Can a Doctor Tell During Your Pelvic Exam If You've Had Sex?

Can a doctor tell during your pelvic exam if you've had sex?

Most of the time, a doctor will not be able to tell if a girl has had sex just from a pelvic exam. But you should let your doctor know if you've had sex anyway.

Why? Having sex puts a person at risk for getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD). When you tell your doctor you've had sex, he or she can look out for signs of infection. Treating STDs early is important not just for your health, but also for the health of your partner. Discovering an STD early can also help ensure that when you are ready to have children, you'll have a healthy pregnancy.

Even if you don't think you have an STD, only a doctor can tell for sure. That's because a number of STDs may not cause symptoms in some people, even though they can still cause problems later on. Your doctor can give you advice about protecting yourself against STDs and also can discuss ways you can prevent pregnancy.

You may feel nervous talking to your doctor about sex, but he or she can be one of the best resources you have. Gynecologists, family practitioners, pediatricians, and adolescent medicine specialists deal with questions about sex every day, so don't be ashamed or embarrassed to ask them anything.

And if you're worried that your parents will find out, just tell your doctor about your concerns. What you discuss with your doctor about sex can stay between the two of you.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: June 2009

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