Going to the Doctor

This is what I was doing for awhile earlier today

photo source

I was in stirrups.

I went to get a PAP smear.  If you are one of the probably 3 male readers I have, this post may not be of much interest to you.

For the ladies, although the specifics of the guidelines have changed in recent years regarding how often you’re supposed to get a PAP, in general, this is what I found here:

Regular Pap tests are an important part of all women’s health care. You should start having Pap tests at age 21 years. How often you should have a Pap test depends on your age and health history:

  • Women younger than 30 years should have a Pap test every 2 years.
  • Women aged 30 years and older should have a Pap test every 2 years. After three normal Pap test results in a row, a woman in this age group may have Pap tests every 3 years if
    • she does not have a history of moderate or severe dysplasia
    • she is not infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
    • her immune system is not weakened (for example, if she has had an organ transplant)
    • she was not exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES) before birth

So basically every 2 to 3 years, you need to get a PAP.

Along those lines, we need to be doing monthly self breast exams.  And when it’s age-appropriate or when your family history suggests, you should have a mammogram.

After my time in stirrups, I needed chocolate.

Vegan No-Bake Fudge with Chocolate Sprinkles

Or maybe Sex on the BeachNo pun intended.

Fom my last post on Someone I Miss, it was touching to read all the comments about something or someone you miss in your life.  There were some tear-jerker comments.  It’s ok, a little cry-fest is good for the soul sometimes!

It was wonderful to read about the relationships you have with your grandparents and the loving memories, too.

I was blown away at the touching comments everyone left on that post.  Thank you.

Questions:

1. Do you do monthly self breast exams or (mammograms/ultrasounds if age/family history appropriate)?

Yes, definitely.

2. Do you go the gyno regularly for a PAP or a checkups?

I think that as “healthy living bloggers” we care so much about food choices and the food we put into our bodies.  We are so careful about the food choices we make from organic food to locally grown food to trying to avoid overly processed foods.

We also make exercise and work out choices to benefit our overall health, too.

For me, it seems that taking care of ourselves as women is just one aspect of staying healthy.  We are doing ourselves a great disservice if we don’t stay on top of our health through regular checkups.

I am not a big “go to the doctor” person.  In fact, sometimes I go years in between physicals or checkups since I don’t get sick very frequently.  However, I do feel strongly about well-woman care and visits and staying on top of them.

Not to mention, many women need to go to discuss birth control options and get prescriptions for them so even if you’re not there for a PAP, you may need to go for birth control.  Or perhaps to discuss issues, problems, or concerns you’re having.

3. Are you scared of going to the Gyno (or midwife/nurse practitioner)?   Have you gotten over this, or not?

I don’t think any woman alive says with great enthusiasm, “Oh I ‘get’ to go to the gyno today. Yay!”

No.

It’s one of those things like going to the dentist that for some womens causes anywhere from an ugh reaction (but you grin and bear it) to being totally petrified of going (and the fear actually prevents them from going).

When I was younger I used to stress out for days before my annual exam.

However, having a baby definitely made me lose some of the inhibitions of going since for 40 weeks of pregnancy and then the birth, it’s kind of “open season” up there with someone always wanting to check something.

But, after the pregnancy is done and the baby is born, the “open season” has turned back to “closed for business” as it pertains to speculums and rubber gloves.  Not with quite as much anxiety as pre-baby, but again, not how I’d ideally choose to spend my time.   However, I deem it necessary.

Final Notes: This is one of those posts that as I am publishing it, I am wondering why I am doing it.  I could just as easily not have brought up this topic, but I think it’s important to remind all the ladies that it’s important to take care of yourself, keep up with your exams, don’t be scared, and embrace your beautiful feminine selves.

Caitlin has done a whole series of posts on birth control and Gina has also discussed it in the past, too.

If you don’t agree with my approach or thoughts, that’s fine, because of course everything I mentioned today is simply my opinion.  I am not a doctor or a medical professional and this is not to be considered medical advice.

