The male gynecologist: Tips to connect with female patients

With all due respect to the many caring, compassionate, and skilled male OB/GYN physicians out there, we’d be amiss in ignoring the research showing a near majority of younger women preferring a female gynecologist. Some call this reverse discrimination in gynecology.  I’d more simply call it patient preference. The bigger question is, “Where does this leave the male gynecologist?”, especially in a current marketing climate promoting the “female only” OB/GYN practice?

Having built a successful practice (hopefully on the merits of being a compassionate and skilled physician, and not simply by being a female provider), I was asked to mentor a younger male physician in regards to marketing, and in increasing patient volume.  Already knowing this physician as a knowledgeable and skilled provider, I had no issue with assisting in this task.  But the truth was, what could I really add?

I decided my approach: to contemplate, “what qualities women were really looking for,” in preferring a female doctor.  Were those qualities, being a good listener, being conversational, or that she understands what I’m going through? Well some things we just can’t change, we can’t turn him into a female. But to better understand the softer side of feminine communication, I decided to bottle up some of those qualities, those of which I may be providing more naturally, as a female. I comprised a list of techniques for communicating with female patients within the doctor-patient encounter.

Caring and compassion are certainly not traits exclusive to the XX chromosomes. But as a woman myself, the best advice I could share were tips that might help to ensure with his females patients that “he gets it” and that “he gets them.” In a spirit of well-meaning, and with the hope of not seeming trivial, I shared these tips with him:

  • Introduce yourself, with a warm greeting or handshake, showing your politeness, respect, and approachability.
  • Try sitting down for a moment while the patient relates her chief complaints, showing that you have time for her, possibly making a nervous patient feel more at ease.
  • Relate back to her a sentence or two of her stated complaints, so she knows you’re listening and that she’s been heard.
  • Give detailed instructions on medication use, showing that you’re interested in her understanding.
  • Offer resources for more information, showing her that you care about her problem.
  • Greet them at the end of the visit, “Thanks for coming in,” “See you next year,” showing your appreciation for her visit, and that you look forward to seeing her again.
  • Be a hero with the patient, by following up on tests, returning calls, and reminding them to call for concerns (showing her your availability).

Now, imagine that your patient bottled up this list of characteristics to describe her male physician.

He’s approachable, he makes time for me, he makes me feel at ease, he listens, he’s interested and cares about my problems, he’s available for my concerns, he’s appreciative, and I look forward to seeing him.

Why wouldn’t I want to see him?

In an era of competition and consumerism in healthcare, physicians are facing more pressure to market ourselves, our practices, and services.  Despite the various marketing tactics, in my practice, word-of-mouth referrals, from one patient to another, remains the most successful approach to gaining new patients.  Whether male or female, let’s share in great communication with our patients, giving them something great about their physician.

Over the years, these tips have worked for me.

Suzanne Hall is an obstetrician-gynecologist who blogs at Gyno Groupie.  She can be reached on Twitter @drsuzyhall.

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  • Dinusha Sirisena

    Surprisingly, in Sri Lanka still the most of the gynecologists are male. And I think they are doing a hell of a job. This may be related to stereotypes in the patients mind as well. There are female gynecologists as well. Most of the gynecologist are now of the younger generation, and are up with patient choice and patient rights. So they are not abrasive or neglectful of the patients. I see them practicing the above mentioned pointers well in their practice.

  • M.K. Caloundra

    “Some call this reverse discrimination in gynecology. I’d more simply call it patient preference.”

    There is no such thing as “‘reverse’ discrimination” — there is only discrimination. If you’re going to argue in favor of the right of the person hiring to discriminate on the basis of the gender of potential hirees, at least be honest with your language.

    • Ian

      You are correct about the race issue (and the gender point your are trying to make in general.) But you are stereotyping the south because the story is from Flint Michigan.
      From CNN:

      “A nurse is suing a hospital, claiming it agreed to a man’s request that no African-Americans care for his baby.”

      http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/16/us/michigan-hospital-discrimination

      • M.K. Caloundra

        I apologize unreservedly for my broad-brush stereotype of the people of the South. In hindsight, that was an ignorant assumption for me to have made, and I’m sorry for it. I thank you for your correction, Ian.

      • Suzi Q 38

        In Hawaii, at times racial discrimination is alive and well.
        The patients at times prefer Asian doctors, especially the older patients. My mother prefers her Chinese doctor.

        Hey, she’s 88.
        I keep telling her that it is the person that is smart, not the race or culture. She said she likes who she likes.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Frank-Lehman/100002241640186 Frank Lehman

      You said: “In the deep south, I assume there’d be some white patients whose “personal preference” would be not to let a black doctor or nurse anywhere near them.” Don’t kid yourself, MK. There are a lot of people outside of the Deep South with the same “personal preference” you seem to be so familiar with.

      • Anon

        Most patients would prefer to have a doctor who became a doctor due to his or her hard work and intelligence.

        Although most patients are not aware that the MCAT of the average black doctor is well below the average MCAT of rejected med school applicants, they are still aware of affirmative action and rightly are concerned about having a black doctor.

        • ninguem

          I’m makin’ popcorn, anybody want any?

          • Suzi Q 38

            I need a drink.
            Ask Norm RX to make one.
            The last time he went to a bar though, someone bit him in the ass. i think I am going to get his guilt over with, and tell his wife. I know she will understand.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=881580563 Kristy Sokoloski

          And how is this relevant?

        • Mandy

          If your child needed neurosurgery, would you turn down the services of a Dr. Ben Carson?

        • Suzi Q 38

          While that may be true, that is rude.

      • Suzi Q 38

        Try the reverse in a predominantly Asian state like Hawaii.

    • Rachel

      I HAVE THE RIGHT TO RECEIVE MEDICAL CARE IN TOTAL PRIVACY AND RESPECT OF MY
      DIGNITY AND MODESTY, BUT YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO SEE ME NAKED IF I DON’T WANT TO.
      SO YOU CANNOT BE DISCRIMINATED FOR SOMETHING YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO.

      YOU
      CANNOT IMPOSE WOMEN AND THEIR HUSBANDS TO SUBMIT THEMSELVES TO BE VIEWED NAKED
      AND TOUCHED IN THEIR MOST INTIMATE PARTS BY OTHER MEN, even if they have a
      degree in medicine, SO THAT THOSE MEN DOCTORS CAN DO WHAT THEY LIKE. THE
      PATIENTS’ RIGHTS TO PRIVACY, MODESTY AND DIGNITY COME FIRST. MEDICINE IS NOT
      FOR DOCTORS TO FULFIL THEMSELVES, but it IS FOR PATIENTS TO BE TREATED IN
      RESPECT WITH THEIR FEELINGS OF PRIVACY And modesty.

      your
      argument is, henceforth completely flawed.

  • Laura

    I would add, “Always use a female chaperone whether the patient wants one or not.” I had a male doctor who excelled in all the qualities you describe above, but he didn’t use a chaperone. He should have.

    • trinu

      Did he get falsely accused of sexual assault?

      • Laura

        No.According to another male ob/gyn, “male ob/gyns should always use a chaperone. Don’t go to one who doesn’t.” Chaperones are there to protect the doctor, but they can be protective of the patient as well. If a doctor doesn’t use a chaperone, it is very uncomfortable for the patient to have to “speak up”: and say, “Uh, excuse me, where’s your chaperone?”

