Have you ever been to an Obstetrician / Gynecologist or Ob / Gyn for a pelvic exam and Pap test? If your answer is "No." and you are 21 or older, pick up your phone today and make an appointment with a local Ob/Gyn or a family planning clinic in your area. On the other hand, if your answer is "Yes," then how long has it been since your last Pap smear and pelvic exam? If you haven't seen your gynecologist for a year or longer it's time to make an appointment.
When Do Women Need Pelvic Exams?
You should always see your gynecologist if you experience: 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 always neccesary 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.