outline images of women's bodies

WOMEN’S WELLBEING: HOW EVERYDAY PROCEDURES CAN BE TRAUMATIC

Our routine Mammograms and Cervical Smear Tests have been lifesavers for many of us. That alone is a good enough reason to attend screening regularly. However, these procedures, despite how much we realise they may be for our own good, are invasive and can be traumatic.

In this blog, I want to address the fact that for some women, a poorly executed procedure or their own personal history could prevent them from attending a screening in the future, potentially leading to pathologies being missed.

Two of my clients related the stories below during their sessions. I have their permission to share them here, and I have changed their names for anonymity.

The Smear Test

Susan messaged me one afternoon asking for an urgent appointment. Fortunately, I was able to see her the following day. She arrived shaking and very distressed but managed to explain what had happened. The previous morning she had been to her GP surgery for a routine Cervical Smear Test.

Unfortunately, the Smear Test did not go according to plan. The nurse failed to procure the sample she required and Susan suffered the discomfort of the procedure for over twenty minutes. The nurse, very apologetically, asked her to come back the following week for her to try again.

Very shaky, Susan had arrived home, where she began to bleed and continued to do so for the following 24 hours.

We gently discussed how to help her nervous system re-regulate itself and address the shock held in her legs, pelvis and diaphragm. My approach was slow and respectful and all off the body. I chose to work from a position sitting slightly away to the side of Susan, as opposed to making direct physical contact with her overactive nervous system.

The shock energy held in her legs and pelvic bones slowly dissipated. She began to become more aware of sensation in her feet as I addressed her lower legs. Susan’s diaphragm relaxed as I was able to relate it to her pelvic floor. Her heart held a healthy rhythm, and she began to breathe easily. At this point, Susan’s adrenals now felt much less reactive and all her abdominal organs were able to balance. I became aware of her amygdala, the part of the brain that triggers a person’s fight-or-flight response, releasing clouds of what felt like fear-related energy.

I now intended to connect with Susan’s womb space. By this time, she was feeling much calmer and balanced, so the thought of this was no longer an issue. Any remaining shock and discomfort resolved and transmuted as I worked to allow her womb to heal itself more energetically, using the Womb Medicine Wheel for guidance.

When the session came to a close, Susan was very aware that her nervous system had regulated itself. She felt back to her normal self again. She wanted me to note that she had never experienced any pelvic trauma of any description prior to this particular procedure and was quite taken aback by the intensity of her somatic reaction.

The Mammogram

This is the story of Helen’s experience.

Helen attended her scheduled appointment as usual. She had received breast screening several times before. Although she found it uncomfortable, had no particular concerns with regard to attending.

The time came for Helen to enter the room for the Mammogram procedure. She did as requested and stood in position by the equipment. As the technician was positioning the machine, Helen gasped and cried out in pain. Her breast tissue has been suddenly clamped hard between the metal plates.

At this point, she was not quite shouted at but told off rudely, in no uncertain terms, that she had ruined the image as she would have moved at the critical moment. Helen, shaking, apologised and asked if the technician would like to take it again. She was told this would not be possible.

The image of her second breast was taken in a more gentle fashion, but Helen was very distressed by what had happened and still in pain.

After dressing, Helen returned to the reception area on her way out. At this point, the nurse at the desk, noticing she was upset, insisted she sit down for a bit before leaving. Helen explained what had happened. The Nurse apologised to her, and she quickly left to sit in her car, composing herself before driving home.

When I saw Helen, she was over the worst of her distress. We were able to do some gentle rebalancing work, transmuting the energetic links and pathways remaining between her breast tissue and adrenals, amongst other things.

Together, we were able to reframe the incident. We gave Helen the space to vocalise how it was totally unacceptable that she was spoken to in such a rude and demeaning way, enabling her to engage in her fight response. In the past, as a young schoolgirl, Helen had been made to feel small and bad for some trivial misdemeanour. The incident at the Breast Screening clinic had brought all those old somatic memories back.

Afterwards, Helen was pleased to report that the result of the Mammogram procedure was clear. She has not been back, however. She now pays to have regular Breast Thermography screening privately instead.

Both Somatic Experiencing® and Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy are, by definition, trauma-attuned modalities.

Used together, either online or in person, they can facilitate the resolution of embodied trauma in a profound but gentle way, honouring each client’s unique wishes and needs.

If you think you could benefit from working with me, please get in touch. Email sarah@ytenehealing.co.uk or call me on 07747 111040.


Please remember to contact your medical practitioner in the first instance if you have any concerns regarding your health.

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