Top 10 Most Cringeworthy The Bachelorette Moments
The 10 Most Cringe-Worthy Things That Have Ever Happened At The Gynecologist's Office
As if subjecting your intimate parts to scrutiny isn't dreadful enough, visits to the gyno can come with mean, creepy or clueless medical staffers, as the women that follow experienced. "These are pretty scary," says Mary Jane Minkin, MD, an OB-GYN and professor at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, CT. Get ready to squirm—and find out what should have happened at the office instead.
"Being pregnant made me emotional enough, but then my midwife said, 'Look how awful your stretch marks are! Aren't you doing anything about them?' If I wasn't laying down with an extra 65 pounds on me, I would have slapped her." —Katie
"This is truly an insensitive comment, says gynecologist Alyssa Dweck, MD, a professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and co-author ofV Is For Vagina. "The weight gain may have sparked concern about problems like gestational diabetes and delivery complications, but some impulse control and finesse might have been better received."
2. Having bad timing.
"My old gyno was also my mother's and sister's gyno. One day during a routine exam, with her hand all up in me, she starts asking how they're doing. I instantly clenched up thinking about that same hand being in my mother and sister. I thought it was a pretty weird conversation to have at that moment." —Rachel
"The doc should save it for before or after the pelvic exam," says Dr. Minkin. "The patient needs to be comfortable, and this isn't the way to encourage that."
"I was 20, but looked 16, and I had just found out I was pregnant. I was scared. The doctor asked whether I was considering abortion. I just stared. Then I got a lecture on teen pregnancy and how many people struggle with infertility and that I should consider adoption. I was shocked and said nothing. As soon as he left I lost all composure and started wailing." —Richelle
Reproductive decisions are often difficult, and "physicians shouldn't make it worse," says Dr. Minkin. They should table judgments and compassionately guide patients through their options.
4. Showing affection.
"My gynecologist would kiss me on top of the head at the end of my appointments. I never thought much of it, but looking back I feel he should've maintained better boundaries." —April
"This is absolutely bizarre," says Dr. Minkin. "If you like the doctor enough to go back, you might consider having someone else in the exam room." Another option: Call your county's medical board to report the inappropriate behavior, or just run it by a rep there to help you decide if formal action is warranted.
5. Assuming promiscuity.
"One gynecologist told me I shouldn't be surprised if herpes showed up in my STD screening because of my 'high-risk behavior' (a.k.a. promiscuity). This was after I'd told him I'd been monogamous since my last test. And of course, my screening was negative." —Adrian*
"We offer STD screening to everyone," says Dr. Minkin, but your doc should respect your decision if you decline, and he definitely should not make assumptions or judgments about your sex life.
6. Laughing out loud.
"I saw a gynecologist because I was having pain during intercourse. When he saw my piercing, he said, 'No wonder it hurts!' and started laughing. I was like, 'Dude, are you really doing this?'" —Janae*
This is a terrible time for a chuckle, but "genital piercings often become infected and can cause painful sex," says Dr. Dweck, so the possibility should be explored–with tact. And Dr. Minkin, who's been practicing for 36 years, also knows firsthand that some older docs aren't used to piercings. While disrespectful behavior shouldn't be tolerated, she suggests cutting a little slack for generational differences.
7. Ignoring severe pain.
"A few days after my IUD was inserted, I was in extreme pain. My doctor told me to wait it out, and I'd drink a bottle of wine each night to numb the pain so I could sleep. A month later, when I was having constant cramps, he told me to wait again. I spent most of the next month lying in bed until he finally agreed to remove it." —Cheryl*
Dr.Minkin doesn't mince words: "That's just bad medicine right there." Whenever there's severe pain after a procedure, the doctor should see you right away.
8. Treating patients differently.
"I chose what I thought was a progressive clinic because I'm queer. The doc was new and didn't know what to do with me. She didn't think I needed a pap smear since I don't have sex with dudes, and called in two other people because she couldn't insert the speculum. It was humiliating and painful." —Ria*
"Pap smear guidelines are the same for heterosexual, bisexual and lesbian women," says Dr. Dweck. If your doctor doesn't know this, find another one. "Doctors should be well-schooled about sexual orientation by now," says Dr. Minkin.
9. Being frozen in time.
"When I asked my gynecologist to prescribe birth control pills, her first question was, "Are you getting married?" Completely off guard, I said no and started explaining that I'm in a monogamous relationship, but then realized I had no reason to explain anything. I fired her and got a new gyno." —Helen
"I don't know what kind of bubble this doctor lives in, but most people these days are not saving their virginity until their wedding night," says Dr. Minkin. If your MD is this out of touch, it might be best to lose touch with her.
10. Explaining things childishly.
"I had an abnormal pap and was told I'd need to have a colposcopy. When I asked the doc about the dangers of the procedure, he said, 'We'll just snip a tiny piece—we wouldn't want to take out too many chunks in case you want to hold a baby in there one day.'" —Cheryl*
"Some providers try to 'dumb down' medical language to assist the layperson in understanding complex medical jargon," says Dr. Dweck, but "this could have been presented in a more dignified way."
*Names have been changed.
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