Can you refuse "examination?" - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 07-30-2006, 05:11 PM
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This is really akward, but I need some answers from ladies that have (possibly) been through this. Every year it is required that you get a health checkup. So I went last year, and I didn't expect it at all, but the doctor checked "down there." Ok, I can live with breast exam, but the other one was bad. Seriously, I was 15 and not sexually active (I am still not sexually active though it is legal at my age, 16.) So now this year I have to go again, and I am really nervous. I don't have any problems, I'm not having sex or anything so why is it nessisary (sp?)? I am scared that since I am 16 I'll have to have a pap done. Is it ok for me to refuse this part of the physical?

I am dreading this and it's really getting me worried and down. Thank you.
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#2 Old 07-30-2006, 05:24 PM
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Where do you live? In the US, I'm not aware of anyone who requires 16yos who are not sexually active to have pelvic exams or pap smears... or breast exams. Usually girls your age don't have them unless they want to go on BC or they have some kind of problem. I would imagine that in most western countries, the right to refuse medical treatment is fairly fundamental.
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#3 Old 07-30-2006, 05:35 PM
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My friend's mom wanted her to get a pap smear and go on bc since she will be starting college. My friend went to the gynecologist and was examined but they didn't do the pap test b/c she was only a week away from being 18 and they told her that they don't do pap test on any who is not sexually active and under 21. A couple weeks ago I got my physical for college and the doctor said that women she get a pap test when they become sexually active or they turn 18. All the mentioned doctors practice in Pennsylvania so I don't know if it applies to where you live. Even though these doctors disagree on age, I think 16 is a little young if you are not sexually active.

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#4 Old 07-30-2006, 05:39 PM
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Thanks for the prompt replies. I do live in the us. I am glad to hear that a pap isn't needed at my age. I don't like the physical, even if it is not internal. I am wondering if I can refuse that. I am worried that if I refuse the external exam then my physical won't be complete for school.
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#5 Old 07-30-2006, 05:50 PM
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That is the only concern. It's entirely possible your health plan could make life difficult and try to deny benefits or something. But legally, I'm pretty sure no one can actually force medical treatment on you without a court order, especially something that's so unnecessary. Whether you need a pelvic exam is a matter of medical judgment and should not be decided by anyone other than you and your doctor. I don't personally know a single gyn who would recommend a pelvic exam for someone in your situation. If your doctor agrees it's not medically necessary, the doctor and her staff should be able to fend off the insurance people. If it's the people in the doctor's office trying to pressure you to have the exam, be very firm and clear with them that you are refusing a pelvic exam because it's not necessary and you don't want it.
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#6 Old 07-30-2006, 06:13 PM
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So now that that concern is gone... I am worried about the external exam. I mean, everything is ok, so why even look at the outside? I know its normal for doctors, but I feel violated. Its such an intimate thing, and I'm a very private person. I don't want anyone, even the doctor looking at my personal areas. Especially since the doctor did last time. Surely once is enough, since everything was normal.

Tesseract and faded_amaranth, thanks for your help.

Oh yeah, the pelvic is internal, right?
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#7 Old 07-30-2006, 06:28 PM
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this doesn't make much sense. who is requiring you to get an exam? a physical doesn't include a breast exam or a pelvic or even anyone looking at you down there.
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#8 Old 07-30-2006, 06:33 PM
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As far as i know, a genital exam is not necessary for just a normal physical, for school and things (especially if you are not sexually active). You should try going to a nurse practitioner. I am a teen too, and when i go to the doctor, she does a quick exam down low, but when i go to the nurse practitioner, she never does.
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#9 Old 07-30-2006, 06:48 PM
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Its a normal physical for school. Apparently you need to get one every year for school, and the school sends you forms before the start of the school year.
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#10 Old 07-30-2006, 06:48 PM
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Pelvic exam means the whole shebang involving your genital area, including the part with the speculum and the part that's just done with the hands. If you're not having a pelvic exam, there shouldn't be any need for you to drop your pants AFAIK. If you are uncomfortable and unsure what they want you to do, don't be afraid to ask the doctor to walk you step by step through exactly what will be happening and why before you comply. You are well within your rights to demand a complete explanation up front, so don't be afraid to!



