Doctors and Being a Woman

Submitted by Miss Danielle on Thu, 08/13/2009 - 6:10am.

Recently I've been having a problem with cramps. Not the same cramps I usually have after consuming a food trigger, but a totally new unrelenting painful cramp that feels completely different from those I associate with digestion problems.

There is some speculation from my family doctor that it might be endometriosis or something having to do with the female plumbing.

An interesting fact about endometriosis - or most conditions involving the female reproductive system - is that they are made worse in people who have IBS or problems in the colon.

The only way to confirm a case of endometriosis is to have a laparoscopy (minor surgery where they use a scope to look at your uterus, ovaries, etc). I am in enough pain that I welcome anything at this point, even being cut open.

I can't get in to see the highly recommended specialist my family doctor suggested until the end of October. In the meantime, I agreed to see another gynaecologist in Whitby (suggested by the female doctor I see for my yearly pap exam). Maybe this doctor could book the laproscopy while I wait.

This blog post is really about that visit.

I'd asked her to book me with a female doctor. I was surprised that the doctor was male, but having been in so much pain lately, I wasn't about to cancel the appointment. A gynaecologist is a gynaecologist, right? Professional help is professional help, right?

He glanced at my file then asked me questions. I told him about the pain during intercourse that started about 4 years ago, and now persists on its own, without any sort of trigger. I talked about the daily debilitating cramps that had started this last year. How there are days I can't get off the couch because of the pressure and pain.

Here's the help he gave me:

Four times he framed his questions to get me to admit to rape or "sexual trauma" (despite my confirming that was not the case).

He said the pain was in my head, and if I could just tell my brain it doesn't hurt, it wouldn't.

He said "Having cramps is part of being a woman". Pardon me?

He also said if I had a baby, the cramps would go away. The outrage on my face must have communicated my unvoiced response, and he quickly added "Not that I'm suggesting you have a baby".

He suggested I take some Advil.

Most of these nuggets of wisdom were given before he even examined me.

He then prescribed an over the counter cream. That's it.

I thought this sort of stereotypical male doctor behaviour didn't exist anymore. I am shocked and appalled at his dismissing my symptoms for "female problems" exacerbated by of an obvious case of rape (that never took place) and the psychological pain that comes with it.

Even with an internal ultrasound report that stated there was evidence of abnormalities with the uterus, he treated me like a fragile woman who didn't understand the basics of her own body.

Needless to say I'm not going back.

Women do not deserve such treatment from their doctor. And I urge women to cease seeing any doctor that treats them this way.



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