Many teens who come to see me for birth control assume that they will need a complete physical including a pelvic exam. Sometimes, just the idea of a pelvic exam may prevent a young woman from seeking birth control pills. They may have heard from friends that it’s painful or embarrassing, and it’s understandable to want to avoid it.
It’s normal and natural for teens to take risks. They just don’t have the life experience that helps them think ahead and plan. Though many do think about getting birth control and many more are using condoms, now there’s even fewer barriers to getting effective contraception. There are new guidelines that allow health care providers to provide birth control pills without a pelvic exam in most cases. I see many young women who use oral contraceptives to treat their acne, heavy and painful menstrual periods and migraines. Of course, many need effective birth control. Many of my patients are happily surprised that they can skip the pelvic.