Women: Do you feel comfortable having mammograms/pap smears?

Do you feel comfortable having mammograms and/or pap smears? And, would it matter wether it’s a male or female?

Re: pap smears
Define “comfortable”! Of course it doesn’t exactly feel nice, but I don’t have any major anxiety over the procedure.
Doesn’t matter if male/female.

I prefer a female doctor for pelvic exams (just cause she’s had one herself). Pap smears are part of taking care of yourself, but they do pretty much gross me out for the whole day. The breast exam I find somewhat uncomfortable because a)I have lumpy, cystic breasts so they are sometimes sensitive to being prodded and b)a couple years ago my doc found some lumps they made her go hmmmm (turned out to be benign) and I’m nervous about something new and bad cropping up. In short, though, I am not uncomfortable with the procedure.

I’ve never had a mammogram (too young) but I have had a breast ultrasound which was fairly interesting, actually since they let me watch the monitor. I understand there is a LOT less squooshing involved in an ultrasound.

I don’t know if comfortable is the word. However, I have them both regularly. Each is a fairly quick procedure and I’ve found them to be easier every time. In fact, it seems to me that mammograms were a lot more painful 5 or 6 years ago - they don’t seem to squish me as hard as they used to.

I vaguely recall reading about a device that fits much like a bra being developed to replace the current method of mammogram. That would be wonderful! But if I have to continue to be squished for a few seconds once a year, so be it.

I’ve had both male and female gynecologists, and I like the women better - I’m guessing because they know what it’s like. Plus their hands are smaller.

A pap smear is a little less nervewracking then a checkup at the dentists. It’s not fun, but it won’t ruin your day.

It doesn’t matter to me if it’s a man or a woman.

I haven’t had a mammogram yet.

As for pelvics/pap smears…well, it’s not exactly comfortable, physically or mentally. But some things just have to be done. I’ve only had a woman do it so I can’t say whether I’d be more comfortable with one or the other, but I strongly suspect I’d be VERY uncomfy with a man doing it.

My mom once had one from a resident or student or somebody like that who was just learning how. She had to talk her through how to do everything without causing PAIN!!! and this was a woman doing it!

Definitely not something I look forward to (the PAPs that is, never had a mammo)–but not really worth getting all worked up over either. I’ve been getting them since I was 15, so it’s just something you get used to I guess. My OB/GYN is a male, but I’ve gone to females at Planned Parenthood before and there really wasn’t a difference for me between the two regarding the comfort level.

What I have noticed though, is that since I had my son I’m a lot less intimidated by the process. I mean, my OB has seen me at my sweaty, screaming worst–having him give me an annual check up after that just seems like small potatoes in comparison.

Having heard about mammograms from my wife, and having read about them, I seriously doubt if anyone can be “comfortable” having one. And I’m glad they don’t do testicle screening the same way.

It occurred to me that you ought to be able to do CAT-type scans that would eliminate the need for the “jammed-in-a-door” test setup. I did a search and found that such devices already exist, but they typically take 10 times as long per measurement and cost 10 times as much (or more) per measurement. And, since this method isn’t in wide use, the X-ray specialists aren’t used to interpreting them.
Still, I can’t help thinking that if men had to undergo this procedure, somebody would’ve implemented it, or made it a hell of a lot cheaper/faster.

I don’t think a mammogram will provide useful data on breasts larger than the plates they squeeze the breasts between.

I was uncomfortable with pelvic exams because the first doctor I went to for one was disapproving of me. She looked scandalized when I spread my legs after she asked me to. She could not find my ovaries without assistance, but instead felt for them somewhere to the outside of my hip bone! (Clue for all medical personnel, The phallopian tubes do not grow longer as the patient grows fatter and neither do the ovaries wander around into the fat layer.) When she did the papsmear she scraped so hard I bled for a week. Oh and on the way in with the speculum she jammed it into my cervix. (Another clue: shorter women are likely to have shorter vaginas. Plan accordingly) She also acted like I was lying when I described my mittleschmerz and my periods. The reason I know where my ovaries are is that mittleschmerz is real. I can feel when I ovulate. I knew that my daughter was conceived from an egg from my right ovary.

Now, I go to this OB for my pregnancy and at 8 weeks my first appointment he did a pelvic and papsmear. No sweat. The papsmear did not hurt at all and was just a little uncomfortable. He was able to get the speculum in without bumping into my cervix and only used enough lube, but not too much. It went in easily, but i did not have that slip sliding away feeling the rest of the day. He has given me one other interal exam because I was in preterm labor and that was not bad either.

Some women doctors, like the one I had, make the mistake that if a patient’s experiences do not match her own, then she dismisses them as imaginary or not valid.

I won’t hesitate to go back to my current OB to get my checkups. I had gone for years without one due to the nastiness of my prior doctor.

I hate pap smears, and I think women gynecologists, at least the ones I’ve met, are unsympathetic and have an almost competitive streak.

First of all, cervical cancer is caused by the human papilloma virus, which is sexually transmitted. Ok, that means I couldn’t possibly have it. So far, I’ve only found one gynecologist who will accept that and jut give me my birth control pills without the exam. The rest want to convince my that my fiance either wasn’t a virgin when I met him or is cheating. I know he’s not cheating, I’m willing to risk my life on that, I’ll sign a waiver, now give me my damn pills. They won’t though, so now I just buy my bc pills over the Internet. It costs twice as much, because I can’t use my insurance for it. I get very angry about that. Men aren’t forced to submit to an exam for testicular cancer just to get some condoms, they can just scoop up a handful every time they go past the Health Services building.

