• author
    • Hannah Sullivan

      Columnist
    • August 13, 2013 in Columnists

    Vagina maintenance 101

    Ladies, it’s time to talk about one thing we all find uncomfortable: the gynecologist. Nothing is more awkward than having someone poking around down there while asking you how things are going. It’s not the most enjoyable thing, but take it from me, it’s a necessity if you have a vagina.

    A few months ago, I went in for a normal check-up. I left feeling only slightly violated and went about my week. Then I got the phone call. They told me I had abnormal looking cells in my cervix and that I should come back in six months for more tests. I was completely shocked. I’m 21 years old — there’s no way I can have cancer.

    I tried to put it out of my head. I had a few nightmares here and there, but I didn’t want to worry about it. I didn’t even research it because, knowing me, I would obsess over it. The only person I told was my mom. After the second appointment, I did tell two friends, but only because I started to freak out about it and needed someone to calm me down.

    I don’t know how many of you have had a biopsy of your cervix, but sweet baby Jesus, it hurt like hell. I had to be reminded to breathe. I wasn’t sure if I was going to pass out or puke. Probably a combination of both. My gyno told me it would feel like a cramp. HA! Yeah, cramp my ass. I cried a little. And by a little I mean a lot.

    Thankfully, my test came back negative and I can continue to follow up with annual appointments. I am relieved. Knowing I’m okay was well worth the pain. It did get me thinking though — how many girls my age don’t see a gynecologist regularly? Or women for that matter? I know a few people who do everything in their power not to go. What if I had put off seeing my doctor and I actually did have cancer? Would it have been too late by the time I actually got around to making an appointment? There’s a reason people go to medical school for this stuff – because we need it.

    Being embarrassed is the worst excuse not to go. And there is no excuse. You want to know what’s really embarrassing? Having to not only go to a male gynecologist, but he is also the doctor who delivered me, and my mom and aunts see him too. I always wonder what it’s like to be a man in that field. I’m sure it’s quite the adjustment to be seeing vaginas all day long. I remember telling a former boyfriend I see a male gynecologist and it made him so uncomfortable. I was the only one who thought it was funny.

    So what have we learned? If you don’t see a gynecologist, go make an appointment right now. I said right now. It’s just a few minutes of unpleasantness once a year and it’s over. We all do it, so no need to feel weird about it. Not trying to scare you or anything, but it’s better to know that everything is how it should be than to just assume it is.



    • I went to male gynecologists when I had my babies many many years ago and then switched to all female doctors.When my male gynos would tell me how something felt I questioned how they knew that and they changed to saying their patients told them. With a woman she knows what the real truth is and can tell you. Glad all was okay.


        • Hannah Sullivan

        • August 13, 2013 at 7:38 pm
        • Reply

        That’s a good point. How does he know what it feels like. I’ve been to a woman before and she is much better about those things. Especially about putting water on that scary thing they use to open you up. The male gyno just kind of shoves it in there.

        Thank you very much 🙂


      • Jesse

      • August 13, 2013 at 9:23 am
      • Reply

      I tried to look up when I last had a pap. IDK, maybe 4 years ago? I have a male doctor and since he doesn’t bring it up, I don’t bring it up. I guess I can make an appointment. Thanks for the vagina update. Glad you are spiffy!


        • Hannah Sullivan

        • August 13, 2013 at 7:38 pm
        • Reply

        Thank you!



    • Thank you for this post and reminder for me to get my annual check-up when I am in the states again.


        • Hannah Sullivan

        • August 13, 2013 at 7:38 pm
        • Reply

        So glad I could help 🙂


      • Maya North

      • August 13, 2013 at 11:11 am
      • Reply

      Once a year for the same reason — cellular change which, blessedly, are unchanging and I have been cleared as okay. Everything but the Pap hurt. The day they stuck needles in my cervix left me in a sobbing heap and limp and traumatized for more than a week. Nonetheless, I would endure it again to prevent cancer. I have to live. I just do. Hugs!


        • Hannah Sullivan

        • August 13, 2013 at 7:39 pm
        • Reply

        I agree. I would do it again if it meant knowing I was okay. Who knows I might have to do it again.



    • Well, that about synches it! I know absolutely nothing about women. I am ashamed and promise to do better. I don’t trust doctors all that much. One doctor keeps sending me a package to send him some poop. I don’t know if I’m supposed to send a whole poop or just a piece of poop. I’m so confused.


        • Hannah Sullivan

        • August 13, 2013 at 7:42 pm
        • Reply

        Oh my gosh that is..hmm..haha. Too funny. Just send him a whole bunch of poop. Be like here you want it so bad? Take it!



    • Great health reminder, Hanna! Besides a pap smear, annual eye exams and regular mammograms are also important for finding potential problems while they’re early enough to solve!



    • Donald, they only need a little poop. No biggy.



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