If you have decided to start using birth control, whether you want an oral contraceptive or an implant device, you should make arrangements to see a gynecologist. Your gynecologist will likely ask you to go through a pelvic exam before a prescription is provided to you. You may wonder what this has to do with birth control and whether or not a pelvic exam is necessary.
Is a Pelvic Exam Good for Your Health?
Most women dread pelvic exams and often put them off for as long as they can. The examinations can be uncomfortable, but they are necessary for your overall health. In essence, the pelvic exam has very little to do with birth control. However, if you need to make an appointment to speak with your doctor about contraceptives, then it is a good idea to take care of your general women's health needs at the same time. Also, since women may not always be on top of making their exam appointments, gynecologists like to ask women to complete the exams when they are willing to come into the office.
Pelvic exams and Pap smear tests are a good thing for your health. Pelvic exams allow your physician to look for signs of diseases like uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, STDs, uterine tumors, and signs of cancer. The Pap smear involves the retrieval and testing of cervical cells. This allows for the testing to find both precancerous and cancerous cells. Testing for HPV can be completed as well.
During the examination, your gynecologist will also likely complete a breast exam. The professional will investigate for abnormalities and may also help you understand how to complete self exams at home.
Do You Have To Have A Pelvic Exam?
While gynecologists may urge you to have a pelvic exam when prescribing birth control, it is not necessarily a requirement. Some offices may require that you have an exam within one to two years before a prescription is provided, while others will not. There is not law stating that you need to have one. Exam requirements are at the discretion of the health office, so you should ask about this when making your appointment.
If your general physician has given you a pelvic exam within the last few years, then you probably do not need to have another one. In fact, your health insurance may pay for only one wellness pelvic exam within a period of time. If you do want a pelvic exam and your regular physician gave you one about a year ago, then make sure to contact your insurance company to see if they pay for yearly exams or if they only allow for exams every two years.
If you have more questions about pelvic exams and whether you should have one before starting birth control, reach out to a women's health clinic like Abortion Care.
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