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Dear Dr. Vanessa: Can My Gyno Tell If I’ve Had Sex?

Wed, Dec 1, 2010

Advice, What's Up Doc?

photo by solcookie

Every few weeks, Dr. Vanessa Cullins, a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist and vice president for medical affairs at Planned Parenthood® Federation of America, answers your questions here. To ask her your own question, click here.

Dear Dr. Vanessa,

I’m going to have my first pelvic exam. Can a doctor tell if you’ve had sexual intercourse?

– Stirrups Shy

Dear S.S.,

Not generally. Pelvic examination doesn’t reveal if you’ve had vaginal intercourse or if you masturbate, unless there are specific signs:

  • symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection such as herpes or genital warts
  • the presence in the vagina of semen from a recent act of intercourse
  • torn tissue from violent or rough sex

If hymeneal tissue that a clinician has previously observed appears changed, she may think that sexual intercourse has occurred, but she cannot be sure unless she is told.

Usually, the only way the clinician will know if a woman’s had sex is if the woman tells her. That’s why it’s important to tell your clinician if you are having sex. Don’t let embarrassment become a health risk. Let your clinician know what is going on with your sex life so that she can make a more informed evaluation of your health status.

– Dr. Vanessa
Planned Parenthood

dr_vanessa_cullins

Vanessa Cullins, MD, MPH, MBA, is a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist and vice president for medical affairs at Planned Parenthood® Federation of America.

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3 Responses to “Dear Dr. Vanessa: Can My Gyno Tell If I’ve Had Sex?”

  1. Dave W Says:

    It sounds to me like she might be concerned about her parents finding out she had sex. How safe is that information if she shares it with her gyno?

  2. epiphany Says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but health information is protected, and her gyno can’t share that with anyone (parents included) without her express permission.
    If she’s a minor, does that change?

  3. Black Iris Says:

    A good doctor won’t share the information. If you can’t trust your doctor enough to tell them what they need to know, find another doctor.


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