to them by a public health nurse in a new town that I had just moved to.
I rely heavily on my gut feelings and they haven’t been wrong yet. There was just something ‘off’ about this dimly-lit, Planned Parenthood that didn’t set right with me. I knew what was normal in a doctor’s office and clinic setting. And what I was suddenly face-to-face with in that Planned Parenthood was completely opposite.
Seeing that I was up-to-date on my last checkup before I moved, Planned Parenthood flat out refused to refill my birth control even after I supplied them with physical paper copies of my own medical records stating my health clinic’s contact information back home. A phone call was placed and one of the two nurses at Planned Parenthood finally informed me they wouldn’t refill my pills unless I submitted to a pap and pelvic.
What the–? My jaw hit the floor. Twice in the same year?! Something’s fishy here.
Did I still want to be in love? Was it worth this much embarrassment, stress, tears, hassle, worry, and trouble? These were questions that made me begin to seriously regret deciding to date again. I was so close to just telling my then new boyfriend, “Look, I think you’re an awesome man, but its not going to work out for me, sorry.”
Being in a constant state of nausea was starting to put a huge strain on my [then] new relationship. But I muscled through it. I wanted to make my new relationship work since I regarded it a lot like taking the marriage vows to love, honor, cherish, in sickness and in health… and its a good thing I still had my health, but even that was being compromised the longer I remained on the pill.
I did bring up my symptoms with the nurse at the public health back home via several phone calls and I remember it was frustrating. Her recommendation for me was to eat soda crackers and drink water and the nausea would go away. And when I explained how long the nausea had been going on with me since day one of starting the pill (up to this point it had been about four-five months), she just sighed and said, “I don’t know what else to tell you.”
Life after the pill:
I quit the pill and relied on over-the-counter stuff, left everything in the Lord’s hands, and thankfully never had any failures. Yes, there’s still a failure rate. Condoms aren’t foolproof. They can break, slip off, but throughout my long-term relationship I never had one fail. The reason for this is due to reading the directions explicitly and following them religiously. And even with all backup methods in place, there was still room for error. Oh, yeah and the worries about that and ‘what-ifs’ were passion killers.
When I turned 27 I still couldn’t get my new doctor to give me a Lap Tubal. I had looked into several different Tubaligation procedures which didn’t impress my doctor any and she never would take me seriously.
I had everything planned out (or so I thought) and decided the cauterized method (Laparoscopic tubal ligation) was best. Clips can break apart and sometimes they won’t clamp off the Fallopian tubes completely thus can result in ectopic pregnancy (outside of the uterus). The cut-and-tie option could always possibly grow back. Well, I was told that the hospital in the new town where I moved to “Doesn’t preform Tubals.” and I would have to find an out-of-town hospital to do that. It made no lick of sense to me because the small town hospital did perform hysterectomies.
My [then] female doctor laughed at me and was told me repeatedly, “No,” every time I broached the topic of wanting a tubal ligation because “You’ll be in extremely sore and it will take two or three weeks to heal.” “You might change your mind later on.”
I look back and all of it was just crazy. According to research, women under the age of 30 generally regret their decision to be sterilized later on. But here again, my female doctor never told me this. I don’t like to assume here, but it could be due that I was still young and my age went against me.
And the all too-famous one that sticks with me to this day, “Why doesn’t your boyfriend get a vasectomy? It’s less pain.” (female doctor said all-smiles).
My answer was to the point, “Because the man I’m with now may not be the one I’ll remain with for the rest of my life.” Things happen. People change and drift apart. And sometimes relationships don’t work out. How much more of a valid reason than that did I need? I also factored in ‘future terms’ into my careful reply.
And the most dumbest remark I heard from this very same female doctor was, “You know, condoms work better when you actually use them instead of staring at the box.”
Really? And here I thought I was supposed to make balloon animals out of them. Give me a break!
By this point I had had enough of this female doctor. I was so relieved to get a letter in the mail a year or so later stating that she had patient-dumped me. Yes! I was thrilled! 🙂
From my extensive research:
What’s a Hymenectomy? That’s when a lady undergoes the surgical removal of her hymen if it’s a.) it’s imperforated or b.) she has other problems such as mucocolpos, hematocolpos and hematometria. And c.) sometimes its removed if she has difficulty having sexual intercourse.
And sometimes it can occur when her doctor and/ or gyno makes a huge fuss over it even if it doesn’t pose any of the aforementioned problems and the patient has no complaints. And some doctors will pressure women with this condition to go down to their local Planned Parenthood to have this surgical procedure done.
Why would a doctor send a woman there when it can very easily be performed as an out-patient right there in the doctor’s office, clinic or hospital? Planned Parenthood would probably screw up a delicate painful procedure and leave the woman with a urethra injury and/ or serious infection, but that’s just my guess.
The risks of a hymenectomy are:
Painful scar tissue afterward.
Injury to the tube that passes urine (urethra).
The webpage doesn’t say whether or not these are temporary or long-lasting complications and risks. It goes onto add to seek medical care if:
The woman develops a temperature of 102° F (38.9° C) or higher.
A woman develops abnormal vaginal discharge.
A woman has problems with her medications.
A woman develops a rash.
And seek immediate medical attention if a the woman becomes weak and pass out, develops vaginal bleeding, notices pus. Let me I interject here, I’m no medical doctor but this would lead me to assume it could be due to an infection that occurred during the procedure and the risk of Sepsis and Septic shock (blood poisoning), cross-contamination could be a probability even though the website doesn’t go into any specifics.
And a woman who has this procedure done must seek immediate medical attention if she experiences painful or bloody urination.
Stayed tuned for more women’s health-related topics. Thanks for reading, liking, commenting, re-blogging, sharing. I truly appreciate it.