Time to talk ta-ta’s and va-jay-jay’s.  Talk to me about your experiences!  And yes, using those words will prevent some of the spam and gross google searches I know this post may bring.

   

47 Responses to “Going to the Doctor”

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    Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn — February 9, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    I absolutely loathe going to the gyno, but over time it’s gotten less nerve racking. I should probably be doing monthly breast exams since my mom had breast cancer, thank you for the reminder! Slash that fudge looks too good, I have been craving chocolate lately like it is my J-O-B

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    Kate (What Kate is Cooking) — February 9, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    I think I was emotionally scarred after my first pap smear! Ugh, I’m due for one soon… :(

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    Julie Lynn — February 9, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    I visit the gyno when I absolutely have to and as infrequently as humanly possible. Paps are the pits. Glad I don’t have to go often.

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    Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) — February 9, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    I do go regularly and I do breast exams too. I had to go last year to the GYNO because I was having horrible pain in my breast…like a clogged milk duct (mine are fibrous, no biggy, they have always hurt). They actually suggested taking Primrose Oil pills. I was shocked and elated that they suggested an herbal supplement and one that I heard of through research too! I have been taking it since and it helps soooo much with everything female related. I liked this post. It is something to think about and I hope all is well with you lady! Enjoy your chocolate and sex on the beach…if Scott is in town! Have a great night sweetie!

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    Kelly — February 9, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    I was surprise-attacked with my first PAP – I went in for a normal physical (hadn’t been in a few years; I just don’t get sick and had been between doctors) and the NP was all, “You should have a PAP! How about right now?!” and, terrified as I was, I decided to just git ‘er done. And… honestly, it wasn’t even that big a deal, and afterwards I was kind of like, “…okay?” Which sort of weirded out my friends, who think it’s tH3 M0St h0RRibLE thiNg EV3RRR!

    …anyway, thanks (as always) for keeping it real, Averie! And kudos to you for promoting good health. :)

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    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — February 9, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    There’s nothing better than a boring day at the GYN than some sinful, down and dirty chocolate! This fudge looks like the perfect cure for your day! :) Thanks for sharing. I’m so glad I found your blog and look forward to exploring your recipes! – Georgia

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    ashley@quasichick — February 9, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    yes to all of the above, except #3..I’m not scared of the obgyn..now the dentist is another story!

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    amy — February 9, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    hi averie! i just recently found your blog & i loooove it! you do an amazing job w. it, your posts & pics are great. i especially love it b/c you have such yummy looking healthier dessert recipes, i’ve been drooling over your site. great job, your amazing! thank you! amy, amybusser.weebly.com

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    Crystal — February 9, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    1. Do you do monthly self breast exams or (mammograms/ultrasounds if age/family history appropriate)?

    Not monthly but I do make sure to pay attention to what’s going on!

    2. Do you go the gyno regularly for a PAP or a checkups?

    I have actually only gone once for a PAP smear and pelvic exam. I went about 2 years ago and I’m 23, so it is probably a good idea that I go again soon. I’m planning on seeing my doctor later this month so I’m hoping that will be a good time to have it, just so I can get it out of the way.

    3. Are you scared of going to the Gyno (or midwife/nurse practitioner)? Have you gotten over this, or not?

    I have a social anxiety disorder so being around basically anyone makes me nervous. Going to the doctor for a PAP smear and pelvic exam is well, anxious! But it needs to be done. I don’t think I will ever get over it for as long as I have this anxiety disorder. But one thing at a time!

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    Errign — February 9, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Oh, the gyno. Yay. I have a history of abnormal paps, so I get to go every three months…aren’t I lucky? In fact, Friday is my lucky day.

    I am SO bad about breast exams though. Like, so bad. I never do them.

