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#181725 - 09/22/07 06:29 PM Medical/Dental Avoidance
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5781
Loc: Lyons, CO USA
Many survivors have posted here about avoiding medical or dental procedures due to their abuse experiences. As most of you know, I'm in the final process of a book for survivors and I'd like to add a chapter on medical and dental issues.

Some survivors have said that the idea of someone working in their mouth feels very scary and intrusive. Likewise for getting physical exams, colonoscopies, etc.

I'd like to hear some of your experiences with medical and dental people, why you avoid, whether you've shared your abuse with the doctor, what kinds of responses you've gotten, what kinds of medical problems you've had due to avoidance, etc.

I will not quote anyone in the book without your permission. No one who is quoted in the book is identified beyond "A survivor writes:", or "The wife of a survivor said:"


Blissfully retired after 35 years treating sexual abuse

#181727 - 09/22/07 06:36 PM Re: Medical/Dental Avoidance [Re: Ken Singer, LCSW]
testingWaters Offline

Registered: 07/19/06
Posts: 508
Ha. I told a dentist this year for the first time (after a 12 year dental hiatus) that I wanted him to know it was triggering for me to come to the dentist since I had been abused as a boy. I was pretty formal and succinct in what I said but he seemed uncomfortable and told me "he really didn't need to know that".

Honestly I felt like an idiot.

#181731 - 09/22/07 06:52 PM Re: Medical/Dental Avoidance [Re: testingWaters]
Frog Offline

Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 291
Loc: Arizona

I've avoided the dentist since I was 18...not sure why exactly
but it cost us over $3000.00 this year for the dentist to
fix all the issues w/ my teeth...

As for getting physicals..I've avoided them since my last one
when I was in the military 20 years ago...I passed out (fainted)
multiple times during the process of all the
was hell...

I cannot get one...a physical that is...
just the thought of his hands "on" me or "in" me, sends chills
through my soul...

A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: "Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time." When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment, "The one I feed the most."

#181737 - 09/22/07 07:56 PM Re: Medical/Dental Avoidance [Re: Frog]
Paul1959 Offline

Registered: 05/17/06
Posts: 525
Loc: NYC
My urologist asked me about stress in my life. I told him I was working on it. Told him I was seeing a T regarding some childhood sexual abuse. I figured this was fairly important to tell him because of issues with scar tissue and pain during a biopsy. He was quite uncomfortable with that info. I asked him if I was the first to ever tell him that. I was. It was a teaching moment. Told him one in every six boys are molested by 16. told him about MS. Told him he probably needed to be on the look out for symptoms in his line of work.
He seemed to not especially grasp it..or didn't care. Either one, it was just another small attempt to educate the public about CSA.

#181740 - 09/22/07 08:32 PM Re: Medical/Dental Avoidance [Re: Paul1959]

Registered: 02/13/04
Posts: 983
I have had trouble with hemoroids . I believe that this is due to being raped . I do not want any one tuching my ass other than my wife . I have avoided haveing a prostate exam because of this . I just do not like being touched . espeshaly by other men
it just freeks me out



"All I can do is be me, whoever that is"

#181741 - 09/22/07 08:58 PM Re: Medical/Dental Avoidance [Re: OKIE MIKE]
Frog Offline

Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 291
Loc: Arizona
Originally Posted By: OKIE MIKE
I have had trouble with hemoroids. I believe that this is due to being raped. I do not want any one tuching my ass other than my wife . I have avoided haveing a prostate exam because of this . I just do not like being touched . espeshaly by other men it just freeks me out

WOW...I thought I was the only one w/ this line of thought
w/ the whole hemoroids thing...

I can't even let my GF touch my ass...I FREAK out during sex
if she even gets remotely close to there...I too have avoided
the prostate exam because of this...

What is weird though is that I see a chiropractor on a regualar
basis, 2-3 times a week...he does sometimes "sense" me getting
VERY TENSE while he adjusts me...he gently "taps" my back or neck
to get me to relax...kinda like distracting me from the procedure..

