Do you still have to get pelvic exams even though you've had an HPV vaccination?
You might need to get a pelvic exam, but it depends on how old you are and if you're having problems. Girls don't usually get their first pelvic exam until they are in their twenties, unless they're having problems like lower belly pain, abnormal discharge, or period trouble.
Doctors recommend that all girls start seeing a gynecologist between ages 13 and 15. For most girls, a gynecologist visit doesn't involve a pelvic exam. It's up to the doctor or nurse practitioner to decide if you need one based on your medical history and physical health. Everyone's different.
If you've ever had sex, you should be tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) — even if you've had the full series of HPV shots. That's because the HPV vaccine only protects against HPV, not other STDs. People can have STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea without knowing it.
STD tests don't always require a pelvic exam. Depending on what test you're getting, your doctor may be able to use a urine sample, blood sample or a vaginal swab. Usually doctors only do a pelvic exam if a girl has specific symptoms that indicate a problem.
Getting a pelvic exam isn't as bad as it sounds. If your doctor or nurse practitioner recommends one, you should go ahead as it can prevent any problems from getting worse.
If you have sex, including oral or anal sex, always use condoms to help prevent STDs.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: September 2013
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
|Planned Parenthood Info for Teens This site from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America has information on relationships and sexual health for teens.|
|National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy This site provides teen pregnancy facts, resources, and prevention tips.|
|Planned Parenthood Federation of America Planned Parenthood offers information on sexually transmitted diseases, birth control methods, and other issues of sexual health.|
|American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) This site offers information on numerous health issues. The women's health section includes readings on pregnancy, labor, delivery, postpartum care, breast health, menopause, contraception, and more.|
|CDC Immunization: Pre-teens and Adolescents CDC site provides materials in English and Spanish for parents, teens, pre-teens, and health care providers about vaccines and the diseases they prevent.|
|GYT - Get Yourself Talking and Get Yourself Tested This media campaign designed to get young people to talk with their health care providers and partners about the importance of getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases.|
|Can a Doctor Tell During Your Pelvic Exam If You've Had Sex? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|HPV Vaccine The HPV vaccine can help protect against the virus that causes genital warts and may lead to some kinds of cancer. Find out more in this article for teens.|
|Do You Need a Pelvic Exam to Get Birth Control? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Condom Before you consider having sex, you need to know how to protect yourself. Read this article to find out how condoms work - and how well they protect against pregnancy and STDs.|
|What Can I Expect From the Gynecologist? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Gyn Checkups Girls should get their first gynecological checkup between ages 13 and 15. Find out what happens during a yearly gyn visit -- and why most girls don't get internal exams.|
|Does My Mom Have to Be in the Room During My Gyn Exam? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|About Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) You've probably heard lots of discouraging news about sexually transmitted diseases. The good news is that STDs can be prevented. Find out how to protect yourself.|
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