Hi, I’m Jen, lay nuclear physicist. I just returned from the gynecologist and I am so pissed off.
I went for a routine annual visit and exam and I am completely fed up with the way that gynecologists pathologize menstruation.
Here’s what happened:
As soon as I got into the exam room, the nurse asked me when was the first day of my last menstrual period. I couldn’t give her an exact date because I’ve only had my period 5 times in the last year (just a variation of normal).
After my pelvic exam (which was totally unnecessary since it turned out to be fine) the gynecologist started in with all sorts of scare tactics. Instead of accepting that periods are not library books — they’re not due on a certain day, he insists that I am at risk for something called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). That’s right; I’m supposed to believe that my body is defective!
This is the difference between the medical model of menstruation and the lay menstrual midwifery model. Menstrual midwives are trained in holistic care and they know that women are PERFECTLY DESIGNED to menstruate. Sure, I only get 4 or 5 periods a year, but my body is just as perfectly designed as the next woman. Women have been having periods without the help of gynecologists for thousands of years and we are still here.
And yes, I do have painful periods menstrual rushes, but I am not going to dull the joy of my body working perfectly just to get rid of the pain rushes. Even if my periods were painful, it would be pain with a purpose and if I had pain, I’d hire a menstrual doula to support me as I writhed in bed.
The doctor wants me to have blood drawn for hormone tests, but I refused. I know what would happen if the results came back abnormal; I’d have to have more blood tests and maybe even interventions into my menstrual cycle. Once you let gynecologists start the cascade of interventions, who knows where it will end? If I don’t let him do the test, then he can’t tell me my hormone levels are abnormal.
Even though I refused the testing, the gynecologist wouldn’t let it drop. You are not going to believe what he said next. He actually commented on the amount of body hair that I have. At first I thought I hadn’t heard him correctly. All I could think was: My GYN said WHAT??!!
And that’s not the worst of it. I know I am overweight, but he actually pointed it out and claimed that PCOS can lead to excessive weight gain.
Then he started in with the typical scare tactics claiming that women with PCOS are at greater risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, and endometrial cancer. But the worst was when he played the “no baby card.” If I don’t diagnose and treat PCOS, I might be unable to conceive and end up with no baby! He thinks he can scare me but I know better.
First of all, I could have periods every 28 days if I wanted to. All I have to do is practice menstrual affirmations (I will get my period; I am made for menstruation; My body is not broken.) and get a cranio-sacral adjustment. Oh, and I could eat more kale.
Second, I have a friend whose gynecologist told her that she might have PCOS, but when the blood tests came back, they were normal. He made her worry for nothing. I don’t want to go through that.
Third, my gynecologist, like all gynecologists, is in the pocket of Big Pharma. He just wants to prescribe some sort of medication like birth control pills to regulate my period. I bet he makes a thousand dollars every time he writes a prescription for the Pill.
Fourth, my gynecologist wants to regulate my period for his own convenience. It’s easier for him if I have regular periods and he doesn’t want to be bothered by my extremely heavy cycles, my persistent anemia and by the fact that I complained that I have been trying to conceive for three years without success.
Well, I’ll show him! I’ll get pregnant even though I have only 4 or 5 periods a year. Then I’ll be able to relax. Surely even gynecologists know that women are perfectly designed for pregnancy and no one has ever had a miscarriage.
This piece is satire.