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    s — February 9, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    going to the gyno for the annual pap does make me really nervous. i definitely have to have chocolate afterwards. it’s just an uncomfortable thing to me but yeah, it’s something we have to do for health.

    i don’t do self breast exams, but i should. thanks for the reminder.

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    Holly @ Couch Potato Athlete — February 9, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    I go to see my doctor at least once per year to make sure everything is going well. I have a pap smear yearly, just because it is included in the exam, and if I started going every other year I would probably not keep track and skip a few years. Monthly breast exams – yes. Daily breast exams from Jason – yes. I’m kidding, but not really, ha!

    Yes, I read so much about exercise and eating right, etc, but there is a lot more to health, thank you for sharing this post!

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    bitt — February 9, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    it’s not that thrilling to go get a PAP but still better than the dentist! one time I had an infection and it seemed I was being checked every week or so. torture! thanks for the reminder to get those preventative exams!

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    Heather (Where's the Beach) — February 9, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Ugh, I HATE that appointment. I just had mine last week. I go annually. I really do dread it to be honest. Just not the most fun time a girl can have ;-)

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    Monica — February 9, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    Great post, Averie. And great timing. I went to the GYN just yesterday and during the breast exam portion, the doctor found a suspicious cyst in my left breast. I am not good about self breast exams so I had never felt it before. The cyst moves, which the doctor says is a good sign (cancerous tumors DON’T move) but she scheduled me for a mammogram and ultrasound next week just to rule out anything serious. I’m a little nervous about it all, but also eager to have it done and get the results. Thankfully, mammo results come back quickly, so the wait won’t be long. But I’m only 36 (in 3 days :)) so I wasn’t planning to have the mammo quite this soon. Anyway, this was definitely a wake up call for me to be more on top of regular self breast exams. Check those boobies, ladies!! :)

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    nelly — February 9, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    i usually go for a physical and pap yearly…i’m going on two years this summer…i truly need to go…but this wedding planning is taking up too much of my time…and of course my job…

    i hate paps…but i know they’re necessary…so i go…i have a female doctor and i feel comfortable with her…i’ve only ever had a pap with her…we’re going on 10 years…

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    Paige @ Running Around Normal — February 9, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    You did not take a picture of the pap smear chair! ha! Good message though :) So so so important.

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    chelsey @ clean eating chelsey — February 9, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    We were definitely on the same wave length tonight!

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    Madeline - Greens and Jeans — February 9, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    If you can believe it, I’ve actually always had really good doctors and I’ve never really minded getting my yearly visit in. Maybe I just have very little modesty?

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    Torri — February 9, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    ha! the “open season” paragraph made me laugh!

    to be honest, the last time I went was probably 4 years ago and I know I should go, but I had such a bad experience the last time I just don’t want to go now. and no, i don’t do monthly self-exams. ugh. I’m such a bad example for someone who works in health care!

    Torri

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    Linda — February 9, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    I love how you went from PAP Smears to brownies!! LOL!!

    My belief is that nutrition is for prevention, allopathic medicine is for detection. If you live a healthy lifestyle, you won’t be spending much time at the doctor’s office, you’ll be eating Vegan No-Bake Fudge with Chocolate Sprinkles!! ;)

    Reply

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    Bria @ West of Persia — February 9, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    This is important info.

    Someone out there reading needs to see the facts you published, so good for you for sharing this. :-)

    Reply

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    Gracie — February 9, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    I fail miserably at doing self exams, but I go to the gyno regularly and don’t really have a problem with it. I guess I fall in the “rather be safe than sorry” camp, so I don’t mind just getting those sort of appointments done and over with!!

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    Helen — February 9, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    Great information. I, however, am one of the unlucky females that has been treated for dysplasia several times. I believe my first gyn appointment was at 17 and ended with a biopsy then having cells on my cervix frozen…not fun!

    Needless to say I am no longer scared of the gyno. I had a cryoablation back in August so hopefully that will help out with some of my female issues…so far so good. Of course this all means a yearly visit, sometimes two or three, is required.

