62 answers

Is It Really Necessary for a 16 Year Old Virgin to Have a Female Exam and Pap?

My step daughter's mom has scheduled a female exam and pap. I STRONGLY disagree that this is necessary, as she is a virgin and has not even gotten close to being sexually active yet. Her periods are very regular, with fairly heavy bleeding on day one and sometimes two with heavy cramping. When I ask her if she has taken any medicine to help with cramps, she always says she hasn't and then doesn't bother (sympathy card). Her mom can be a little hypochondiac and believes that she could have endometriosis. I have researched this and it appears to be out of the question. I don't want my daughter to have this exam. Any ideas??? Please HELP! I know that ultimately, I can't do anything to stop. But, I would like to give educated feedback on the issue. Thanks!

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Thank you all for your feedback. After reading ALL of these responses, I have concluded that it may not be a bad idea. Initially, when she told me her mom had scheduled her apt, I was kind of upset. However, she and I spoke about it yesterday and come to find out, she will not be having a pap and probably not even an exam. They are going to meet with the ob and have a consult and go over her symptoms. There were a few people who responded with similar symptoms of themselves or someone they knew who DID have problems with no prior sex. So... thank you all for your opinions! I will definitely be a regular on here with questions. It is so wonderful to have a safe place to get other mom's opinions. :)

Featured Answers

It is ABSOLUTELY necessary. Cancer has nothing to do with sexual activity. Along with being able to ascertain if a woman has an STD it also confirms whether or not cancer is present. Every woman should have a pap for that reason it nothing else.

1 mom found this helpful

In medical school, we learned guidelines that recommend annual screening paps at age 18 or 6 months after the onset of sexual activity. I would recommend that she have a pelvic exam (Pap not needed) before beginning a treatment regimen for painful menses/ endometriosis, if she does indeed have that.

In wellness,
Dr. E. Mendenhall, ND

No that is very in sane, but if thats the way she thinks you cannot change the way she thinks about her daughter.Can you talk to the daughter and see what she thinks.The only way she should be having a pap is if she is sexually active and have abdominal pain.And horrible menstrual pain

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As a nurse and an educator in women's health, I think it's fantastic that her mother is taking her for her first gyn exam. The MD will asess if a pap smear and pelvic is really necessary, after they go over her symptoms with her. It is unlikely though that she has endometriosis.

If more parents took the time and the responsibility to introduce their daughters to routine health exams like paps and pelvics *before* they became sexually active - our girls would be better educated and more comfortable with their own sexual health. Additionally, this is asserting to your step daughter that her gynocological health is important. It is giving her a solid foundation with which to expect yearly exams and to take care of herself.. When we educate girls, we empower them to make good desicions. This doesn't promote promiscuity, this promotes responsibility.

I sincerely hope you do not plan to shame your step daughter because of this exam. Shame and guilt have no place in a young girls education about her own reproductive health. Shame and guilt lead to poor choices and promiscuity.

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Though your 16-year old stepdaughter may not be sexually active now, it's still important that she gets in the habit of practicing good health habits by starting annual checkups. Remember these checkups are not only for STD testing, they are to ensure that everything is "normal" and there is no concerns for cervical cancer, etc. I think 16 is an appropriate age. And also consider the idea that although you may not think your 16-year old is sexually active, it can happen at any time and when you least expect it. Most 16-year old girls that become active don't tell their parents. It's really better to be safe than sorry, and once she has the exam she won't be so scared when the time comes that she really does need to see a gyno for STD testing and/or birth control. Good luck.

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At 16 she needs to understand that this is a regular part of being a woman. Like it or not... We all hate the gyno and God, I remember when my mom took me at 16. But THere are some things girls should learn that they dont want to hear from their moms. It will be educational for her and if anything, she can learn more about the risks that being sexually active have. Her mom is doing the right thing... And plus.. how do you really know she is not sexually active.? You may be surprised....

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While not probably necessary it is never bad to teach your child good habits early. Having regular GYN exams will help keep her healthy into adulthood. Also, there may be questions that she is uncomfortable asking either you or her mom, and it is MUCH better she get straight forward, accurate answers from a medical professional than ask her friends or try to figure things out on her own.

Just my two cents. You also mentioned that you know you can't ultimately change the situation, so even if you disagree I would be careful not to alienate your step-daughter because of a doctor's appointment.



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Of course it's necessary to see a doctor when you are having menstrual issues. You don't only have pelvic exams after you become sexually active. Why makes you think that this is unnecessary? Seeing a doctor is a normal part of life and if he says that she is totally fine, then that's even better. You hit the nail on the head when you said ultimately you can't do anything to stop it, and I don't think you need to give educated feedback to anyone on this issue. You have shared custody of this child with your husband but you are not her mother. Just say a prayer that the exam won't reveal any medical issues and move on with your life. Let go of the control on this one and you'll feel alot better.

