Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday Morons--Do I have Chlamydia?

If you are a woman and you are having any kind of problems below the waist and have to go see a doctor about it, the doctor will usually say that you need a pelvic exam. You might have appendicitis, so you'd better have a pelvic exam. Why? I mean, I'm not a doctor, so I'm not sure what they are looking for, but I'm pretty sure that my appendix isn't in there guys.

I sometimes wonder if guys have a similar problem. If you have the stomach flu or are worried that you need to have your appendix out, do they check your prostate?

I suppose that they are looking to see if the woman is pregnant. Not that you can always tell be looking. And not that they ask to see if you could be pregnant before they start looking. Sometimes when I haven't missed any periods, and it's been a while since I've even had sex, I'm pretty damned sure that I'm not pregnant. But I don't think that anyone has ever asked me before they told me to put my feet up in the stirrups.

Several years ago, my mom was having some problems. Eventually she went in and had a barium enema to see if she could have diverticulitis. But having a barium enema isn't a lot of fun and it is expensive, so they wanted to rule out a few other things first. This was obviously something wrong with her stomach or intestines, but apparently it is cheaper to rule out gynecological problems first. Better have pelvic exam first. In fact, better see a specialist first. The specialist proceeded to talk to my mother about all sorts of serious gynecological problems that she might have and that she might need a hysterectomy. I don't think so.

And my sister had a lot of problems when she was younger, though a lot of those were actually gynecological and did require pelvic exams. But she was having so many pelvic exams, she should have gotten frequent flyer miles or something. A couple of times she was taken to the emergency room, just to make sure that she didn't have appendicitis, and they did a pelvic exam. After they were pretty sure she didn't have that they gave her antibiotics and pain meds and such and sent her home with a note that said she should see her regular doctor the next week. So of course the regular doctor also did a pelvic exam and such.

Among other things, my sister did have endometriosis and she was treated with laparoscopic something or other. My parents asked that they look at her appendix while they were in there. The doctor said that she had a weird appendix and that it was at an angle where he couldn't see it, which left my parents wondering if she really did have a weird appendix or if he just made that up because he forgot to look at it.

While all of this was going on, my sister had some other problems like the rest of us often do. She had a few UTIs and some stomach troubles. Possibly some of the stomach trouble was because of stress of having to see the doctor so often about the other stuff.

On one of the doctor visits, the doctor decides that in addition to the endometriosis my sister probably has chlamydia as well. I'm not sure that we'd ever heard of chlamydia before, or at least we weren't sure what it was, and we looked it up and found out it was an STD. The doctor hadn't done any tests for this when he decided that was what she had, he just thought that she had the symptoms and chlamydia was a very common problem, so my sister probably had it.

Sometimes chlamydia has no symptoms, and it is so common because there are all these people spreading it around because they don't know that they have it. So that was kind of weird that a doctor decided that she must have it because she had all the right symptoms. But it is a problem because it can cause infertility and can make people more susceptible to other STDs and such, so even when chlamydia doesn't have any symptoms it shouldn't be ignored.

At the time this was going on my sister was a teenager and she'd never had sex. Not only did we believe that she'd never had sex, not only had she already told the doctor that she'd never had sex, but the doctor had given her a pelvic exam not on that visit but about a month before. On the previous visit he had advised that my sister should consider having her hymen surgically removed because of the frequent pelvic exams. I guess he forgot.

Anyway, my sister did not have chlamydia, and you have trouble taking the doctor seriously after something like that. But she did have endometriosis and she did have the laparoscopic thing to try to deal with it. It didn't help as much as she hoped.

A few years ago I took Adolescent Development in school. It was a really interesting class, and I'm glad that I took it, though it ended up being wasted credit since I ended up not getting a teaching degree. But I remember that we had a test and that we had a section on STDs and on the test we were asked what was the most common STD. And I'm pretty sure that the answer was chlamydia. I don't think that based on that you should just start telling people that they have it without doing the lab work first. And now I'm wondering if I remembered it wrong, or if maybe they weren't counting HPV as an STD when I was taking that class. 50 to 80 percent of women have had HPV, though most of us don't seem to have had anything bad happen as a result. And since we do not get it from toilet seats, and most of us are not lesbians, I would think that we were getting the HPV from say 50 to 80 percent of the men. So that's a lot of people who have had HPV. Have more people than that really had chlamydia? That's a lot of people.

1 comment:

Tara said...

My gynecologist doesn't have to jump to conclusions. I'm a hypochondriac, I do it for her. But that doctor your sister had sounds like he's a hypochondriac only focusing it on other people rather than himself. That's insane that he just assumed she might have chlamydia just because of the symptoms. I'm so sorry she had to go through so much hell! One pelvic exam a year is enough for me, thank you very much. They aren't fun.