Women have to go to the doctor, and oftentimes more frequently than men do. Whether it be annual exams, menstrual cramps, pregnancy issues, or a simple check-up, women are sometimes thought to be "faking it." Doctors might think that their concerns are insignificant, when that really isn’t the case.
Women have gone to the internet to share their worst experiences with their doctor, both male and female. Content has been edited for clarity.
“There’s Plenty Of Room In There”
“When I was newly pregnant with my daughter, I was at my OB’s office for a pelvic exam. After I stirrup up, my doc is knuckle-deep in me and says, ‘Oh, you’ll be fine if you have a big baby; there’s PLENTY of room in here.’ I’m sure she meant that I have a wide pelvic arch and would have no trouble with a normal delivery, but what I heard was, ‘Wow! I see dozens of these every day, but you have a HUGE, gaping hoo-ha.'”
“Take An Advil”
“My menstrual cycle is AWFUL and causes me severe pain, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and blackouts.
I went to the doctor to get pain medicine and/or birth control and it was a male doctor. His response when I described my pain? ‘Don’t you think you’re exaggerating just a little, hun? It’s just your period. Take some Advil.’
I threw up on his office floor a minute later and the female nurse apologized profusely for his behavior.
I got my medicine and never went back.”
“I was about four centimeters dilated, and getting ready to give birth to my son. The hospital has me set up in the bed, going over my records, when the nurse calls out to the staff in the room (there were about seven people in the room, including my mother-in-law) that everyone had to take special precautions because of my positive HIV results. Excuse me!!?
Turns out there was another woman in the hospital with my first name and a last name spelled just a little different than mine who tested positive for HIV. My heart stopped, and felt like it just plopped out of my body. It was basically a death sentence for myself and, more than likely, my child.
After some clarification, they realized the mistake. But still. That nurse was NOT allowed back into the room. And to this day I still get tested every six months because it left such a debilitating fear in me.”
“Just Pretend I’m One Of Your Boyfriends”
“When I was 16 years old, I unexpectedly got pregnant. And my doctor, quite frankly, did everything to let me know I was too promiscuous.
I felt so ashamed to go to the doctor every appointment and was too embarrassed to tell my parents how he treated me. I’m not too sure why. But my mom wanted to give me my privacy and let me go in by myself.
Once, when he was giving me an exam and touched my chest, I blushed from embarrassment, and he told me, ‘Now don’t enjoy that too much.’
But before going into labor, he checked me for dilation for the first time, and said something like ‘just pretend I’m one of your boyfriends.’ He also asked me how many times I was intimate with a man, and when I said only twice, his response was ‘liars get no rewards.’ He then refused to give me an epidural or any pain meds, and instead of an episiotomy (a surgical cut that helps delivery and prevent certain tissue damage), he just let me tear.
Since then, I have had multiple pelvic exam and several times been asked if I was forcefully violated before because of the scarring.
Never have I ever been treated so awful.”
She Insisted That Was NOT The Issue
“I had thrush (yeast) that basically gave me adult diaper rash. I had just had my annual pelvic exam and blood test four months prior, and was STD-free. My fiancé had just had his annual physical and blood test for work two WEEKS prior, and also was clean. Both of us are and have always been clean, respectable, responsible, intimate adults. But my gyno (an NP) insists I have the clap when I tell her what’s wrong with me. But with no exam, I mean, I was still fully dressed. I insist that that is not the issue; that it’s obviously yeast (I mean, it was a rash–not lesions or bumps). I’m really sensitive down there, and get infections a lot, but this one got out of control because it, of course, HAD to occur over the holidays when no one was open to get examined early enough. But she is, or had been my nurse practitioner for five years, so she should realize this. I also explained we (my partner and I) had both been examined recently, and neither of us have the clap.
Then, she replies, ‘Well, all men cheat. He cheated on you.’
At the end of it all, it was confirmed I did not (and do not) have anything. I DO now have a husband who has never cheated, and a new gyno who is an actual doctor.”
