General Question

Aethelwine's avatar

Should I find a new gynecologist?

Asked by Aethelwine (41486points) August 25th, 2013

I met with a new gynecologist to discuss options to treat uterine fibroids. I recently found out that I had the fibroids and I wondered if they might be the cause of my very painful and heavy periods the past two years.

I basically have two days of very heavy bleeding and pain that can only be alleviated by Vicodin. I had Vicodin for something else once and this is how I know it’s the only thing that will help. Tylenol does not work for this pain.

He told me that many women would love to have only two days of heavy bleeding. He gave me a prescription for something that would lighten my period, but unfortunately my insurance doesn’t cover it and it’s too expensive. So I’m basically S.O.L. He also said my fibroids aren’t that large to treat at this moment.

His comment about other women felt dismissive. The entire experience felt that way to me, as if he didn’t believe my pain was that bad and maybe I was exaggerating.

Would you find another gynecologist if this happened to you? Do I really not have it that bad with my periods? That’s something else he told me. Many women don’t discuss their periods with others, so they don’t know what’s common. wth?

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34 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I think it is worth trying a new doctor and getting a second opinion if you feel he is being dismissive. It’s important you feel like you have a partner with your medical care, rather than a doctor who takes the doctor patient scenerio too seriously.

About your pain, you probably have tried this, but I will go ahead and say it, ibuprofen os a much much better pain reliever for period pan than Tylenol, and possibly better than Vicodin, depending on what exactly is causing the pain. Meaning your fibroids might be pressing on a part of you, so your pain is not just muscular cramping.

You also might know, but I will go ahead and say it, that your fibroids will shring once you go into menopause. I only mention it, because if you are getting close you may not want a surgucal option loking at the risks and benefits.

Judi's avatar

I would try another doctor. Maybe find a woman doctor?

Pandora's avatar

I would find another doctor. I hate it when a doctor thinks they know better than you what you should be able to tolerate in pain without ever having fibroids. I have never had them but I know people with small ones who would vomit, get light headed and could barely function when it was bad. A young cousin of mine had really bad side effects and this was a girl who could take some serious hits in Taekwondo and not get a tear in her eyes. But this would put her out of commission for at least 2 days. I don’t think it is always the size but the location that can make it so painful.

I remember reading some time ago that is was believed to be estrogen related.
I couldn’t find the exact article but maybe some of the things in this link can help alleviate some of the pain till you find another OB.

Best of luck. I hope you find a permanent solution for your problem.
Oh, as a side observation. I have noticed that most young women with this problem seem to develop thyroid problems as well. It has made me wonder if maybe thyroid problems is the origin of the problem with fibroids. Oh, and aspirins thin your blood. I’m not sure you would want that to occur while your fibroids are at their worse.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pandora I don’t see any relationship between thryoid problems and fibroids with the women I know. I know plenty of women who have fibroids who do have thyroid problems and who don’t.

She isn’t taking aspirin.

Did the friend you described in your first paragraph have her fibroids removed and get relief from her pain?

snowberry's avatar

Many (certainly not all) doctors act just like this jerk. If you go searching, you might find one whose heart has not frozen solid.

glacial's avatar

@jonsblond “He told me that many women would love to have only two days of heavy bleeding.”

Yes. Find a new gynecologist.

Pandora's avatar

@JLeslie I don’t think she had them removed. I think it has changed on its own. It’s not as bad as it was in her teens. I know 4 women with fibroid problems who later developed thyroid problems. One was my sister and her doctor told her she probably had thyroid problems all her life the other person is my niece who discovered her thyroid a few short year after finding out she has fibroids.
Have two other cousins with the same two problems but I don’t know how long they had the fibroids and how long they had the thyroid problems.
Since thyroids pretty much rule a lot of things in our body and one of them is our uterus, I feel there may be a connection. Oh, forgot one other cousin on my husbands side who was diagnosed with thyroid problems and then found out some years later he had fibroids.

susanc's avatar

Yes. Find a new gynecologist.
I had very bad fibroids for about 20 years. My female naturopath AND my otherwise very intuitive male g.p. just kept saying they’d go away at menopause. Finally at 57 I was losing so much blood all month long that I had to go to the ER, where I was pumped full of saline and what should have been entirely unnecessary precious infusion of human blood that someone else probably needed pretty badly, except that I did too, because I hardly had any left in my body. I was so weak I couldn’t stand up. I was so weak I couldn’t sit up in a chair. So the next day I went to a woman surgeon, who said if a man was losing blood as violently as I was, he’d have been in surgery instantly – it was “like a gunshot wound in there”. She told me that once the blood vessels are opened by the natural loosening of the interior uterine walls and the blood is pouring out at the rate mine was (because the fibroids gave my uterus too much surface area), it was never going to be able to stop – the bleeding had become chronic. Nice, right? So go get yourself a nice feminist ob-gyn tomorrow morning. Yes. Good idea. Don’t be a good soldier. Get taken care of. God bless.