1 mom found this helpful

It is ABSOLUTELY necessary. Cancer has nothing to do with sexual activity. Along with being able to ascertain if a woman has an STD it also confirms whether or not cancer is present. Every woman should have a pap for that reason it nothing else.

1 mom found this helpful

You may not agree with the reasoning of her other mom, but regardless of her sexual status or supposed symptoms, getting an exam is appropriate for her age. Getting familiar with the procedures and environment surrounding taking care of her reproductive health is one of the most important benefits. There are many women, despite their current age, who don't feel comfortable getting "checked out" and never had either the financial coverage and/or support of a family member to get proper care. I'm sure your practical disposition stems from the genuine love and concern you have for your daughter, and she is lucky to have someone to ease her mind if her other mom has the potential to startle her. But you can use this as a catalyst to strengthen the bond between you and your daughter. Even if she is not having sex, this may present an opportunity for her to explore what she is going through and help her talk about anything she may be dealing with or have questions about. It doesn't sound like there's any urgent medical problem to fix, but maybe the OBGYN will help treat her other mother as well, and confirm your opinions that everything is normal and healthy. That alone could help your daughter deflect the stress of worry and make it better for your entire family. Lastly, while you may not want this to happen, I most strongly urge you to understand your influence on your daughter's determinations. Why you feel the way you feel is valid, but please make sure what message you send to your daughter is going to better her future. You can explain to her your reasoning, while also supporting the idea of beginning the healthy and incredibly important habit of going regularly to get examined. It will establish a great medical history and enable the confidence and security needed to be a strong and independent woman for the rest of her life. Thanks for your consideration and I wish you luck!!

I know that it may seem to you that this is not neccessary for her since sheis not having sex and her periods are regular. But the exam is good for many more things than that. I have always felt that it is neccessary after a girl has her first period to start getting annual exams. I beleive that this will help in preventing any kind of problems in that region. ESPECIALLY cervical cancer. I am unfortunate enough to live in a family were cancer seems to thrive, but I have learned that it doesn't have to be something that runs in your family for it to happen to you. I think it would be good to talk with your daughter about this exam and see what she thinks it is for. It to me is like any other thing you woul ddo to maintain good health. That way if some years down the line she has an abnormal pap then the doctors will have referance points to know what her healthy range is for the things then test for. I just was hoping that you wouldn't think of it as her doing something that is not neccessary and instead think of it as a way to help her have good health in all aspects of her body. I hope that my opinion can help alittle. If it help you out to know i had my first exam when i was 9 becasue my period started when i was 8. I am now going to be 26 and over that time i have had a few abnormal paps but htey have turned out ok. But use this as a better safe than sorry point of view

Some people say not to start until you are 21 and i think that could be a good idea BUT cancer doesn't wait until you are the right age. plus if you even catch thos pre canver cells there are ways to cure it.

I understand not wanting her to go get a Pap, I have endometriosis and was not diagnosed until I was 22. Trust me I wish I had been sooner. However a pap will not tell them if she has endo or not. It really is something that is assumed until exploratory surgery is done, which is not necessary unless her cramps are unbearable and accuring more then just during her period. If she can take some tyl or Ibu and that relieves it then no worries. Try and just let her other mom know that even if she has endo a pap won't help. Good luck.

I have 2 grown daughters (1 married) and a 15 year old. Their doctors have always said a pap/exam doesn't need to be done at a young age unless the are sexually active. If there is a history of cancer in female family members then start at the age of 21.

Hope this is helpful.


Are you kidding me? YES YES YES YES. It is VERY necessary for a 16 year old (regardless of whether or not she is a virgin - which you do NOT know for certain) to have a female exam and a pap. Cancer detection. Uterine fibroid tumors (which cause heavy periods). Infections (everything from yeast infection to bacterial vaginosis). Etc. can all be detected during such an exam - and one does NOT need to be sexually active in order to develop these conditions. Early detection is the key to staying healthy.

When I was 16 and a virgin, I had my first Gyno appt. Just because she is not sexually active doen't mean that she shouldn't go. It will get in the habit now of having regular exams just like going to the family doctor and the dentist. It is important to get a pap every year. Someday she will be married and wanted to have children and it would be a shame to find out there was a problem that could have been caught if she had only gone to see a doctor when she was younger.

I would say in general it's not needed.I was ALWAYS told, even by my family dr growing up that it wasn't needed until u were either 18 yrs old and/or started having sex...of course before 18 if u were sexually active. It's not needed in order to get birth control so I don't see why it's needed.Is her mom maybe hoping to get her on BC to help ease her flow?

I would normally say no but since more doctors are talking about cervical cancer now I would say yes. It's better to be safe then find out something may be going on down tghe line. My older sister has/had endometriosis(sp?)and no one believed her at first because she was just a heavy cramper during periods and a bit of a hypochondriac like our mom but after several doctors seeing her and telling her the same thing we all had to come to terms that she was really in pain and what it actually was. It took her a long time but she managed to have my one nephew but has since had to have a hysterectomy because of the endometriosis. I say this because she was only about 27 or 28yrs old when she had the hysterectomy.


