Hi all,

I'm a cis female. I am also a military wife in the US, so I get health care on the military base. It's often rushed, the doctors are sometimes hit or miss and may not care about your health unless you are in pain or dying ATM. I need help because I am suffering through pain and need to know exactly what to ask the doctor so that I don't get blown off again. Let me explain…

I went in about two months ago with pain in my lower abdomen/ovary area. The doctor did some touching around and gave me a pap smear. It came back negative for all the bad stuff *phew*. However, it doesn't explain the pain and since I didn't talk to the doctor after my pap smear, I don't actually know if he knows/cares what is causing the pain. I explained that it had been going on a few months and I was starting to get worried. Basically what came out of the visit was, "Nope, you don't have HPV, bye now." But the pain is still ongoing.

A little about the pain – it comes and goes, but is usually about once a day. I first noticed it in about December/January. It is a dull, light throb, but painful enough to be noticeable and not just subconscious. Sometimes it goes to the other side of my abdomen but 90% of the time I feel it on my left side.

This isn't exactly a "diagnose me" question although suggestions are welcome. Mainly I want to feel more informed when I go to the doctor because TBH I feel kind of blown off right now. I gave the doctor a full description of the pain like I gave you, and he didn't order an ultrasound or whatever they do to check that sort of thing. All I know now is that it's not an STD/STI since that panel came up negative. But it's still painful and it's still worrying me/bothering me. I don't want to be in pain anymore.

What should I say to the doctor when I schedule a followup visit? It will be a different doctor since we moved in the last month. I want to be armed with as much knowledge as possible so that I can specifically request whatever tests can be done to help me find out what this is. Because if I don't specifically say I WANT AN ULTRASOUND/TEST FOR WHATEVER, the doctor will just send me home until I come back dying one day.

I need help!

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19 Responses to Blown off by military doctor – need help informing self so I can get proper care

  1. Hteall says:

    Sounds a bit like an ovarian cyst. I’d suggest saying, “I’ve been having an intermittent pain that is in my ovarian area; I’d like an ultrasound to see if I have a cyst. If it’s not a cyst, what tests can you suggest that might find out why I’ve got a constant dull abdominal pain?” A pelvic exam would also have a chance of catching such a thing, though it might be a bit painful since, well, the way to feel them is to squish the ovaries around a bit, and cysts are tender.

    Good luck!

  2. Nam77 says:

    Sadly, a cyst has popped up in my mind, thanks WebMD. But seriously, I asked my doctor that and he didn’t seem to care before. I like the quote that you said though, I think I’ll definitely say that when I go next. I’m kind of scared of the pelvic exam though. 😡

  3. Hteall says:

    Ultrasounding for a cyst might require a trans-vaginal probe as well — but I didn’t find mine that much of a problem when they were checking for a miscarriage. (It wasn’t.) So you might want to ask for an ultrasound first and try to skip the pelvic. >_>

  4. Hteall says:

    I read below that you have a history of constipation — have you had your thyroid checked? It might or might not be related, but thyroid issues can cause constipation.

    If you alternate constipation and diarrhea, especially despite efforts to get more fiber, you may want to consider the possibility of getting a colonoscopy; I know someone who had a benign growth that was blocking stools from getting past. It was removed, and matters in that area got a lot better.

    Luck!

  5. Srava says:

    Is there any way you can get a referral to an off base gynecologist? I have a friend who is in your situation and she has to get referrals for off base doctors to get the right kind of care for her three kids.

    If not, I would go in there with a list of the problems going on, how long they have been going, what the other doctor did and what you want done. If nobody helps you, make a scene…

  6. Nam77 says:

    The only thing I can really do is get “emergency care” off base, meaning urgent care when the on base clinic is closed. It’s really hard to get that unless it’s confirmed you have some sort of special case that doctors can’t diagnose. I wish. The scene thing might be my best option…

  7. EirNobody says:

    The area that you are describing is where I also sometimes have pain, which is due to Crohn’s Disease. So I think there’s a possibility that it may be digestive in nature. Especially if you say you get it about once a day.

    I, personally, would keep a log of what you eat and when it hurts. For a doctor, that is a huge help with any type of abdominal pain issues. It may also help you notice patterns. Especially be on the lookout for after eating insoluble foods (whole nuts, seeds, berries, raw veggies, corn, high-fiber cereal, etc.), and if the pain reliably pops up a certain amount of time (4-24 hours) later.

  8. Nam77 says:

    I don’t have any noticeable pain after eating certain foods. I do however have a history of constipation. Could it still be Crohn’s? I don’t have any severe pain that seems to relate to digestion like I’ve heard described by people with Crohn’s so that’s why I haven’t considered it, but nothing’s ruled out.