        • Chris

          “Uh, excuse me, where’s your chaperone?”

          Uh, it’s a medical examination by a responsible adult medical professional who’s looking to diagnose and treat any medical conditions you might have, not a prom date with a pimply hormonal teen who’s looking to jump your bones.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=881580563 Kristy Sokoloski

            If you are comfortable with having the exam done without a chaperone in the room with you and the doctor that’s good, but unfortunately not everyone is that comfortable.

          • Suzi Q 38

            I would be comfortable with my male gyn/oncologist, but he always as a chaperone when conducting my vaginal exams. I think that protects both of us.

            Some patients might get inappropriate with the doctor.
            People are people.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=881580563 Kristy Sokoloski

            Suzi Q,
            That’s good that you would be comfortable with your male gynecologist. I would not be comfortable with having a male gyn again. I have done it twice in my life. Your second point is also an excellent one because there are some patients like that about being inappropriate. Yes, people are people but even with that being the case that doesn’t make their actions ok either.

          • Suzi Q 38

            You are right.

          • http://www.facebook.com/susan.mccormick.3726 Susan McCormick

            Why? You think you’re so special that he is getting off on seeing your cooch? Honey, he’s seen so many of them and I seriously doubt yours is any different.

            That’s what the problem is. Women who believe their male gynecologists are “excited” when they do the exam. How do you know your female doctor isn’t a lesbian and is also getting off on seeing you naked and touching your private lady parts?

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=881580563 Kristy Sokoloski

            Interesting point about the female gynecologists (and someone else kind of hinted at this earlier in the discussion), but in the case of my female OB/GYN I have known her for nearly 20 years and have also met her husband. And even though I know yes some people do change I know this doctor very well. As far as do I think I am more special because I don’t want a male doctor (whether gynecologist or Primary Care Physician) to go near those areas again even though he has all the training in the world to do the exam because as you say he’s seen so many of them the answer is no I do not. I have a personal preference for female physicians when it comes to matters that affect that area. There is always the temptation there that he could be come inappropriate. And why would I (or any other woman who feels this way) allow that to even happen in the first place? Women have their reasons for why they don’t want a male doctor (whether gyn or PCP as I said before), and that should be respected. There are plenty of women out there that would rather have the visits with a male doctor, especially in relation to gyn. That’s fine as well as their choice, but please respect the women that don’t want anything to do with male doctors when it comes to having conversations about problems with their female parts. For a good number of us (myself included) it’s very awkward to be talking to a male doctor about our female problems, and that will never change. As I said I have been to male Gyns, but I have the right to choose not to let it happen again and going with the gender I am most comfortable with. Same with any other woman. You and some of the others may not agree with our reasons to which that is fine, but we have to do what’s best for us. But your thought is also along the lines of why I asked one of the other ladies what she would do if she ever needed to see a Gyn but the only one available was the male doctor what would she do. I know what I would do in a situation like that.

          • Laura

            Uh, Guest, with all due respect, some victims of past sexual abuse (of which I am not one), really struggle with vaginal and breast exams. Medical assistants as standard practice should always ask the patient before the doctor comes in, “Would you like me to be with you during your exam?” This is considerate of the wide variety of patients who come in for well woman exams.

    • James

      Do you feel thal female urologists should have a male chaperone for all of their GU exams? Would you consider it discriminatory for said female urologist to only hire male medical assistants? (might be hard to do as only about 10% of medical assistance students are male) What happens when an equally qualified female MA sues because the male MA got the job at the urology clinic? Or are you proposing that every urology office with a female urologist have at least one male healthcare employee to chaperone every one of her examinations? What about the male urologist who is gay? Who do you want to supervise his urological examinations? Your comment is insulting. Why do you think your exam is special because you have a vagina? It’s a body part and you have an appointment to see a specialist who deals with that body part.

      • buzzkillersmith

        Come on. An old dude is gonna be all worried about showing his privates to a female doc? If you find a case of a female urologist being sued or reported to the medical board by a male pt, please share it with us here. I would suspect that inappropriate behavior by the male pt would be much more common than such behavior by the female doc. Lest you accuse me of being anti-male I say this as a lifelong XY and glad of it.

        • trinu

          Younger guys are more likely to prefer same-gender care for urological
          issues, but they generally just get a male doctor; I’ve never heard of
          any female doctor being accused of sexually assaulting patients.

          • C.L.J. Murphy

            Could it be that perhaps men and boys don’t feel as empowered as women do to report such things? That they don’t feel they’d have the same level of societal support?

          • trinu

            Are you talking about sexual assault or a preference for same gender care?

          • NormRx

            About 15 years ago I was having dinner with a buddy, after dinner we went to the bar to have a drink. As I was standing at the bar, a woman that I didn’t not know came up behind be and bit me on the ass. It was very painful and after several hours the teeth marks were quite visible. I found out later that this nut case though this was funny and she did this to other men. Why she was allowed back in this supper club is beyond belief. After this incidence they did ban her from coming back. I did not call the police because I did not want the publicity and them probably blaming me for provoking her because we all know women would never do something like this. When I went home I had to cover my ass from my wife for a couple of weeks until the bruises healed. Can you imagine trying to explain this and have her believe you? I am sure some of the readers of this blog also find this unbelievable, but it is the absolute truth.

          • Suzi Q 38

            Did you “ask for it?”
            Sorry to be so rude, but that is what were told in the decades past.

            Sorry it happened.
            I hope it doesn’t get infected. Good think you had your pants on as a barrier.

            How would have thought?
            Your wife would have believed you.

            She night not have let you go to that bar again, though.
            Maybe you should rethink the places that you choose to have drinks at.

            Interesting story, Dr. Norm.

          • NormRx

            Suzie, Of course I asked for it. I love pain and I just considered it foreplay. My wife may have believed me, but I considered it easier to just try and hide it until it healed. I know I said it was a bar in my post, but it was a very nice supper club with a bar. I was in sales so I traveled a lot, I went to this place with a buddy for dinner.

          • Suzi Q 38

            Good answer, Norm. Strange situation at best.
            Sorry for the insult, but in the past, people used to actually say that to women that were victims of sex crimes.
            I apologize.

          • trinu

            You’re right, you are being rude, and unless NormRx was personally asking women if they asked for it, your comment is way out of line.

          • Suzi Q 38

            True.
            I was just pointing out that this is what we women were told in decades past, as an illustration of sorts.
            Not that I really thought that about Norm for real.

          • Laura

            I believe you Norm. Women can be very sexually aggressive. I believe the incidence of female providers molesting patients is rare, though. The tone of comments on this blog posts is really bothersome to me. There is a pronounced lack of awareness of the needs of sexual abuse victims in medical settings, as well as male providers who don’t use chaperones. Two doctors that have extensive histories of action taken against them by our state’s medical board were sexually inappropriate with patients and DID NOT USE CHAPERONES. These are very popular doctors and one is still practicing. Scary.

          • querywoman

            NormRX, everyone knows that women are meaner than men! Your story is really horrid! Not as high a percentage of women as men all that men, but when women get mean, they get real mean!
            That’s the mothering instinct, being able to protect the young. My daddy let a tomcat in once because of a mouse. Lazy cat didn’t do squat. He should have known better.
            My grandma told him, “Oh no, you have to get the mama cat for a mouser! They have their instinct to protect the young.”

