A recent post about gynecological exams prompted me to ask about my situation. I'm an American living in Germany, and I take HBC, but am not sexually active. In order to get a prescription for my HBC, I'm required to have a thorough gynecological exam (including pap smear, transvaginal ultrasound, and manual exam) every six months. I'm not sexually active and I'm over 30. When I've asked why this is necessary, doctors have told me either that it just is, or that I need it to screen for cancer. I know that the false positive rate of the cancer screening is very high, and that every six months is *way* too frequent, but I can't convince a doctor of this. I feel patronized in these situations, and I feel trapped that I have to go for a regular unnecessary extremely invasive procedure. Even though I know that's not the real reason, I feel as though there's a system in place that specifically doesn't want me to take care of myself--I use the HBC to improve my otherwise debilitating cramps, and without it I would miss several days of work a month. It's all worse because my German is pretty crappy, and so I have to either have these conversations with doctors in crappy German, not-all-that-great English, or not at all.
In addition, the last time I went, the doctor used tools that were clean, but not sterilized (she opened a drawer and took out a clean set of those prying-open-your-vagina thingies, but they weren't in an autoclave bag). This makes me feel even more uncomfortable, even though I don't really think I'll get an STI this way as long as they're clean.
Do you folks have any advice on how I can make myself feel more comfortable about this situation? I don't think I can change the actual situation unless I want to go off of HBC, and I don't want to do that. Also, does anyone have experience with the health care system in Germany who might be able to give me concrete advice or information about this situation? Right now I feel trapped and awful and not in control of my own health, and knowing these procedures are completely unnecessary just makes me feel worse.