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Anxious gyno exam

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The reflexive reaction during gynecologic exam is to tighten up the pelvic floor (PC muscles) as the clinician is about to ‘go in.’

The physical fact is that the more you tighten up, the more discomfort you will feel.

So, what is the trick?  Minimizing this reflexive reaction.

As you lie there, feet in stirrups, genitals ‘airing out,’ focus not on the exam (it is not your job anyway) but rather on ‘butt down, legs open, vagina welcoming penetration…’  Keep your breathing at meditation rate – no hyperventilation – and keep telling yourself to just ‘whatever it.’  If you can do that, the exam will be quick and easy.

If you and your vagina are on anxious terms, such as with vaginismus, do your best.  If the exam is not doable, seek treatment and then come back as a WINNER!

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  • Drs Katz & Tabisel says:

    Dear Courtney,
    Definitely sounds like vaginismus to us, and yes — it is so sad to keep witnessing the medical ignorance about this common condition.

    A gyno exam should not hurt, should not cause distress, should not be a traumatic experience, and should not be a belittling the patient. Instead, it should be a physical experience, with or without a mild stretch sensation, lasting no more than a minute or so.

    How to go about your situation? Seek professional help for your vaginismus, and then go back to that doctor to show off the ‘cured you!’ It will be a totally difference experience for both of you.

  • Courtney says:

    I am struggling with severe anxiety about any form of penetration (sexual or otherwise, though I can use tampons) and have had two failed, to my mind, traumatic attempts at a pelvic exam/pap smear within the past three years. I went to two different gynocologists and both were dismissive of my anxieties and told me that I just needed to relax and stop being such a baby, but I couldn’t bear the pain when they attempted to insert the speculum. I would like to find a gynocologist who will take my concerns seriously enough to determine whether or not I have vaginismus and if so what I can do to treat it. How would you recommend going about this? I ask because from what I have read many gynocologists are unaware/dismissive of vaginismus…

    Thanks.