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TMI Tuesday: Wait, you’ve never been to the gynecologist?

I have been getting so many emails about future posts to do for TMI Tuesdays. Some were a little out there (and not in a good way) but most were great discussion topics that I think a lot of us gals can relate to.

Take going to the gynecologist, for example. Linda in Arizona suggested that I do a post on the importance of going to the gyno.

Here’s the thing about going to the gyno…there’s nothing pretty about it. It isn’t like going to the dentist where you may leave with a bag of dental goodies and whatnot. Going to the gyno is a total invasion of privacy. There is nothing exciting or fun about whipping your panties off, sliding your feet into metal stirrups and having your girly parts examined by someone who don’t even know THAT well.

But, my sisters…it has to get done. There’s no way around it. Every woman should be getting pap smears regularly. It makes no sense for us to spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on beautifying our bodies on the outside just to ignore our reproductive systems. Seriously y’all.

I was chit chatting with a girlfriend of mine a few weeks ago about how annoyed I get about having to go to the gyno. I’m all like…

“I hate when my gyno asks me questions while she’s feeling around my cervix. I mean, does she really think I care to answer random questions while I feel her hand on the inside of my stomach? Don’t you hate when that happens?”

Girlfriend of mine goes silent. Which is totally uncharacteristic for her. And then she says it.

“Well,” she says. “I’ve never been to the gynecologist.”

And I’m just like…

…because in some warped world, I think that most women my age have been to the gyno at least once. I get that health insurance is sky high. I also understand the fear of doctors’ offices. However, I know that there are free pap smears at health fairs and clinics. As women, we have got to care about our reproductive health the same way (if not more) we care about new lipglosses, shoes and purses. Unlike a purse or a new hairstyle, investing in your reproductive health can be the difference between life and death.

As a matter of fact, instead of texting your gal pal if to see if she’s seen the newest episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashian’s (gags), keep it real and say, “Hey sister friend, you’ve been to the gynecologist in the past year, haven’t you?” And if she hasn’t, don’t judge her but motivate her to make an appointment with the quickness.

‘Fess up. Are you a woman who has never been to a gynecologist? Or maybe you have gone and have some tips for those who haven’t been just yet. And what’s your preference? A male gynecologist or lady gynecologist? Or does it not matter? While my current gynecologist is a man, I much prefer a lady. I mean, I’m sure he’s seen fifty ‘leven vags in his lifetime and mine is no different, but still….

What say you?

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  • Blythe

    I’m 21 and am not sexually active, so I have never really thought about going to see a gynecologist. However, a friend of mine (who is 24) was just diagnosed with Stage-III Breast Cancer and I never imagined that could really happen to someone near my age! Things really do happen – between that and this post, I’m planning to look for a fair/clinic or something at my Uni that offers free pap smears.

    • Brittany

      Good for you, B! Most doctors recommend that you go to a gynecologist by the time you turn 18 and I didn’t go to med school or anything, but I agree. I went to the gyno for the first time when I was 16 (because I was suffering from excruciating menstrual cramps) and that was waaaaay before I became sexually active. Sending lots of love and prayers to your friend.

    • Lexi

      I’m only 17 years old and I’m still a virgin, yet my mom insists on me going to the gyno. What age were you when you first went/what age do you think is appropriate?

      • Brittany

        Good for your Mom!! I started going to the gyno at around 15-16 and I was a virgin then too. I’m no Mommy yet but I think I’ll start getting my daughters in the habit of going around 16-years old. Because I’ve been going for almost a decade, I know what to expect in a visit, know what questions to ask and I know how to communicate with my doctor effectively. As women, we have to stay up on our reproductive health and I think that should start as early as possible.

  • http://Ifcurvescouldtalk.com Stefanie (IFCURVESCOULDTALK)

    I believe not going to see a Gyno is very childlike, not responsible thing a woman can do. It can help prevent cervical cancer or any untreated STDS they may not know they have–people can die if they dont get it treated. I personally found my gyno whom I love. He talks to me, knows my name, we laugh, talk about life, the nurses are amazing and he makes sure Im good down there. Not going is the most stupidest thing a woman can do.

    • Kiki

      That is incredibly offensive to call it childlike. You’re saying that a woman that was a victim of abuse is being a child because she is now too afraid to open herself up to someone? (no pun intended).

    • Sammy K

      I think your comment is childish. Children pass shallow judgements on others without knowing any better. Mature people, those who have wisdom, know that there are as many reasons for doing something or not doing something as there are people who do/not do them.

