My gynecologist was useless.

Yes, my new gynecologist proved to be utterly useless. I am not saying he was entirely useless: he did deliver my friend’s two babies so there’s that. But in my case, he was pretty useless. Useless. Unhelpful. Uninspired. Uninspiring.

Here’s the story. I went to see a new gynecologist when I moved back to San Francisco. At 47, I was pretty sure that I was in pre-menopause and asked him if we could do some hormone tests to get a snapshot of my current levels. His reply was, basically, there was really no point.

I then told him I had done two rounds of IVF in the past couple years so had past data and was keen to get new data to compare. He dismissed my request again telling me it was a waste of time and money.

Despite my really wanting the data, I acquiesced and left. I still regret that.

Fast forward a few months. I started to experience a very unusual kind of pain – quite distinct from cramping but in more or less the same area – and enough of it that I got worried because it was constant and quite intense. So, I emailed him describing my current situation, and, requested hormone tests, again. I really wanted data! In fact, I still do. But that’s a topic for another post.

His reply came 6 weeks later delayed enough that I forgot I even emailed him for help). In it, he basically told me that a hormone test wouldn’t tell me anything useful which may in fact be the case and I do see his point; nonetheless, I still wanted to take the tests and he still dismissed my request again. He attempted to assuage me by telling me that all women are different which is true but, in this context, came across mostly as an unwillingness or inability to help. He then offered to prescribe pain meds (read: I am uninterested and uninspired to help you beyond this).

Say what?! 

So, here I was. In this day and age in San Francisco (bastion of all that is progressive), this gynecologist basically dismissed my experience entirely copping to “all women are different” which I interpreted as “you’re on your own” or “you’re shit out of luck”.  And, then, all he could do for me was offer me painkillers? Really? Have you not been at all privy to the evolution within even conventional medicine to look at and address the causes and not just the symptoms of the health issues?!

This reply blew my mind. Blew. My. Mind. But it also infuriated me. I called “Bullshit!” on this. Actually, I think the words I uttered were more aligned with sentiments of “screw that”.

I share this because, yes, it’s bullshit. I share this because I don’t know how many other women experience this type of dismissive treatment. I can’t believe I am alone. But, man, I hope I am not. If I am not and this sub-par level of treatment, from a board-certified Ob/Gyn no less, is the standard of care most women receive, we all should call “Bullshit!”.


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