Women are very intentional about who they trust with their health and quite a number of women have talked about their different encounters with male and female gynaecologists. For this piece, we asked a few Nigerian women to share their experiences with male and female gynaecologists and here’s what they had to say:
I have visited both male and female gynaecologists and the experience was the same with both of them. I felt comfortable enough to trust them with my body. There was no fear or judgement; both of them were kind and patiently answered all my questions.
Both visits weren’t in Nigeria. I visited the first gynaecologist in Ghana because I was experiencing irregularities with my period. A female gynaecologist attended to me on that visit to the hospital. The second visit to the gynaecologist was in Nigeria and I was attended to by a man. I was met with the same patience and kindness by both of them.
I was 12yrs old when I first visited a gynaecologist. I had menorrhagia and my mum was scared. My male gynaecologist was really nice and welcoming. I have been attended to by another male gynaecologist and he was also very nice. He also made me feel very comfortable.
I still look forward to being attended to by a female gynaecologist.
Personally, I had mostly good experiences with female doctors than I did with male doctors and I always picked female doctors over male doctors. A few years ago, I had to do a surgical abortion at a teaching hospital and chose a female gynaecologist for the procedure. She was mean to me, she insulted me and was really rough with me. I cried all through the procedure. The male gynaecologist in the room held my hand and was consoling me throughout the procedure.
She was to insert an anal antibiotic pill in my anus after the procedure, and it wasn’t a small pill. She kept shoving it forcefully into my anus without lube and tearing me up till I started to bleed from my anus. The pain was so intense I cried a lot. She continued to insult me, saying when I was enjoying the sex I didn’t cry. When she couldn’t get the pill in, she just threw it away and stormed off. A nurse helped put the pill in more gently. I couldn’t sit well on my butt for 3 days after that experience.
I was 20yrs old at the time of the procedure and the procedure was a manual vacuum aspiration.
When I was 17yrs old, I found out I had appendicitis and had to go for an appendectomy. I was advised to see a gynaecologist before going in for the procedure. I was met by a male gynaecologist before proceeding with the appendectomy procedure. The visit was very uncomfortable. It was my first time seeing a male gynaecologist and having to take all my clothes off for the medical examination. Midway into the medical examination, another male gynaecologist walked in. The second gynaecologist was a student.
I was still barely dressed and on the bed when the first gynaecologist started to teach the second gynaecologist. I was obviously very uncomfortable with what was going on, but he still continued. I was hoping he was going to read my body language, but that unfortunately didn’t happen. I eventually voiced out my discomfort to him, he didn’t apologise, he even wanted more time with me to continue teaching his student.
A few years after that, I was diagnosed with PCOS and had to visit a gynaecologist again. This time, I was attended to by a female gynaecologist. She was warm and very kind. It was a far better experience than my first visit.
Two of my friends got diagnosed with ovarian cysts and womb cancer within a short period of time and that prompted me to visit the gynaecologist. When I got to the gynaecologist’s office, he immediately told me to take off my clothes and underwear, lie on the bed and spread my legs. This made me very uncomfortable and the manner in which he said it was always not helping. His tone sounded very commanding and brusque. I had to lie to him that I was on my period and I was going to come back another day for the medical examination. I have not been back to his office since that day.
When I was 16yrs old, I had to go in for a pelvic ultrasound and it was done by a male gynaecologist. He was patient with me, however, he dismissed the other symptoms I complained about and reduced them to stress. A few years later, I had to visit another gynaecologist and I was diagnosed with PCOS. It was another male gynaecologist. He immediately told me to lose some weight and prescribed oral contraceptive pills. His approach also felt very dismissive. I opted for a second opinion and went to see a female gynaecologist. She was more patient, she recommended a different treatment and she shared her experience treating other women with PCOS. I felt a lot more comfortable with her and I have been hesitant to visit male gynaecologists after seeing her.