          • buzzkillersmythe

            No, it’s because female doctors don’t sexually abuse grown men or post-pubescent boys because they’re, uh, women. And women are less physically aggressive than men as well as being smaller and weaker. in case you haven’t noticed. Are you being intentionally obtuse here?

            Little boys are different of course, but still I haven’t heard about female docs abusing them.

          • KLP

            Female doctors wouldn’t be any more prone to abusing post-pubescent boys than female teachers would … oh wait. There’s a bit of that going around lately isn’t there! And there have been two notable female paedophile rings broken in the UK in recent years…..

          • buzzkillerjsmith

            Please share your recent experience with female pediatrician pedophile rings.

          • http://www.facebook.com/roger.sorensen.54 Roger Sorensen

            You are so blind buzzkillersmith. It doesn’t take physical strength to trick guys into being stripped and fondled. Female “caregivers” lie about what needs to be done and the male patients believe them. They also abuse male patients while they are unconscious or doped up. That doesn’t take physical strength.

          • buzzkillersmythe

            Agreed.

          • http://www.facebook.com/roger.sorensen.54 Roger Sorensen

            It’s the unwanted support staff that do much more damage than the doctor.

        • ninguem

          The purpose of a chaperone is to protect the doctor.

          • buzzkillersmythe

            True, which is why I always have a chaperone when doing gyn exams. But I think grown men have little to fear from female docs. If the female doc is worried about a particular male pt, certainly she might want a chaperone. That’s her call.

        • querywoman

          RE: buzzkillersmith: An old dude is gonna be all worried about showing his privates to a female doc?
          Hey, I had a female home health NP who told me there were some male patients, “I just can’t see,” and that her male doctor boss would see them.
          I teased, “Oh, they whip out and show you their vasectomy scars?”
          She laughed, “I still have to look, if I’m there, and it’s recent.”
          I don’t know what kind of stuff they would do or talk about in front of her, and I don’t wan to know.

        • http://www.facebook.com/roger.sorensen.54 Roger Sorensen

          What a disgusting attitude buzzkillersmith.

      • CountMeAmused

        There are almost NO female urologists. Urology practices are under extreme pressure to hire male attendants but honestly, no nurses (male or female) are present for procedures.
        It’s a failed analogy.
        This only underscores the difference and the problem.

    • Mandy

      My children’s pediatrician is a female. At what age do you suggest I start demanding that she always have a male chaperone present when she examines my son? Or, do you think it would be more effective for me to teach both my son and my daughter that their doctor is there to aid them, and for me to try to use reason and understand to help them past any feelings of awkwardness or embarrassment as they come up?

      • http://www.facebook.com/roger.sorensen.54 Roger Sorensen

        Don’t torture your son by sending him to a female doctor for embarrassing examinations.

      • CountMeAmused

        I understand your reasoning Laura. But at some point, you have to recognize biological wiring as well. Your son and daughter will soon make this clear to you. And if you don’t listen and try to reason them past their awkwardness…. sad.

    • querywoman

      If I ever go to a male ob/gyn, I will insist on a chaperone. If a woman doctor also has someone with her, I will assume she is sensible enough to absorb the extra expense so that she will have extra hands available if she needs it.

  • Jean Oliver

    It may, indeed, be patient preference for women to choose a female gynecologist especially younger women. Perhaps older (and middle aged) women are more willing to accept a male gynecologist because when they first needed one there were few females in the profession so they had no choice. I find it interesting that you did not mention that some women may have a hard time going to a male for these types of exams because of the very nature of them: it is difficult enough to bare one’s body, legs spread, etc. with any doctor let alone a male one. I am an older female who would never go to a male gyn for this reason and not because I don’t believe a male cannot be warm, compassionate, etc. It is interesting to me that doctors rarely concede this point. I know quite a few women who would not go to a male gyn for this reason and they are not all young. And, actually, as far as chaperones go many people are uncomfortable with one at all: it just means another pair of eyes. I think it is entirely acceptable for patients to have a choice of gender, whether for a doctor, nurse, assistant, etc. when the procedure involves intimate exposure. The patient’s comfort (male or female) should be paramount.

    • Guest

      “I think it is entirely acceptable for patients to have a choice of gender”

      What about sexual orientation? If a homophobe is faced with a doctor who is LBGTI should they be able to demand a heterosexual instead? Or religion… should an anti-Semite or Islamophobe who would be uncomfortable being bare before a Jew or a Muslim be able to demand someone of their own faith?

      • Jean Oliver

        It’s not a matter of “demanding”, it’s a matter of choice. A patient, after all is a customer. I would not equate preferring a same gender provider (for intimate procedures) with preferring someone based on sexual orientation, religion, etc. In most cases a patient is not going to know what one’s sexual orientation or religion is but they sure do know what the provider’s sex is. It’s not a sexual thing but more a matter of comfort; a small way of minimizing the embarrassment of it. It’s puzzling to me that people don’t get this: they assume that just because they are ok with opposite gender care in those situations everyone else should be, too. We are all different and some of us just prefer to have same gender care in these situations and it is our choice to seek out that preference and expect it to be respected.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=881580563 Kristy Sokoloski

        Religious beliefs is one thing that is utmost importance to some women of certain religious faiths. And yes, they should be able to have a doctor of their same faith if it is that important to them when it comes to the kind of values they are looking for in a doctor. It’s part of being culturally competent and healthcare workers are taught this in classes went to school especially for professions like Nursing and doctors.

      • Noni

        I personally think it’s fine and appropriate if a patient wants a physician who shares religious, ethnic, sexual orientation or cultural background with them. My parents like physicians around the same age and cultural background as them. I could see a homosexual patient preferring a homosexual physician. Nothing wrong with it in my opinion!

        • W.B.

          As a straight patient I sure don’t want either a male or a lesbian doctor, no way, and that is my CHOICE! Straight females ONLY.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=881580563 Kristy Sokoloski

      “It may, indeed, be patient preference for women to choose a female gynecologist especially younger women.” Interesting statement but that’s not necessarily the case especially for younger women. For a number of women (young or old) talking to a male doctor whether an OB/GYN or a Primary Care Physician about problems that they may be having with their female area is awkward (see the discussion that was had about why OB/GYNs are not Primary Care Physicians). As for the nature of the exam that is true although my very first pelvic exam was done by a male doctor when I was 18 years old (yep, in the days before the guidelines as they are now).

  • buzzkillersmith

    Good tips for any doc. That said, lots of females will prefer a female OB. Their choice.

    • EmilyAnon

      Wow, buzzkiller, I had you all wrong. Thank you for your common sense understanding on this topic. I hope my praise won’t put you in the enemy camp of your fellow doctors.

  • C.L.J. Murphy

    “Where does this leave the male gynecologist?” you ask?

    The same place it has left the male schoolteacher. Eyed with suspicion, presupposed to be some sort of sexual pervert, and requiring chaperones at all turns. Not quite extinct yet, but well on its way.

    • querywoman

      Men have had resistance entering kindergarten and elementary classes as teachers.

