This may be a stupid question, but i hear different answers from everyone i know so im just not sure.  Im 22, virgin, and had my first exam and pap at the gyn last May because i thought that i might have had BV or a yeast infection.  Its coming up on May again and i was wondering if i should schedule another appointment like a yearly checkup.  Since im a virgin im not sure if i really need to go in and be tested and examined.  Everyone tells me different things like every year or every two years if my pap and tests were normal last time.  What should i do?  Make one yearly just to be safe? I do have a history of very painful cramps but the doctor didnt seem concerned that it might be something serious.  I would greatly appreciate anyone's input. 
Thank You

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9 Responses to Annual exam and pap

  1. Ytiiut says:

    When I was young and not sexually active, I had a pap every 2-3 years. If I had had an abnormal pap or a family history of abnormal paps, I would have done it yearly.

  2. EohNet says:

    You may wish to have a yearly checkup, but you do not need a Pap smear at all if you have never had genital contact with another person. A Pap smear checks for cervical changes that are caused by HPV, which is a sexually transmitted virus.

  3. 29dWoman says:

    It’s recommended that you get them every 3 years. You can definitely go in and ask about the cramps with no pelvic/pap, and you always have the right to refuse one.

  4. Drawoa says:

    I don’t know that it’s absolutely necessary but I see no harm in it. Personally, I’m paranoid about breast cancer so if a breast exam is part of your checkup then I say have it done. Also, should you become sexually active, you will want to have a yearly exam anyway.

  5. Dnkoma says:

    The current recommendations in the US are that sexually active people with cervixes do not need Pap tests yearly unless there are abnormal results. The American College of Obstitricians and Gynecologists, American Academy of Family Practioners and American Cancer Society have differing recommendations of every 2-5 years depending on age and other factors. There may be other reasons to see a health care provider annually, but Pap tests are no longer one of them. The harm is that more frequent testing can lead to increased false positives which in turn can lead to unnescessary diagnostic procedures which can have negative effects on health without improving health.

    A person could also request a clinical breast exam (from a GYN or family practioner or internist) if desired without also having a pelvic exam.

  6. Dooeva says:

    Personally, I’m paranoid about breast cancer so if a breast exam is part of your checkup then I say have it done.

    You might want to rethink this. I don’t understand why breast exams are ever done on asymptomatic people. There is absolutely no proven value in manual breast exams, either by a medical professional or self-exams, and there is substantial evidence that manual breast exams actually cause harm:

    “At present, screening by breast self-examination or physical examination [by a trained health worker] cannot be recommended,” two of the study authors, Jan Peter Kosters and Peter Gotzsche of the Nordic Cochrane Centre, stated in the review.

  7. Ttefornia says:

    In the UK, the NHS invites people to their first smear test when they turn 25, and provided results are normal, the smear tests get repeated every three years up until the age of 50. The frequency then decreases to every five years, up to the age of 64. The NHS is generally not too fussed about performing smear tests on people who’ve never had genital-genital sex with another person, because it’s designed to test for HPV, a very common STI. Source.

    I’m aware that in the US, the frequency of pap tests is generally much higher, and is often a prerequisite for getting access to hormonal birth control, even though there is no medical evidence supporting this regime. I believe a number of US organisations have started issuing recommendations that are more in line with the NHS’ scheme as described above.

    Pap smears won’t be able to tell you anything about your painful cramps, but it might very well be worth pushing that harder with a doctor – for example, endometriosis affects up to 15% of people with uteruses, and it took me 6 years of hassle to get a diagnosis (average diagnostic delay is 8 years in the UK, or something closer to 12 in the US). If your cramps during your periods interfere with your life, this is something that doctors should be wanting to fix – even though often they’re not interested in further investigation. We can definitely give you more info on that front here if you’re interested, though!

  8. 222Ra says:

    Thanks for the info. The cramps have always been really severe right before I get my period and they last for a day or two. I’m usually doubled over in pain and can’t move. I usually call off work or school because I can’t tolerate them no matter how much aleve or Tylenol I take. The gyn didn’t seem too concerned and said to take Motrin and also offered birth control pills which I declined because I don’t want the side effects and risks associated with them. I don’t know if it could actually be some type of medical condition or just something that happens to some people. I definitely interferes with my life though and am not sure how to help it:(

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