It's a good idea to have a general physical exam where they check your height and weight, draw blood to check your blood chemistry, and that sort of thing, but I'm not aware of any reason for you to have anything down there examined at this point unless you're sick.
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#11 Old 07-30-2006, 07:01 PM
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a school physical should not involve a breast exam or a doctor examining you down there at all.



did you tell your parents about this? was that your normal doctor who examined you?
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#12 Old 07-30-2006, 07:04 PM
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A school physical (for playing sports) is required but does NOT require examination of genitalia. When you make the appointment, make sure it is clear it is a physical for general health, not an "annual exam".
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#13 Old 07-30-2006, 07:12 PM
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If it makes you more comfortable, schedule an appointment with a female doctor.

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#14 Old 07-30-2006, 07:24 PM
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Your school is requiring you to? That sounds weird. Is this some sort of private school?
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#15 Old 07-30-2006, 07:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irunontofu View Post

This is really akward, but I need some answers from ladies that have (possibly) been through this. Every year it is required that you get a health checkup. So I went last year, and I didn't expect it at all, but the doctor checked "down there." Ok, I can live with breast exam, but the other one was bad. Seriously, I was 15 and not sexually active (I am still not sexually active though it is legal at my age, 16.) So now this year I have to go again, and I am really nervous. I don't have any problems, I'm not having sex or anything so why is it nessisary (sp?)? I am scared that since I am 16 I'll have to have a pap done. Is it ok for me to refuse this part of the physical?

I am dreading this and it's really getting me worried and down. Thank you.



does this seem strange to anyone else?
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#16 Old 07-30-2006, 07:27 PM
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I can understand your surprise and a pelvic exam at your age shouldn't be necessary if you're not sexually active, but it's really not a big deal. You will have to start getting them in a few years for the good for your health. Lots of people are somewhat squeamish about it, but there's nothing special or magical about your genitals... you're not going to pop out of existance because you had a doctor examine you. It's unpleasant, but they're used to it and it's better for you if you become so as well. GPs do them every day. Thankfully we don't have to!
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#17 Old 07-30-2006, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by purrpelle View Post

does this seem strange to anyone else?

Now that you mention, it does seem very strange, that this would be sprung on her like this as part of some sort of school-required exam. The whole idea of a school-required physical exam strikes me as strange, but then I have no idea what kind of requirements are involved in sports and stuff. But yes, this whole pelvic exam thing does seem very strange... and ominous. Do your parents know you underwent this exam last year, and do they know that it is apparently going to be part of this year's exam? I'm starting to worry something's not quite legit here.
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#18 Old 07-30-2006, 09:43 PM
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Most schools require kids to have a "sports physical" before participating in sports. All it involves is checking your heart, lungs, making sure you're in good health and not going to keel over dead while running track or whatever. It strikes me as really odd that someone would have a pelvic/breast exam in that context.
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#19 Old 07-30-2006, 09:56 PM
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She probably scheduled a "physical" and most doctors I know have interpreted a "physical" as an "annual" so it doesn't surprise me at all.
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#20 Old 07-30-2006, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by purrpelle View Post

does this seem strange to anyone else?



It certainly set my alarm bells off. If this doctor was aware of the patients age and the fact that she wasn't sexually active, he (assuming it was a man) should not have performed the exam.





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Originally Posted by Astarte View Post

I can understand your surprise and a pelvic exam at your age shouldn't be necessary if you're not sexually active, but it's really not a big deal.



I have to totally disagree with you on that point. It absolutely IS a big deal to a young woman who is not yet sexually active and who may have never been touched in such an intimate way by anyone before. The OP also said that she "felt violated".



Irunontofu, I'm sorry that happened to you last year. If you haven't already mentioned this to your parents, you really should because what happened to you sounds very suss to me. Based on what you've said in your post, there's some evidence that this doctor may need to be reported to the appropriate medical board in your state/area.
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#21 Old 07-30-2006, 10:45 PM
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A. Did the doctor ask if she was sexually active? a LOT of 15/16 year olds are sexually active, and it's probably becoming incredibly common for women that age to get pelvic exams.



B. We don't know what kind of appointment was scheduled. Perhaps Irunontofu's mom requested a full annual exam, figuring she was "getting to that age..."



While I think it's good to be cautious, I also think that we don't know enough about the situation to be making such wild presumptions about the doctor. Irunontofu, you don't need to get a pelvic for another couple of years, or until you're sexually active (whichever comes first).



Additionally, don't forget that you should ALWAYS have a nurse (or your mom, etc) in the room with you when you're getting a pelvic done. It's just a good precaution. And finally, while it's okay now to forgo the pelvic, once you start having sex, you need to have one every year to protect yourself. It is scary at first but you can request a woman doctor, and ask your doctor to explain what she's doing during the entire exam. I find that helps.
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#22 Old 07-30-2006, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by OregonAmy View Post

While I think it's good to be cautious, I also think that we don't know enough about the situation to be making such wild presumptions about the doctor.



