If you’re a woman over the age of twenty-five, there’s a good chance you’ve had a semi-invasive and extremely painful medical procedure done without any pain management whatsoever.
We’re not talking about childbirth here, when you have a choice – we’re talking about office procedures that should come with pain medication or anesthesia but it isn’t even offered.
If you’re curious what those things are like firsthand (because you definitely don’t want to experience them yourself), these 14 brave women are telling their stories.
14. We have to stand up for ourselves.
“Five years ago, I had my first IUD inserted. I lucked out with a physician who insisted on the local anesthetic for insertion and made me lay on the exam table for 30 minutes afterward for monitoring. They’ve moved on to another state so I had to find a new physician for my replacement IUD.
When I scheduled the replacement, I specifically asked for the anesthetic, and they stated they would make sure it was prepped for me. When I got there for the appointment, they told me that the anesthetic was not prepared and it would ‘take longer to prep and numb you than to just insert the new device.’
Already strained, I buckled and allowed them to do removal and replacement without the anesthetic. It was agonizing. I complained with the office manager and asked to have my physician changed, but I was bullied out of that, too.
I had first asked after tubal ligation instead of an IUD and — though my physician was a woman, and I’m 37 with a 17-year-old child and no interest in more children — I got so bullied by her that I settled for another IUD.
I’m autistic, so it’s incredibly hard for me to initiate care in the first place, and it’s harder to stand up for myself. It sucks.
13. It’s definitely not ok.
“I had a cystoscopy with no pain meds, and it was so f**king traumatizing. There I am, sitting and acting like everything’s okay and like it wasn’t the worst pain in the world. After, I go home and have to pee. I went into the shower to relax my body, and I couldn’t fucking pee.
The pain was insane. I sobbed for hours. They ended up prescribing something extra to help, but in the end, that single event of trying to pee left me so traumatized. It hurt to pee for a week.
The initial shock, sitting there awake while they do it, and the, ‘You may feel slight discomfort after’ — after shoving a metal rod thicker than a pencil in my urethra — and I was trying to figure out why my bladder is so sensitive.
I hate doctors so much.”
12. That sounds like a nightmare.
“I started bleeding when pregnant with my first and went to see my OBGYN at the hospital. She looked and said there were polyps on my cervix. She then told me to just hold the nurse’s hand and pick a spot on the ceiling, and she’ll cut them out real quick.
I honestly never thought to ask for any kind of pain meds for any procedure like this before. WTF is wrong with me and other women? We’ve been so brainwashed to believe that ‘it’s just a pinch’ and now drive home and go make dinner.
I’m a medical professional and had to read a thread on Reddit to realize I need to advocate for myself, and I don’t need to be in pain during gyno procedures.”
11. Ten seconds is a really long time.
“I recently had an endometrial (uterine) biopsy. The doctor told me it would hurt, but it would be over in ten seconds. I started counting out loud, ‘One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three…’ then I started screaming.
After, I was crying and hyperventilating. The doctor told me my reaction was normal.
It was so painful that I can’t really tell you how it was painful. My brain just won’t go there. Years ago, I had, had cold cauterization done on my cervix — twice. Again, no pain meds. That was bad. The endometrial biopsy was worse.”
10. The memories last a lifetime.
“I had a cervical biopsy when I was 18, and the doctor was like, ‘You’ll feel just a pinch.’ Then I felt, well, a chunk of my cervix cut out and screamed. He was like, ‘Shhh.’
So I cried quietly, and he looked up at me and said, ‘Why are you crying? There are no nerve endings on the cervix. I know you aren’t actually feeling pain.’
That was literal decades ago. I had hoped things had changed for women since then. Good to hear that old asshole doctor is still the norm.
Cool. Real cool.”
9. A bigger deal than you think.
“I hadn’t had any other form of birth control and got an IUD placed. I had asked my doctor before the appointment if it was okay to drive myself home, and if there were any pain meds I could get. She told me all I would need was over-the-counter stuff.
I nearly passed out during the insert from the pain. Once my head stopped spinning, I very carefully got myself to my car and started to drive home. It was incredibly painful.
Our roads are s*%t here, and every single bump I hit had me screaming in pain while trying to keep focus. I made it home and basically couldn’t leave my bed for two days.
Moral of the story, no, it’s NOT okay to be told you can drive yourself home after your first IUD placement.