    • CountMeAmused

      Err… might be wrong here but given that male sexual pursuit region of the brain is 2.5x female, that all males performing pelvic exams experience outright arousal during a pelvic exam (at some point during their medical training), that all male examiners experience sexual titillation from partially clad females in a position of disempowerent made possible by stirrups that are not necessary for any of the exams (nevermind their wisdom separately), that many male doctors conduct pelvic exams under the thinnest of pretenses (non-gyn surgery)…guessing this analogy fails. The chaperone exists for a reason (bad things happened).

      The more appropriate analogy would be the male schoolteacher who experienced arousal or sexual titillation giving 1:1 with his students.

      Pelvic and clinical breast exams should end. That stops the gender question frankly. Womens Wellness is a lab screen and it doesn’t even require clinical collection.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=881580563 Kristy Sokoloski

        The way to handle who should be doing the necessary exams in the first place is to let the woman decide which doctor she prefers to let do them. And a number of women prefer to have female physicians whether it’s their Primary Care Physician or their OB/GYN for these exams. Nothing wrong with that, and the woman that chooses to see the female physician instead of the male should be respected whether the other people in her life agree or not.

        • CountMeAmused

          Completely agree with one part of your statement. The female patient makes all decisions (informed consent is a basic human right, one that the Womens Wellness industry has often abused).
          I completely disagree with your statement about “necessary exams”. There is nothing necessary about a pelvic examination in the asymptomatic woman. Palpation-based diagnostics fail everywhere tried in medicine (e.g. digital rectal exams are no longer recommended). There is no way to objectively interpret them and they are then a rich source of false positives. You would think that any exam like this would have been cost-justified but the only large-scale studies (UCSF) have concluded pelvic’s are contraindicated as a screen.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=881580563 Kristy Sokoloski

            The issue of CV disease killing more women than all cancers combined is something that I am sure a number of people would disagree with. The reason? Because many people still continue to choose to have the kind of lifestyle choices that contribute to it in the first place.

            I am not sure where you are from, but to say that screening a 21 year old or younger for cervical and breast cancer is odd as far as for all young women, ok maybe where you are from it is odd. However, it is not odd here to do this and the reason for that is because so many of the young women out there in this country are indeed sexually active. Those that are 21 are very much capable of getting cervical or breast cancer. doesn’t happen often but it does happen. So the screening is necessary. Also, the guidelines changed recently for how often they should go. Is that to the benefit of the young women and other women to have this change? Hard to say as it has only has been out a short time.

          • CountMeAmused

            I am sorry that you disagree with data. CV diseases kills more women than all cancers combined. You may reference numerous CDC databases to confirm this fact. Disturbingly, statins are effective on males pre-event but show no benefit on women pre-event (ie. they work on women who have already had a stroke or heart attack). It’s out there for all to read. If you wish links, let me know. I will provide them.

            Breast cancer risk has nothing to do with sexual activity. So let’s take that one off the table at the start. Indeed, breast feeding (a result of being sexually active), reduces breast cancer risk. Clinical Breast Exams are archaic and sad.
            As for pelvic exams and cysts, et al. You accidentally prove my point. Almost all notable detections made during a pelvic exam from an experienced

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=881580563 Kristy Sokoloski

            Studies, and the data in them are based on the opinions of the authors that conduct the studies. They can be manipulated in such a way to say “yep, the author is right” when they may very well be wrong. So I don’t rely on any kind of studies, even the ones from the CDC or other government agencies.
            You may think I am wrong about most women continuing to think of OB/GYNs as specialists, and that’s fine. However, I am one of a number of women that wanted OB/GYNs to be Primary Care Physicians and I am glad that they are considered such. They will still continue to be considered OB/GYNs. If they go back to being considered specialists like they were 15 years ago then women who need them for conditions like Endometriosis are going to have a hard getting to them for treatment.

          • CountMeAmused

            Kristy,

            I apologize if I am misinterpreting your comments or misled you.

            1. It is not a matter of opinion that CV disease kills more women than all cancers combined. It is demonstrable FACT (i.e. there are no bodies or studies claiming the opposite. Some data for you:

            A. “Most women (62%) still believe cancer is the greatest health threat for women, and the younger generation is even more convinced of this. At a distant second, <10% of women overall perceive heart disease as their greatest threat.
            This belief is in direct contrast to the facts. In 1998, cardiovascular disease claimed the lives of 503 927 women and cancer caused 259
            467 deaths; thus, cardiovascular disease killed nearly twice as many women.2
            B.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=881580563 Kristy Sokoloski

            It’s fine if you want to believe that it’s a fact that CV disease kills more women than all cancers combined. I have heard this for years, and all these studies that have tried to say it’s a fact are just opinions. Nothing wrong with having an opinion that is different from another person. Having a differing opinion about a subject does not necessarily make the person ignorant, it means that they just don’t agree. This is where I fit because information is always changing as to what is right.
            An OB/GYN is smart enough to know to send their patients to a cardiologist if she needs one. A Family Medicine doctor would do the same thing.

      • http://www.facebook.com/bill.leif.3 Bill Leif

        “might be wrong here”.
        Let’s remove all doubt: you are wrong. Your supposition is that men, as a group, lack control of their sexual urges. Clearly not true, and extremely sexist. Also, as we have been told for years, sexual assault is about power, not sex. Your supposed “statistic” is entirely irrelevant.

        • CountMeAmused

          Thanks for posting. Clearly the majority of men are indeed able to resist sexual urges. I am one of them. The point is that our gender is wired differently and would indeed consider courses of action that women would not, free from all resulting consequences. History makes this quite clear if nothing else.
          The elephant in the room here is the role of male sexuality in women’s wellness. No one wants to talk about it and the poker face and associated theater doesn’t help. At a minimum, males would appear disadvantaged in disinterestedly administering intimate examinations as a class to women (relative to women MDs). I would go further and say that male sexuality absolutely influenced the DESIGN of women’s wellness. We have medically worthless exams (referring to PE and CBE specifically), administered on the healthy and generally young. I get the profit motive for certain and studies by Sawaya bear this theme out ( a pelvic takes less than 3 minutes and reimburses at $75). But I don’t think that gets us the point where we’re blowing 5 billion a year on 64 million invasive examinations of healthy women (they hate by the way) before we consider the cost of the false positives. And then there’s the problems you’ll have to explain away…the chaperone role, the sexual misconduct statistics, etc. You might want to read up on the Contagious Disease Acts in the Victorian England and the resulting rise of the feminist movement.
          You mentioned Power / Sexual Assault as tandem. I very much agree. Let’s chat about about that for a minute. Do you think it’s not an expression of power to require a strange woman submit to a pelvic exam in order to obtain an oral contraceptive refill when the exam has nothing to do with the prescription to refill (that’s a lot of power in my book)? And you do realize that women really cannot move in stirrups positioned on the end of a table, right (and that stirrups are not necessary)? Is it power to force a women to have a clinically collected STI screen when you know that a blood draw or self collected swab works every bit as well with less trauma? And a lot of these women receive half-robes (with sheets) so they couldn’t leave if they want to. And then there’s the interesting phenomenon of these exams being dusted off for unrelated physical maladies or, at least historically, being administered to incapacitated women (surgeries in particular). You do realize digital penetration without true consent is rape (see Steubenville, and the Texas Trooper body cavity cases), right? So we are in violent agreement on the connection and I see elements of this connect in WW.
          And if male sexuality is irrelevant, why are all these changes happening now that ACOG is majority female (e.g. ACOG recommending OTC treatment for the pill, 3 year pap, HPV DNA, etc). Is this all coincidence?
          This is all going to get quietly blown away just as soon as OB-GYNs find billable codes for weight loss and smoking cessation. Personally, I’d like these surgeons to go back to birthing problems (but learn a breech birthing method for crying out loud) and plumbing problems. Leave primary care to others. The last couple of decades have been a subterfuge (IMO) at women’s expense.
          Look forward to our dialogue.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=881580563 Kristy Sokoloski

            And what do you suggest a woman do if she does not want to use her Primary Care Physician for things like what the OB/GYNs have been doing these last number of years? You can’t make a woman use her Family Medicine doctor for her Primary Care Physician if she does not want to use them in that way.

