Do you remember your first gynecological examination?
I do. I was a teenager, and despite a rather warm gynecologist, I was very uncomfortable. I had no idea what was going to happen and no one explained anything to me.
10 years have passed, but going to see a gynecologist is a rather unpleasant task. Semi-nudity, cold, discomfort (even if I'm not super modest), speculum, smear …
I go there when I need it (for example for the insertion of my IUD, practiced by this great midwife) but never whistling and frolicking.
Also read: "My Guide Gyneco", the B.A.-ba contraception & sexual health to put in all hands
And I think I'm not the only one. That is why two women working in a design agency decided to think about ways to make the gynecological examination less uncomfortable.
Yona, for a more pleasant and more humane gynecological examination
Hailey Stewart and Sahana Kumar work for the Frog design studio.
One day, as Fortune tells them, they found themselves talking about their recent gynecological exams. They talked about their anxiety about going there, the discomfort of the situation, the perfectible instruments …
So they rolled up their sleeves and recruited other employees to create Yona.
Yona is a design project to completely rethink the gynecological examination, to make it less uncomfortable and to put empathy at the heart of the act.
Starting with redesigning the speculum, which has evolved little since its invention.
The speculum, disturbing and uncomfortable
The speculum was conceived in the 1840s by a man, Dr. James Marion Sims, "father of modern gynecology". A little loving father who has experimented, without anesthesia, on slaves.
As much to tell you that the comfort of his patients • was not the first of his worries.
To read also: The vaginal touch on anesthetized patients – Testimonies of madmoiZelles in medicine
Since then, little has changed in the speculum. The essential elements, namely blades deviating by means of a screw, remained the same.
In 200 years, plastic specula were made a little colder and added lubricant to facilitate insertion. That is just about everything.
As part of their Radical Empathy Experiment, the women behind Yona showed men (globally horrified) a speculum and had them read back from women after a gynecological examination.
It's rather edifying.
– Clearly, I would not want this thing approaches me.- It has a primitive and scary aspect. And cold.
– Reading this, I feel my humanity … flouted, metaphorically. It's crazy that you have to suffer that.
The cold speculum, the sound of screw turns that jerk the blades of the machine, the sensation of the vagina dilated force mingled with the apprehension of the unpleasant smear …
Just write that, I feel my pussy weld.
The speculum reinvented, softer and quieter
Here is the speculum reinvented by Yona.
As you can see, it has 6 improvements:
A "three-band" design that provides a good viewing angle without having to discard the blades uncomfortably
A redesigned handle to move the hand of the health care professional away from the patient, and not bump against the examination table
A button on the handle to "unblock" the speculum, allowing it to be used with one hand
A discreet opening mechanism, without visible screws or disturbing noises
A layer of silicone covering the steel, for a tool less cold and softer
A cavity to integrate a light to illuminate the vagina from the inside
See also: Do you know what your cervix really looks like?
At the time I'm typing these lines, this new design is just a prototype. Yona is looking for partners in the medical field ready to build speculums of this type and test them on patients.
Fran Wang, from Yona, explains:
"[Le speculum actuel,] it goes but it's not ideal. We are working to improve it.
When one gives [aux médecins] the choice between a less good object and a more suitable object, they choose the most suitable. But they must already know the existence of a second option. "
See also: Live my life as a midwifery student
How to improve gynecological examination?
Remember: Initially, Hailey Stewart and Sahana Kumar talked about their discomfort during the entire gynecological examination, not just the speculum.
They propose ways of improvement. On Yona's site, scrolling down, you can have access to different ideas:
A secure application to inquire, ask questions, fill in your information and indicate your preferences at the exam, before you even go there.
A reusable kit for more comfort, containing socks to cover your feet in stirrups, a blanket and an anti-stress ball. In the box, you can put your stuff when you undress.
Small details: a rod where to put your clothes, and a paper protection with a mark telling you where to put your buttocks to avoid you squirm on the examination table.
The app mentioned above would also allow a small meditation session while you wait. The practitioner indicates his coming through the app, to allow you to be mentally ready.
The famous speculum reinvented.
The app ends by congratulating you for taking care of your health and offers to donate to fund other people's exams or support the medical center.
For each proposal, you can click on "I WANT THIS" to indicate to the team behind Yona that you find this idea good.
Personally, I am not convinced by all these ideas, I do not necessarily feel the need to have a meditation app or special socks "visit the gynecologist".
But I know that other people are really very anxious about the approach of such an examination, so if that can reassure them, so much the better!
See also: Martin Winckler talks about gynecological exams in his latest video
Let's open the dialogue on gynecological examination
When we talk about gynecological examination in the news, it is from a purely "health" point of view, or to denounce (rightly) the violence that some patients suffer.
Between when should I go? "And criminal acts, there is a whole area of discussion largely ignored: how is a gynecological examination? And how can we improve it?
Even if all the ideas of Yona will not be implemented, and that the part "how to finance them? Is not discussed, I find it nice to open the dialogue on this subject.
Because if we never say what could be better, then we will never improve anything!
Do you see how, you, the ideal gynecological examination? What annoys you, displeases you? Have you already spoken with your family, with health professionals?
To read also: Well prepare his interview with his gynecologist – The drawing of Cy.