8. They have to know that’s not true.
“I got a LEEP procedure, and that was more painful than drug-free childbirth. I can feel my cervix descend before my period and I can feel the penis on my cervix during s*x.
Still, the doctor told me I shouldn’t feel anything. I had no s*xual desire for months after the LEEP, and I talked to a lot of women who had the same procedure and some said they’re like that after years, or they feel pain or bleed during s*x.
Why are they so set on ‘the cervix has no pain receptors?'”
7. It could have been so much worse.
“I had a polyp removed from my cervix. They told me I’d have some cramping and that I’d be ok. I walked out of there straight to the bathroom and almost fainted.
My mom looked for me for 15 minutes until she started knocking on the door. I was able to get up and walk out. Everyone was super concerned, but no pain medicine or post-care. Nothing.
I could have busted my head on the sink locked in the bathroom.”
6. That’s some oversight.
“When I was 18, my gynecologist’s office apparently forgot to tell me to take extra strength ibuprofen before my cervical biopsy — that’s the recommendation they use. I got the same ‘just a pinch’ spiel, and they decided it was worth it to just go ahead and do it anyway. (Surely, they had some ibuprofen they could’ve given me.)
The sample the doc took got stuck, and he was yanking on it while it was still attached. The nurse who was with him had to grab and hold my leg because she saw I was about to kick him in the head.
I had done eight years of Taekwondo at that point. I would have made an ass of myself. If doctors really think it doesn’t hurt, perhaps they should just shut up and deal with however we choose to express our clearly fake pain.”
5. No time off work for you.
“I had an HSG done — they basically insert a tube into the vagina/cervix/uterus, inject dye, and see if your fallopian tubes are blocked and the shape of the uterus.
It was the f**king worst.
I was literally in agony and opted for exploratory surgery after they injected the dye for the third or fourth time. After uterine surgery, I had a balloon catheter in my uterus for two weeks.
My body started having literal contractions to try to force it out. The doctor said I didn’t need to be out of work.
It was f**king hell. They told me to use ibuprofen and Tylenol at the max dose. It’s insane how horrible pain care for women is.”
4. Sounds Draconian.
“My hysteroscopy hurt so badly that they had to call extra people to hold me down on the table. I was screaming for help and ended up kicking my doctor in the face and breaking his nose — on accident of course, but honestly, he deserved it. He was literally torturing me and all he cared about was completing the procedure at any cost. I bled and was sore for nearly a month.
Something was very, very wrong with what he did, but I could never tell you what. I cannot believe they do that procedure without sedation.” —u/[deleted]
3. It took crazy willpower.
“After having my third kid via C-section, they refused to give me any pain meds except two regular strength Tylenol every few hours. My baby was in the NICU for a few nights, too.
So when I wanted to see or hold him, I had to grind my teeth and get there through sheer willpower. However, my husband got put on morphine for kidney stones at this same hospital.
For the record, I wasn’t breastfeeding. It was in my chart. So it’s not like they were trying to get around accidentally dosing the baby. I’m also not saying my husband’s pain wasn’t great but that there is a glaringly obvious bias.
I filed a complaint, but nothing happened.”
2. That’s some serious pain.
“I had no idea to expect pain for my colonoscopy.
I thought that because they weren’t numbing anything, it must not be bad. I started crying and screaming, and I couldn’t keep my legs open. They ended up only doing a partial biopsy because I went hypotensive (blood pressure dropped). It angers me to this day.
I have also had three IUDs, and my blood pressure tanks from the pain every time. I have to be monitored.”
1. That’ll take awhile to get over.
“I had a cervical biopsy done. I am a candidate for endometrial ablation, and my insurance company required the biopsy. I didn’t know it was going to happen until 30 seconds after my ultrasound.
My OBGYN requested that I take my mask off (COVID) to ‘help with breathing’ because it was going to hurt so much. I put my hands behind my head since I didn’t know what to do with them.
I have what I consider to be a very high pain tolerance. During the procedure — I didn’t even realize I was doing it — I used my own nails to cut into the top of my other hand. The nurse actually had to bandage my hand before I left.
I now have four U-shaped scars on the top of my hand. That was six months ago, and I haven’t scheduled my ablation because that situation f**ked me up in the head.”
Y’all, it’s criminal and it needs to stop. What can we do?
Have you suffered at the OBGYN office? Tell us your story down in the comments!