          • CountMeAmused

            Kristy,
            My take only. Like most consumers who have a brain, I like having direct ACCESS to specialists (I don’t want to see a PCP for the tears I have in my shoulder). This is of course different than NOMINATING ONE as PCP. That would be absurd and it is exactly what has happened with OB GYN. These are surgeons who deal with plumbing problems and births. Women are not defined by their reproductive organs and they do get sick and injured (increasingly, in fact, as athletic outlets increase).
            I suspect you are in violent agreement.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=881580563 Kristy Sokoloski

            I agree with you that we as women are not “supposed to” be defined by their reproductive organs as they are just other parts of the body. And in theory I also agree with you that it’s absurd to nominate some specialists as a PCP like in the example you gave (which was a very good one by the way). And I can also see why you would say that this is what has happened with OB/GYN.

  • http://www.facebook.com/SallyAshus Robin Taylor

    Dear Dr Hall, has it occurred to you that perhaps a compelling reason why women prefer a female practitioner, especially for obstetric care, is that NO man has ever experienced pregnancy and childbirth and therefore cannot truly understand. Women do know that male OB’s are more likely to view pregnancy and childbirth as medical pathologies, rather than as normal events of a woman’s lifetime, and therefore are far more likely to impose technologies and interventions. It’s tragic that too many female OB-GYN’s have resorted to behaving like men to have a career in a male-dominated world. The young women of my daughter’s generation are far less willing to put themselves and their babies into the care of men who distrust women’s bodies.

    • James

      Will you insist your oncologist has a history of cancer?

    • Dana

      I know several palliative care specialists who do an excellent job despite the fact that they themselves have never been terminally ill.

    • querywoman

      I had excellent sympathy from male ob/gyns who were nongreedy and had extra training in fertility, but it was really nice to get empathy from the female endocrinologist who had experience terrible menstrual cramps.

    • http://www.facebook.com/roger.sorensen.54 Roger Sorensen

      “NO man has ever experienced pregnancy and childbirth and therefore cannot truly understand”
      I agree, and that’s exactly the same reason that females should NEVER insert a urinary catheter into a male patient.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=881580563 Kristy Sokoloski

        More men are entering the Nursing profession, and that’s a good thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/felonious.grammar Felonious Grammar

    The first time I had a gynecological exam with a warm speculum, was the first time I saw a woman gynecologist. I have limited myself to women gynecologists since. They also never have made remarks to me like “You were made to have babies,” (I’m female? I’m phenomenously fertile?) and never decided for me that I couldn’t have an IUD because I might ‘change my mind’ about having children later. I’d rather have a woman intern inserting an IUD for the first time (yeah, it hurt) than see a male gynecologist who had done it a hundred times.

    Although I feel no need to justify my choice, I find the fact that men here are talking about women not wanting to see male gynecologists as “discriminating” is typical. Men speaking as if discrimination and sexual violence against women is little more than a complaint and not a valid reason for a woman not to want to spread her legs and give a man access to her cervix is typical of thoughtless jerks who can’t understand why anyone would ever challenge their privilege— especially a woman.

    • KLP

      “All Men Are Rapists” is no less insulting than “All Gays Have AIDS”, “All Women Are Weak & Emotional”, or “All Blacks Are Crack-Heads”. None are accurate, and none should be valid reasons to refuse to hire someone.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=881580563 Kristy Sokoloski

        While I agree that these extreme examples are not a good enough reason to refuse to see someone for medical care or hire them for another service a woman (regardless of her age) feeling awkward about talking about possible problems in the female area is. If a woman does not want to see a male gynecologist or Primary Care Physician about whatever is concerning her with regard to that area that is her choice. If you try to say that her reasoning is wrong, flawed, irrational, etc and she does indeed see a male doctor for said problems and something goes very wrong (not saying it definitely will happen in all cases because it won’t) then she may end up not trusting the healthcare system at all. And not trusting the healthcare system at all is not a good thing either.

      • http://www.facebook.com/felonious.grammar Felonious Grammar

        That’s what all the rapists say.

        No one needs an “excuse” not to hire someone. The general notion here that women who don’t want to hire male doctors, as if women owed themselves to male doctors, is just so much privileged self-pitying.

        Boo hoo hoo. Male doctors might not be at every turn preferred.

        • AnonyMom

          “No one needs an “excuse” not to hire someone.”

          Tell that to the Equal Opportunity fascists!!

          • http://www.facebook.com/felonious.grammar Felonious Grammar

            “Fascism” — you don’t know that word means, do you.

  • AKMaineIac

    Good patient handling practice for all providers to read and try to emulate. No matter their role in the health care system.

  • Suzi Q 38

    I would be impressed by a doctor or health professional of any gender
    That followed the above advice and recommendations.

  • minti cakes

    There are many stories in the press about male doctors who sexually assault their female patients. The only way a woman can protect herself from being abused is to have a female doctor.

    • AnonyMom

      There are many stories in the press about female teachers who sexually abuse their male students. The only way we can protect our sons from being abused is to make the school district refuse to hire female teachers for them.

      • W.B.

        MOST female teachers DO NOT sexually abuse their male students!!!

      • http://twitter.com/patientmodesty Patient Modesty

        Most female teachers actually do not abuse male students. You are much more likely to be abused in medical settings because doctors can ask you to disrobe. Teachers do not ask students to disrobe. Many students would know something was wrong if a teacher asked her/him to take his/her clothes off.

    • querywoman

      Most doctors don’t sexually abuse patients. Most teachers don’t sexually abuse students. Most Catholic priests don’t sexually abuse parishioners, and when they do, heterosexual women are more likely to be their victims than are boys.
      However, sexual abuse does appear to be more common by the male perpetrator.
      Crime analysts say men are more likely to abuse, sexually and physically, random women who are smaller because it is easier to conceal them. They also say that women are more likely to abuse children because children are smaller and the victims most available to them.
      All abusers should be very careful today (most are risk takers), because in the modern world, it’s easy to record stuff with cellphones and other modern media concealed surreptitiously.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=881580563 Kristy Sokoloski

        The reason that people get the idea that most Catholic priests (and this could also apply to any other religious faith if the issue has come up at all) may think that heterosexual women are more likely to be victims than are the boys is because of the number of unreported cases from boys and men who were affected. The same thing also tends to happen if the spouse in a marriage that is being abused is the man instead of the woman the way most people think.