    I do not do self exams on my breast but should start. I have fibroid cycts in them which bother me when it is TOM :( Forturnately for me I currently do not know of any breast cancer in my family so maybe that will make up for all the female issues I seem to inherit.

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    KaraHadley — February 9, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Pleasepleaseplease get a check-up more often than that. I’m 19 and this past summer they found pre-cancerous cells on my cervix. They were removed, but now I have to get a pap every 4 months until I get 3 clean ones. THEN I get to have them only once a year. After my scare I learned that pre-cancerous cells like that are so common. And I don’t even have a family history of lady problems.
    Pleasepleaseplease go once a year. Early detection really does make a huge difference.

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    Emmy — February 9, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Going to the doctor has never really bothered me. I guess I’ve been lucky to have good doctors who make me feel comfortable. It’s funny that I read this today as I was at my doctor for a pap myself. I get one every year. I know I don’t have to, and I’ve never had one come up with any problems, but I just prefer to have a physical once a year. I also have to have bloodwork every six months so it’s just part of life. I was telling my doctor today that I often forget to self breast exams and he said now is the time I need to really start since I’m in my 30’s, so I’m going to try to be better about remembering.

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    Christin@purplebirdblog — February 9, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Planned Parenthood makes me get a Pap every year in order to renew my birth control, so I do that!

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    J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) — February 9, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    If I go to the GYNO like a good girl can I have that fudge with extra sprinkles? :D

    I’m really bad about going to doctors in general; I reschedule my appointments indefinitely sometimes. I’m getting better about it, though! I just have an aversion due to some crappy docs in my lifetime. I’m learning how to search out the BEST ones, though. Not wasting anymore time or $$$ on incompetent jerks.

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    Christine (The Raw Project) — February 9, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Ugh, never fun appointments, but usually quick. And happy hour is a good thing after. :-)

    1. Yes, they’re important and I remember having to pass around the fake boob in junior high.
    2. Yeah, every 3 years now.
    3. Nope, I was a little nervous for my first appointment as a teen, but got over that quickly. I think having so much family in the medical profession helped.

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    Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) — February 9, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Yep, I do both of those things.

    I am not scared to go to the gyno … but I tense up a bit before the examination. I get better each time.

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    Monique — February 9, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    I do not do regular breast exams, but I should start.
    I do get regular pap smears (last week actually!)
    And I’m not afraid of going to my gyno ever since he delivered my baby. Plus now I realize that this is what they do, and there’s probably not much special about me compared to the hundreds of other women he sees every day.

    :)

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    Runeatrepeat — February 9, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    I think they changed the pap every 2 years guidelines this past year, right? Because I’ve always been really good about it. Safety first!

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    Anne — February 9, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    Hahaha…great post, even if the topic is “different”… I meant to comment on your “someone I miss” post too, it was so beautiful, bit I see others did :-).

    Va-jay-jays…couldn’t figure that out until I pronounced it, hehe. Yes, I don’t go into a panic about the smear or the gyno but it’s definitely just something where I clench my teeth and think of England. I’ve also JUST been, so a while before next, phew. And definitely, a bit of pampering afterwards is always in order, and much appreciated! – I always feel kind of asexual after spending time in stirrups (but I guess sex on the beach would be different!), I’ll try the chocolate approach next time ;-). So yes, I go for my check-ups, both “ends”…

    About the healthy life style I’ll say, my parents have gotten past retirement age, and it’s just scary how many of their healthy living, always active friends are getting severe diseases, like cancer. People living in their street, friends, couples they know being reduced to singles or handicapped by the side effects of chemo. It’s scary. So I’d say, any checkup that the health system can offer, I’ll do it. Especially since here, most of them are payed via taxes.

    Haha, I just went over the comments, SOOO many funny, witty and experienced things to say! You know, you are a lucky lady ;-). Important stuff, so I’ll chime in and say thanks for raising the suject!

