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HOW do I get past the embarrassment of letting a doctor/gyno see me 'down there'...

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Old 09-08-2013, 04:16 AM   #1
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Default HOW do I get past the embarrassment of letting a doctor/gyno see me 'down there'...

Hi guys. I wasn't sure where to post this but hopefully this is the right spot...

Basically, I just want to hear about some of your experiences visiting gynecologists or other doctors when the medical problem is 'down there'...

I am 21, have never been in a relationship or had sex, and am morbidly obese. The thought of letting someone look at me naked is absolutely MORTIFYING... especially as I suffer from a skin condition that has left me with severe scarring and skin discoloration, and clusters of small boils on my upper/inner thighs and around my labia (TMI, sorry). Plus, because of my weight, I know it will be incredibly hard for a doctor to get access to my vagina as there is so much excess tissue down there... I just don't think I could handle the embarrassment and shame.

However, I have recently developed what I am self-diagnosing (I know, bad idea) as a Bartholin Cyst/Abscess and it is extremely sore. I have had a few Pilonidal Cysts (aka on my tailbone) in the past so I generally know how to deal with them (warm compresses, warm baths, antibiotics, wait for it to rupture...) and I thought I could just do the same thing with this abscess. So far it hasn't ruptured but hopefully that will change soon... HOWEVER, I do want to prepare myself for possibility of having to suck it up and go to the doctor just in case. Has anyone else had a similar experience? HOW on earth did you build up the courage to go? Was it as excruciating as I am imagining it in my head?
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Old 09-08-2013, 04:46 AM   #2
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I know it's not fun, but please see a doctor. I dread it too but I had a cancer scare when I was 19, so I force myself to go.

Talk to friends and see if they can recommend a good, compassionate doctor who is easy to talk to. If you would feel more comfortable talking to a woman doctor, then find one.

I know it can be embarrassing, but your health is far too important. You may have medical issues that need to be addressed right away.

Believe me, you will feel so much better after you do this. Remember that your doctor is there to help you.

Here is a big hug from me. I know that you can do this.
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Old 09-08-2013, 07:14 AM   #3
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I didn't know what a Bartholin cyst was so I goodled it and this is something I had once. I didn't know what it was and I was scared, so I went to a gynecologist recommended by a friend. She took one look at it and said I needed surgery and scheduled it. Before the surgery, the cyst went away. It probably drained and I didn't realize it. I don't know how long you have had this but yours might go away on it's own, too.

In spite of this, I also recommend you see a doctor. It will not be as bad as your are imagining. Doctors have seen it all before.
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Old 09-08-2013, 08:33 AM   #4
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You HAVE to see a doctor, regardless of this cyst! People of all ages, from teens to the aged can get gynecological cancers. There is no reason to let embarrassment keep you from seeking routine check ups that could literally save your life. No one likes it. But how sad to lose your life over embarrassment??? Cyst aside, please get yourself into a doctor soon. Doctors don't care what you look like or weigh.

ETA: I haaaaaaaaaaate these kind of appointments, but it's always worth doing. They are usually rather quick though, and not so bad over all.
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Old 09-08-2013, 09:30 AM   #5
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It is not bad, just remember that this is their job. They are trained to look at that part of our anatomy and I'm sure they have seen everything. They are not in the business of judging, they only want to keep you healthy.

Give yourself a reward like a manicure or something after the visit. If you can't afford a manicure, buy a new color polish.
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Old 09-08-2013, 09:32 AM   #6
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Ask around or check yelp to see if you can find a good female doctor who has a great reputation. I was super anxious about my first time too, but I just bit the bullet and did it, and I was surprised by how not a big deal it was. A regular exam doesn't even take that long, and the doctors truly have seen it ALL. These doctors are used to having people be uncomfortable in their offices, and in general (at least with the good ones), for that reason, they make a special effort to put patients at ease. Just remember, whatever you have, you can trust that they've seen something even grosser!

The relief you'll feel about having gotten it over with will make it worth it. Just GO so you can stop worrying about it.
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Old 09-08-2013, 11:23 AM   #7
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The quality of dr can make a big difference. I highly rec asking others you know about their gyno and if anyone raves, go there. Some google research can help too. I found my most recent gyno based on online reviews that said he was wonderful, and they were right.

He had a tough act to follow b/c my previous gyno was an excellent doctor--totally professional, brilliant, an excellent listener. I had learned about him through my GP who said that gyno was the best, the only one his wife would see. So asking around helps a lot.
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Old 09-08-2013, 11:23 AM   #8
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I'm with everyone. The first few gyn visits are the worst (mainly because I build myself up and make too much out of it) but you eventually realize that they are there to help you, not to judge or shame you. I agree with looking up online or asking around for a good female gyn.

Being 21 and not having been seen there yet, I would definitely get it checked out. You never know especially if females in your family have any medical histories related to the reproductive system.

Good luck, you can do it!
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Old 09-08-2013, 12:14 PM   #9
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My sister's gynocologist encourages patients to use earphones and their mp3 players during exams when it's possible. My sister (who is thin, but much younger and much more shy than I).

Since this isn't a routine exam, the doctor might need to talk and question you during the exam.

Personally, I'm never thrilled by the prospect of exposing my body to a new doctor, gynecological or not, but it often does get easier. For me, my anxiety has never been unmanageable. I did postpone a checkup or two, but mostly didn't let my discomfort keep me from getting adequate health care, but I'm not shy by nature.