A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: "Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time." When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment, "The one I feed the most."

#181743 - 09/22/07 09:11 PM Re: Medical/Dental Avoidance [Re: Paul1959]
TNuss Offline

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 203
Loc: Del-A-Ware???
I have two examples of avoidance of doctors:

First, one of my abuse issues relates to my mother. I feel she started my cycle of abuse and I feel she wasn't whole heartily there for me because she was having an affair with high school sweetheart. Because of her affair my father was didnít spend a lot of time within our home. Neither seen the signs that I was being abused, also because of this I never went to the dentist as a child let alone the orthodontist. My lower teeth are bunched up and overlap each over and I have a slight overbite. When I was in the fifth grade I broke one of my front teeth and had to have a crown put over the remaining part of my tooth. Now as an adult, I do go to the dentist and he is encouraging me to have the crown/ cap redone and to go to the orthodontist, but I have resisted have anything done. I know should.

The second example, when I was 12ish, I had this abscess form on my anus, known as a perennial abscess. It may have been a coincidence that I started getting these abscess after my last abuse started, in which my abuser inserted objects up my anus. I remember the doctor talking to my mom about sometime of anal penetration or me not cleaning myself properly or something like that. My mother lectured me about making sure I cleaned myself better and never questioned the idea of some type of penetration. She totally missed the signs again. Iím now 35 and from time to time, usually when I have had bad diarrhea a few days later I noticed the start of the abscess forming, so I will started cleaning myself with alcohol wipes. To totally fix the problem I should have surgery, but I have never brought the subject of my abuse up with my general physician.

I know I should take care of these things, but it like I know I should lose 75 lbs. Itís like Iím holding onto my abuse by not doing anything about these things. Wow, maybe thatís where Iím at in my recovery. I need to start thinking of myself and taking care of these things.


All my best!!!

In harmony,
I hug myself daily until the day I find the embrace that completes me.

#181744 - 09/22/07 09:23 PM Re: Medical/Dental Avoidance [Re: testingWaters]
theatrekid Offline

Registered: 06/03/07
Posts: 702
Loc: oregon
Originally Posted By: testingWaters
Ha. I told a dentist this year for the first time (after a 12 year dental hiatus) that I wanted him to know it was triggering for me to come to the dentist since I had been abused as a boy. I was pretty formal and succinct in what I said but he seemed uncomfortable and told me "he really didn't need to know that".

Honestly I felt like an idiot.

FIND A NEW DENTIST!!!!!... he is a doctor and should be more understanding.

The dentist has always caused lots of fear in my life. the idea of sitting their with no control as some one drills, pulls, and grinds away at my mouth is awful. I have lots of weird issues about my mouth. most of which i think are related to the abuse. but the dentist is the top of the list for things that are triggering for me. i used to not even realize why i didnt like the dentist. I try to avoid the dentist at all costs. unfortunately i have several cavities i need to get filled so I will be making another appointment in the very near future


#181753 - 09/22/07 09:52 PM Re: Medical/Dental Avoidance [Re: theatrekid]
Hauser Offline

Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2963
Loc: United States
I have no issues with doctors/dentists whatsoever.

#181758 - 09/22/07 10:08 PM Re: Medical/Dental Avoidance *DELETED* [Re: theatrekid]
ttoon Offline

Registered: 06/20/07
Posts: 977
Post deleted by ttoon

checkin out for a few weeks... whistle

#181785 - 09/23/07 12:19 AM Re: Medical/Dental Avoidance [Re: ttoon]
rcm Offline

Registered: 08/24/07
Posts: 156
Loc: Boston, MA
Never had problems with a dentist.
I do get all weird thoughts when getting a physical though.
I had to have a prostate exam last year because I told the doctor about blood in my stool/anus. Which by the way I've had all my life but never told anyone.
I was so freaked out I still feel nervous thinking about it.
He promised he'd give me anesthesia.
I went into a room at the hospital and was asleep the whole time.
I don't remember anyting about the procedure after I went in but I felt very spaced out afterwards, even when the anesthesia wore off.

