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There's a password to see the clinic reviews. Could I have it please?
I just added the Clinic Reviews page to my main blog (this one)! Thanks for reminding me to do that.
Shock. Gasp. Who would have thought.
How to Prepare:
- Use a condom if you have penis in vagina intercourse 24 hours before your appointment.
- Schedule it so it’s NOT while you’re on your period.
- Do not use a douche 24 hours prior to your appointment. (Do not use a douche at all! Douches are counteractive to vaginal health. You have very good bacteria maintaining a “habitat” of sorts and keeping you healthy! You don’t want to flush them out.)
- Write down any concerns or questions to take along with you. Have the dates of your last period handy. (If in doubt or unknown then just estimate.)
- Don’t feel concerned about “how to shave” or trim your pubic hair. Remember, this person is a medical professional and they’ve seen it all. You do what you usually do. Shower. At most check your labia for excess smegma. But other than that, don’t fret over the appearance of your vulva or vagina.
Before the Exam:
- You will fill out a general medical chart. It will ask for your menarche as well as your contraceptive history. It’s okay if you’re not sure or if you have a “complicated” answer. Just fill it out as accurately as possible. The doctor will have this in hand when they meet you so you will be able to explain anything.
- You may have your blood pressure and heart/lungs checked (your vitals.) If you feel you may be pregnant or are pregnant they will want a urine test.
- You might be given a gown if your exam includes a breast examination. OR you will be given a paper sheet to cover yourself so you can undress from the waist down. (The doctor will give you a few minutes of privacy to do this. They usually knock before entering the room to alert you that they’re coming in.)
- Sometimes a gyno will give you a breast exam. It’s pretty boring. They press around your breast and armpit area while looking very medical and thoughtful. It’s all pretty anticlimactic and silly feeling.
- They will also talk about your chart/medical history and ask you a few questions about contraceptives, sexual history, reproductive history, and general health.
- For the actual internal exam and pap smear you will be asked to lay back on the medical chair and put your feet into “stirrups” which are just plastic stirrups (just like on a saddle) to rest your heels in. Your lap is kept covered. Sometimes a lamp is used for the doctor to see better. They will inspect your vulva (the outside area) first.
- Most doctors will verbally alert you to what they are doing before they do it. If you feel more comfy with them narrating everything happening then you should say so. They are there to serve you medically and most doctors want you feeling as comfortable as possible. (I, personally, always request that they talk about what they are going to do before and AS they do it.)
- Latex gloves will be used as well as a gel for lubrication and comfort.
- For the internal exam they will insert a finger into your vagina. They will generally sweep down your vulva from the vaginal opening before inserting their finger. Then they will insert their finger. They are checking your cervix. They will press down on your lower abdomen.
- For the pap smear they will use a speculum. It is inserted into the vagina and opened up to give a view of the vaginal walls and cervix.
- Then they will use a Q-Tip, small stick, or cervical brush (sometimes looks sorta like a soft, bushy mascara brush) to swab your vaginal walls and cervix and gather cells.
- You will discuss any concerns and/or questions.
- You will schedule your next exam. At the age of
1821 you should have an exam yearlyevery two years
- If you are sexually active (even with a single partner in a monogamous relationship) you should have a yearly exam.
- Do not hesitate to bring up worries or concerns to your doctor.
- Always ask every question you have, even if you feel silly. It’s VERY important you feel comfortable doing this with your medical provider.
- Don’t feel shy about asking questions. This is what they are there for.
Remember that if you don’t feel okay with your gynecologist then you should switch to another. MANY General Providers (regular doctors) will do pap smears and yearly exams. Take advantage of this if your usual doctor is someone you feel comfy and happy with.
NEVER let a gyno patronize you or make you feel like your needs or questions are “stupid” or silly or out of line.
NEVER feel like asking a doctor to verbally communicate what is going to happen as it happens is ridiculous. This is YOUR body. Always say if something hurts or feels weird.
A pap smear will feel uncomfortable, probably. If you feel pain though, you should SAY SO. Never hesitate to tell your doctor that something hurts or is concerning.
Do not ever feel like you cannot ask a doctor or clinician to stop.
If you feel confused or unsure then ASK QUESTIONS. Remember: Embarrassing situations are okay. Patronizing behavior is not.
You want your doctor and their office to be understanding, empathetic, and caring.