  • Donna

    Love TMI Tuesdays! Going to the Gyno is a must; even if you are not sexually active. Its kinda like driving a car and never getting an oil change! LOL Funny, but true! My advice, pick a doctor that you feel comfortable with and stick with them. I have had the same Gyno for about 13 years, he even delivered my children! And Yes, I said HE! But there are female Gynos out there…nevertheless you must go!

    Great Read B!

  • http://www.nerdabouttown.com Stephanie

    I’ve never been before. To be honest I think its because i’m a bit too scared/embarrassed and i’m scared it’ll hurt! I still have my V card so i’m petrified!

    • http://Ifcurvescouldtalk.com Stefanie (IFCURVESCOULDTALK)

      STEPHANIE!! It doesnt hurt and helps detect it. Once your 18 you should see one to prevent any diseases Vcard or not mama! You shouldnt be embarrassed. Get a female one at first.

      • Brittany

        I don’t know about it not hurting, Steffie. I remember crying like a baby when I had my first pap. But I think it was more so because I was afraid of what was going down. I always joked and said that I lost my virginity to a metal probe. I can understand the fear because it is one uncomfortable situation to be in. BUT – the good news is…it goes quickly. A pap smear from start to finish is usually less than a minute. If that long.

        • http://Ifcurvescouldtalk.com Stefanie (IFCURVESCOULDTALK)

          I dunno, I didnt think it hurt…it was a PINCH but didnt hurt like I screamed…Did you scream…come on I am one of your bes friends…tell me, didja scream? LOL! I have a feeling you did. Hahahaha

        • http://www.beautyraid.com Zelda

          Metal probe? My doc showed me exactly what tools she uses now for paps and all of them were friendly, happy white plastic thing-ys. It made me feel so much better about things!

      • http://www.nerdabouttown.com Stephanie

        :( *le sigh*

        I suppose..but i’m scared that i’ll just…clench up lmao, like to the point where they’d probably have to put me under general anesthetic because i have a loooooooow pain threshold. I’ll definitely look into it though.

        • http://boobooville.blogspot.com/ Kate

          It doesn’t hurt exactly, more like mildly uncomfortable. Deep breathing helps, and also bring a friend to hold your hand. Seriously, go…so important for your health!

        • http://Ifcurvescouldtalk.com Stefanie (IFCURVESCOULDTALK)

          Dont clench! Then it will hurt! LOL!!

  • http://beautyinfinitum.blogspot.com eight

    Errr.. umm.. nope.

    <__>

    BUT I WILL FIND A CLINIC TODAY AND MAKE AN APPOINTMENT VERY SOON

    My cervix thanks you in advance.

  • http://www.thegirlieblog.com The Girlie Blogger

    No one likes the gyno. At least not that I know of. But it’s so important to get check ups.
    http://www.thegirlieblog.com

  • hsiek

    Yearly pap smears around my lady parts!!! And, I definitely prefer a woman gyno. She has to go through the same thing so I figure a woman is more compassionate. Not to mention she has the same parts I do, so its not (quite) as awkward.

  • Jazz

    I make it a priority to get my annual checkup. I was nervous at first but after a while you get used to it. It gives me the peace of mind knowing I don’t STDS or cancer. I couldn’t imagine walking around, being sexually active and never knowing.

  • http://www.beautybycatblog.com/ Catherine

    Great article, I have been to the gyno yearly since I was 18 or so. It does not hurt like crazy but it is quiet uncomfortable. I actually never been to a female doctor so I don’t know the difference. One year while I was in my country Venezuela I went to my ant’s doctor and when he does the pap smears he inserts a mini-camera down there and explains to you what’s going on because you can see everything on a monitor, very interesting actually.
    But C’MOM ladies definitely don’t be afraid!

    • http://adventuresinmakeupandjewelry.blogspot.com Minta

      I think that would be rather facinating, the camera bit. I would’ve liked to see what was going on the last couple times I went in since it was for a bit more than a pap.

      • Amber

        I think that would be a great idea for people to see more of what they look like down there. Actually i got to see a couple of pap smears being done during nursing school, and there isnt that much to see on the inside. just kinda like a cylindrical tube of flesh with the pink cervix at the end. neat tidbit though… for women who havent had given birth yet, the middle of the cervix (os) is round. When a women gives birth, the os turns into a slit. it was neat to see the difference.