Hi M.,

I did a quick search into the recommendations by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists regarding first visits to the ob-gyn. Their recommendations might be a great compromise for you and your stepdaughter's mom on this issue.

In a nutshell, while they strongly advise that adolescent girls have their first ob-gyn visit in their early teens (13-15 yrs, so even younger than your stepdaughter), they say that it is usually *not* necessary for that visit to include a pelvic exam and pap. Essentially, they want to start a relationship with teens *before* sexual activity begins, so that they can answer questions (not just about sex--adolescent girls can have a lot of questions about their changing bodies that they may feel more comfortable asking a health professional) and promote healthy habits for the future.

Here is a link to a press release by ACOG. It's worth a read (I didn't summarize the whole thing here)--and it might provide a good answer for everyone involved.


Also, no matter how great the relationship is between you and your stepdaughter (and it does sound strong), teens are easily embarrassed and known to hide things from their parents, so it's probably only a good thing to offer another adult--and a trained, professional one--to field any questions your stepdaughter may have. Based on ACOG's recommendations, it sounds like that encounter is really important but doesn't need to be as medical as your stepdaughter's mom is envisioning.

Best of luck! Juliet

I guess I'm just wondering why you are so strongly opposed to your step daughter having a standard OB/GYN procedure.

I have endometriosis and am now 35. When I was your step daughter's age, I had the same symtems. My gynochologist has said that any heavy bleeding that occurs on a monthly basis(related to a menstruation cycle) is cause for some concern. At the very least, I think it may warrant a discussion between you, your step daughter and her doctor. Although, I also agree with you on the point of a pap not being necessary based on her lack of sexual activity.

It can't hurt! She can be screened for cervical cancer and for cysts as well. It won't do her any harm to get it done and it will also make her more comfortable having it done in the future when she is sexually active.

I commend her mother for taking responsiblity for all aspects of her daughters medical health. It's better to start with early screening before there is a problem.

On the other side of the spectrum, I didn't have a mother who told me the importance of regular paps and exams. I had irregular periods and when my doctor told me at a routine physical that I should take birth control to regulate them, I shrugged him off thinking it didn't matter because I wasn't having sex and I didn't need birth control. Now that I am married and wanted to start a family this decision came back to haunt me. My periods were so irregular it cost us thousands of dollars to get medical treatment for PCOS which may have been helped by simply regulating my periods as a teenager.

In addition to that, when I did become sexually active after high school, I couldn't go to my mom and went to a free clinic for teens instead. (Imagine if she isn't brave enough to do this on her own, or doesn't have the resource available) I ended up with a large cyst on my ovary that eventually ruptured and sent me to the ER, as it went undetected at the free clinical exams. If she would have set up regularily scheduled exams at an early age I could have received better care at our regular physician. And perhaps we would have had more open lines of communication when I made the choice to become sexual active.

I think it's a good idea to have the exam and pap. She may not be sexually active now but she will be sometime and it's good to get checked out BEFORE becoming sexually active. It may also be a good time to address what type of birth control she will use when the situation comes up. It is important for her to develop a patient/doctor relationship with a doctor (OBGYN--preferably female) that is outside her familial relationships.
My mom, who is a physician, took me at sixteen to have the exam and get a prescription for birth control pills! I wasn't sexually active until I was in college but I was prepared. This may seem extreme but it taught me to take charge of my own health care and be proactive about my body.

Please, Please, Please be as supportive and cooperative as possible without any negative reaction on Your part. As long as Mom is calling the shots, please let it "Be THE RIGHT THING TO DO" as far as Your Daughter is concerned. I wish more Mom's would be supportive and positive about this type of thing...If WE ALL NORMALIZE this practice...it won't be a big deal and WE WILL ALL be more healthy and happy WOMENFOLK!
M. B

There is seldom a "necessary". I often hear medical offices say procedures or exams are "policy" but until we take charge in our own (or our children's medical care, through thoughtful consideration, we will not feel truly empowered. Her situation is paramount to such a decision and you clearly have considered that. I'd trust yourself.

Another thing to give a lot of thought to before agreeing is the pushing of the Gardasil vaccine for girls. There's more to it than the pharmaceutical commercials would have us believe.