My sister on the other hand (only recently beginning to struggle with a bit of excess weight, has always been much shyer. It took her quite some time to find a doctor she was comfortable with (and she said using her ipod before and during routine exams has been extremely helpful).

Not only have gynecologist seen everything, they've seen much, much worse, and they've seen women (of all shapes and sizes) who are terrified of intimate exams.

As a whole, ob/gyn doctors (male and female) are generally more compassionate than in many other fields, because they have even more experience with uncomfortable patients.. There are exceptions of course, but if you are able to communicate your discomfort, you're likelyto find the doctor compassionate and reassuring (if not, try another doctor).

Really, the first few times are the worst.
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Old 09-08-2013, 12:30 PM   #10
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I agree about asking around, see if friends can recommend someone, having a good doc with excellent beside manor can make a huge difference.

I can promise you that the doc is not looking at you in a judgemental way. I know most non medical people look at the human body as a naked body, and maybe sexual, and they only see naked people in magizines, online and parteners. And so 90% of what they see (online models) are about 10% of what people really look like. Because that "perfect" 10% are the ones that are chosen to model naked. (btw my stats are made up based on my experience, but you get the point)

Medical professionals, at work, view the body like a mechanic views a car. Its not sexualized. As a nurse, I've seen countless people naked, and people come in all shapes and sizes. In fact I've seen so many vaginas, breasts and penises I can tell you that most people do not look like what our society perceives as "normal" thanks to the images being produced for porn. Most people have cuts, scaring, discoloring, wrinkles, celulite, sagging, hair, marks, moles etc. And I have had patients at al different weights. I can promise you, your doctor has seen it all then some. In fact if you knew some off the issues docs deal with, you'd realize that you issues is realy nothing that he would blink an eye at. And I'm not saying that there are issues that surprise a doc, but a cyst is so run of the mill. I know you are concerned about you weight and appearance in that area, but it's not like that, docs are focused on the reason you are there, which would be the cyst, and like I said run of the mill...You won't stand out at all from the next Jane Doe that comes in there, he probably sees several cases weekly, if not daily, for cysts.
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Old 09-08-2013, 01:34 PM   #11
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Hi,

I never give it much thought. To me, it is like any other service that I pay for. Some doctors do ,in fact, judge but that is their problem. Simply, it is their job to provide medical care regardless of a person's weight.

I do agree that it pays to ask others and get a kind,caring doctor who will give you the care you need. Good luck.

In the meantime,I would do warm soaks several times a day. Good luck.

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Old 09-08-2013, 02:33 PM   #12
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I agree that it is important to see a gyn for this. Do you have a good internist or family medicine doctor who could refer you? Or perhaps call your local hospital for names of gyn docs?

I personally prefer a female gyn doc, that is my opinion and personal preference. I think that listening to music is a great distraction, take deep breaths, you will be okay.

Maybe you can ask the doctor to warm the speculum, that may make you feel better.

Hugs!!
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Old 09-08-2013, 07:46 PM   #13
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I agree with everything said above. YES go to a doctor.

I have a friend who is an OB GYN - and I've asked her about this kind of thing - and honestly 1) SHE has seen IT ALL and 2) it doesn't bother her, it really is like being a mechanic on a car.

I do agree, google search and try to find a compassionate doctor. Also, talk about your concerns to the receptionist if you can ahead of time - if they are weird about it, that isn't a place you want to go, hang up and try again. I think you will find they are compassionate. And if you are honest to your doctor about your fears, he/she may even be willing to do what needs to be done to make the exam more comfortable for you (for example, not wear the gown, wear your own shirt, and just drape your legs with a sheet).

But please please go.

Also, your skin discoloration comment made me think of Lichen sclerosus. If you have it, it is worth noting so you can treatment - it can make the skin more sensitive (thus perhaps some of your other issues) and is really common in the genital area. (Also meaning, OBGYNs have seen plenty of discolored vaginas!!!).

Anyway, GO SEE A DOCTOR. Where do you live? Perhaps some of us here at 3fatchicks can help google and find an appropriate doctor! Also, (sorry this is rambly), one time I had to see a doctor about something embarrassing - and i found finding a doctor with an email address, emailing them to ask about it, and then getting a kind response was a great first step. The email is a way to do it anonymously and not feel embarrassed. Email a few doctors with your concerns. Which ever one sends you the nicest reply - comforting you and letting you know that they are happy to treat you and that they can accomodate your size - go to him/her!
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Old 09-08-2013, 08:18 PM   #14
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I'm not sure if hidradenitis suppurativa is the skin condition you referred to, but I read this post on managing HF a while ago and found it very interesting/heartbreaking (the comments as well) and also hopeful. There are some similar themes about being embarrassed to go to a doctor that might help you feel less alone. (Also there is a part 2.)
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Old 09-08-2013, 10:49 PM   #15
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Well, for me the fastest way to get over that was having kids!

There is no modesty after that!

That aside, I have worked for a veterinarian for 9 years, so forgive me, but, suck it up and go see a medical professional!

Your issues don't hold a candle to some of the stuff we see!

Get yourself to see a Dr., and get what you need so you are not miserable! There is no reason in this day and age to be miserable, if it can be changed!
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