    • Brittany

      That sounds absolutely fascinating! I wish more doctors were about “educating” their patients instead of talking in Big Doc Talk and dismissing the issues that we have. A camera explaining what’s going on down there should be in every doctor’s office.

  • http://CosmeticPassion.com Khadine

    Great post! Very important for us ladies to be reminded about this….and even more important for those that have never gone/considered going to be nudged! p.s. I’m lovin’ TMI Tuesdays! :)

  • http://boobooville.blogspot.com/ Kate

    Great post. I have had two pregnancy losses, two reproduction related surgeries, 2 IVF’s, and 2 pregnancy/births. I would be shocked if there is anyone left in the tri-state area who HASN’T seen my vagina. So now, the gyno is like…cake. I whip off my pants and am like…go to town, dude. I don’t even care. Women need to get over their fear, and get their hoo-has to the gyno. It is so very important for your health. And so not a big deal. GO. DO IT.

  • http://www.theglamorousgleam.com Mz More

    Great post Brit. I go to my Gyno every 6 months and more often if I think there is the slightest thing wrong as I am paranoid. Ideally you should go once a year if you have no problems, I go twice since I’m on BC pills and you have to make sure everything is ok (no blood clots and such.) Mine is a man and I’ve been going to him for the last almost 10 yrs since he delivered my son. My other doctor which was a female wasn’t on hand so he covered. He actually delivered my baby sis too and used to be my Mom’s gyno too lol.

    Anyway, you won’t believe how many females just don’t go to the gyno and that is very dangerous. Besides general check ups to make sure everything is good with your girly bits, if you are sexually active you should be going regularly to make sure all is well.There is no getting around this!

    Sorry to be so long winded *blushing*

  • http://holographicheather.blogspot.com Heather

    Love the TMI Tuesday posts!

    There is nothing fun about going to the gynecologist, but it really is such a must. I was unlucky enough to have to start going at age 10 after a traumatic horseback riding injury, and I’ve been going every year since. Personally I prefer male gynos to female ones… I’ve had both and always found women to be more uncaring and judgmental (I even had one woman go so far as to tell me I was a liar when I said I was sexually inactive). Also, the male gynos I have seen were WAY more knowledgeable.

    • Brittany

      Are you kidding me? She told you were a liar? That’s horrible! I did have a gynecologist give me a side eye when I told them I wasn’t sexually active. Ironically enough, it was a woman. :(

  • Jessica

    I’ve had both male and female gynos, and none of them were understanding at all so in my experience it doesn’t make any sort of difference. Then again I’m not really someone who makes a big deal about gender, haha. I haven’t gone to the gynecologist since the last one I saw made me cry but I swear it is high on my list of priorities!:X

  • Angie

    I don’t think Gynecologists are the only ones who conduct pap smears, but also regular Medical Doctors too. I visited the My regular Primary Doctor and she was immediately going to do one. But since I was not active she didn’t. I’ve never been to the Gyno, I figured I didn’t have to since I’m 22 and still have my V Card. I’ve heard to go you at least have to be sexually active, have reproductive problems, or at least be 26 even if you never been active or had problems. I could be wrong.

  • http://glossyexpectations.wordpress.com Claire

    Completely agree that is so important to go to the gyno and get everything checked out! If you haven’t been before, ask around to your close friends about their doctor and how they like him or her. You might also ask why they prefer a woman or man for a gyno if you’re unsure yourself. Personally, I prefer a woman. I just can’t imagine a man *truly* understanding some of our female issues, you know? ;-) It’s important to find a doctor that you’re comfortable with and if you’re nervous for your first appointment just remind yourself that gynos see fifty ‘leven vags, as Brittany says, everyday and yours isn’t going to be weird or gross to them!

  • http://aol.com Amanda

    I feel like a lot of women here are commenting saying they havent gone to the gyno “because theyre not sexually active” while you may not be sexually active… our lady parts are INTERNAL so infections can happen from anything. and cysts and things like this are not easily visible from the outside. its really important to go… i clench up every time i go and my doctor actually tells me that im very “small” down there… uhh this is TMI tuesday right? LOL for those who havent gone and are scared… its nothing to be afraid of and i am one who has terribly low tolerance for pain.. extremely unbelievably uncomfortable but to me its nothing close to when i get blood samples taken out

  • http://adventuresinmakeupandjewelry.blogspot.com Minta

    Lovin TMI Tuesdays B! Keep ‘em comin!