Well there are two ways to look at it this is something she is going to have to do in life and if your there to help her through even better. having the exam well give her a good foundation for life so she can start out knowing how to take care of herself the right way. Talk to her about it tell her what is going to happen step by step let her know everything that hurt afterwards. Then with her full knowledge of what in store let her make the choice

hi, i do see that alot of the other ladies on here agree that its a good idea for her to go in but i wanted to just toss out my two cents.

most ob/gyn's, and reports say that a young woman should start having regular yearly exams/paps at 18, or sooner if they become sexually active.

i am all for the new gardisil vaccine and she can go in for that w/o having a womanly internal exam.

and yes, she can make the decision to have or not have this also. maybe what could happen is that her mom schedules a visit/consultaion w/an ob/gyn to discuss what our yearly appts. are about and what happens, and if she wants to, she can set up an appt for another time.

she also needs to know that she doesnt have to see her mothers doctor. she can find out if there are information pamphlets on the doctors in that office.

16 is a tough enough age, we dont want her scared, traumatized, or upset.

let us know how it goes.
best wishes

I admire that you are taking an active role in your step daughter's life, and are tying to gain information to help her. In regards to the pap, it is recommended that all girls should get a pap once they start their period regardless if they are sexually active or not. In regards to the Endometriosis, it is quite possible that she does have that. As someone who suffers from Endo, I know it is very real and can occur at any age. I have known several teenage girls that get diagnosed with it, and need medical help in dealing with it. I would support the bio moms choice to get it looked into, besides it's not like a pap is harmful.

I had my first exam at 16 and wasn't sexually active. I think it is pretty standard. I would reccommend making sure that the doctor is gentle (not all are) and has experience dealling with young girls. You can ask for a child's sized scepula (not sure on the spelling). This will really help with any physical discomfort. I am a small person and asked for one until after I had my daughter! Don't need it anymore! Anyway, I also had a lot of cramping as a young girl with very regular periods from 12 years old on. My doctor ended up sending me to children's to do an ultrasound to rule out things like endometriosis. It turned out I had several benign ovarian cysts. One was near the openning of where the egg pops out and what was causing the pain. They can't do anyting about it, but it reassured my mother to know nothing serious was wrong. We have ovarian cancer in my family. It eventually ruptured in my early 20's and my cramps have been a lot better since. Although, that experience was quite painfull and I wouldn't want to do it again!

I think it is very important for young woman to become comfortable with an annual exam and make it part of their yearly routine, so that when they do start having sex they have a non-family member to turn to.


I agree with you. From the information that you gave, there is no need for your stepdaughter to have a vaginal exam and a pap smear. If her mother is trying to get a prescription for birth control pills, most health care professionals will want to do a complete exam first. Perhaps you can ask your family doctor to intercede.

NO! Sometimes I think Doctors are a such a scam! I wouldn't do it. Good job researching. I never had one and I was a virgin til before marriage. Good job! Don't waste your time, money and worry!

Gee, I hate to stand in opposition, but when MY daughter was a teenager, MY doctor said that it was not necessary at all for a girl who is not sexually active to have a GYN exam. My daughter's first GYN was just before she got married. More than 99% of cervical cancer is caused by sexually transmitted HPV.

Regarding the immunization for HPV (Gardasil, etc.): Look at the data closely. I don't know the numbers, but don't be fooled. The vaccine may be for like 90% of the viruses, but it DOES NOT COVER the ONE virus that causes 90% of the cervical cancer!! If you ask me, this is a numbers smoke screen by the pharmaceutical company and their misinformation gives women a false sense of security.

If your daughter is educated about her body and about sexual matters, and she has normal periods, which is what it sounds like to me (cycles 21 to 35 days apart, lasting 3 to 7 days, is considered normal, with 1 to 2 days of heavy bleeding), and if she practices abstinence (like my daughter, whose first encounter was her husband), then there is no necessity for a gyn exam. I was 21 when I had my first one, and my daughter was 19.

So I would agree with you, this is not necessary.

I too had severe cramps and heavy periods as a teenager. I stayed home sick from school every month the day my period started because I got such bad cramps I cried, didn't eat, curled up in bed, and sometimes even vomited. I actually was diagnosed with endo/polycystic ovaries when I was about 14. I was put on birth control (even though i was NO WHERE NEAR sexually active) because its a good treatment for heavy periods/painful cramping. It made me regular, made my periods lighter, and made my cramping minimal. I could go to school that day! :)
creating a relationship with an OB early is a good thing. And she won't necessarily need a pap. They can decide that when they go over the symptoms and options. But wouldn't you rather be safe then sorry?

I wasn't sexually active until much later in my life (I'm currently 31 w/a 3 1/2 year old), and didn't get my first pap until I was (5 years ago). When I was in H.S. my mom had the same questions with me, but my periods were irregular; her OBGYN said there's no reason for a pap if there's no sex...even though my periods were irregular. Every body is different and will respond differently with the monthly cycle. Chemicals, body fat content, activity level, genetics, hormones...so many things are attributed to how the body responds to the flow.
Good luck running interference!

I would say that is is better to err on the side of caution and get her checked out. If she has it done earlier in life not only does she become more comfortable with it (yuck!) you can catch any problems quickly. One of my girlfriends is 31 and because she is still a virgin she thinks that she doesn't need to have a pap. She is so uncomfortable about it and now it has turned into this big deal, which it isn't. Good luck!