He Just Wanted To Have A Peak
“I went to a gynecologist to drop off papers for my friend. He said he ran free cervical cancer screening tests and even though I had one done a few months prior, I felt a little pressured to take it. Took my pants off, his head is in my huhu, his phone rings, and he picks it up! Puts it on a speaker while still doing stuff between my legs. There’s a woman on the phone telling him about a very intimate problem she has, he’s just advising her what to do as if I wasn’t even there. I get dressed, he then starts a chat with me where he swears like a cowboy and is generally very relaxed. I leave. That was over a year ago. I still haven’t gotten my test results.
I asked my friend if he’s that creepy with her. She said that she really likes him, and he acts normal around her. He only wanted to see my huhu. I really think he just wanted to have a peak. He came across as a creep, and for a second I wasn’t even sure whether he was an actual doctor- even the choice of words he was using. I have posted negative reviews anywhere I could, because if it happened to someone that is very self-conscious or maybe went through some traumatic experiences, a visit like this could end up badly.”
“I had an OB break my water purposely without asking, and for absolutely no reason, when I was 37 weeks pregnant. He was up in there routinely, asked me how many weeks I was. When I said 37, he then said “I think it would be a beautiful day to have a baby today!’ Then stuck a poker up there and popped my water. He left, I cried and never saw him again. But, obviously, birthed a baby that day.
The OB literally, for no reason did that and left, and I was horrified. I didn’t know how long until my baby comes out, or when I’ll feel contractions. I had no idea anything of anything.
After he left, the nurse was blankly staring at me, and I was like, ‘What just happened??? Did he just break my water??? Am I in labor??? What’s going on?’
Thankfully, my husband was there with me, but he had to leave to now go get all our baby stuff because none of it was ready. And it was NOT a beautiful day to have a baby. At all.
I am lucky I didn’t have any infections, but it was a terrible way to start off your life as a first time mom. For one, we really weren’t ready yet. And two, my family doctor kept saying most moms go overdue around two weeks (apparently a lot do). So, needless to say, I wasn’t expecting a baby for maybe three to five more weeks. My son ended up having reflux, which I can’t fully blame on him being a bit premature, but we’ll never know.
I also had an issue producing milk, so my son did not gain any weight for three weeks, and was lethargic- not to mention, this was terrifying for me. So, we formula-fed him after that. I think that all of this is how I got postpartum depression.
Fast forward, and my son is turning five next month and I have a two-year-old girl as well. They’re healthy, happy, normal kids and I’m fine. I still do have regular mom anxiety now, but all is well in the world. I feel like we wouldn’t have had such a bad and stressful first year of my son’s life though if it wasn’t for that OB.”
He Only Assumed
“When I got pregnant for the first time I had a miscarriage. When the bleeding started, my husband and I rushed to the hospital. I look a lot younger than I actually am. At the time I was 24 and looked maybe 16. The nurses were kind and did tests and ultrasounds. They told me the doctor would come in shortly to let us know what’s up.
So we waited forever, and then we hear the doctor in the hall flirting with the nurses, which is fine, whatever, but then he made a joke and then walked into my room laughing, looks at my chart and goes, ‘Well, good news is you aren’t pregnant anymore.’
I bust out in tears and his smirk faded from his face, and he goes, ‘Oh, you wanted the baby? I assumed because you are a teenager that you didn’t want it.’
My husband looks him dead in the eye and tells him that I’m 24, and we have been married for two years, and we did want a baby. So then the doctor begins backpedaling and tells me that everything else looks fine and in time we could try again.”
Left Crying And Shaking
“I was 14 years old and was getting tested for polycystic ovarian syndrome. The nurse insisted she do an internal sonogram, despite my order only being for an abdominal since I was a minor, and hadn’t had any intimate relations with anyone.
I told her no, but she grabbed my arms and held me down and yelled an inch from my face. I screamed bloody murder until someone else came in and told me I actually was allowed to refuse the test.
I left crying and shaking and I’ve had anxiety problems with doctors ever since.”
“Went to a gastroenterologist because I’d been having some severe bloating and discomfort, and I’d been gaining weight like crazy even though I hadn’t changed my routine. This doctor took one look at me (a young, college-age woman), and completely wrote me off. Yes, the weight gain was a concern, but I mostly wanted him to try to figure out what was causing all the pain.
