I started writing this post a few weeks ago and then realized I needed to publish it after the recent comments by Donald Trump following the Republican Presidential debate. It seems that he took offense at questions directed to him by the female moderator and later claimed that she had blood coming out of her eyes as well as “where ever”. Most took “where ever” to mean her vagina. If Mr Trump has a chance to read this blog to the end, I hope that he will realize that the female eyes are not connected to the reproductive parts!
Knowledge of female reproductive parts is important for young women so that they are better able to make responsible decisions regarding contraception, sex and health in the future. But inevitably, I am trying to convince women that the information I give them in the office is more accurate than the information they have gleaned from mothers, friends and the internet. Following are some of the comments that I have heard over the past few months.
1. “I feel a string in by armpit. Do you think my IUD might have moved out-of-place?”
2. “I don’t want any foreign objects in my body.” This from a patient who was sexually active without birth control and a smoker. Tobacco, a baby and a penis are all foreign objects with much more serious consequences than an IUD or birth control pills.
3. A patient was concerned that she would not be able to urinate after having a procedure done on her cervix.
4. A woman was told by her boyfriend that her labia did not look normal. She remained skeptical about by reassurance that her external genitalia were within the range of normal. Unless he is a male gynecologist, I wonder how many lady bottoms the boyfriend has seen?
5. The vagina is a closed tube. Objects (tampons, contraceptive ring or pessary) cannot become lost.
6. “I had a pap smear done in the ER and they said everything was fine.” A pap smear screens for cervical cancer only. It is never done in the ER even if a speculum is placed. It does not check the health of your ovaries or your uterus.
7. “I don’t need a mammogram because there is no family history of breast cancer.” 90% of breast cancer is not hereditary and the major risk factor is obesity.
8. “I don’t want to breast feed because it doesn’t seem natural.” What do you think is the function of the breast?
9. “Pubic hair is disgusting”. Shaving it can cause ingrown hairs and contribute to recurrent vaginal infections.
10. “I won’t have a hysterectomy because then I won’t feel like a woman anymore.” Female hormones are made by the ovaries and not the uterus. A hysterectomy refers to removing the uterus and usually leaves the ovaries intact. And who thinks hemorrhaging each month makes you a woman?!
This is a plea for women to educate themselves about those parts below the waist or “down there”. It will make your doctor’s job much easier when you can name a part of your anatomy rather than referring to “something in my girl parts” when you have a concern.