I want to get a Pap smear because I'm sexually active. But each time I talk to my mom about it, she says I have to wait until I'm 20. What can I do to convince her?
First, congratulations on knowing how important it is to get a gynecologic exam if you're sexually active. The next step is helping your mom understand how important it is, too.
You could start by showing your mom our article for parents called "Your Daughter's First Gynecological Exam." Doctors now recommend that girls have their first gynecological appointment between the ages of 13 and 15.
Most girls don't need Pap smears until they are 21, but any girl who's had sex needs to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and might need to have a pelvic exam. Girls who have problems with their periods, lower belly or pelvic pain, or abnormal discharge also may need pelvic exams.
If you've told your mom that you're having sex, tell her that you want to get tested for STDs. Let her know that you want to avoid complications with having kids later on — and prevent getting really sick now. Even if you've been using condoms (the best way to protect against STDs if you're having sex), you should still get tested.
But what if you feel like you can't tell your mom you're having sex or if you still can't convince her you need an exam? Tell her you want to go to the doctor to get something checked out "down there" — like a concern about your periods. At the appointment, ask to talk to your doctor privately without your mom in the room. Explain why you think you need STD testing and might need a pelvic exam.
If you're not able to get an appointment with your family doctor, you can still be examined by visiting a local health clinic, such as Planned Parenthood. Check your phone book or go online to find a location near you.
Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: March 2011
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
|Teenwire 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.|
|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.|
|About Birth Control: What You Need to Know Before you consider having sex, you need to know how to protect yourself. Read this article to get the basics on birth control.|
|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.|
|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.|
|Breast and Pelvic Exams You're going to have a pelvic exam for the first time, and you're a little nervous. Why do you need one, anyway? Find out why this exam is necessary and what will happen in this article.|
|Female Reproductive System Why do girls get periods? What goes on when a girl gets pregnant? What can go wrong with the female reproductive system? Find the answers to these questions and more in this article.|
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