Do you still have to get pelvic exams even though you've had an HPV vaccination? – Georgia*
You might need to get a pelvic exam, but it depends on how old you are and if you're having problems. People 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 girls start seeing a gynecologist between ages 13 and 15. Most of the time, teen gyn visits don't involve a pelvic exam. The doctor or nurse practitioner will decide if you need one based on your medical history and physical health. Everyone's different.
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 there are specific symptoms that indicate a problem.
If your doctor or nurse practitioner recommends one, a pelvic exam can prevent any problems from getting worse.
If you have sex, including oral or anal sex, always use condoms to help prevent STDs.
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
Reviewed by: Christina M. Shultz, MD and Taina A. Trevino, MD