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drhat77's avatar

Doctors forget that the patients that they see most frequently are the ones with menstruation problems. So yeah I bet in his practice most of his patients would be happy to only bleed for two days, but he’s forgotten about all the women who aren’t being seen by him regularly.
I’ve mentioned it in another thread, I think woman’s medicine is somewhat lacking in this country. When my wife and I tried to find an OB we liked, we finally settled on the one we hated the least. Now she goes an hour and a half a way for her yearly.
Also I’ve met many woman who say female gyms are even worse, because they think they know what you’re going through, and think you should suck it up like they had to during their schooling.

FutureMemory's avatar

He sounds like an ass with that “you’re lucky it’s only 2 bad days” comment. Wtf, dude, show some compassion. I’m pretty sure if I were a woman I’d only want to see women gynecologists. I know that’t not always an option though.

augustlan's avatar

I sure would. He sounds pretty damn patronizing. I just loved it when my ob/gyn told me that I couldn’t possibly be feeling pain in my cervix. ~ That asshole.

FWIW, I’ve had great male and female ob/gyns, and sucky male and female ob/gyns. Find one you click with, no matter what their gender.

Stupid question: are fibroids the same thing as ovarian cysts? I get those, and bled every day for two years straight before I gave in and had a hysterectomy. I wish I hadn’t waited so long!

chyna's avatar

I find that female doctors in this field have more understanding and sympathy towards my issues. I think you should find a new doctor. I had fibroids and bled for 15 to 20 days out of each month. For years. I finally got a hysterectomy and it was the best thing I ever did.
Good luck!

jca's avatar

Get a new one. In any case, it can’t hurt to have a second opinion.

JLeslie's avatar

@augustlan fibroids are not ovarian cysts. Fibroids are benign tumors that occur in/on the uteris and often have no symptoms, but can be very painful, depending on location, can cause a lot of bleeding, are though to possibly affect fertility in some women, and can even be life threatening.

@Pandora I also know tons of women who have thyroid problems and fribroids, both things are very common. I’m going to assume the woman you mentioned in your first post had her fibroids shrink eventually and that is how she knows all her bad symptoms were cost by the fibroid, but I have never heard of fibroids going away on their own except after menopause, but possibly it happens and I am unaware.

@susanc That’s interesting, that is the first story I have heard that the fibroids didn’t shrink after menopause. I don’t doubt your story for a second though. My MIL had to seek out another doctor besides her regular OBGYM when she was bleeding monthly like crazy, but she was just in her mid 30’s. I assume she had fibroids causing the bleeding, but I really don’t know.back then in America they took out women’s uterises at the drop of a hat, it was considered one of the overdone surgeries like tonsilectomies and appendectomies. She was in Mexico at the time. Her doctor told her he wouldn’t do it because she could still have more babies. She found a different doctor and had it done and with total absolute luck he left her ovaries behind, which back then often they took everything. So many stories of doctors really not believing the patient. Do the doctor’s bother to do a blood count while the women is bleeding? I wonder if that would be affected enough to show a story, or if a doctor ever bother to really see how much she is bleeding. Most women probably are not examened while bleeding.

@drhat77 Actually, I think it is the opposite. Most GYN’s see women without anything major going on and they don’t handle something going wrong well. Most of their practice is women getting a yearly check up, mamograms, sometimes they do bone density also. Someone with fertility problems that doesn’t fix with Clomid or simple advice from a GYN goes to an RE. I’ve argued with GP’s and GYN’s on here how they treat PCOS by thowing BC pills at patients, which bothers me, especially when it is a teenager. Bandaid for the symptoms, but not treating the underlying problem.

Most women have fibroids with very little problems. I have a bunch of them, have since at least my 20’s, maybe before. I never had an ultrasound until my 20’s, I had no idea I had them.

My favorite GYN did high risk deliveries. He saw women have a lot of crap things happen to them.

Disclaimer for all those who care: I am not a doctor. Just a girl who has fibroids, but never any outward symtoms from them. My mom had heavy bleeding from fibroids. And, I talk to women all the time with medical problems, because my friends often come to me since I know more then the average person about GYN stuff since I have had so much bad happen to me in that realm.

seekingwolf's avatar

Find a new one to see if there is less expensive treatment for you. Doesn’t sound like he helped much.

Btw, not all men gynos are like that. I went to a female gyno once and felt very uncomfortable and judged for my choices (I am not promiscuous by the way, I’ve never had sex outside of a relationship). My current gyno is great. He’s thorough and no BS.

Judi's avatar

Most doctors only test one thyroid marker. Mine was normal at the MD’s office. I’ve seen an Ostiopath and a Naturopath who tested two other thyroid markers and they were way low. I’m now on a medicine called Nature-Throid and it is bringing a lot of things back to normal.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Another guy here, but I vote for the switch to another doctor too. Anytime your Dr. is dismissive is a bad sign. Every woman is different, it takes a fine touch to be sure he fully understands what’s going on.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Because a lot of women have pain and severe menstrual issues, some doctors can be dismissive. Second opinion, pain pills for menstrual pain is not normal.

