I have a confession to make. Contrary to the advice I have received all my life while I was growing up I don’t ever visit a gynecologist. I don’t get pap-smears or examinations of my reproductive organs on a regular basis, or whatever else you can get done at a gynecologist’s office.
Yet, from how I was introduced to gynecology during sex-ed in highschool you’d think that it is as normal as going to a dentist, which most people in my country do every six months. While I received sex-ed in school we were also told that when we turn 18 there would be a mandatory check-up by a gynecologist the same way you get vaccinated several times during your childhood. We were to receive a letter for such a check-up and I remember that when I was told I felt revulsion. In no way did I want some doctor poking around in my vagina and I had already decided that I would get out of it somehow. The letter never arrived and I think the government got rid of those mandatory check-ups. It is too ridiculous for words; the mandatory annual school doctor check-ups were creepy enough as it was.
About a year after I first started menstruating I ran into some health problems. While my first few periods were light and caused hardly any trouble, the subsequent once increased in intensity. My blood flow became much heavier and at one point I had to change pads every fifteen minutes; they were thick pads, but I bled them full in just a quarter of an hour. My cramps made doing anything other than lie down impossible and my mood could be described in simply one word: “depressed”. I also had severe headaches when I wasn’t feeling lightheaded. Later it turned out that because I had anemia my menstruation got worse and worse and because I lost so much blood during menstruation my anemia got worse, it was a vicious cycle that has taken me until my twenty-fifth year to be rid of completely. It was when I finally started eating properly.
Initially however I did not know that heavy bleeding was related to anemia and I also did not know that during the first few years or even the first decade of menstruation these problems can occur and I and my family thought that there must be something seriously wrong with me. This resulted to a trip to the doctor and a referral to a gynecologist. The gynecologist, big surprise, was a man. His idea of trying to diagnose me was to use a camera on a stick and to stick that contraption in my uterus. I immediately felt very uncomfortable about that idea. He said: “Not to worry. I get many young girls in hear who never had sex before and I stick them on that thing without much trouble.” With sex of course he meant p.i.v. I didn’t trust him and declined. After all, what would a man know about a vagina? I never pretended to know what a penile probe must feel like. I asked this guy for the pill instead, which did reduce some of the symptoms and introduced a whole other range of problems. At least my bleeding wasn’t as bad anymore and my body could recover a little.
Since that first unsettling meeting with the creepy male gynecologist, I have never gone back to see another. I got my pills from our regular doctor who was all too happy to prescribe them without prying and as I got older and finally started eating normally my menstruation regulated itself out and now it’s fairly manageable.
I am not sure how I would feel about a female gynecologist should I ever feel the need to visit one again, but I definitely do not trust men to understand the level of pain that can accompany from having anything at all in your vagina. Before I even had an idea, the creepy male gynecologist certainly showed no proof that he was even willing to consider the discomfort, and really why go for regular check-ups? I am not intending to use my reproductive organs anyway and it is by no means the only body part that can develop cancer, yet we women are expected to have regular inspections preformed on it like it is some kind of engine to be maintained. And why are there so many male gynecologists? Why would a man even choose such a profession? My own experience has taught me that caring about the welfare of women does not necessarily have to be a motivation.
Do men go in for regular check-ups of their reproductive organs? Do they have a special doctor for those organs? And if this is the case, then how come I have never heard of it?