I don't think it is necessary. How scary for your step daughter to have this done too! I had the exact same symptoms when I was your stepdaughter's age. I did not have endometriosis and just planned to take tylenol when I started my period to help with the cramps before they started on that second day.

Can you tell us why you don't want your step daughter to have this exam? What fears do you have about your daughter going to a gynecologist? I think you've gotten some wonderful advice from the other moms...just curious as to why this type of exam bothers you so much? Our bodies are machines and we need to keep them tuned up. It also doesn't hurt to potentially rule out endometriosis. My sister-in-law had endometriosis for YEARS and because of cultural reasons she was never brought to a gynecologist. She now resents her mom for this, as she moved into stage 4 endometriosis along the way and became infertile because of it. (Oral contraceptives and other measures can prevent endometriosis from progressing - IF it is diagnosed in time). About 10% of the female population has this...so it's really not as rare as you might think. When you think about what your daughter has to gain from such an appointment (rule out disease, have regular exams, have an open ear for any teenage issues/questions), it seems that she really doesn't have much to lose?

In medical school, we learned guidelines that recommend annual screening paps at age 18 or 6 months after the onset of sexual activity. I would recommend that she have a pelvic exam (Pap not needed) before beginning a treatment regimen for painful menses/ endometriosis, if she does indeed have that.

In wellness,
Dr. E. Mendenhall, ND

FYI from kidshealth.org:

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that a girl make her first visit to a gynecologist when she is between the ages of 13 and 15. Not all girls will need a pelvic exam during this initial visit, though. Many gynecologists will just do a regular health exam and talk to the girl about her development.

Ok, let's start off by thinking back to when people didn't run off to the doctor at the first sign of a sniffle. I know that may seem a long time ago but not really when you put things into perspective. For many thousands of years, women had periods and babies without much input or help from a doctor and they mostly got thru it just fine. And these days, even with so-called "medical knowledge" women sometimes have real trouble. But such is life. As for this vaccine, I personally have real issues with it, for one, it hasn't been tested long enough to really determine it's protection or possible side effects. Yes, there are diseases out there that are causing real problems for people, but is running to medical science ALWAYS the answer??? I say no.

Here's a good example for you. When I was 13 and had started me periods, I had such violent reactions, that for 5 days straight I bled like a stuck pig (literally), I had such bad cramping that I was doubled over and was sick to the point I was puking. Five days straight, I'm not kidding nor am I exaggerating. One week of missed school every week for about 2 1/2 years. My mom took me to the doctor, their answer? Medication of course and lots of it. Did it help?? Nope, just seemed to get worse. This went on until their wanted to put me on morphine, just to "control" the reaction. You know, get me thru it so that I could go back to my real life. They told me nothing was wrong and that this was just something I would have to drug myself to get thru. (Gee sounds a lot like the answers they come up with today, got a kid that won't behave?? drug him to the point where he's nice and docile, but that's a whole nother subject.) Well that was my mom's point of no return. She threw away the perscription and started looking into natural medicine. Found out that the American Indians have been using Red Raspberry, which is commonly found in Health food stores as tea. This isn't just good for calming cramping and easy up on bleeding but helps support the female reproductive system. The other wonderful thing that mom found *(that actually helped me the most) is acupuncture. I went twice a week for about six months, then we decreased slowly over time (once a week for a few weeks, once every 2 weekds for a month or so, you get the picture) until I only went when I had a bad period. By the time I was 17 I no longer had any trouble that stopped me from living a normal life. I wasn't still going to the doctor all time, nor was I on medication, nor was I faced with the prospect of having to be for the rest of my life (as the oh so knoweldgeable medical doctors had told us I would be).

Also another thought, I had my first pap at 15 (almost 16) because I thought I was getting close to having sex with my boyfriend. I was still a virgin, the doctor was floored that my mom brought in a virgin for an exam. He said that there was no need for an exam at that age, unless there were problems or I was wanting birth cotnrol. When I left that office, because of the pap, I was no longer a virgin. But hey I had my birth control. Of course I ended up pregnant by the time I was 17 anyway, so that was real helpful.

So this taught me, to always look for a better option, don't just blindly accept what the medically community has to offer. If it doesn't seem right to me it probably isn't right for me. I've worked very hard to teach my kids this same lesson. My 14 year old daughter has NOT had the HPV vaccine. I'm not saying she won't but I think I'll let other people play the guinea pig if they want to, not my daughter. I have no plans to get her in to see a GYN/OB unless she indicates to me that she's getting close to having sex (and yes, we've spoken about this, she knows my values but that I also believe she needs to protect herself and she would let me).

My best advice is that if it doesn't feel right it isn't right. You don't mention how your husband feels about all this. He is the one to effect some real change here. You don't have any power but as that girls dad, he does. And as one other writer noted, how does the girl feel? Her feelings about all this should help direct you all in your decisions.