    As a woman with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) I’ve definitely been to my fair share of gyno appointments. More so recently after a three year absence of a period. I quit the pill since I was HORRIBLE about taking pills and so my system returned to it’s “natural” cycle. Of course after three years they decided an endometrial (sp?) biopsy would be good to make sure I didn’t have any precancerous cells (I don’t, yay!) and that sure hurt like a b****, especially since I’ve never had kids. Followed that up with a couple months back on the pill before I got my IUD (which also hurt like a b****), but at least now I know I don’t have to worry about the pill and I’m getting my needed hormones for the next 5 years. :) Of course my hormone levels, or lack there of, could take up an entire post on their own! Also much better about taking pills, but that’s only because I have to take so darned many a day. *sigh*
    Also, I love my current gynecologist. She tells it like it is and won’t sugarcoat anything. Like the endometrial biopsy and IUD incertion, no saying it’s not going to hurt from her! Just a ‘hang on, it’ll suck but it’ll be over soon’.

  • http://www.beautyraid.com Zelda

    Great post! I have never been. Turning 22 in a few days, and only in this calendar year have I had health insurance at my new job. My doc is great and I love her! I wasn’t sexually active until a few years ago, and so I was embarrassed at having never gone. My doc told me not to worry, and that she wouldn’t even make anyone under 21 get a pap done unless they had a predisposition to things. So I am probably going for my first in 2012.

    My aunt had that same .gif expression when I told her I had never gone either!

  • http://teacupsanddresses.blogspot.com Rose von Waldherr

    Hi!!!

    I think this post is so important!!! I get that women might be scared or even embarrassed to go to the gynecologist…but it HAS to be done!

    I’m 23 and I actually just started going to one when I was 22 (Really bad, I know!!) and by then I had been sexually active for 5 years!!! I know I should have gone earlier, but I was just scared…

    It was only when I started bleeding out when I shouldn’t that I decided to go. Turned out not to be anything, but still I should have gone earlier!

    Now, I went to a male doctor (mainly because the clinic where I went is near my house and I liked the “feel” of it) and I thought it would be uncomfortable but it actually wasn’t…well, it wasn’t comfortable either lol but he was really respectful and answered every question.

    I recommend girls to try as many doctors as you need, until you find the ONE that you feel 100% comfortable with, because if you don’t trust your doctor, you won’t ask him/her the questions you have!

    xox Rose

  • http://cheapandfabulousmom.wordpress.com/ cheapandfabmom

    Girl.. Tell the truth, and shame the devil!!! The only way a person should stay away from the gyn is if they’re a man. I work in healthcare, and believe me it is a constant occurance to see women who have never been. And most of them are older. I kinda understand why some of the younger ones haven’t gone yet. My twenty year old still has her V card, and her pediatrician(yes, she still goes to her pediatrician and has anxiety about leaving him, I can’t with her) told her that she doesn’t have to go yet since she isn’t sexually active, and has no history of cervical cancer. I’m like WHAT!!! I’ve been educating her and trying to convince her to go. But ultimately, it’s her decision. I had my first at 19 because I knew I was ready to become sexually active. It was very uncomfortable, but not painful. It’s awkward indeed. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s male or female as long as I’m comfortable and they get the job done. I currently have a female gyno, and she’s perfect. The bottom line is, please get the exam atleast once a year. Definately once you turn 18 and even before of your sexually active. It can save your life, prevention is key, but so is early detection. As women we need to know and understand our bodies. This was A GREAT POST & a neccessary subject.
    Dee

  • http://tinyglimpses.blogspot.com Meg

    Thanks for this post! Too many women aren’t proactive enough about paps.

    I was actually 21 when I had my first pap – I might have waited longer had it not been for a friend of mine who urged me to go, even though I wasn’t sexually active. I didn’t find the pap bad at all – a little uncomfortable, sure, but I prefer it to a dental treatment.

    I’ve seen a few gynos, almost all female, but my favorite (best bedside manner ever!) was a gentleman. I’ve been chronically ill since 16, so I’m used to being poked and prodded by doctors of both sexes.

  • Jenny

    I’m 22 and have never been to a gyno. Since my uncle is a doctor, my mom always listened to his old school advice and told me going to the gyno isn’t necessary until you’ve become sexually active. I’ve been wanting to go because of some concerns I have, some general questions and some sexual concerns. I’ve been with my bf over 5 years so i’m sure my mom assumes i’m sexually active by now. Truth is we’ve barely ever done it because of how painful it is for me. But i feel like if i choose to go my mom will be ashamed of me because it will confirm what she thinks. I don’t think i can go without her finding out either since i’m under her insurance.

