View Full Version : How do you all deal with taking your clothes off for the doctor?

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Sun, Jul-17-05, 09:55
I just can't handle it! I've decided I have to do all of the things I need to do to get healthy, that includes trips to the doctor. I had my teeth cleaned, my eyes checked, even have an appointment with the dermatologist! I went to my regular doctor for a checkup, everything looks great, my cholesterol was a little high, so we are working on that, and he absolutely approves of the atkins diet, so all is looking good.
The problem is, he told me to either make an appointment with his nurse practioner or a gynecologist to get a pap smear. This is where I freeze up. I haven't taken my clothes off in front of anyone except my husband since my youngest child was born (he's 8 now!). I know I need to do this for my health, but it's soooooooo hard!
So how do you all deal with taking your clothes off for the doctor?

Sun, Jul-17-05, 10:17
they're doctors. they've seen just about everything. that's how i rationalize it. besides, the nurse gives you a sheet and/or gown, and you're kind of covered with that. it gives you some sense of security to have something to wrap around you!

Sun, Jul-17-05, 10:51
When i had my ovary taken out, i was having internal exams about every month...and i guess it just doesn't phase me anymore...never really has tho....i'm a nurses aide and nursing student...and i know that as far as a nurse or dr. is concerned...its strictly professional and they aren't even looking at you in that sense.

Sun, Jul-17-05, 10:58
Wow, now, if he's cute, no problem, just kidding..... :lol:

In my earlier years though, I would get a panic feeling before I had the pap smear......

it's normal.......if you just remember that most doctors could care less, I am sure there are a few who see a beautiful woman once in a while and get some enjoyment........who knows, i watch lifetime too much though, lol

Sun, Jul-17-05, 11:07
my son who is almost 12 had to have a camp physical....

They had to check his testes.......well, before he went into the room to see the dr.

he asked the nurse what they were going to do to him, and if they were going to check his "privates"

she told him yes, but not to worry....

He got off the scale and started to run towards the front of the office...

I got ahold of his arm......and took him into the room and had a talk with him......
about how dr.s see this stuff everyday....and so on.

well, the dr. , a beautiful young woman from INdia......she made him feel at ease a little before she did the procedure.....

I felt so sorry for him though.....poor kid

Sun, Jul-17-05, 11:50
My doc is great. First the nurse comes in with the paper gown. :lol: And I always ask for an extra sheet, which she always gives to me. (don't have to ask any more she just gets for me.) They knock on the door and ask if I'm ready before they enter. The nurse always comes back in with the doc. He only uncovers the area he is examing at that time. He always covers me back up when he is done.

My best advise would be to tell the nurse that its been a long time since you had an exam. And ask for the extra sheet.
Good Luck.

Mon, Jul-18-05, 16:15
I have a female gynecologist and a female general practitioner. That's how I handle it!

Also, be prepared... cuz you may be wearing that paper gown with the opening in the FRONT so the the doc can do a breast exam, and on someone big, that little paper gown just doesn't cover anything.

Mon, Jul-18-05, 22:41
I have a male doctor and like you I panic when I have to go to the doctor. Unfortunately I more often than I want to because I have PCOS and, well, I spot and my cycles are crazy. I had a D&C last october, too, so you can imagine the idea "OMG I'm going to be unconscious while this TEAM of people is working down there!" :blush: I think part of my problem is probably weight related.

ANYWAY..I digressed, sorry. LOL

What I do is:

- ask for a sheet to cover myself with from waist to ankle. When I have to scoot into position (if you get my drift) only then to I lift the blanket back to my knees. The way I see it, I need to feel in control. Frankly, the doctor doesn't care, as long as he can see what he needs and get in there when he needs to. The scooting and organizing he just sits back and waits for.
- I do NOT undress if someone is in the room.
- If it's going to be a breast examination, I ask for a hospital gown, not a paper shirt. They're too small for my chest and I refuse to feel silly. In fact the last time I had that exam I wore a button down loose shirt that I could just undo to my tummy and pull down over my shoulders and let him have access. Front close bra helps!
- Have something to talk about. I know it sounds odd, but the second the doctor is doing his exam, I start yapping about the news, the weather, about anything possible.
- Be honest and tell your doctor you are scared, nervous, and jumpy and that you're not used to "all this" and to please be patient with you. The second I admitted to my doctor that I was nervous (and started nervouscrying for the umpteenth time because oh how I hate going!) he realized I was one of those patients that just needs a little TLC.

The bottom line is that this is your health. My doctor actually said something to me a few visits ago that changed everything. He could see I was really nervous about being checked (imagine spotting while being checked...ooooh kill me now). He said "Listen, Violet, I see women everyday, every way. You're not THAT special." He then laughed and oh gosh, I laughed and realized that guess what, this isn't a personal fling, this is a doctors visit. I hate going, each time I shake and panic a little, but I go. You'll be just fine. Think of this as a journey towards health and it's one of those little things you just have to do.

Sorry for rambling, but I know how it feels.


Tue, Jul-19-05, 04:28
You might feel more comfortable having a female gyno.

My family doctor is a woman and she does the Pap tests and exams, it makes me feel more comfortable and also the fact that she has the same equipment I do gives me the confidence to be able to ask the questions I'd be shy to ask of a male practionner.

