Facebook Pixel
EmpowHER Guest

Gynecological Exams & Flashbacks

By Anonymous February 9, 2017 - 11:02pm
Rate This

My name is Hannah, and I was sexually molested and physically and emotionally abused by a man from ages 6 to 11. Even though I am 33 now, I struggle greatly with severe anxiety before and at least a weeks' worth of flashbacks and nightmares after a gynecological exam. The symptoms have gotten so bad that I refuse s pelvic exams, but my refusals are making my healthcare provider angry and frustrated with me, despite the fact I have disclosed these symptoms and my past experience with sexual abuse to her. Is there anything I can do to combat the anxiety leading up to the procedure or stop the flashbacks and nightmares afterward? The flashbacks typically culminate in feelings of physical pain (even days after the procedure), a sense of dread and/or intense fear, a feeling as though I am being attacked again, and intense muscle tension. I relive the intense feelings of shame and unworthiness of love. I feel "dirty" again, like I used to feel when I was young. During the nightmares, I relive all aspects of the abuse - sexual, physical, and emotional. I relive the memories I have from that time period. When I wake up, I usually have a headache, muscle tension, and a deep feeling of shame and/or despair. I desperately want to move past these flashbacks and nightmares. I have been strictly celibate since the abuse. The only time I currently experience these symptoms is in preparation, during, or after a pelvic exam. I would sincerely appreciate any help or insight which you may be able to provide. Thank you.

Add a Comment1 Comments

I am a psychiatrist. I treat women with symptoms like yours every day. I am truly sorry for your misery and pain. I wish you better health in the future. Here are some ways to achieve that.
1) Book an appointment with a psychiatrist. It very much sounds as if you have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. There are medications to help your condition, and not just sedatives.
2) Ask around for a therapist who specializes in trauma. The wrong therapist can make things worse.
3) Fire that gynecologist right now. How dare she be angry with you for experiencing pain and fear! I would write her a letter telling her you are working with another provider due to her inconsiderate, blaming, and unprofessional manner.
4) Ask around for a good gynecologist, one that is sensitive to her patients' emotional states. Do not stay with anyone who becomes angry with you. Doctors (myself included) do not have the right to express anger to a patient, if I am angry with a patient, I examine my own feelings before discussing them with a patient of expressing displeasure.
5) Get a support group together.
6) Remember you are who you are and you do not have to be defined by what you experienced. You are a victim, but don't have to live the life of a victim forever.

I hope you are stonger and calmer every day!

June 16, 2017 - 8:36am
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

All user-generated information on this site is the opinion of its author only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. Members and guests are responsible for their own posts and the potential consequences of those posts detailed in our Terms of Service.