Good luck and God Bless you all.

From what I've read and heard, it's not even necessary until you're sexually active. Unless you suspect other problems. Really, what's it gonna hurt. Good luck!

Your probably not gonna like my answer and I am sorry, but I actually think it is a good idea. I had my first one at 16, because cancer runs in my family and regualr paps will tell early enough to be able to do something about it. My mother had to have complete hisdarectomy because of ovarion cancer that had spread. Since your her stepmom the only person who can step up and say anything would be her father. I do understand your frustration though, being a stepmom myself. I dont always agree with the things that are done with her, but I cant really say anything except put my concerns to my husband and hope he agrees with me.

Please talk with your doctor about this. Even though she is not sexually active, and her peroids are regular, it does not mean she does not need an exam. The exam screens for cancer, abnormalities, and yes it is also used to screen for some STDs but that is not the only purpose. I am not a medical professional but I had my first exam when I was 14. It has been a part of my yearly check up with my doctor ever since.
Good Luck and please just call your doctor to get a full list of what a PAP screens for.

My OB/GYN sister-in-law says that physicians recommend that women have an exam and pap smear at the age of 21 or when they plan to become sexually active, whichever comes first. How does your stepdaughter feel about the exam? Since you can't do anything to stop it, perhaps talking with her about what to expect would be helpful.

My opinion: As long as you are certain that she is not sexually active and doesn't have any other issues or concerns, I don't believe she needs an exam until she either starts having sexual relations or before she gets married one day.
Having an exam and pap is tramatic even for me (and I've had 2 kids). Having someone "mess" with her down there could even incourage her to start being more comfortable sexualy. I don't think it's a great idea.
As far as bringing this up to her mother, I can't help you there.
Good luck!

I have a 16 year old virgin girl as well. She is very regular and of course, has monlthly cramps. Because she is growing I wanted to know for myself when she should worry about this. So we asked our doctor and he suggested that if she is not sexually active it is NOT necessary for her to get one. ONLY when she is sexually active.
Mother of Sweet 16 year old girl!

M., having a regular exam is something we should all do yearly whether you are or are not sexually active. Having your step daughter begin a relationship with an ob/gyn at an early age may help her with the many changes to her body that she will be facing in the years to come. Her mother may indeed be a hypochondriac, but regardless, none of us with non-medical backgrounds should be making the call on if what she is experiencing is or is not within the norm. There is also the decision of if she should get the new vaccine to prevent the pap virus to consider and this doctor is a better sounding board than potentially her pediatric physician. If your 16 year old was refusing to go to their regular doctor for their yearly check up, would you be asking the same question - probably not. As parents we need to be proactive with medical information and access - our kids discuss all these things at school (and hopefully with their parents) so they are far more comfortable with the subject of their bodies and sex than we probably ever were. You should be supportive and also engage your step daughter in a conversation ahead of her appointment to reduce any concerns that she may have of the unknown. May help to build an even stronger relationship between the two of you.

You know, I've got a 12 1/2-year old daughter, and I've been teaching her since Day One that It's her body, so she gets to say. If your daughter is old enough to bleed, she is old enough to make choices about her body -- with the word *informed* highlighted. And that's where the parents come in. Helping her to be informed (with your experience, with information from your naturepath or MD, with solid research off the 'net or in the library). It seems that a trip to your/her Doc for a consult is in order -- both for the information, as well as to model to your daughter how we can use health care practitioners to help us make healthy choices.

Some basic questions: is she experiencing severe pain? Is she feeling worried? Lots of us never bothered taking medicine for cramps, because... well, we got to feel our bodies in process. Our uterus' doing their dance to expel the blood. (Not to say you have to be a martyr about it, but... heavy cramping can be a message, say, to notice what you're eating, or if you need to rest, or to take some relaxing tea...

I think you have a golden opportunity to do some womanly teaching here. Including to her Mom, to whom you can express, "I know you're really concerned about your daughter. And it's especially hard when you don't know exactly what's going on in her body. I'm concerned, too -- and I'm not sure she needs a female exam: how would you feel about going to the doctor for a consult? So she could get her questions answered, and so you could, too, and so she could make an informed decision?"

The only other thing that stands out about your question is your heartfelt, "I don't want my daughter to have this exam!" Hmmmm. If I can be really bold here, I'd guess that might have more to do with you than with your daughter. Maybe some self-reflection would be in order, so to check in with yourself about why you have such strong feelings against it. She is definitely old enough for a pelvic exam, and it's not out of the ordinary for girls her age to have one, so... something to think about.

OK. That was off the top of my head and from my heart. Then I Googled "Pelvic Exam First Time Recommend" and got this; hope it helps!