    • Amber

      check to see if you have a planned parenthood where you live. you can check the website. their prices are reasonable if you dont want to go through your insurance, and they do perform exams and tests. I was going there when i didnt have insurance, and i was not ready to have kids while in college. got all my supplies there, including the pill. You should go get checked out if you are having pain! could be something simple like a yeast infection (pain during intercourse is my only symptom of a yeast infection for me) or could be something more serious that needs to be addressed. HTH

  • http://bowerofblisse.blogspot.com/ Sarah A.

    Congratulations, Ladies! You convinced me to go book an appointment! My university health center (which is my main health care provider right now) only recommends having an annual exam every other year if everything checks out, and somehow I got extra behind after my schedule got thrown, so now it’s been 3+ years since my last check-up! But I have an appointment scheduled for next month, and hopefully everything goes well.

    • Brittany

      Wooo hoooo! Yay!!

  • Crissy

    I hate going to the gyno. Super painful. Even after having a baby it’s still a pain. :( I don’t think I’ll go again until I get pregnant again (Maybe next year) and after that I’ll tie my tubes or get an IUD. Hopefully after the second baby it will be less painful. I do agree that getting your sexual organs checked is vital, I just wish new advances would come in to help women, it seems we are still using the same old technologies :(

  • http://blogit honeyb

    I am 32 and never had sex and don’t want to go to the gyno either. I am experiencing very heavy bleeding during periods and physical weakness. I can’t bring myself to go: took one look at the position they put you in and I just cannot do that. I can’t tolerate anyone sticking their hands inside my vagina even if for medical reason. I decided I rather die if that’s the case. if it’s childish or childlike I really don’t give a crap. Oh well. maybe I will die soon.

  • Nani

    I’m 17, not a virgin, and not really sexually active. The last time I had sex was last week, but I got dumped after. Ive never been to the gyno, and when I talk to my friends about it, she tells me that it’s very irresponsible on my moms part because she know I’ve had sex, but won’t take me to the gyno. I’m not sure how to bring it up to my mom, or if I even want too. What should I do?

    • Brittany

      You should definitely bring it up to your mom. You’re not a little girl so I’m sure she’ll respect your thoughts, opinions and decisions.

  • Dawn

    You don’t have to see a gyno. You can see a midwife instead, though insurance may not cover it. I see a midwife who comes to my house and does all the annual girly stuff (yes, including paps). She’s the same lady who delivered my daughter. No embarrassing humiliating stirrups, no nurses, just a person that I trust. I’ve never actually been to a gyno. I’d go, of course, if my midwife found something funny but that’s never been the case.

  • T

    I entirely disagree. I think that what’s most important is for a woman to be able to make her own decisions on what is best for her, no matter her age or opinion. No girl should be forced to go to a gynecologist by her parents if she doesn’t want it, and no woman should be pressured to go based on fear. Going in before your sexually active is unnecessary and many doctors have said it’s “just to get you used to it” I myself would rather suffer the consequences of cancer than go, and that’s what is best for me. I’m glad they save lives, but I chose who touches me and when. I don’t give a rat’s ass what anyone thinks about me for it either.

    • Violet

      ^THIS!

      Other developed countries do not recommend regular gyno visits until the age of 25 but yet in America, we have 13 year olds visiting the gynecologist and a huge push for anyone over 18 to go immediately. Did you know that approximately 1 in 3 pap smears in young women (under 30) will be a FALSE “abnormal” result? That’s absolutely ridiculous. I will not be visiting a gynecologist until I’m 25. You can judge me all you want but I’m not going to subject my cervix to scraping and prodding for no good reason.

      • Guest Blogger

        Thankfully we live in a world where we can make our own decisions when it comes to gynecological health. :) My visit to the gyno at a young age wasn’t because I was sexually active but was because I suffered from a condition that practically disabled me each and every time my cycle came on. I went out of necessity.

  • Leanne

    Despite how important it is and how comfortable people try and make me feel about it, I don’t think I will ever attend a gynaecologists, unless I fall pregnant. It’s not even out of embarrassment but disgust! The whole idea of being totally exposed and dignity being stripped because ‘you have to’ makes me feel sick! I’m aware of the risks and reasons as to why you should go but personally, i’m willing to accept them over such an invasive procedure.