        • querywoman

          Nobody really knows how many in each category are abused. I am told that, even in the Catholic priesthood, the male priests are mostly heterosexual and therefore likely to have consensual sex with women. That’s an unequal power situation, and it is abuse.
          Men do tend to be stronger and bigger than women. Strength is implicit in abuse, such as the preferred victim of a man being a smaller woman who is easier to drag off and hide.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=881580563 Kristy Sokoloski

            Very true about that nobody really knows how many in each category are abused. But yet again, most of the cases of sexual assault that do get reported are because of women and girls that have been sexually assaulted. Men who are sexually assaulted often won’t tell anyone for fear of sheer embarrassment. Not that women don’t get embarrassed too, or ashamed for that matter but they are often more likely to speak up. Too bad that strength is used in such ways.

          • querywoman

            Society IS changing with every report of abuse. Used to be a “nonexistent” problem because it was ignored!

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=881580563 Kristy Sokoloski

            I would definitely agree with that about that society is changing with every report of abuse. I am glad that is the case so that more people will be safe.

  • querywoman

    Some women like my mother don’t want another woman touching, “those parts.” As a younger woman, and I thought I was a feminist, I wanted a woman ob/gyn! I got some real lulus!

    I refuse to go to a female ob/gyn. I will use a female family doc or internist, but not a woman!
    I have been to female ob/gyns who acted like they never had a menstrual cramp in their lives.
    I developed a serious endocrine disorder, with excess bleeding. It was a fertility issue, though I did not get fixed early enough to have children.
    Sometimes, the opposite sex can give the best sympathy. I never got sympathy from female ob/gyns. I only got sympathy from nongreedy-type male ob-gyns with extra training in fertility.
    That said, I really prefer a family doc who treats the whole body to do that kind of exam!
    A chaperone protects both patient and doctor, and provides extra hands during sensitive exams. And yes, females can sexually molest other females.
    Do men belong in the delivery room? Midwifery is traditionally female. But, I have known a couple of highly educated, intelligent men from farming families who “assisted” in births of cows and horses, including a lawyer who said he occasionally had to use a “pulling” machine.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=881580563 Kristy Sokoloski

      Querywoman,
      I have met other women (one of my best friends included) who doesn’t want another woman touching those parts. They are also of the opinion that sometimes the opposite sex can give the best sympathy. I am not sure how that is possible that a male gyn could be more sympathetic to the medical needs of a woman when it comes to something that is causing a problem in that area. Good point about that females can and do at times sexually molest other women.

      • querywoman

        Yeah, Kristy, this is just MY experience. And I am no longer of the fertile age! Some women who clearly don’t suffer much with menstruation leer a those who did, and that includes female doctors.
        Like I said, I never got any sympathy from female ob/gyns for my fertility problems, but men, yes.
        A female internist told me (and this may have changed in the past 10-20 years), that the ob/gyn training world is very male dominated, and that may account for some of the attitudes, but the general med training was more open.
        After I started developing diabetes, I went to a female endocrinologist, a known diabetes specialist. I told her staff before I went in that I had been to female ob/gyns who acted like they had never had a menstrual cramp in their lives.
        She assured me that she had had cramps.
        In my early 40s, when she put me on insulin, my cramps totally disappeared and my periods got very light and disappeared. I was already on metformin, also good for PCOS. Metformin always very good for me. I have never had a symptom of menopause.
        She did not know why the cramps disappeared, but I told her she could take credit. She also said, when she was younger, “I used to have cramps do bad I just wanted to lie down. And I had to see patients!”
        No way a man could have shared that! Now, we know that, if she was not diabetic, there was no way she would have shot herself up with insulin for medical problems!
        Aside her, not on topic, but she wanted to lie down with cramps. Part of the purpose of the menstrual hut was to allow women extra time to sleep and rest. Modern work doesn’t want us to take off!
        Though not a mother, yes, the endo was sympathetic of my childlessness, and viewed life with a mother’s eyes like I do. I asked her once if she had helped diabetics have babies. She said, “Yes.” And I told her that made her a mother!

        • http://www.facebook.com/susan.mccormick.3726 Susan McCormick

          Three years ago when had a period for 7 weeks my female PCP laughed and said if it was any consolation I would soon stop having them(I was 48 at the time) The MALE gynecologist that I was referred to just looked at me when I told her what she said and looked stunned. He then said but why suffer if you don’t have to. He performed an endometrial ablation and I haven’t haven’t had one since.

          Female-no compassion-thought it was funny. Male-compassion and had a solution.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=881580563 Kristy Sokoloski

            Wow, what an experience. That is so wrong when a doctor (regardless of gender) laughs at the patient for having concern about something that really bothers them. I am sorry that you went through that but glad that you found a doctor that you liked and could help you.

          • querywoman

            Susan, that’s the way female gyns treated me about my menstrual problems!
            Some women just don’t have many menstrual problems! Were all the female gyns I tried that kind of woman?
            I used to shake so badly with periods in my early 20s that I turned pale and took Valium for the shaking!
            When my periods became crampless, light, and started disappearing after I got started insulin in my 40s, I was amazed!
            My female endo had no idea why this happened, but I let her take credit. Again, she said she used to have cramps so bad she just wanted to lie down and she had to see patients.
            With my positive response to metformin and the later positive response, it’s pretty clear my menstrual problems were related to insulin resistance.
            The female endo was relatively certain that I have polycystic ovarian disease, but considered a sonogram pointless at my age and with my already positive response to metformin.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=881580563 Kristy Sokoloski

            When trying to diagnose Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome one can’t just depend on the ultrasounds to diagnose it. Other tests have to be done as well to confirm a diagnosis. But I am glad that you found success with the metformin.

  • SeattleMom

    I have no problem with a male gyn. As soon as they grow a vagina, I’ll be happy to see them! : )

    • Guest

      You’re lucky you’re not an amputee. Might be hard to demand that you be treated only by one-armed doctors.

  • amanthatcares

    as a husband, i refuse to let my wife visit a male ob/gyn. i think it is lewd and inappropriate for men to do this kind of work. as for discrimination claims against the male doc, what about the male doc himself? he has entered a field where he ONLY treats females. hows that for discriminate?

    • eduard khill

      trollolololol….

  • http://twitter.com/drsuzyyhall dr suzyy hall

    I am most certainly an advocate for patient choice in preferring a male or female physician. I do, however, find it crude to suggest male medical students be steered away from an Ob/Gyn specialty…just as females medical students should not be steered away from a male (patient & physician)-dominant specialty like Urology.

    • CountMeAmused

      Dr. Hall,
      No offense but you will find scarce males willing to visit a male urologist. I ordered a hovering female nurse out of the room before my vasectomy (her presence was downright odd… I had prepped myself per instructions, talked about who and what in consult, etc…. just bizarre). The good news is that my wishes as a large male were immediately honored.
      This industry works in the reverse. Women are pressured by their physicians. They are put in helpless positions. And if they knew how little science existed for any well woman exam, they might go looking for heads and pikes, if you get my drift.
      It is institutionalized abuse. Women have been indoctrinated. Their doctors have been indoctrinated. Neither is well-served. And the rest of us are paying the bill.

