Holy Hormones Journal: Thought this would be a great follow up to my post about Eve Ensler presentation on the archetypal Eve. Here is another example of women being subjugated to unnecessary and traumatic medical procedures. Many of you are not aware that women have been “felt up” for hundreds of years. Or that the “father of gynecology,” Marion Simms was actually a male doctor who was performing exploratory surgeries on women’s reproductive organs in a backyard shed in New York City. His victims were indigent and black women. Here is a great statement out of the article:
“The procedure—which is routinely initiated early in a woman’s teen years and conducted annually—can aid in “establishing the clinician–patient relationship.”
And can anyone explain to me how a genital exam “establishes the clinician-patient relationship” – other than by shaming for the woman and power and control by the physician?
Keep coming back, readers – there is more to come that will shock all of you. Even a fiction writer could not make up what is happening to women.
Doctors Are Examining Your Genitals for No Reason
By Amanda Hess
June 30, 2014
When a girl becomes a woman, she is initiated into a bizarre and mysterious annual ritual. She takes off her clothes, sticks her arms through a backless medical gown, reclines on an examination table, and spreads her legs. A doctor fits her feet into a pair of stirrups, looks at her genitals, sticks a cold metal speculum into her vagina, cranks it open, and peers in. When the speculum is removed, the doctor inserts a finger or two, and pokes around to feel the woman’s internal organs. Sometimes, the fingers examine her rectum, too.
In 2010, doctors performed 62.8 million of these routine pelvic examinations on women across America. In total, gynecological screenings cost the U.S. $2.6 billion every year. And yet, a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine reports that there is no established medical justification for the annual procedure. After scouring nearly 70 years of pelvic exam studies, conducted from 1946 to 2014, the researchers found no evidence that they lead to any reduction in “morbidity or mortality of any condition” among women. In light of the study, the American College of Physicians, a national organization of internists, has crafted a new set of guidelines warning doctors that exams conducted on otherwise symptomless women can “subject patients to unnecessary worry and follow-up” and can “cause anxiety, discomfort, pain, and embarrassment, especially in women who have a history of sexual abuse.”
In an editorial also published in Annals, internists George Sawaya and Vanessa Jacoby of the University of California–San Francisco, conclude that the pelvic examination has “become more of a ritual than an evidence-based practice.” Sawaya told me that the routine pelvic exam is such “a foundational cornerstone” of gynecology, it’s hard to even trace its origins. The new report urging doctors to reverse course will be “very controversial,” Sawaya says. “I expect a lot of physicians to raise their eyebrows.”
Just two years ago, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists admitted that “no evidence supports or refutes the annual pelvic examination … for the asymptomatic, low-risk patient.” Nevertheless, ACOG reupped its endorsement of the exam, writing that it “seems logical.” The procedure—which is routinely initiated early in a woman’s teen years and conducted annually—can aid in “establishing the clinician–patient relationship” and provide “an excellent opportunity to counsel patients about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and minimizing health risks,” ACOG reported. In other words, according to ACOG, while the annual pelvic exam might not be worthwhile in and of itself, it can be a useful device for bringing a woman to her doctor every year to get some necessary information about her reproductive health.