Aethelwine's avatar

Thanks everyone. You’ve made me feel better. I should have known to turn around and walk out the door when I noticed he was a Cardinals fan (Cubs fan here). ;)

I had a great male doctor where I lived before we moved. His office is now 50 miles from my current home, but I’m considering going back to him. The doctor I’ve had for the past two years recently moved her office to a town 40 miles away, so I may go back to her. If I didn’t have such a crappy car this decision would be easier to make. I just hate traveling that kind of distance when I’m not sure if my car will make it. I’m definitely going to see someone else. I didn’t like this man.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@jonsblond Hey, I have to disagree about the STLC!

gailcalled's avatar

(Uterus and not uteris, please)

@jonsblond: His behavior and remarks were condescending and patronizing. I know that you don’t have too many choices, but if you can find another gyn. who treats you like an intelligent partner and not a ditsy female, do so at once.

I had one fibroid about the size of a lemon and it did shrink after my menopause. For the last ten years before menopause, my periods were very heavy and very painful. I used heat and took ibuprofen.

drhat77's avatar

@jonsblonde ask your old doc if he would be willing to look over your records and do a phone consult. Then maybe you could just go to him for yearlys.

JLeslie's avatar

@drhat77 Will insurance pay for a phone consult? Or, do you mean the doctor will do it for free? Plus, for this, she needs to see the doctor in person I think. Maybe do an ultrasound himself, see if he can cause the pain.

drhat77's avatar

some insurances pay for phone consult. We have insurance, but my wife pays out of pocket for her gyn because, seriously, he’s all up in there, so you need to trust him. Maybe she can work out some sort of deal if insurance doesn’t cover it. It’s a valid option to explore if the only other one is suffering.

JLeslie's avatar

@drhat77 Interesting. I have flown to other states to see a doctor. The majority of the ones I see who are out of state will get on the phone with me anyway or answer an email, but most doctors have all their gatekeepers keeping you from talking to them. It’s awful.

hearkat's avatar

I had fibroids and got relief with an IUD; although the fibroids still grew, my period was tolerable and I wasn’t a psychopathic banshee during PMS time. The IUD lasts 5 years and at that point my uterus was about the size of being 5 months pregnant and was crowding out my other organs and causing discomfort. My male Gyn gave me the option to put in a new IUD or to cut out the uterus. At 43, I chose the latter. Later that year, I moved and went from being 7 miles to the Gyn to 50 miles away… I figure that since I only go once a year, I’ll make the trip. Contact your former Gyn for your current concerns, and also ask if he knows of anyone in your area. Feel better!

augustlan's avatar

I drive 60 miles each way to see my old GP. Totally worth it for the peace of mind. If the car will make it, I’d do it!

chyna's avatar

^Agree!

Aethelwine's avatar

@augustlan I agree. It’s worth it if I don’t need to visit that often. My old Gyn plays saxophone for a Beatles cover band and has his rooms decorated with Beatles paraphernalia. He’s really cool and makes me feel comfortable. I think I might go back to him.

Thanks again everyone.

gorillapaws's avatar

I would consult with your former OB that you had a great relationship with. I’d communicate your issues/frustrations about your current GP and see if she knows of anyone else close to you that she would recommend (she used to be in your area after all and probably knows most of the other OBs near you).

Also regarding cyclical abdominal pain, if you have varicose or spider veins, there is a reasonable chance you may have a condition called pelvic congestion syndrome which is very often missed by GPs and OB/GYNs. I know about it because I made the slides for a lecture we give to other practices about venous disease regarding things that are being missed by primary care. It may be worth asking about (and they may not know all that much about it).

Good luck, and I hope you feel better soon. You really should like and trust your doctor, so I think it makes sense to move on.

susanc's avatar

Just a note for @JLeslie: I was 57 and no menopause was on the horizon when I finally had a hysterectomy. I would never have had “menopause”; that poor worn-out uterus was never going to be able to heal the raw wounds caused by so much bleeding that the bleeding couldn’t quit.
Instead of menopause I would just have had Death.

This has been a very interesting conversation.
One last thing.
When they do hysterectomies, they say they’ll take out the uterus but leave the ovaries because a lot of good hormones get made by the ovaries and “keep us young.” But nine times out of nine and a half, once the uterus is gone, the ovaries throw in the towel and shrivel up.

JLeslie's avatar

@susan I guess you mean your uterus was going to keep bleeding no matter what your ovaries did, but had the fibroids shrunk down?

My MIL had her hysterectomy in her mid 30’s. She didn’t understand what was going on when she started having hot flashes around age 50. She thought she was done cycling, and her doctor explained to her that her ovaries had still been producing hormones even when her uterus was gone. She didn’t even know if her ovaries had been left behind or not, she thought those organs were gone. Since she has continued to flash into her 70’s, she is very glad that didn’t start in her 30’s at the time of the surgery. I’ver never heard a hysterectomy sometimes causes the ovaries to quit. That’s interesting I’ll have to read up on it. I wonder why therevwas big to do years ago about leaving ovaries behind if there usually is almost no effect.

hearkat's avatar

My uterus was the only problem, so my ovaries are still there. I know they’re working, because every 5–7 weeks or so I get post-ovulation breast tenderness. My Gyn said that they’ll work, but for most women whose uterus is gone, they slow down gradually and some have a smoother transition to menopause than most women. I’m hoping that will be the case for me!

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