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Women's health issues

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Hello! I stumbled onto this page from the menstrual cup LJ with a question in mind. I hope this is the right place to ask it!

I'm 22, graduated from college last May and am now living back at home. I have insurance.
All of my medical needs were done on campus, as needed. We had a "women's health" clinic where I got pap smeared, tried bc (horrible experience), got an annual exam, etc.

Now that I'm back home, I have zero doctors of any sort. I not only have no primary care doctor (I resort to Minute Clinics as needed) but also don't have a womanly doctor to go to. My mom had mentioned that I should go see one (this something rarely mentioned but it somehow came up in convo), but one... I thought you only needed to go every two years? (Actually I think that is discretionary depending on your doc?)and two-- she attempted to subtly leave me a business card for who I'm going to assume is her doctor(?) and I'm one of those theres-no-way-in-hell-i'm-using-her-doctor people, no matter HOW beneficial it could be.

Which brings me to point out: I'm really stubborn and touchy about these kinds of things, so please bear with!

I had a really nice young girl at the women's health center who I saw a few times when I needed to, and I'd really like to find someone similar to replace her. I still consider myself of college age/ a college student and really don't want an old lady staring at my lady parts... I want to find someone young and friendly and who is used to being around college age/ younger students but I truly have no idea how to go about finding anyone without being weird and attempting to ask my friends or something(?)... and I wouldn't really feel comfortable doing that.

I've been thinking about finding a planned parenthood to go to, since I know they deal with people of all ages and I assume are very welcoming & such, but I'm still concerned I'll get stuck with the cranky old lady who doesn't respect my sensitivities when it comes to my body/health :(

Is there somewhere else I can look to find a lady doctor that suits my liking? Or is it kind of a shot in the dark and I'm just stuck with what I get?
And seeing as I'm not taking BC or having any other issues... is it supposed to be once a year? or every two? or discretionary depending on your doc?

Thanks.
  • another option could be going to a teaching hospital women's center. if you're in the US, you should be able to look up who's listed as part of the team of physicians at any hospital, frequently with a photograph, and you may be able to search for their name on you state's board of physicians. i know Maryland has this option listed under physician profile search, other states may have it listed under license search. you'll (generally) get an idea of their age based on when they graduated.
    • Hmm, thanks for that idea! I'm in ohio and found something like that, but when I searched my zipcode/state, I got no results at all! :(

      I'll keep looking into something like that though.
  • I was gonna suggest Planned Parenthood. In my experience they are pretty non judgemental and most of the nurses I have seen there are young.

    From my understanding you only have to go see them once every two years for pap smears and the like. If you think you have an issue though, like an infection or unexplained changes in your cycle or something then it's always a good idea to get checked out.

    ETA for typing out the wrong time frame for women's health screenings.

    Edited at 2013-01-12 10:24 pm (UTC)
    • I thought it was two years, cool. I guess it would have to be just an annual exam, which I could probably get if I found a primary care doctor first (doubtful as I have the same problem finding a primary care doctor I'd care for!)

      I will have to find how close the PP is by me. Problem is we had one close to campus when I was at college but I think being back at home the closest one is around 20 minutes away.
  • The government recommends that women between 21 and 30 get a pap smear every 2 years, assuming nothing abnormal arises. You should get a general wellness check up once a year. A primary care physician can perform your pap smear and pelvic exam; there's no reason you HAVE to go to a separate specialist for this (my PCP does mine, because I like and trust him, and it means only having to keep track of appointments with one doc. I went to a GYN to have my IUD inserted, only because my cervix was finnicky and didn't want to let my primary doc get it in). Many women choose to go to an OB/GYN for these exams, especially if they have other gynecological health concerns.

    Anyway - Planned Parenthood works. You can also ask around (friends who live in town, an LJ group specific to your area) for recommendations of good doctors. Why do you feel weird asking your friends for doctor recommendations? Certified Nurse Midwifes can also do general well woman care (pap smears, etc), you may find a women's health clinic that has them. Finding a doctor is one of the more annoying parts of being an adult, but remember that if you don't like your doctor, you can "fire" hir and find a new one.
    • Nothing abnormal really. Have had a few instances of YI's in the past but I know how to avoid them better now so they're not really a problem. I don't have a PCP or I would consider doing that. I'll keep it in mind, though, for if/when I find a PCP.

      I just don't like talking about body things much myself, let alone with other people. Not to mention I don't really have a lot of girl friends to ask in the first place (2 closish ones go to planned parenthood). I'm just worried I'll end up going through a ton until I find one.

      I ended up getting a bad stomach bug of sorts when I was...18?(I was dehydrated like 3 times in the same month for seemingly no reason) and so I went to my then "primary care doctor"-- my pediatrician-- who sent me to Cleveland Clinic (who ran tests to find it was nothing) and were kind of jerks about telling me I HAD to get a new doctor because it was unacceptable to see my pediatrician anymore and that it also had to be in their system. So I found one (or my parents did), I saw her maybe once? Didn't really like her much at all, didn't have a reason to go to her since I had the health center on campus for all my medical needs, and haven't been back to her since. I'm 22 going on 23 now. Really not fond of the clinic at all because of that experience, let alone having to look for a different doctor who I will hopefully like at least remotely.
      • Well, I don't think you have to say "hey guys, I need someone to give me a pap smear, let's talk about things being stuck into my vagina". You can just say "do you like your doctor?" The more you do it, the more comfortable you'll get.

        Do you have insurance (or are you still on your parents)? If you do, you can go through your insurance provider's website, they usually have ways to help you find someone in your plan, and you can often filter by gender and specialty, and sometimes other preferences. And then it's just a matter of trial-and-error, kind of like dating. You call one up, get an appointment (if they're accepting new patients) and if you don't like them, you don't go back. Just keep a list of who you see so that you can get your records sent on.

        I would honestly suggest that unless you are currently experiencing a GYN issue, you try to find a new PCP first, because they can always refer you to a GYN when you need one.
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