He never offered to do any tests or anything. Instead, he assumed that I was only there because I wasn’t skinny and told me that 20 lbs heavier was just going to be my ‘new normal’ so I had better get used to it. He gave me a lecture about how I shouldn’t compare myself to models in magazines. Dude, I am not 14. Yes, I struggle with self-esteem, but what woman doesn’t? I didn’t come to your office (and pay for it-ugh) for you to tell me to keep my chin up and get used to being fat.
Now, my symptoms aren’t happening as often now, just every once in a while. I assume it must be some kind of product allergy, though my primary doctor tested me for the major ones like gluten and lactose, before he sent me to that wackadoodle.”
Nobody Else In The Room Said Or Did Anything
“I was in need of a reconstructive chest augmentation when I was around 16 years old. It takes a surprising amount of shopping around for a doctor and one that we visited (my mom and I) had a little office and an even smaller room.
I was sitting on the edge of the examination table, up above the doctor, with my shirt off. So far so good. I mean, they’re part of the female body, and he needed to look at them.
But he did so by scooting himself in so close on his little wheelies wannabe stool that his knee was between my legs. He then spent the entirety of the appointment sketching a horrible diagram of my chest on the back of my chart.
His nurse was leaning against the counter with an exasperated look with him, and almost pitying toward me. My mom stood in the corner waiting and watching while I was left sitting there, frozen and completely uncomfortable. But I was too young, and too shy to say anything.
This wasn’t my first rodeo for a consultation but it was the only one that made me feel uncomfortable.
It was a super fast appointment and as we were leaving I told my mom how odd I felt and how uncomfortable it was.
She said, ‘Yeah, I got that vibe too. A few more minutes and I would have gotten you out of there.’
Right, thanks for that!
I can still picture the office to this day and the sensation of hopeless disbelief that nobody else in the room said or did anything.”
It Was Not Reflux
“After I had my daughter, I had horrible stomach pains after eating and I would throw everything up. I was only a week postpartum, so I still had to see my OB for anything and everything. However, my OB was gone because she also had a baby.
So, I called the nurses line. The nurses and the doctor covering for my doctor said it was reflux. There was no way it was reflux.
I went back and forth with them, but they wouldn’t check me any further. So, my parents, who are both in the medical field, then pushed me to get a second opinion.
I ended up just calling my primary care physician. But he didn’t want to see me so close to birth. I explained my situation and he said to come in. My primary physician is truly awesome. He had me get an ultrasound and found my gallbladder needed to come out. And four weeks postpartum, I had surgery.
I went to my OB for my six-week check up and told them I ended up needing surgery. The Doctor that was covering said nothing. And he used the wrong size speculum (it was too big). I have a pretty high pain tolerance, but I was bawling. After that, he then told my husband congrats because it didn’t even look like I had a baby and the nurse winked at him. Never seeing that guy again.”
The Final Straw
“I went to a GYN office because the physician assistant that worked there was highly recommended. And she was great. Eventually, though, she moved to another practice that was too far from my home, so I stopped seeing her and saw the OB/GYN in the office instead. Big mistake.
This woman not only had NO bedside manner, her office was complete chaos. Here are a few highlights:
I went in because I was having some chronic issues. She kept me waiting 45 minutes past my appointment time because she was discussing her kitchen reno with the contractor IN HER OFFICE, in the middle of the day (and while patients were in her waiting room and could hear every word she said). No apology when she took me in for my appointment either.
Those chronic issues resulted in testing. I was called not once, but TWICE, with someone else’s test results (this other patient had a slightly similar last name to me, but completely and totally different first name). Only Lord knows who received my test results.
The final straw was when I was getting a pelvic exam from her. I was up in the stirrups with a speculum in me and the doctor said, and I quote, ‘You know, Lena, we do offer laser hair removal in the office if you want to do that.’
Yeah, that was the LAST straw. The lack of professionalism was just ridiculous. Thankfully, I live in an area where there are a number of OB/GYN, and I was recommended to one who had just opened her own practice in a neighboring town. I saw her, and she was AMAZING – she ended up delivering both my sons and I had an amazing birth experience both times. I see one of her colleagues now because she’s now pretty much just hi-risk OB and I’m done having kids, but I probably never would have found her if I didn’t go to the craptacular doc first.”