There is nothing wrong with having a young girl begin her annual gynecological health exams at age 16. It is about health, not sex. She should be able to discuss her periods with a doctor, even if it is only to find out that she is healthy and normal. One aspect of annual exams is to gauge changes from year to year, so it is good to have a baseline to work from in following years. To make this seem scary, I think would be a mistake. Information is always preferable to ignorance.

If you are feeling uneasy about the exam, ask for the doctor’s name and speak with her/him about your concerns.

Thank you,
T. Thomas

when my daughter was 18 she went to have her fist exam and they found cysts, which had been growing for years. So, I would be a STRONG yes, go for it. When ( and if) the exam shows that there is nothing to be concerned about, things will settle down with no harm and no foul.

What you and her mom have in common is loving her and wanting to have her be safe and healthy. You just haven't reached consensus on how that looks. And in this arena it may be better for all of your relationships to be supportive. You can decide what to do with your own children when their time comes without getting her input, so it all works out.

When I was in my early-mid teens, I had cramps so bad for 3 days (the day before and the first two days) surrounding my period, that my school automaticly excused me for three days every month without question. I was in bed, sick to my stomach, with front and back cramps for 72 hours minimum EACH month. I got checked as soon as my doctor thought I was old enough to handle it (of course I probly couldn't have before, but doc didn't think it was that necessary)... I think I was 15 or 16. The test results? I'm normal... that's how my body handles periods! While it wasn't tramatic for me personally, it could be for someone else. I am very open and even have a male doctor and it doesn't bother me a bit. Your daughter may not be at all like me though, and therefore it could bother her a lot.
A few things to consider in why she's having such bad cramps... for one, no one has any idea what her pain tolerance is. She could be having what would be considered average cramps to some of us and still think they are the worst possible... if that's the case, there is really no need for alarm. Also, diet plays a big role in how our bodies react to our cycle. Drinking soda pop, caffiene, etc. can cause worse cramps. Personally, I have to make sure I have a lot of iron, in addition to an all around healthy diet around my period or my cramps are a lot worse. (And trust me, I'm no health nut!) Excercise before a cycle helps too.

YES!!!!! At 15 I was also a virgin but went in for my first PAP and found out thta I had HPV it si the disease that they now have a vaccine for but it can happen in girls very young. A PAP can also detect yeast and other bacterial growths that are not just sex related. I know it sounds like a lot to have a 16 year old go in for but if a young woman learns early to get the routine exam she is more likely to continue when she is older...and God forbid sexually active. I think you are an amazing step mom for just putting the question out there and your concern. It is not easy to be a step I know!!! L.


If you have a physician of your own, I would take this question to him/her. There are many other reasons to have pelvic exams. If nothing else your daughter needs to know that regular exams are part of a proactive health regimen. Her future health could depend on her willingness to seek medical help.

I started my first period when I was twelve and had very regular periods until I was seventeen when it started and then wouldn't stop. I went and had my first exam after 25 days of bleeding. I kept thinking it would stop on its own, but it didn't. I didn't even tell my mom until I realized I had to see a doctor. I was totallly freaked out and very little was explained to me beforehand. It was a horrible experience because I was fairly uneducated about what was going to happen...and I was sick.

I think that at sixteen your daughter is probably mature enough to handle the appointment. The most important thing is that the exam is explained to her in advance and that she understands what is going to happen and that it is a normal part of a woman's life. It is very scary for your first appointment to be when there IS something wrong.

It is also important for your daughter to understand that this exam in NO WAY makes her lose her virginity. It is not a sexual encounter...it is a medical procedure. I was a virgin when I married my husband at age 25, but I had had several annual exams by then.

I am not necessarily an advocate for teen annual exams, but if your daughter is going to have this procedure, and it sounds like she will, make sure she is infomed and knows what to expect. And, in my opinion, it is better to go before there is a problem rather than wait until there is one.

I hope this helps and that your daughter knows how much you love her!

What's wrong with her having a pap exam? Shouldn't you want her to get into the habit of going to the gynecologist for a yearly visit? It's really scary if you wait until you're eighteen and away at college and going on your own. And what if she DOES have endometriosis? Wouldn't you want her to know since it's a serious condition and can lead to infertility?

Too many women don't go for regular check-ups because it's a habit that wasn't encouraged early and end up finding out about advanced cases of ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, when they could have known early and had less invasive treatments, etc.

And I think you should never assume that teens aren't sexually active. It's sticking your head in the sand. I taught sixth grade for a year (I'm now a college instructor) and had sixth graders who were definitely sexually active. I've had college students write papers about telling their parents they were pregnant WHEN THEIR WATER BROKE.

Sorry to be so blunt, but I have absolutely no idea where you're coming from on this one and think that her mother is the sensible one with her best interests in mind here who is encouraging her daughter to be an open, honest, responsible human being.