Edited by rcm (09/23/07 12:20 AM)
Prince Zuko: [looking at a map] How am I going to find the Avatar? He is clearly a master of evasive maneuvering.
Sokka: [cut to him, looking at the same map] You have no idea where you're going, do you?

#181812 - 09/23/07 02:19 AM Re: Medical/Dental Avoidance [Re: ttoon]
Gerald2007 Offline

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 157
Loc: Southeastern US
Am I the only one that has a problem with these clinical quesions?

Alumnus: Weekend of Recovery - Dahlonega, May 2008 and May 2009
We are bound together by the pain of the past and our hopes for the future.

#181813 - 09/23/07 02:23 AM Re: Medical/Dental Avoidance [Re: rcm]
frost Offline

Registered: 03/15/07
Posts: 1377
Loc: Eh?
Thought I would just chime in... I do struggle muchly with dental work and put it off as much as I can and oftentimes will choose to deal with dental pain. I've not been to a dentist for probably 10 years now. I know its bad, but I still don't want to go. In terms of medical professionals, I don't trust Doctors. I have a memory of when I was around 6 or 7 and my family doctor examined my genitals. I recall being extremely scared that he'd know what they had been used for by that time... Not only that but being exposed was so uncomfortable. I always feel so intimidated by Doctors... That could be why, I'm not sure.

Another thing I'll mention is Chiropractors/Massage Therapists. I occasionally get severe neck pain and have only once been to a Chiropractor to deal with it. The first thing the Chiropractor did is have me remove my shirt then felt my muscles in my shoulders and neck area. This only served to tense me up considerably worse than before as I was horrendously uncomfortable without a shirt, AND I had someone's hands on me!! Further to that, I'll never go for a massage because I know that I would tense up worse than if I don't go and thus it would defeat the purpose of said massage.



#181814 - 09/23/07 02:24 AM Re: Medical/Dental Avoidance [Re: ttoon]
MarkK Offline

Registered: 04/02/07
Posts: 2652
Loc: Denver, CO
I turned 50 two years ago. My Dr has been hinting at wanting me to get a colonoscopy since I turned 47. (I had a sygmoidoscope when I was 45 and that was more than bad enough...)

Anyhoo, I tell the Dr I'll have to schedule a time but since I travel so much it's just hard for me to find time. So far he's not arguing. Maybe he knows the truth - THERE IS NO WAY I WILL EVER HAVE A COLONOSCOPY!

dentists don't bother me - i have "quiver-tongue" - i spray saliva - it's great watching dentists wince and jump to get outa the way........


#181835 - 09/23/07 05:35 AM Re: Medical/Dental Avoidance [Re: MarkK]
wojax Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/22/04
Posts: 171
Loc: Florida
I have had several colonoscopys done in the past couple years. There is noting to them your asleep during the hole thing. You really need to have it done.
The worst part of the hole thing is having to clean yourself out befor hand. You will not belive the amout of crap that comes out LOL sorry for being gross But really it is not bad at all

Jer 7:23 ps 91:16

#181837 - 09/23/07 05:56 AM Re: Medical/Dental Avoidance [Re: Ken Singer, LCSW]
lostandfound Offline

Registered: 02/01/07
Posts: 148
Loc: Singularity

I don't feel comfortable with a doctor. Actually, my physcian knows (I told him a while back) and he is very kind, but I can't dis-robe. He understands. I think.

He's older than me and that may explain some of it, but I don't want him touching me unless it is absolutely necessary.

uggh! To have an older person put their hands on me is terrifying. How else can you describe it?

Dental? I hate the dentist the same way I hate flying. I don't like feeling trapped.