“My cousin had been pregnant and lost her baby halfway through the pregnancy due to an incompetent cervix (when the cervix will not stay closed to keep the baby in).
She went back to her OB for a check up two weeks later and the first thing he said to her when she walked in was ‘so how’s the baby?’
The worst of it, this was her second loss for the same reason and I already hated him because he didn’t do anything to try to prevent it from happening before- and obviously again not this time around. So, to hear he said that was just shocking, to say the least. And I know he wasn’t really thinking, he didn’t say it on purpose (like to be mean), but jeez. Check your chart or something beforehand.
For women with a history of an incompetent cervix, doctors actually sew it shut to keep it closed. Not a guaranteed fix, but put in early enough, it can save a lot of pregnancies.
My cousin went to a new OB for baby number three and had it done, and carried to term.”
Didn’t Believe Her
“The most emotionally crushing thing I ever experienced from a doctor or nurse, was at a gynecological exam.
As a conservative 19-year-old, I decided to have a checkup to make sure all was well before my wedding day (Turns out it was a good thing I did because I was a carrier of bacteria that has no effect on women but can be hazardous to men). I wrote on my paperwork that I hadn’t had relations with a man yet. But the nurse and doctor openly mocked me, both in private, and out in the hallways in public, refusing to believe that I hadn’t been romantically intimate yet. So, they continually asked me very rude demeaning questions. But luckily, most of them I did not understand, both their meanings and implications, as I was very much telling the truth, and really very sheltered.
And I’ve often had problems with healthcare professionals not believing me, and either getting mad at me because they’re convinced I’m lying, or just mocking me for it. But honestly, I think most of it is because I’m so far out of the cultural norm, that they can’t wrap their head around even the possibility of it.
But anyway, I ended up with an older nurse who, although, did not believe me, agreed to at least ‘play along’ and answer some of my basic questions concerning my wedding night.
Finally, at one point, she stopped being condescending, looked at me and in confusion, and asked, ‘You really are telling the truth, aren’t you?’ I had a hard time leaving that room to walk through all the open snickers and stares, from both the nurses and patients. I was so mortified.”
“At Least Ask Me First”
“I went to a specialist for some strange endocrine issues I have. These really impact my health and all facets of my life.
The doctor was rude and condescending. He blew off everything I said and didn’t address lots of issues. Now, on top of all of this, the two things that bothered me the most:
1. I went to speak to a ‘patient advocate’ sort of person, but you could tell the only thing they were interested in was protecting themselves.
I’m so disgusted. And my parents are amazing and offered to go with me into the appointment, and I turned them down because I always feel like as a 27-year-old woman, I can handle it. But it has become apparent that anytime I don’t have someone with me I get tormented.
I also showed him photos of me from a few years back (before a large part of my weight gain). He said ‘Oh, so two years ago you had a face.’
And during the physical exam, he yanked down my leggings without asking. I have never had a doctor move clothing without asking me. It was gross. And bothered me a lot. If you’re gonna stick your hand down my pants, at least ask first.”
Bedridden With Pain
“I went in for an IUD replacement and the gyno wouldn’t perform it as it’s supposed to be done. She actually wanted me to make two separate visits (of having my frickin cervix pried open) so she could bill my insurance more.
I didn’t even take my pants off.
And I’m furious again just thinking about that woman. Who cares if I would’ve had to take a week off work, bedridden with pain- as long as she could have a couple more bucks?
It’s, honestly, the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced. It needs to open about 1cm for the IUD, (way less than for a baby). And I imagine it’s in the same pain ballpark as a passing a very small kidney stone. But the post-procedure pain is manageable, kind of similar to period cramps.
So, I spent the rest of the day on the couch or in bed. Then the next couple of days, I took off work early.”
Took A Whole Year Before I Figured Out
“I finally went to the doctor after I was vomiting a few times a week, had severe heartburn, nausea, rapid weight loss, and other issues.
But the doctor decided there was nothing physically wrong. And instead, I had bulimia and should see a therapist.
I was waking up during the night and throwing up on myself in bed- that was hand waved away. Then when I refused to admit I was bulimic (when I wasn’t) and continued to try to find another answer, I was put on antidepressants.
It took another year before I figured out I was celiac.”