  9. EirNobody says:

    Even without Crohn’s, there are a number of digestive issues that can those those types of symptoms (diverticula, any inflammation, etc.). One of those is more likely. Because lower digestive pain tends to be at least 4 hours after eating the offending food, a lot of people do miss that connection.

  10. KaeDr says:

    Okay, I feel like a moron, but I keep seeing this term on this community and still don’t know what it means.
    What’s CIS?

  11. Loaora says:

    cis gendered ~ a cis-gendered individual is one whose gender identity matches his/her assigned sex at birth.

    So for example, if you were born a woman and that’s what you identify as. There are a lot of folks on here that identify as the opposite gender, than what they were born as. A lot of people on here use the cis-gendered terminology to further help aid their questions.

  12. KaeDr says:

    I just always assumed most were this “cis-gendered” and that it would only need to be mentioned if it was different…

    So I assumed cis meant something other than what you were born with…that’s what had me confused.
    Thanks 😛

  13. Elteva says:

    The point is to make sure nobody feels “different”. Feeling different is what stops people from seeking help in the first place, this should be a place where anybody can come for help, so what’s why many people choose to specify.

  14. Eanva says:

    And then us genderqueer folks come in and just open up a whole new can of worms on you 😉

  15. Ognfornia says:

    It’s true, perhaps, that the majority of people are cisgendered. But the assumption that everyone is cisgendered unless otherwise noted reveals a privileged position – like being white is a privileged position, for example. I am honestly pretty sure that in terms of numbers, most people in the world are not white…but in our culture, that’s certainly the assumption, isn’t it?

    So when we assume that being white, cisgendered, and say…Christian, at least lower-middle class, able-bodied, etc. is “normal”, that means that people who aren’t are implied to be abnormal and will probably be treated that way. It also makes those people feel invisible! That is something we aren’t okay with in VP. We don’t assume that all of our posters are women, American, white, cisgendered, etc. And a lot of them aren’t any of those things! Those people matter, and they shouldn’t have to specifically label themselves in any particular way to feel included and respected. We should try to include and respect everyone by default. Does that make sense?

  16. 1elWo says:

    Can you bring a friend or even your husband with you as an advocate the next time you are faced with a difficult military doctor? I have had to be an advocate for my mom when she sees her primary care doctor because he is so disconnected and very cold. She was having pain in her legs, and he just brushed it off. He wasn’t even going to look at her leg until I spoke up on her behalf. I also know that military doctors are all protocol and bottom line, based off of the medical traumas my mother endured when she was a young pregnant woman. I don’t know what the rules are but if you can bring in someone as a support it may be very valuable. I would also suggest writing down everything that is bothering you on a piece of paper so you don’t forget anything.

    As for the pain you are feeling, I wonder if you may have a ruptured ovarian cyst? Also have you had reproductive problems in the past such as endometriosis? Anyway, best of luck to you and I hope that you find a doctor on base that is empathetic and professional. If you have little luck on base it may be worth seeing a doctor at one of those urgent care clinics.

  17. Nam77 says:

    Thanks for your helpful thorough reply. This was just the kind of advice I needed.

    Well, unfortunately I just moved to the area so I don’t know any other women, and my husband is even less knowledgeable about the issue than I, and also equally uncomfortable contradicting doctors/speaking up about medical issues due to the nature of being in the military and the fact that he’s pretty adverse to conflict in general.

    The paper thing is a very good idea. I will do that. The problem I feel is that (at least what happened last time) the doctor was able to convince me it was nothing, or that it could only be HPV or something… so when it wasn’t HPV it’s like he expected the issue to magically disappear. I almost feel gaslighted… I know that sounds extreme but there’s seriously SOMETHING wrong with me and I explained everything to the doctor and he totally brushed it off. Maybe I’m just looking for confidence so that when the doctor says, “It’s nothing, you’re fine” after checking me out, I feel like I can say, “Actually, it’s not nothing, do your job find out what the fuck is wrong with me.” I’m getting pissed off just thinking about it.

    No reproductive problems, always had a very regular period and… actually, come to think of it, my period never bothered me until about the last few months. Now it hurts a LOT, which it never used to. Would that be related to cysts in some way possibly?

  18. Eanva says:

    Cysts can pop up out of nowhere and hurt a lot. So can a couple other things too, though (cysts are the most likely), so an ultrasound to make sure is the way to go about it.

  19. 1elWo says:

    Sometimes ovarian cysts can increase menstrual pain. I found a web site that talks about the different types of ovarian cysts and their symptoms.
    http://www.emedicinehealth.com/ovarian_cysts/article_em.htm

    Did you ever experience intense nausea or a feeling like you would throw up? I ask because it could also be something intestinal. When you feel the pain what has help you get through, i.e. hot water bottle on the area, peppermint tea. Start keeping notes on the intensity of the pain, when during your cycle you feel the pain, what other physical or emotional changes you notice, and what seems to help you lessen the pain.

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