Eek! I’ve disabled comments on the video for obvious reasons, but feel free to tell me what you think here :)
Oh! And THIRD! Since a load of you don’t like using instagram, I will be varying the platform I use so everyone gets a chance to join in live :)
So all in all: hooray!
AND IN FURTHER HOORAY NEWS! As regular GFPs will know, we have over the past few weeks
been talking about the pain many women experience when having various gynae procedures from IUD insertion to hysteroscopies. As many GFPs will also know, the far too common response when women complain about pain is for their pain to be dismissed.
I’ve had far too many women write in to me not only about their procedure being painful, but about the medical gaslighting they faced in response, with practitioners essentially (sometimes literally) rolling their eyes at them for “making a fuss”, telling them it “shouldn’t” hurt, as if the woman in pain is the problem rather than the lack of pain relief (or perhaps the practitioner’s lack of expertise).
I have also been told far too often, again by medical practitioners, that by platforming women’s voices on this I myself am the problem, because by allowing women to talk about the pain they have experienced I will put other women off these procedures. Again, as if the pain and the medical gaslighting women experience in the face of that pain aren’t far more likely to put women off from going to any further appointments. As if a better response than telling women to “shut up about bad medical procedures so you don’t frighten [or prepare?] other women” wouldn’t be to, oh I don’t know, talk to women like adults about the possibility that they may experience pain and let them make an informed decision about pain relief?
I would probably still choose to have a copper IUD put in, despite the pain (although I must say it’s been a DELIGHT not being doubled over in pain during my half-the-length period now it’s out) because I don’t get on with hormones and it’s therefore my only option [side-note maybe we could do some research here so women *do* have better options than have existed for the past 50 years?]
In any case, the number of women who have written in to me to thank me for talking about this, because it made them realise that, contrary to how their medical practitioner made them feel for “making a fuss” they are in fact not a wimp and nor are they a freak.
No, not every woman will experience pain during insertion (my first insertion was, for example, absolutely fine). But some women will experience extreme pain and trauma, and the answer to that experience is NEVER to tell them to shut up about it. The answer is (of course) to collect data on how many women are affected (which we are not currently doing, because of course), and then to analyse that data to figure out WHY these women are experiencing pain – is it because, as is the case for some women who experience extreme pain during a smear (I am thankfully not one of them, although it is more than “uncomfortable” ffs), the tools are too big and they need a smaller speculum? Is it a because of the “tilted cervix” that some women have that again can cause extreme pain during smears? Is it because (and this is definitely what happened to me) we shouldn’t be letting inexperienced practitioners stick metal spikey things up someone’s vagina while they’re awake? Yes, doctors need training. No women don’t need to be put through extreme pain to allow them to do it.
And just to prove that no, medical practitioners don’t always know better than you about your own body, here is an actual real life thing that happened: