Such a good question!
Like most things, it depends. A new patient visit for “just birth control” is so much more than just getting started on a medication. The visit should be seen as an opportunity to establish care with an OB/GYN who will review your personal medical history, review contraceptive options and provide education. For many new patients starting birth control a vaginal exam is not necessary. However, some women have questions or issues that may be best answered or evaluated by performing a pelvic exam. In these instances, we always perform an exam only with the permission of the patient.
If your daughter is sexually active, or planning to become active, we will discuss STD screening and prevention. If your daughter would like STD screening, a vaginal swab or urine specimen is required. While many young women feel comfortable self-collecting a vaginal swab or a urine sample, there are others who would prefer a physician obtain one for them.
Finally, if your daughter is 21 or over, a vaginal exam and pap smear as part of screening for cervical cancer is recommended. This is done as part of an annual exam, and we would recommend you or your daughter inform our office about her desire for an annual exam instead of a consult for birth control only, as these visits require extra time.
I hope this helps!
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