Second, I have had two pap smears, one by a male doctor, the other by a female doctor. Dr. XY was patient, apologetic, and used the small metal thingy. It was awful, but at least I didn’t hate him. Dr. XX used the giant metal thingy because, “it’s no bigger than a penis.” If I met a man with a penis that size I’d run the other way. She also said she doesn’t mind pap smears at all, that I definitely needed one because all men cheat, and that if I had a problem with the exam I must have some hidden memory of abuse. No, I think it might be that I’m barely FIVE feet tall and you’re using the horse-sized thingy.

So, because of pap smears, I buy bc pill over the Internet and I don’t plan to go back to a gynecologist until I decide to have a baby 5-8 years from now. By then I’ll be in my early thirties and I’ll be an attorney. I’ve been told that gynecologists treat older women with more respect, and don’t force them to have tests they don’t want. Also, I’ll be able to choose my doctor, instead of having to deal with the university doctors. The best birth control of all is waiting for that more expensive, more respectful doctor, so that I can have the elective cesarean I want :slight_smile:

My mother is a pretty big woman, and after six kids she’s got bazoombas the size of prize-winning watermelons. When she gets her mammos, they have to do four to five “squishes” for each breast. They just move the plates around so that all together the scans add up to covering the entire area. So, you’re right in that the plates are limited in the area they can assess, but that doesn’t mean extra-large breasts are unscreenable.

Ariadne–you snuck past me there. Why would you want an “elective cesarean”? That’s major, major surgery just to bypass a completely natural and time-tested method. If it ends up being necessary for health reasons, thats one thing but I’d seriously question the competency of any doctor who would agree to do such a thing just because you requested it.

I find that the less you think about it, the better. I always wait until I’m down to the last two weeks of my pills and make the earliest appointment I can. I grit my teeth, it’s over with quickly, and life goes on.

The worst part is when you have to take off you clothes and wait forever in a freezing cold room, ruminating about the festivities ahead.

I think I prefer a woman, but I’ve never gone to a man, so I guess I dno’t really have any basis for comparison. Women are just what I’m used to. I’ve had ones I liked more and ones I liked less, but nothing traumatic. My best experience was at Planned Parenthood. Your mileage will almost certainly vary.

I don’t like pap smears but I realize they are very necessary, so I have then once a year. I prefer a female dr just because I feel that since they have the same parts, it if less uncomfortable for me. What I dislike is when they have their hand inside and they are pressing down and they try to make small talk…at my last one the dr said “so I see you just moved from Utah…are you Mormom?” Yikes, um, how about you remove your arm from my female cavity and we can talk religion… As for a mammogram I haven’t had one and doubt that I will as I have the breasts of a 12 year old boy…sadly enough! Margo

My mother swears that male gynecologists are much more gentle, but I’ve never gone to one. I don’t know if it’s because of modesty, but the idea of going to a male gynecologist makes me uncomfortable.

Mine is a woman who is very gentle. She uses the “juvenile” speculums and keeps up a steady stream of chatter to try to distract you from what’s going on. Nevertheless, I utterly despise pap smears and dread for months in advance going to get one.

Hi, Ariadne.

And I don’t know why you think you need money to get a respectful doctor.
On topic, I hate being prodded and poked by allopathic doctors. I have never felt anything but embarassment during pelvic exams.

To avoid an episiotomy and to make future incontinence less likely. I’m short and my vagina is narrow. My fiance is 6 feet tall, and both of our families produce babies with gigantic heads. It won’t be listed as elective on insurance forms, it will be listed as the baby being too big for my hips. My mother is a nurse, and she knows of several very good doctors in NJ who, it’s pretty much known, will do elective cesareans if their patients request it. If I haven’t found a good doctor in Boston by then, I’ll have my babies in NJ.

By the way, childbirth might be natural, but a lot of women used to die from it. My grandmother and mother would both have died without c-sections. Even a perfectly normal vaginal birth greatly increases the chance of the mother permanently losing bladder control, if not soon after the birth, then a few years later. The worst tearing (and some say that episiotomies can lead to worse tearing) can also cause problems with, um, not sure how to phrase this, defecation. Some women rip from “stem to stern.” Much better to have the planned, scheduled surgery. The death and complication rates are slightly higher (still miniscule) but that’s probably because emergency cesareans are lumped in with planned ones.

Also, Ariadne, not everyone who gets cervical cancer has HPV. It’s just more common in them. If that were the case, then the average woman wouldn’t need a pap test.

Pap smears aren’t a big deal to me. I prefer a female doctor to a male. I can’t really see trying to explain cramps/pain, etc. to a man when he’s never experienced it. The men I’ve been to have treated me like I’m just exaggerating my pain levels.

*Originally posted by kung fu lola *
**Hi, Ariadne.
And I don’t know why you think you need money to get a respectful doctor.

I just saw your post and tried to edit mine to include a response, didn’t work :frowning: I think that it takes money to get a respectful doctor because that has been my experience so far. When I was a child and teen I went to very good doctors who were pleasant. Once I was off my parents’ health insurance and on the school plan, I had to deal with mediocre doctors who look ever so inconvenienced when I ask them to explain something as simple as what drug they’re prescribing.

Sorry to have hijacked this thread so far from the original post, that wasn’t my intention, but I have strong feelings about these issues.

Re Pap smears – I don’t care which gender the doctor is, just cut your darn fingernails.

I detest mammograms. My breasts get pretty painful in the middle part of my wildly erratic cycle – so I’ve had no luck scheduling one when they are not painful.