What Can I Expect From the Gynecologist?

What Can I Expect From the Gynecologist?

I'm 18 and about to see a gynecologist for the first time. Will the exam hurt? Does this mean I won't be a virgin anymore?
- Jasmine*

At your first appointment with the gynecologist, the doctor will usually ask how you are doing overall with your health and development and if you have any questions. The newest guidelines say that most girls do not need to have a pelvic exam. Pelvic exams are only recommended if a girl has something going on (like an unusual vaginal discharge or abdominal pain) that the doctor might want to look into. Once you start having sex, though, most gynecologists recommend a pelvic exam to make sure you don't have problems (like an STD).

Going for your first pelvic exam may seem intimidating, but it shouldn't hurt. Most girls only feel a little pressure or discomfort during the exam. It helps to stay as relaxed as possible and to remember that the exam itself takes only a short time. Breathe deeply and think about things that calm you.

Let your doctor know that it's your first pelvic exam. That way, your doctor will know to explain what's going on during the exam and you can ask questions. If at any time you want the exam to stop, you can just say so. The doctor may also do a breast exam to make sure there are no lumps. This is a good time to learn what is normal with your breasts and how to check them yourself at home.

A pelvic exam will not affect your virginity. The term "virgin" means not having had sexual intercourse. So having pelvic exams and using tampons doesn't affect a girl's virginity.

Reviewed by: Julia Brown Lancaster, RN
Date reviewed: January 2013

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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Related Resources
Web SitePlanned Parenthood Info for Teens This site from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America has information on relationships and sexual health for teens.
OrganizationAmerican 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.
Web SiteWomensHealth.gov The Office on Women's Health (OWH), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), offers reliable health and wellness information for women and girls.
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