When Do Women Need Pelvic Exams?Teenage girls should see an OB/GYN between the ages of 13 to 15. While pelvic exams are rarely required during this first visit, this visit helps to establish a relationship with the doctor of your choice and to go over your medical and sexual history (even if you have not had sexual intercourse.) This is a good time to ask questions about sexually transmitted diseases and contraceptives.
You should always see your gynecologist if you experience:
- any unusualy and/ or persistent vaginal discharge,
- bleeding between periods,
- or bleeding after sexual intercourse.
While a yearly Pap smear is not, in most cases, necessary after age 30, all women still require an annual pelvic exam to check for any other changes or infections. If you've had an HPV test that was negative that doesn't mean you don't need to have a yearly pelvic exam. The ACOG established these guidelines with full knowledge that HPV causes cervical cancer.
Did you know that with each new sexual partner your risk of getting HPV increases by 15 percent? This means that having multiple sex partners raises your risk of HPV substantially. According to the ACOG guidelines for Pap testing women diagnosed with HIV or other diseases or conditions that lower immunity should continue having annual Pap smears after age 30.
Fact: The greatest single reason for the occurrence of cervical cancer is not having Pap smears according to recommended guidelines.
The majority of women diagnosed with cervical cancer have not had a Pap smear in five or more years. Sadly, these women are usually at an advanced stage of cancer when they receive diagnosis.
Next: Other Times to See Your Gynecologist