7 Sep 2019
The Conventional Gynecological Exam Vs. The Naturopathic Gynecological Exam: One Patient’s Experience
7 Sep 2019
Oh yes, it was time for my dreaded Pap Smear.
I dreaded scheduling this appointment all year, but I KNEW that it had to be done.
Now, I used to think that all gynecological exams were the same. That was until I had an exam with my medical doctor and then the next year, with my new Naturopathic Doctor. I could not believe the difference! The experiences were like night and day and I wanted to share my experience with all of you.
The Conventional Gynecological Exam:
I arrived right on time for my visit and was greeted by a nurse who took me back to the examination room.
Once there, she took a very brief medical history, told me to put on the examination gown and left me to wait for the gynecologist.
The room was freezing cold, the examination table vinyl was torn and duct taped, but covered with clean paper, and there was a plastic pillow, without a cover, and a cotton flat sheet with which to cover my legs. I struggled with putting on the examination gown as some of the ties were torn, but I managed to drape myself somewhat and hopped onto the table.
The doctor came in after about five minutes, rapidly double checked my medical history and then asked me to lay down. Right away, I was extremely uncomfortable because the doctor was in jeans and a t-shirt and my goodness, she was talking a mile a minute! I felt like an inconvenience and that she was in a rush to get me out of there.
I laid back, like she instructed, the paper crunching and ripping underneath me, my neck sticking to the plastic pillow. She asked me to place my feet in the ‘stirrups’ and ‘open my legs’. I did as she instructed and then I about jumped off of the table! She had begun the examination and had touched me without any warning! From this point on, the examination was incredibly stressful, extremely rushed and uncomfortable. The speculum was opened so quickly, the loud clicking of it, once again, making me jump! She did her swabs, closed the speculum, removed it so quickly that I could feel the uncomfortable, pulling sensation. Then, it was time for her to do the internal examination- oh boy! She inserted two fingers and, let’s just say, was far from gentle when palpating my cervix, uterus and ovaries.
Finally, she was done. She rolled her stool away from the table so I assumed that I could sit up and ask her a couple of questions. I had not even sat up all the way and she was rushing out of the room with a half-hearted good bye and ‘we will call you with the results’. I quickly sat up and asked a couple of questions as quickly as I possibly could. Once alone, I got dressed and showed myself out of the clinic. Promising myself that I would never return.
The Naturopathic Gynecological Exam:
I arrived for my appointment a bit early and was greeting warmly by a lovely receptionist. She offered me some water or tea, asked me if I had any questions or concerns that I wanted to ask before I saw the practitioner and then kindly asked me to take a seat in the waiting room.
I sat down, sipped my tea and read a copy of the holistic Vista magazine.
After a few minutes, the practitioner came out with a patient, said good bye to them and then walked over to greet me. She was professionally dressed and wearing a white medical jacket. She held out her hand, I shook it, she introduced herself and then asked me to follow her back to her office.
Her office was warm and inviting, there was soft classical music playing, sunlight pouring in the window and plants thriving underneath it. I took a seat in a comfy, lounge chair by the window.
Once comfortable, the Naturopathic Doctor sat down and took a thorough medical history, asking me about my concerns and reasons for coming in for a gynecological exam. She finished my intake, asked if I had any questions, and then asked if I knew what size speculum was most comfortable for me. I told her that, in the past, I had been most comfortable with the small size. She then stepped out to let me get changed.
I slipped on a lovely, cotton examination gown and then sat down on the padded examination table to realize that not only was it covered in nice, cotton bed sheets, but that it had a warm heating pad underneath! So nice! This was starting to feel like a spa appointment!
The Naturopathic Doctor knocked, came in, sat down and gave me a brief but thorough run down of what exactly she would be doing during the examination, step by step. She then asked me to recline, place my feet in the ‘foot rests’ and bring ‘my knees to her hands’. I liked this language SO much better than my last appointment!
She asked if I was comfortable and then she said ‘Okay, I’m going to make contact now and begin the examination’. From this point on the examination was a breeze! I never felt shock, pain, panic or insecurity. The practitioner told me EVERYTHING that she was doing; told me when the speculum would open, close and click, gave me notice that she was going to be ‘making contact’ and repeatedly checked in with me to make sure that I was still comfortable. Now THIS, I told myself, is the way that this (incredibly intimate and personal) medical exam is SUPPOSED to be.
Before I knew it, the examination was done. The naturopathic doctor told me that I could sit up when ready. She then sat down, explained how long the results would take and that I could expect a call from them. She asked if I had any last minute questions or concerns before she left me to get dressed.
I got dressed and met her in the reception area for check-out. She warmly thanked me for coming in, shook my hand again and said that we would talk soon.
As you can imagine, this Naturopathic Doctor became my primary care provider and went on to treat me for my PCOS, sub-fertility and recurrent miscarriages; helping me to naturally conceive a beautiful baby boy, now two years old.
I am so very grateful for the different experiences that I had. After more than a dozen rushed, painful, impersonal Pap smears, I am beyond relieved to have FINALLY found the naturopathic gynecological examination.
Interested in booking an appointment like mine? CLICK HERE to book an appointment with one of the fantastic naturopathic doctors of Natural Choice Medical Clinic.
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