When a woman has begun to have sex or at age 21 (whichever comes first), annual gynecology examinations are advised. At age 21, cervical cancer screening (with a Pap test) should begin. Testing for sexually transmitted infections (STI) can also be done during this visit. If a woman is younger than age 21, a pelvic examination may or may not be done. Testing for an STI can be done through urine or vaginal swab collection.
Some women think that when they have a pelvic examination they are being tested for “everything”. Some STI testing requires drawing blood or another type of test. Discuss the types of tests being performed with your health care provider.
You should schedule your appointment when you are NOT menstruating. The week before your period or the week after your period has ended is best for scheduling your appointment. Also do not have sex or use tampons or vaginal creams for 48 hours before your appointment.
Student Health Services requests copies of all Pap tests you have had at other health care providers in the past 3 years. This is helpful to provide continuity of care. This is of utmost importance if any past Pap tests have been abnormal or if there has been treatment of abnormal cells on the cervix. When scheduling an appointment, the secretary can assist you with completing a “records request form”. This form is also available online.
Annual gynecology examinations are considered routine or “future” appointments.
Call 215-204-7500 to schedule a gynecology appointment.
Women having their first pelvic examination can get more information about what will happen during the visit at www.mayoclinic.com/health/pelvic-exam/WO00129