"I'm not suppose to be like this, but it's okay!" -REM

#181838 - 09/23/07 09:43 AM Re: Medical/Dental Avoidance [Re: lostandfound]
sabata Offline

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1950
dito on flying------------------on dentist-----------------------i can not be in a position where i cant get out when i want----------------------------steve

#181850 - 09/23/07 01:20 PM Re: Medical/Dental Avoidance [Re: sabata]
BJK Offline

Registered: 08/02/07
Posts: 1526
Dentists? My fear of them, I think, had more to do with the way my dentist as a kid used to lecture me and reprimand me for not taking care of my teeth. Okay, I'll be honest. I had two horrible dentist experiences that had nothing to do with abuse, but the dentist I finally started seeing a couple of years ago is completely different. He's given me the tools to take care of my teeth, and I'm glad I went back.

The physical I had put off for twenty years was a completely different story. The physician left it wide open for me to mention any abuse before the exam began. After asking all the standard questions, he actually said, "Is there anything else you'd like to disclose to me before we begin?"

I told him of my abuse, and he acted concerned. We discussed it for a little while before we began. When the time came for him to actually check for hernia and testicular cancer, he explained each step, what he was going to do, before he did it. It helped, but it still felt like I was reliving a flashback.

It was horrible, but a couple of hours later I started to feel like I had conquered something. Of course, I don't look forward to my next one, but I'm pretty happy I went.


Revenge is nothing more than another way of perpetuating abuse.

What the world needs now
Is some new words of wisdom
Like la la la la la la la la la.
-David Lowery

Having a friend who will keep a secret for you is worthless compared to a friend who won't keep a secret from you.

#181851 - 09/23/07 01:21 PM Re: Medical/Dental Avoidance *DELETED* [Re: sabata]
nicky Offline

Registered: 08/24/07
Posts: 261
Post deleted by nicky

i like the rain cause no one knows im crying

a strong man is one who is able to control himself when he is angry
what is your definiton of control?

i lay awake another hour
just like the one before
the shadows play a game with my head
i can't take this anymore

#181855 - 09/23/07 01:51 PM Re: Medical/Dental Avoidance [Re: nicky]
shadowkid Offline
WARNING from ModTeam, September 2013: user "Shadowkid" was exposed as a hoaxer. His entire online persona and stories of sexual abuse were fiction. We encourage you not to become emotionally concerned by anything you see in any of his posts. Thank you

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 2437
i had the colon scope thing done ,it sucked major, i was sick all day from the anesthtic,and when i woke up it felt exactly like waking up in the closet with the feeling that something had been inside me . never again .

its not hard to fall
when you float like a cannonball - damien rice

#181861 - 09/23/07 02:16 PM Re: Medical/Dental Avoidance [Re: shadowkid]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA

Last year I began telling any medical people I need to see that I am a survivor of CSA. Sometimes the reaction is a bit clumsy, if the doctor isn't ready for that, but that has happened only 2-3 times. All the rest of the occasions it's worked out well and I've been happy with the treatment I got. On several occasions the doctor has thanked me for disclosing, since it helps them to help me better.

I have colon surgery coming up to deal with old scarring from when I was a kid, and of course I'm not looking forward to that. But I will do it because I know it's in my best interest.

Dentists? Forget it. One of my most horrific memories involved being held by my head, so any dental work is a huge trigger for me. I've been avoiding the dentist for years, even though I know it's a bad move on my part. I hate being controlled by those old fears, but I find it difficult to break free from them. Even the thought of going to the dentist is enough to send me into a near panic.

Much love,

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

#181864 - 09/23/07 02:36 PM Re: Medical/Dental Avoidance [Re: roadrunner]
FormerTexan Offline

Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 12093
Loc: Denver, CO
There are many things I hate about seeing the dentist or doctor. I've had several scopes in the past because of internal bleeding and ulceration which later resulted in major surgery. Barbaric! I also have hated anything that gags me, especially tongue depressors, since I was little.


Money talks, but all it tells me is goodbye.

If I could meet myself as a boy...

#181901 - 09/23/07 10:20 PM Re: Medical/Dental Avoidance [Re: FormerTexan]
Dewey2k Offline

Registered: 08/22/05
Posts: 3069
I don't have any issues that I can think of, although having an IV line attached to my arm leaves me feeling violated...