  • Rachel

    The medical community often expects patients to dismiss their
    modesty issues within the medical setting and there are patients that want to
    see a change in that attitude. Many men and women have no desire for certain
    parts of their body to be exposed to any person of the opposite sex aside from
    their respective spouses. Locker rooms and public restrooms are separate for a
    reason and outrage would prevail if that were to change so what is so odd about
    modesty in the medical community? Modesty is important in all
    circumstances.

    Think about how many husbands would be upset if another man
    watched their wife taking a bath or using the toilet. Or wives having another
    woman watch their husband using a urinal. Many husbands feel strongly that
    their wives’ private areas should not be exposed to any other men and that
    includes doctors and nurses. This does not make them crazy, they simply love
    their wives so much that they don’t want another man to see or touch these
    areas. They support their wives’ decision to receive treatments from female
    doctors, midwives, and nurses for intimate procedures. The intimacy bond
    between a husband and a wife is very special and many believe that this area of
    the marital relationship is violated and compromised when they expose their
    private parts to a person of the opposite sex, even medical professionals.

    In addition, there are single people who are committed to
    purity and do not want their private areas to be exposed to the opposite sex
    even in medical settings. Their desire is for their future spouse to be the
    only person of the opposite sex to see and access certain parts of their body,
    especially after puberty. Medical professionals are no different than ordinary
    people. Medical training cannot take “man” out of a male doctor.

    Many patients value their modesty and do not want certain
    parts of their body to be exposed to the opposite sex ~ EVEN IN THE MEDICAL SETTING ~ but
    when voiced their concerns are often downplayed and ridiculed.

    Medical professionals must be more sensitive to patients’
    needs for modesty.

    Don’t even realize how important it is to some female
    patients and their husbands that no males be involved in their ob/gyn care. For
    example, a woman and her husband requested an all female ob/gyn operating room
    team for his wife’s hysterectomy.

    I personally did not like
    to read the article published by Paul B. Kubin on your website who wrote ‘They
    say you never forget your first “real” patient.
    Mine was a woman who didn’t need a pelvic exam, but who got one anyway.Next
    door, minutes later, my second patient provided another personal first: a male
    genital and rectal exam, also, without need’.

    Why were not the patient
    informed the exam was unnecessary? If
    they had been informed would they
    have accepted undergoing the exam? These are abuses of the medical profession.
    They clearly show lack of concern for patients’ feelings and rights.

    As a woman I would feel
    upset if I was lied to, and tricked into doing an exam I don’t need so that a
    student can learn without me knowing it.

    My husband would feel bad
    about me being so intimately accessed by a man. When it is not necessary and
    when a female doctor can do the exam with much more privacy for me and for him.

    I don’t think you have
    any right to call this discrimination.

    IT
    IS MY SUPRIME RIGHT, AS A WOMAN AND AS A PATIENT TO CHOOSE WHO CAN ACCESS MY BODY AND WHO CANNOT.

    IF
    I DO NOT WANT A MALE TO SEE ME NAKED OR TO OPEN MY VAGINA, YOU CANNOT CALL THAT
    GENDER DISCRIMINATION, BECAUSE IT IS NOT, I AM SIMPLY FULFILLING MY SUPREME
    RIGHT TO PRIVACY AND TO MODESTY IN RESPECT
    OF MY FEELINGS AND THE FEELINGS OF MY HUSBAND.

    I
    HAVE THE RIGHT TO RECEIVE MEDICAL CARE IN TOTAL PRIVACY AND RESPECT OF MY
    DIGNITY AND MODESTY, BUT YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO SEE ME NAKED IF I DON’T WANT TO.
    SO YOU CANNOT BE DISCRIMINATED FOR SOMETHING YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO.

  • elizabeth52

    If I ever needed to see a gynecologist and I hope that never happens, I’d only use a female doctor who comes recommended. I really don’t care how the doctor feels, I’m paying for a service, it’s my choice. I don’t believe we need to explain our choice of doctor. I simply wouldn’t feel comfortable seeing a male doctor for this sort of exam, anything that makes these exams more tolerable is a good thing. if I want a new bra fitted, I’d also, ask for a female shop assistant.

    It also, worries me that male doctors, midwives and nurses may be forced onto women in areas where they have little choice – labour and delivery in public hospitals, the military etc Also, some women may feel unable to refuse a male medical provider and be left traumatized.

    In the States women often use a gynecologist as a primary care doctor; not a good idea. Your Dr Carolyn Westhoff, Ob-Gyn, partly blames the routine pelvic exam for your high hysterectomy rates (1 in 3 will have one by age 60) and for the loss of healthy ovaries. The routine pelvic exam is not recommended here, nor are routine breast, rectal and recto-vaginal exams or routine visual inspections of the genitals – I’d refuse them anyway. These exams are not evidence based and expose you to risk.

    The pap test has been horribly over-used as well, we now know the only women who can benefit from pap testing are the roughly 5% who test HPV+ and are aged 30 and older. This is the new Dutch program, and women can self-test for HPV. Most routine invasive exams and pap tests are completely unnecessary…and carry risk – false positives, unnecessary surgery, excess biopsies and over-treatment.

    Since the 1960s the Finns have had a 6-7 pap test program, 5 yearly from 30 to 60 and they have the lowest rates of cervix cancer in the world and send far fewer women for colposcopy/biopsy. (IMO, population pap testing is now outdated) Up until recently American women were being pap tested annually, some women now in the 60s have had more than 40 pap tests, (and no doubt one or more “treatments”) how on earth can that be justified?

    Women should examine the need to see a gynecologist in the first place, most of these routine visits are unnecessary and risk your health.

    • Jean Oliver

      You are so right! But it is very hard here in the US to change a way of thinking that has been drilled into every woman’s head: that they should be subjecting themselves to these “well woman exams” on a regular basis or stand the chance of developing a dreadful disease. I personallly refuse to believe that just because I have female reproductive organs I am a disease waiting to happen. At no time are men urged to have yearly visual genital exams, testicular exams (testicular cancer is probably more common than cervical cancer), etc., so why are women advised to do so? I see no reason for any woman to see a gyn on a regular basis: I look at them as a specialist that one would consult if one was having symptoms. In my opinion it is a profession that has benefitted from this fear mongering and it is hard to let go of that income revenue, even to the point that doctors are not adhering to the new 3 yearly pap smear recommendation and still going on with the yearly nonsense, as well as the pelvic hoopla that has no evidence based necessity in asymptomatic women. When will women figure this out?

      • elizabeth52

        Jean, many women trust doctors, but IMO, they’re being let down badly. If you compare women’s healthcare in a country that practices evidence based medicine and screening, like the Netherlands, you see the stark difference. Excess is very profitable, but not in our interests. We see in the States that doctors are using HPV AND pap tests on women over 30, this generates the most over-investigation, it’s unnecessary, the HPV test should stand alone and there is no need for an invasive test, women can test themselves for HPV. (a HPV self-test device has been invented by Dutch gynecologists)

        I think it will take many years to break down paternalistic practices and non-evidence based medical exams and testing, but the fastest way to force change is for more women to refuse harmful medical excess…using our bodies to maximize profits is way beyond unethical.

        I’m so pleased my life has not been spent climbing into stirrups, just horrifying.