I am a SAHM of 3. When I was a teenager they told me if you were a virgin you didn't need to have a pap until you were between 18 - 21 or you started having sex. If I was you I would wait too. I don't agree with having one done at that age. Endometriosis is on my dad's side of the family and I have had a lot of friends who have had problems with it. And every single one of them had problems with their periods and usually a lot more pain associated with them than normal. Also, one of the main reasons they do paps now is because of cancer. Which we now know that type of cancer is primarily caused by an STD. So if she's not sexually active why put her through the exam. If I was you since it's your step daughter. I would talk to your husband (I'm assuming he's the girls dad). See if you can persuade him to talk to the mom about the cons of having this done so young. Good luck.

I am not sure I see what the problem is here. This is a part of normal healthy womanhood. Its important that she doesnt think that its something taboo so that as an adult she does get regular exams and paps. Its a perfect time to begin to learn about her body and taking proper care of it with regular breast exams and paps. Face it - we all hate it - but we know how important it is so we do it.

Since your daughter is 16, she is definately not too young to learn how women are to take care of their bodies and have an annual checkup. Maybe there are some medical conditions that may run in your step daughters mothers side of the family that you may be unaware of and she want to have her daughter checked. I have had polycystic ovarian syndrome since I was 12 and had to have a yearly check up since I was diagnosed. Again, your step daughter sounds very mature and responsible; an examination would only confirm that nothing is medically wrong while teaching her that an annual checkup is very important!

I would think it's important part of growing up and learning about your body and how to properly take care of yourself.

If, in your opinion, your step-daughters mom tends to be a hypocondriac, it could be that your resistance to this exam has something to do with your own issues with her mom? No one likes to think that way about themselves, but I think it's fairly "human" to have some issues with an ex.....You might want to take a good look and honestly examine any possible ulterior motives you might have for being against the exam.

When I took my (now 22 year old) daughter for an exam as a teenager, if I remember correctly the Doctor asked if she could speak to my daughter alone, which I allowed, so as not to appear paranoid and insecure (which I was)....Anyway in private they asked if she was sexually active and talked to her about birth control which I looked at as crossing my parental boundary.

In retrospect I realize I didn't like the idea of the Doctor giving input different than mine because I secretly feared that my daughter and I didn't have the open relationship I believed us to have had, and thought she might listen to the Doctors input and not mine.

No that is very in sane, but if thats the way she thinks you cannot change the way she thinks about her daughter.Can you talk to the daughter and see what she thinks.The only way she should be having a pap is if she is sexually active and have abdominal pain.And horrible menstrual pain

I think it's a good idea to start seeing an ob/gyn during the teenage years to get in the habit of going. If my mom hadn't suggested it and gotten me started going at that age I probably would have blown it off for a decade or more. In some cases the consequences of that could be devastating. Unless the 16 year old is very opposed to going I don't see any point in making the doctors visit an issue.

You don't necessarily have to be sexualy active to have a pap smear and exam. They just recommend if you are sexually active or over the age of 21, then you must have a pap annually. It's not only to look for std's, but to check to see if everything is healthy and working properly. They also check for cervical cancer. Why do you feel so strongly against it? It is better to be safe than sorry. My advice would have to be to check with her regular doctor and ask if it is necessary for her to have a pap and or female exam, and go by his or her advice. As for me, I really don't see why it would hurt, to be safe, at least just getting a female exam. Good luck! I think bio mom just wants her to be healthy and safe, no harm in that. Also, if your daughter wants this done, than psychologically it would be good for her so she can feel better about if she is ok or not.

Her Mom can't force it on her. Hopefully the MD will use discretion as to whether or not she needs the exam and papsmear. A pap is done to check for cellular change which occurs with pregnancy or childbirth, or exposure to HPV, so there really is no basis for a pap unless she is sexually active. I don't know why she'd need the manual exam because they can check just as well with an u/s but that usually requires having the wand passed into the vagina, so that could be just as traumatic.

Does your daughter want the exam?

Putting a cold metal object inside a 16 year old virgin is pretty invasive if it's not something she wants to pursue. She's old enough to decide whether she wants to do something about her period pain, or just have a conversation with a doctor or what.

I had my first exam and pap at about 15 because I was having severe pain with my period. It was pretty unpleasant (let's face it, it still is), but I can't imagine if it hadn't been something I hadn't asked for on my own. I had severe endometriosis (which actually took 7 more years to diagnose. doctors didn't take me seriously and I didn't get to see a REAL specialist until I was in my 20s.).

When I had my baby recently all the doctors were surprised that I had a pap so young, and they all asked about it.

If she hasn't even taken medication for her pain, it makes me think that she probably doesn't have endometriosis. Although sometimes you can have mild endometriosis, it's not like you're going to do anything about it other than try various medications -- the same ones you'd try for regular cramping essentially. Surgery is something you sure wouldn't want to do unless you had a really bad case.

Anyway... I just think she should be making her own decisions about how much she wants to pursue this and what she is or is not comfortable with. She's old enough, and it's HER body.

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