Planned Parenthood is a wonderful place to start for Well Woman visits and they have a beautiful video that outlines how you’ll be taken care of and treated there.
“NEVER feel like asking a doctor to verbally communicate what is going to happen as it happens is ridiculous. This is YOUR body. Always say if something hurts or feels weird.”
That goes for ALL DOCTOR’S VISITS, ALWAYS. If you’re in the ER; if you’re in Critical Care; if you’re at your annual physical; if you’re dealing with a gynecologist. NEVER let a doctor act like you don’t have a right to be treated like a human being.
(BTW followers, this is a VERY good guide about annuals. If you haven’t gone to a gynecologist for your first annual yet, you really should! Once you turn 18 you should go every year just to get checked up, even if you’re not sexually active. It can be nerve-wracking, so if you have any questions about choosing a gynecologist, feel free to talk to me!)
The age for yearly pap smears has been changed to 21, and now you only have to do it every 2 years. Now if you are sexually active or have issues with your genitals you can have a yearly check up but you don’t necessarily need a pap smear during your yearly check up.
This is a must-read. Thanks to the person that made this, and everyone else who contributed along the way. One thing I wanted to add that by law, you can request to have another person in the room with you (in addition to yourself and the person conducting the exam), and they have to oblige this request.. This might be helpful to know for survivors of sexual trauma! xx
I still haven’t gotten my first Pap smear because I’m nervous and not always good at being assertive with medical professionals (LET me tell you about physical therapy…). This helps!
Yesterday I posted about the Italian woman who was forced into a C Section because, according to British Child Services, she had suffered a mental breakdown. In my post, I said that I had heard similar stories about migrant women (not the forcible birth but the involvement of Child Services because their motherhood skills are questioned more often than their White counterparts). I had no data about the Italian woman in question so I did not feel comfortable speculating about her ethnicity. However, for the past 24 hours I have been monitoring a number of Italian news sites in the hopes that more info about the woman becomes available. English speaking media is behind its Italian counterpart in updating the development of this story. A moment ago I finally found what I had suspected. Via Repubblica (translation from Italian mine):
“I want my daughter back, I am suffering like an animal. I was forced into a C-Section without my consent. The day of the forced delivery I thought they were moving me from one room to another while I kept saying I wanted to return to Italy. Then I was sedated and when I woke up, she was gone. She was taken away from me.
Speaking like a wounded mother, Alessandra Panchieri, 35 years old, from Chainciano. She is the woman who suffers from bipolar disorder whose daughter was taken away in Essex, England. […]
The baby’s father, who is from Senegal, and an American relative of mine, Indra Armstrong, were both available to take care of the child but the British social services have ignored this. Why? Why did nobody help me?”
And there you have it. The baby’s father, who was willing and available to take care of the child, is from Senegal.
Her mother is A. She is an Italian national. Her father is B who is a Senegalese national, he is currently living in Italy. His situation is unclear, as I understand it he travelled there under a student visa, at least on one version, and is an over-stayer. He certainly has no status in Italy and he is unable, as I understand it, as a result of his status, either to leave Italy at all , and is certainly not able to come to the United Kingdom.
This is what happens to children of color born from an undocumented parent. Given away like the spoils of the Empire, to decide their fate and future.
I was expecting this. I kept reading more details of this case in hopes that something would click, but the more you learn about it, the less sense it makes. Horrifying.
Michigan Democratic Leader, Gretchen Whitmer. The board of medicine just approved a Right to Life of Michigan petition banning abortion insurance coverage. If approved by the Republican majority legislature (and not allowed to go to the voters), it would require patients to purchase an additional rider to cover abortion, even in cases of rape and incest.
Nearly half of the pregnancies in the United States are unintended, and about 40% of those are terminated. The cost of a first trimester abortion ranges anywhere from $300 to $950. Nearly 60% of women who experience a delay in accessing safe, legal abortion have cited the time it took to raise the money and make arrangements. Those delays increase the cost of abortion, as well as the risk of complications.
For what it’s worth, “intersectionality" was also created by a woman of color - specifically, a Black woman, Kimberlé Crenshaw - to explain how race and gender oppression converge to affect Black women’s lives, and how this plays out in the (mostly upper-class, white-dominated) feminist movement. (The concept existed in WOC-led activism before Crenshaw, but I believe it was she who coined the word.)
Learn your terminology!
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