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I feel completely and utterly violated by pelvic exam

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So I wanted some anonymous advice about a pretty personal event. Recently, I had my first pelvic exam, and I am having great difficulty recuperating from it. Everything was just wrong about it. Let me give you some background first, though.

I am nineteen, and I got married to my husband who is in the Army this past November. He has been/is my only sex partner ever. In fact, no one apart from him has ever seen me fully naked or anything.

The reason I received a pelvic exam is because I went to the hospital on base for extreme pain with my endomitriosis. I have been hospitalized for it before in October for the same reason. During that visit (at a different hospital), they ran some bloodwork, a urinary test, a CAT scan of my pelvic area, and injected me with Toradol. Previous to that visit, my doctor on campus prescribed Naproxen and Trammadol, which did nothing for me. Following my trip to the hospital, the same doctor prescribed Toradol in pill form to help with my menstural pain, considering its effectiveness at the hospital and the fact that even Excedrin does nothing for my pain.

During this past visit to the hospital, I told the doctors of this past experience, the reasons for my comming to the hospital, and updated them of all my history. After running both a urinary and a blood test and injecting me with Toradol, they decided it would be best to run a pelvic exam. I did not feel comfortable with this at all. Not only had I never had one before, but I was also on my period. And to top that off, I was in a hospital. I knew that gynecology wasn't their specialty; urgent care was. AND, the doctor I had was a male. The nurse, however, was a female. I thought she'd understand, given my circumstance, and allow my husband to stay with me. I was wrong. She didn't even ask me my preferences, she just sent him out of the room. Since they had asked me to change into the gown at the beginning of the visit, I didn't think to take off my underwear; especially since I was on my period. Granted, I had a tampon in, but no girl wants to feel exposed like that on her period. The nurse ushered out my husband and the doctor, and then started setting things up. She popped out the stirrups, instructed me to put my feet up there, and started pumping the bed up. Then she pulled up the sheet, saw I was still wearing my underwear, and said, "I thought I told you to take your panties off!" So she let me back down and I mentioned the tampon, so she said I needed to take that out, too. I would assume a nurse would exit respectfully and let you pull out your own tampon, but I guess that's not what army hospital nurses do. She stood right next to me with the trash can open and a tissue in her hand as though she thought I had never pulled one out before, which only added to my great uncomfortability. I then mentioned that I was not at all comfortable with the doctor operating the exam being a male, and she replied that the majority of the doctors on staff were men, and none of the female doctors were even in. So she got me back in the stirrups, "bottom feeling like its about to fall off the table", and pumped me back up to face level. At this point, I'm thinking.. I'm on my period.. I'm a heavy bleeder, I've never had a pelvic exam, my doctor's a male, my nurse is a !**@!, my husband is nowhere near me, and I'm scared out of my mind. Then doc comes in. He sits down and pulls up the sheet, instantly making me flinch. I then realize no one except my husband has ever seen me down there, and I am not comfortable with this at all. I try everything to tough it out. I stare at the ceiling, arms clenched around my chest, and all my muscles tensed. I bite my lip and the doctor says something about touching my leg then inserting the speculum, and I blank out. Then he jabbed it into my left wall, scraping me hard. I yelled out in pain and glared at him right between the eyes, and the nurse says something about calming down as the doctor mumbles a sorry. I return to my position, concentrating on the patterns of dots in the ceiling, the lights; anything but the foreign object expanding inside me, the probes, and violating touches. Once it was over, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I had never seen my face so red, and I was trying desperately not to break down in front of them. I did not want to appear weak, in spite of the weakness I was already experiencing. I scrambled to put my underwear back on, blocking out everything the nurse was saying. I returned to the hospital bed, threw the sheet over myself, and hugged my legs tightly. I asked in a shaky voice for the nurse to get my husband. Once he came in, he looked at me and saw just how traumatized I was by the whole experience. I told him I didn't want to talk about it, and I broke down crying. He held me close, the doctors came back in to say everything looked normal, gave me prescription ibuprofen to take home, and released me. Since then, I still haven't mentioned a word about the whole ordeal.

Two days ago, my husband and I were playing around together; mock fighting, the works. We both knew we were playing, but at one point when he had me pinned down, I shut down. He kept kissing me and I refused to kiss him back. He nuzzled into my neck to tickle me with his scruff, and I yelled at him to stop, and I broke down sobbing. He asked me what was wrong and tried comforting me, but I just didn't want to be touched. He felt horrible, and so did I. I didn't mean to make him feel like he had hurt me; he didn't. He kept saying, "I'm so sorry, baby. I never meant to hurt you. I'm so sorry." Finally, I just climbed into his lap and wept into his shoulder. I said I was sorry; I didn't know what got into me. We made up, and we haven't play-fought since.

Last night, I had terrible nightmares. I kept getting vaginally proved against my consent by complete strangers, all male. I was violated. I was raped. I was exposed. I kept trying to cover myself and get away, but nothing worked. I woke up humiliated and grief stricken.

I can't help feeling like all of this goes back to the pelvic exam. I don't want anything or anyone near me down there at all. I haven't told my husband, but I don't even want to have sex again for a very long time. I feel completely and utterly violated. I feel like I can't get clean, even in a hot shower. I feel dirty. How do heal from this? How can I tell my husband? I'm sorry this was so long, but this is the first time and place I've said anything about this since the experience.

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First Helper KeepingItPrivate

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replied February 24th, 2015
Welcome to e health forum.

From your long history, it seems that you are very troubled by a routine physical examination related procedure, done to diagnose any medical issue that you might have had.

This was nothing abnormal, and you should relax.

Possibly, you were not aware about what a pelvic examination is all about, and being a military hospital, you were not explained about the procedure, well enough to make you clear.

Now, since you have been found to be normal, you should be happy and enjoy good life with your husband.

If you think, you have undergone a terrible ordeal and was violated, you might benefit by seeking proper counseling from your doctor or a psychiatrist.

I hope this helps.
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