Mab (pixietangerine) wrote in vaginapagina,

Self-swabbing for pap smears?

Hello everyone, I have a question about lessening the invasiveness of pap smears and STI testing...

I want to be responsible for my health, but I am TERRIFIED of doctors and have been since I was about six and was tricked into a gynecological exam (which, looking back, sounds completely unnecessary) by a doctor who used words for other body parts (lying about what she was going to do, therefore not even giving me a chance to consent and be somewhat in control...) and my family sat there and watched. Most humiliating experience of my life, and I just can't bring myself to go to a doctor unless I'm seriously afraid I'm going to die or something.

But I do care about my body and my partner's health, and I'd like to get tested and pap smears and the like, but I DO NOT want to be touched/examined by a doctor. I can't think of a way to make it not feel like sexual assault to me. So my question is this: Is there any reason I can't swab myself for pap smears/STI tests? 

I understand that doctors examine you for warts and sores and other signs of infection, and palpate for signs of cancer (ovarian?) and all, but...I examine myself for warts and sores and abnormal discharge and the like (so far have never had symptoms anything other than a yeast infection), and I'm only 22, not a smoker, and have no ovarian cancer in my family, so I'm really not concerned about that. I check my breasts often. I'm not convinced that pelvic exams are actually necessary and in my case I don't think they're beneficial due to the psychological trauma I believe it would cause. I track my cycles, regularly checking cervical mucous and cervical position. I have a relatively low cervix, I've never not been able to feel it, so it would be really easy for me to swab it. 

I pay a lot of attention to and know my body well, I can't think of a reason why I can't do these procedures myself, so why isn't that a regularly given option? Is it an option at all? Would it be possible to find a doctor (or maybe midwife?) who was willing to let me do it myself, without examining me his/herself? Or is there a home kit for pap smears, like there is for HIV? If I could do the smear myself, and do self swabbing/urine tests and blood tests (I'm okay with someone else collecting my blood, just not examining me) for STIs, it would be such a huge relief as well as hugely empowering and I could actually get tested...Has anyone requested/done this themselves? Is this completely ridiculous for some reason I'm not thinking of? 

Thanks a ton!
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