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    Ela — February 9, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    I love that ‘take care of beautiful, feminine selves.’ Such a good message: thanks for sharing.

    Serendipity: I got something in the mail today saying it was time for me to get one of those! But I don’t like the place where I last got one, so was going to let it go: thanks for bringing it back on my radar.
    love
    Ela

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    gypsy — February 9, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    I don’t stress over going to the gyno but I’ve always been a big feminist and extremely sexually open and empowed- I actually like going to my nurse/midwife for my annual well-woman exam just to make sure everything is alright and talk about girly stuff openly that I wouldn’t normally do (most of my peers are not very educated about how women’s reproductive systems work, I had to explain what ovulation was to someone last week, LOL!)

    and helll yes for chocolate after !

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    maria @ Chasing the Now — February 10, 2011 at 12:30 am

    Going to the gyno DOES stress me out. Every time. I have no idea why, but it always has; However, I still do it. It is so important to have the proper tests and screenings done to stay healthy, especially with all of the things that can go wrong with a woman’s insides.

    You know what’s even more stressful? Going to a Japanese gyno and not speaking the language. Now THAT’s a fun test…

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    efka — February 10, 2011 at 12:30 am

    I go, because I know its good for me. I am one of from who about 6 years ago was found some irregular cells and I had to go in to treat these. So, yes I go to check and to be on top of things.

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    Carrie (Moves 'N Munchies) — February 10, 2011 at 1:32 am

    ahhh gyno… no no no
    i absolutely detest the gyno… i mean they have good intentions.. but no thanks, im good

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    Beth — February 10, 2011 at 8:01 am

    LOL! Still keeping it real here. Love it!

    I had my Pap last week during my check-up with my GP. Have to say though, no way no how is anyone pressing my beloved breasts between two metal plates. Noooo! I have a Breast Thermography done every year, and do monthly self breast exams.

    I prefer to go to my Naturopath, but insurance won’t cover any blood work she orders. So, I keep a GP for blood work, and have a Pap done while I’m there. No big issues about having a Pap done or going to a Gyno. After having fertility tests done, this is so low key. Of course, it is better when they treat warm the speculum, and you like person – not just a vagina ;)

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    tamara — February 10, 2011 at 11:53 am

    I hate PAP’s….for me, the pain is excruciating….only thing worse was getting my IUD inserted…I literally thought I was going to die and then was out of commission(like laying on the couch in fear of movement because it brought on such bad pains) for two straight days in agonizing cramps……

    I cannot even imagine what childbirth will be like for me…gah!

    Reply

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    cameron — February 11, 2011 at 2:43 am

    Thanks for posting on this, even though I’m just now reading it. I think paps are incredibly important. I’ve had one friend who died of cervical cancer and another friend my age (early 20s) who had cervical cancer- something that is INCREDIBLY preventible. Most people don’t realize how many people have HPV, which leads to cervical cancer (it’s almost 75% of the pop i think). Most people can clear it on their own and it’s not the dangerous strain, as there are several different strains, but not everyone can, which is why it is SO important to get a pap, as awful as it maybe. Thanks again!

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    Emily — February 11, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    hi Averie! I don’t think I,ve ever commented before. But, um, oh my fudge! That looks amazing! The whole post where you originally featured that is a total gold mine! And I love the chocolate sprinkles! Every day could use more sprinkles, do’t you think? ;) xoxo

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    Laura — February 11, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    I always get a little anxious in the days leading up to my exam. In an effort to help me put things in perspective, my husband compared the number of times a day I look at a computer to the number of times a day the doctor looks at girly bits! haha It’s “business as usual” for them, I suppose.

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    Krista — February 12, 2011 at 7:14 am

    I’ve had a hysterectomy so I no longer need PAPs, but I do still go to my OBGYN once a year for an overall check up. I’ve also had 2 mamograms. When it comes to my health I’ll suffer the appointments that so many avoid.

    Reply

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