        I agree with you though, women have heard nothing else for decades, just “get your exams” and of course, medical coercion is fairly common in the States and Canada…linking the Pill to “elective” cancer screening and in some cases, all non-emergency medical care. Shutting women out of healthcare if they refuse these tests and exams. I will never understand how this can be permitted. Can you imagine the outcry if men were told they couldn’t have condoms or Viagra unless they had a colonoscopy or completely unnecessary testicular exam?

      • http://www.facebook.com/roger.sorensen.54 Roger Sorensen

        “At no time are men urged to have yearly visual genital exams, testicular exams……”
        Apparently you don’t know any boys or men that played a high school sport. Boys are forced to have those worthless, humiliating exams or they can’t participate. Very often they are forced to be seen and touched by the school nurse, as was the case in my high school. Meanwhile girls were not given similar exams or forced to strip.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=881580563 Kristy Sokoloski

          Wow, that’s really creepy.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=881580563 Kristy Sokoloski

      Elizabeth, I hope that you never need to see a gynecologist either. However, what would you do if you needed one and the only ones available to take care of you were male? I am glad that we have the choice of which doctor we would prefer to see when it comes to the issue of gender, but not all parts of the country have female only OB/GYN practices yet as suggested by another poster.

  • Rachel

    The medical community often expects patients to dismiss their modesty issues within the medical setting and there are patients that want to see a change in that attitude. Many men and women have no desire for certain parts of their body to be exposed to any person of the opposite sex aside from their respective spouses. Locker rooms and public restrooms are separate for a reason and outrage would prevail if that were to change so what is so odd about modesty in the medical community? Modesty is important in all circumstances.
    Think about how many husbands would be upset if another man watched their wife taking a bath or using the toilet. Or wives having another woman watch their husband using a urinal. Many husbands feel strongly that their wives’ private areas should not be exposed to any other men and that includes doctors and nurses. This does not make them crazy, they simply love their wives so much that they don’t want another man to see or touch these areas. They support their wives’ decision to receive treatments from female doctors, midwives, and nurses for intimate procedures. The intimacy bond between a husband and a wife is very special and many believe that this area of the marital relationship is violated and compromised when they expose their private parts to a person of the opposite sex, even medical professionals.
    In addition, there are single people who are committed to purity and do not want their private areas to be exposed to the opposite sex even in medical settings. Their desire is for their future spouse to be the only person of the opposite sex to see and access certain parts of their body, especially after puberty. Medical professionals are no different than ordinary people. Medical training cannot take “man” out of a male doctor.
    Many patients value their modesty and do not want certain parts of their body to be exposed to the opposite sex ~ EVEN IN THE MEDICAL SETTING ~ but when voiced their concerns are often downplayed and ridiculed.
    Medical professionals must be more sensitive to patients’ needs for modesty.
    Don’t even realize how important it is to some female patients and their husbands that no males be involved in their ob/gyn care. For example, a woman and her husband requested an all female ob/gyn operating room team for his wife’s hysterectomy.
    I personally did not like to read the article published by Paul B. Kubin on your website who wrote ‘They say you never forget your first “real” patient. Mine was a woman who didn’t need a pelvic exam, but who got one anyway.Next door, minutes later, my second patient provided another personal first: a male genital and rectal exam, also, without need’.
    Why were not the patient informed the exam was unnecessary? If they had been informed would they have accepted undergoing the exam? These are abuses of the medical profession. They clearly show lack of concern for patients’ feelings and rights.
    As a woman I would feel upset if I was lied to, and tricked into doing an exam I don’t need so that a student can learn without me knowing it.
    My husband would feel bad about me being so intimately accessed by a man. When it is not necessary and when a female doctor can do the exam with much more privacy for me and for him.
    I don’t think you have any right to call this discrimination.

  • lucy

    Because male doctors refused to believe period pain was real until they discovered prostaglandins were the cause.

    Because male doctors continued performing radical mastectomies even after it was proven that simple mastectomies and lumpectomies had the same survival rates.

    Because male doctors medicalized birth.

    Because male doctors forced women to give birth on their backs making it harder for the woman but easier for the doctor.

    Because of Dr Nikta Levi.

    Because male doctors started removing female reproductive organs for reasons other than cancer, yet men never have their reproductive organs removed unless it is cancer.

    Because male doctors kicked midwives out of the birthing rooms and because in the early days midwives’ patients had lower mortality rates due to doctors not washing their hands.( And refusing to wash their hands even after it was proven that bacteria caused these deaths).

    Because male doctors consider women to be hypochondriacs and hysterical (meaning uterus).

    Because the pill is still difficult to get without screening requirement rules made up by male doctors, yet men get any medication they like without doctors holding it hostage. Doctors do not refuse to prescribe medication to men until they submit to whatever screening test the doctor decides.

    Because male doctors made it virtually impossible for female doctors to enter the specialty of O&G until recent times.

    Because Dr John Hunter famously said “women appear to bear spaying just as well as any other animal”.

    ‘Nuff said.

  • jpfenton

    An excellent set of bullet point guidelines, as applicable to any doctor as they are to gynecologists. Unfortunately, I’ve seen them ignored as much by female physicians as by male physicians.

  • CountMeAmused

    “Why Wouldn’t I Want to See Him?”

    1. Well, if your asymptomatic, and putting aside embarrassment, humiliation and economic cost, this annual wellness visit is on balance more likely to INJURE than help (false positives). This is an argument against seeing either HIM or YOU. It sure misses the largest threats either by focusing on young and healthy or by de-emphasizing critical threats like CV disease.

    2. As for why you may not want to see him, the author conveniently ignores biological reality and behavioral data. To wit,

    a. 1 in 3 males report that they would consider rape if they knew they could get away with it. What proportion of females would do that?

    b. A male’s sexual pursuit region in their brain is 2.5x larger than the female version. It processes faster than cognitive which is why the poker face is practiced.
    c. 6-10% of physicians are guilty of sexual misconduct depending on which study you cite. Almost all are male. Almost all victims are female. Middle-aged MALE OB-GYNs lead the perp list.
    d.
    c.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=881580563 Kristy Sokoloski

      As far as point 2a. Interesting information. If all women knew that particular stat about the 1 in 3 men that would back up the point even further why some would never let a male doctor whether an OB/GYN or a Primary Care Physician touch them in that area at any time. Yes, it’s for a medical exam but if she was sexually assaulted she’s always going to be afraid that it might happen again. Yes, I also remember reading about the doctors here in Florida that refuse to do exams on obese women and thinking “wow” to that. As far as taking some taboo subjects off the list I agree with you. However, the issue of male OB/GYNs (or Primary Care Physician for that matter) doing a well woman exam for a female patient is one that is going to always be considered to be on the taboo list for a lot of people no matter what anyone says.

  • CountMeAmused

    You know what’s just a little weird about this article (well, there’s a lot weird about it but let me add one…). Why would anyone want a doctor to “connect” with them? And why would a female in the stirrups want to suddenly “connect” with a male gynecologist?
    I thought this was all suppose to be a disinterested even boring transaction. Isn’t that the schtick that’s been peddled? And now, suddenly, we’re dating the creature in the lab coat and stethoscope stage props?
    I dunno…maybe it’s me (it’s definitely me) but I never really wanted to connect with the guy who had his finger up my ass. If I needed to connect with him it would have been a humiliation.
    What is up with this whole, let’s have a relationship? It’s not like this safe harbor or anything.