#181915 - 09/23/07 11:40 PM Re: Medical/Dental Avoidance [Re: Dewey2k]
jacobtk Offline

Registered: 04/08/03
Posts: 527
The last visit I had to a doctor was several years ago. It was required in order for me to continue to the next semester because my medical records were incomplete. What made me uncomfortable was how impersonal all the touching was. The doctor told me what he was doing, but he did not notice or seem to care that I was uncomfortable being touched.

Every day I die again, and again Iím reborn/Every day I have to find the courage/To walk out into the street/With arms out/Got a love you canít defeat/Neither down nor out/Thereís nothing you have that I need/I can breathe/Breathe now - U2

#181963 - 09/24/07 01:52 AM Re: Medical/Dental Avoidance [Re: ttoon]
copenbay Offline

Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 127

Let's see. There was an experience with a doctor who told me to pull down my pants so he could feel around down there (I guess that's fairly normal to check for a hernia, but even at 16 and pre-pubescent, I was more than a little freaked out).
There was also the dentist who filled a baby tooth when the novocain wasn't working, and I screamed bloody murder. I was about five or six at the time, and was still in the middle of some nightmarish stuff.
Then there was four wisdom teeth removed at the same time. I dropped so much weight my Mom was scared (I went down to just under 130 pounds on a 6-foot frame). And I don't think the procedure itself was that bad, because they knocked me out so I wouldn't hear the drilling (hate that sound).
And I've avoided dentists whenever possible since I reached adulthood. In fact, I let things go to the point that I've had to have 22 teeth worked on in the last three years, with two more that haven't been repaired yet.
I don't fear dentists the way I did, but only from necessity. I still dread going sometimes. But I've only been back to the doctor once since I was 16 (two years later, when I had to have a hemherroid removed). If I die from prostate cancer because I don't get that checked, so be it. I'll take that risk, to avoid the humiliation.


#181964 - 09/24/07 01:55 AM Re: Medical/Dental Avoidance [Re: copenbay]
MarkK Offline

Registered: 04/02/07
Posts: 2652
Loc: Denver, CO

I understand COMPLETELY.


#182026 - 09/24/07 01:02 PM Re: Medical/Dental Avoidance [Re: ttoon]
kellygtx Offline

Registered: 07/11/07
Posts: 412
Loc: Texas, USA
I do have issues with both I have to work hard on. The first is blood in my mouth - scares the crap out of me. I have to work hard to go to the dentist.

Second, I hate MD's. It is not connected to my abuse, but rather so many trips to the neurologist when I was a kid - many trips, many tests, many drugs. Got to the point I just said "no more". I saw a neurologist for the first time in 35 years just this year. I did not disclose to him - just had to go.

I bid you Peace.


The time is always NOW. Breath In. Breath Out. Move On.

#182031 - 09/24/07 01:47 PM Re: Medical/Dental Avoidance [Re: wojax]
Power_water Offline

Registered: 09/14/07
Posts: 45
Loc: Portland, OR, USA
I was uncomfortable being examined,

but not unbearably so. I was cautious and on gaurd

I paid close attention for signs of professionalism, or

for signs of any 'comming on' to me.

I did not find anything amiss, so I put my fears, mostly to rest.

Bring works of darkness to light

#182204 - 09/25/07 04:05 AM Re: Medical/Dental Avoidance [Re: copenbay]
ak Offline

Registered: 01/10/04
Posts: 1491
One of my abusers, the worst one, was a doctor, and that really, it put me off of doctors all total. Of course, in life, it is some irony, and since the abuse ended, I have had cancer twice, and have had to have treatments for that (in personal area), and also have had two other surgeries in last two years. I guess that make it for me to have to get over the fear, but it really do not. I still have the fear, but fear of death is little more now. With being in competing sport, I do not have choice to go to doctor at least once a year for general check up also, or I do not compete.

Dentist, that is different, and I will confess only I have been once in last five or 6 years.


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