Tue, Jul-19-05, 08:28
Like everyone else said, the doctors are fairly aware of privacy concerns and will make every effort to make it easy on you. If you feel you aren't being treated respectfully, make sure you know you have the right to demand they treat you properly. If you need more time or need to be alone to change (I'm appalled that anyone might not be left alone to change actually), an extra sheet, adequate covering, whatever, just tell them.

Other than that, try to remember they've seen it all before and in the end, this could be good for you, help you let go of some of the fear of the doctor.

Good luck, we'll be rooting for you!


Tue, Jul-19-05, 13:18
I have gyno checkups about every 6 months. yucky! :( But, one of the things that makes it at least bearable is that I know I'm doing this for my health. And I can't put it off, it is not an option. But in addition to some of the things said like using a sheet, having a female gyno and/or insisting I change in private-- I also book appts. in the morning (when possible) so that I'm assured i will be in and out sooner. Doctors and staff are more efficient and fresh in the mornings...which makes everything faster.

Hope this helps,


Tue, Jul-19-05, 13:43
I worked with an obstetrician/gynocologist for awhile, and really, his only concerns were between my legs. Express your concerns to the nurse, and if she doesn't listen, express them to the doctor. Some of them work assembly line style and don't take the time to listen. Get rid of those kind and find a good one.

And hey, congratulations for taking the time to take care of yourself. You are so worth it!

Tue, Jul-19-05, 15:29
Dont forget that if you have a male gyno, they have to have a female nurse (at least) in the room to escort.

And just imagine the millions of women he sees every day. Dont be embarrased-its just science. You NEED this exam. I havent had one in 4 years cuz I havent had health insurance-I envy your ability to get one.

Tue, Jul-19-05, 15:44

First of all you won't be taking your clothes off "for the doctor" -- you'll be doing it for *YOU*.

Everyone else has given really good advice: select a female gynecologist, ask for an extra sheet.

Doctors and nurses are used to shy and uncomfortable woman. Usually, you won't be left in the room alone with the doctor. If you are, you can request that a nurse or a friend accompany you.

You'll be given either a paper or a cotton nightgown to wear and a paper sheet to cover down below. As someone mentioned, the doctor usually only uncovers the specific that he/she is working on.

I, for one, think you are *AMAZING* for finally "getting it" -- taking responsibility for your health and for your life.

BIG HUGS. For you -->> http://poumtschak.free.fr/smilies/Symbolic%20Smilies/star.gif

Tue, Jul-19-05, 18:52
I am a very large woman and my upper arms have always been very big. Hospital gowns just don't work for me. i usually take my own bathrobe with me and wear that or I ask for two hospital gowns and where one on the front and one on backwards so that nothing hangs out. If the doc doesn't like it tough. I am paying him, not the other way around.

Tue, Jul-19-05, 21:16
For me, the more often you go, the easier it gets. After 2 kids, a tubal ligation, hysterectomy, numerous PAP smears and breast exams, I'm now immune to any nervousness.

But as others noted, if your doctor is not sensitive to your concerns, you might want to see a different one. Not everyone is a boor. I did find a gyno that left me in a compromising position with some sort of instrument attached while he walked around the office. Needless to say, I didn't go back to that one! But most of them have been great.

Good luck to you!

Wed, Jul-20-05, 10:32
My doctor actually said something to me a few visits ago that changed everything. He could see I was really nervous about being checked (imagine spotting while being checked...ooooh kill me now). He said "Listen, Violet, I see women everyday, every way. You're not THAT special." He then laughed and oh gosh, I laughed and realized that guess what, this isn't a personal fling, this is a doctors visit. it's one of those little things you just have to do.

This is great! Thanks Violet, I laughed too. I'm a big introvert and sometimes I do need to stop concentrating on my inner feelings and look outwards a bit to see reality!
Everyone has given such good advice here, I will definately ask for an extra sheet when I go and will find a female doctor and try to remember that this is thier job.
Thanks for all of the support! I feel much better about this now thanks to all of your comments I'm off to make an appointment!
The Miss

Wed, Jul-20-05, 10:32
I used to be intimidated by doctors and visits to the doctor's office, but not anymore! What joesfolks said is right on target... you are paying them! If you are not comfortable with something they ask you to wear or to do, let them know.

A little off topic... but here is a pap-smear story. Many years ago, I went in for my annual gyno exam, was taken to the exam room (blood pressure taken, etc.) and then left alone to change into a gown.

30 minutes later, I was still waiting in the exam room, wondering why the doctor was taking so long to arrive. Then a nurse popped in, looked surprised and said "sorry, I didn't know anyone was in here" and she left. Another 30 minutes went by. I stuck my head out the door, but no one was around. Another 15 minutes went by. I took off the gown, got dressed, and went out to the reception desk, now angry. I told the receptionist that I had been waiting in an exam room for over an hour!

Needless to say, they forgot I was in the exam room. The apology was brief and insincere, and they clearly didn't care. They asked me to go back to the exam room, and the doctor showed up almost immediately. The doctor did NOT apologize. Instead, she said something like "you should have let someone know sooner", essentially blaming me. And that was the point at which I lost my feelings of intimidation around doctors. I was furious. I never went back to that doctor or that office.

Wed, Jul-20-05, 10:40
I go to the Health Department. The nurses there are very very nice and understanding. Plus, that is usually what they do the entire day a few days a week. Depending on your financial situation the exam could be free.

Wed, Jul-20-05, 11:52
I have a female gynecologist and a female general practitioner. That's how I handle it!

Me too!! :)