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How Come My Doctor Looks At My Privates At My Annual Check-Up?

Published: July 20, 2016
Dear TeenHealthFX,
How come whenever I go for an annual checkup, the doctor asks to look at my privates? Is this exam really necessary? If I say no to the examination, are they required to stop // not do it?
Signed: How Come My Doctor Looks At My Privates At My Annual Check-Up?

Dear How Come My Doctor Looks At My Privates At My Annual Check-Up?,

Doctors will examine different parts of the body at annual well-visits to track normal growth and development. This does include tracking puberty by examining the genital area. What seems to be missing in this case is a sufficient amount of dialog between you and your doctor about what is going on during these exams. It does not sound like your doctor has made it clear to you why he/she is examining your genital area. TeenHealthFX would suggest that the next time you meet with your doctor asking why the exam is being performed if your doctor has not already made it clear to you so that you fully understand. If you could use some help in asking this, you could always ask your parent or caregiver who brings you to the appointment to assist you in asking the questions you need to be clarified for you.

FX would also like to suggest, and remind you of, the following:

  • When your doctor performs an examination of the genital area as part of a physical exam, they are doing this in a professional role. Other adults should not be asking to do this. If you ever feel uncomfortable about anyone asking to examine your genital area, or touching your genital area, it is very important for you to tell a trusted adult.
  • If you feel more comfortable, you are absolutely able to have a parent, caregiver or nurse in the exam room with you during any part of your exam.
  • If you feel uncomfortable because of the gender of your doctor, speak to your parent/guardian about swapping doctors. For example, many girls are more comfortable with female doctors and many boys are comfortable with male doctors.
  • If there is something in how your doctor relates that makes you uncomfortable, consider speaking to your doctor about this or speaking to a parent/guardian about switching to a doctor you feel more comfortable with.
  • Pelvic exams for females (which are invasive exams) are not recommended until 21 years of age unless the person has been sexually active.
Signed: TeenHealthFX

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