Parkinson’s tremor vs. the gynecologist: An unexpected battle

A recent procedure didn't go as smoothly as planned

Christine Scheer avatar

by Christine Scheer |

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I visited my family doctor several months ago regarding some issues related to being a woman “of a certain age” on hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Did you know that estrogen is neuroprotective? I’d initially begun HRT to control debilitating hot flashes, but the bonus was that my brain fog — a result of Parkinson’s disease — lifted as well. After reading more about the therapy’s possible benefits for people with Parkinson’s, I never wanted to go off of it.

Still, I had a lot of questions for my doctor. For example, I wondered if some of my issues were the result of Parkinson’s, HRT, or simply me getting older. She told me she’d have to refer me to a gynecologist.

Four months later, I had my appointment. I was looking forward to getting some answers and putting my concerns to rest.

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The doctor buzzed into the examination room and started asking me questions. After about five minutes, she looked at my right leg and said, “Why are you shaking? Are you nervous?”

“No, I have Parkinson’s disease,” I answered, “and I underwent deep brain stimulation surgery almost three years ago.”

“Did it help?” she asked.

“Yes, it did!” I replied enthusiastically. “But in situations like this, I still shake.”

Then she said she had to take a tiny sample of my endometrial lining. Is there anything as awkward and uncomfortable, both physically and psychologically, as having your feet in those stirrups? The answer is no.

So I lay on my back, trying to make conversation and cracking jokes, because that’s what I do when I’m nervous. The procedure started to hurt a bit, which I wasn’t expecting. That’s when things got out of control.

My tremor started fighting back against the pain. It ramped up to a seemingly supersonic level, as if trying hard to win. It was like a battle of the bands: one heavy metal and one punk rock. I despised them both.

Of course, the more I shook, the harder it was for the doctor to get the sample. Gripping the table, I tried to calm myself with deep breathing. I thought of cute puppies and laughing babies. Finally, the nightmare experience was over.

As the doctor swished the bloody sample around in a small container, she told me I most likely had nothing to worry about. However, she mentioned the possibility that the lab could request another sample.

It’ll have to be a frosty Friday before that happens.

I’m still not sure what’s causing the issues I’ve been experiencing, but the good news is that I have a follow-up appointment in a few weeks — and it’s not on a Friday.

Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, Bionews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.


Claudia Shuster avatar

Claudia Shuster

I am distressed by the frequent lack of communication between doctor and patient. I expected that the gynecologist would be informed (perhaps by the patient)about the patient’s pd before their first meeting. I also resent a doctor not preparing the patient (including potential pain level) before a procedure. Then the patient can chose to have or not to have the procedure at that time. Healthy Relationships must be built on trust. This one appears off to a poor start!

Christine Scheer avatar

Christine Scheer

Hi, Yes, a poor start indeed. Your comments made me feel so validated, thank you.

Laura Mahony avatar

Laura Mahony

If your issue with HRT was vaginal bleeding, the first step is a pelvic ultrasound. If the endometrial lining is thick, then an endometrial biopsy is warranted. It can even be done transabdominally. I hope the biopsy was normal. You can be followed by ultrasounds from now on as long as you are on HRT.

Christine Scheer avatar

Christine Scheer

Thank you for the information, it is very helpful!

Marilyn avatar


How long had you had symptoms when you had the DBS? You said it helped - how and to what degree?

Christine Scheer avatar

Christine Scheer

Hi Marilyn, I was diagnosed in 2015 and had DBS in 2021. My worst symptom was tremor. The DBS made a massive difference, I hardly tremor at all anymore. I also can move much more easily because I am not so stiff, and I can sleep through the night as well.

Kathleen Karafonda avatar

Kathleen Karafonda

I can't wait to find the result of the biopsy. Back in the day, I had enough hrt to unfold all my proteins! (Am I getting the benefit narrative correct??)
Claudia ! What a contrast between Christine's gyn and some young practitioners who have asked me: May I touch you?


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