The ultimate PeachTalk, is talk that is all about your vulva, vagina, and reproductive organs. Do you feel comfortable having PeachTalk with everyone? Is there someone, or a group of people who you feel the most comfortable discussing these topics with? What about when it comes to seeking medical and mental health assistance?
Have you ever found yourself sitting in your doctors office, or mental health providers office, only to be met with a different provider than who you scheduled your appointment with?
When I had my first meeting with my current surgeon/obgyn I was taken back to the exam room, but instead of meeting my female surgeon/obgyn, a male resident walked in the room. Now, this wasn’t a huge deal and I just went with the flow, but it would have been nice to have been told that I would be meeting with someone other than my main doctor. I was anxious and confused when I didn’t see who I thought I would be seeing, even though after the resident took my general info, my obgyn who I made the appointment with eventually made her way in for the actual exam.
Recently a fellow Endo, Adeno, IC, PFD sister had a somewhat similar situation when she showed up at her appointment to meet her counselor. She had specifically requested a female counselor well in advance due to the sensitive nature of what she needed to discuss in her sessions, and needing someone who she felt could relate to her, and help her through some difficult decisions. When she arrived at her appointment, she was put on the spot by being told she is going to see a male intern counselor because the female counselor would be leaving the practice soon. This put my friend in a sticky place, as she didn’t want the male counselor to feel she didn’t want his services due to any presumed incompetence, or lack of capability as a counselor, but because she really feels more comfortable talking to a fellow woman in lieu of lack of medical knowledge.
For quite a few women the choice to see a female counselor rather than a male counselor is not because of any prejudice, but because with gynecological issues it can be genuinely hard, or anxiety producing to talk to someone who doesn’t know what it’s like, for example, to have a period. If you need to discuss mental health/emotional issues that revolve around your reproductive organs (or other medical issues that only/primarily women face) with a counselor who doesn’t have a medical background, it can feel more comfortable/imperative to talk to a woman counselor who can hopefully more readily understand the basics of some things that only women with physical health issues experience. For example, I don’t think I could open up to a male counselor about losing my fertility, in the same way I could talk to a woman about it; who I feel could at the very least picture the situation more readily.
With that said, I totally get (as I’m sure most of you do) that providers in the health fields are busy and may need help from their coworkers, or in my case my wonderful doctor helps to train new doctors. But…those who work in the health care field should make an effort to inform patients if they will be meeting with more practitioners than they are aware of/if they will be meeting with an entirely different practitioner than who they made their appointment with. I believe this is common courtesy and it’s not fair to put someone on the spot.
What am I getting at? Please don’t feel guilty if you need to see a specific health provider to feel safe and comfortable discussing your very personal health issues. Obviously if you’re being prejudiced and have no valid reason to see a practitioner of a certain gender that’s not ok, but it IS ok if you have good reason for doing so. Practitioners/providers of all kinds should understand if a patient feels more comfortable talking to a certain provider who can better identify with the patients situation and so on and so forth. In an ideal world we’d all be 100% comfortable being examined by/working through mental/emotional issues with anyone of any gender, but sometimes there are situations where it helps us to work with someone we feel can relate to us in a particular situation that we’re trying to work through (especially in cases where a lack of medical knowledge can be a pitfall).
I hope that if any of you have been in a similar situation that you won’t feel bad about needing to see the provider you feel can help you best, and to whom you feel you can open up to. I will say to keep in mind that gender identity/sexual organs doesn’t/don’t guarantee understanding, but there’s NO shame or guilt in knowing that you need to specifically be seen by a male, or female, or someone who identifies otherwise! If you’re put on the spot, please don’t feel like you have to see whoever they want you to see. If you made a specific appointment and even went so far as to explain why, they should respect that, and provide you with the courtesy of informing you AHEAD of time should the practitioner be unavailable. Your permission should always be asked before automatically scheduling you to see someone else.
Special thanks to my dear friend for inspiring this entire post, and giving me permission to share her experience! XO
Myth: If you have endometriosis you are automatically infertile.
Fact: While many women’s fertility is compromised by endometriosis, having endometriosis doesn’t mean you’re automatically infertile. Fertility has many factors and a lot of it depends on the location of the endometriosis and the severity. Fertility can also be greatly improved with excision (cutting out of the endometriosis lesions) and many women have been able to conceive naturally once the endometriosis is properly removed.