No-one's making any.
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#23 Old 07-31-2006, 01:49 AM
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I'm more curious about the required annual physical. Is this for sports? If not, I would find it to be an unusual requirement. Otherwise, you should be able to say, as others have noted, that it is for release for playing sports and the doc will do an appropriate exam. The ones I got in high school lasted like 5 minutes. It was a "how ya feeling?", check your blood pressure and temp, and a spinal exam. Lickety split.

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#24 Old 07-31-2006, 03:03 AM
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Did you mention to your parents what happened?



I ask because that exam sounds highly questionable to me. For one thing, you, particularly as a minor, though they often do this with women in general, should not be alone with a doctor. Either your parents or a nurse should be with you.



There was no reason for you to get that type of exam, and there won't be a reason to until you're about 18.



Perhaps you could change doctors? Most health plans will allow you to if you have a complaint. I would mention this experience to your health provider as it could be something this doctor has done in the past to others.
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#25 Old 07-31-2006, 04:32 AM
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When I was 15 they attempted to do a full physical when I went in for my school physical. I freaked out so they didn't. I don't think it's all that unusual for the doctor to do a pelvic/breast exam just because in a few years they figure you'll have to start them anyway. It's not required for school, as far as I know, in any state.

Next year, ask the doctor to only do the physical that is required for school because you're not sexually active and not ready for the pelvic exam. Do know, however, that eventually you'll have to get them done. *Everyone, including men, have uncomfortable medical procedures to go through. I would ask the doctor to give you some information about what the full pelvic entails so you can read it and get used to it. Personally, I don't want the doctor talking to me while he/she is doing it. I just want to get it done and over with and I want *everyone to be quiet. lol

And it's been said but I'll say it again, whether your doctor is a male or female there should always be a nurse present in the room during the exam. I know it seems doubly uncomfortable to have another person staring at your body but it's better for everyone. If you feel more comfortable you have every right to ask your mom to stay too.

Just wait until you get pregnant. I swear there isn't a doctor in my OBGYNs office or a nurse in the maternity ward that hasn't seen me practically completely naked. After being in a teaching hospital and having an entire group of doctors present for an exam, I no longer feel shy. It doesn't get easier but I no longer feel embarassed.

Sorry the doctor sprang that on you. I would talk to your doctor too. Just because it's 'everyday' for them doesn't mean it is for you. S/he may not have realized they made you uncomfortable.

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#26 Old 07-31-2006, 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by MaryC1999 View Post

When I was 15 they attempted to do a full physical when I went in for my school physical. I freaked out so they didn't. I don't think it's all that unusual for the doctor to do a pelvic/breast exam just because in a few years they figure you'll have to start them anyway.

Eek. Now, it's not really a big deal to me, but when I was 16 and the doctor's feeling up the top half and looking in places in the bottom half where I hadn't even looked..well, it's a bit intimidating.



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Personally, I don't want the doctor talking to me while he/she is doing it. I just want to get it done and over with and I want *everyone to be quiet. lol

Hee. I had to giggle when reading this part, because I am of completely opposite mind. When the exam is happening, I hear about how old the nurse's kids are now, discuss the weather, etc....anything to distract me.

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#27 Old 07-31-2006, 06:17 AM
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Thanks for all the replies. I think I was unclear in my first post, and I apologize. Last year the doctor did not do a pelvic, but I did have to take my clothes off. I am worried about the pelvic this year, but now that everyone has said that I won't need to get one, I feel much better. Next time I will request that I keep ALL my clothes on. I think I went for an annual, and I'm hoping next time is only a physical! Sorry for any confusion. And thanks for clearing everything up for me.
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#28 Old 07-31-2006, 06:18 AM
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you can refuse any aspect of the physical on personal, philosophical, or religious grounds. so you can refuse both pelvic and breast exams.



what seems 'hinky' to me, though, is that neither of these are required aspects of a basic physical--and certainly not for teenaged girls. Was a nurse or your mother present when you were given the exam? generally speaking, it is common that another adult female is present during such examinations on teens (and some male docs do it with adult women too). If not, then I think that the Dr may be 'taking advantage' of your youth and ignorance. this might qualify as a sexual assault, particularly if you tried to refuse last year.



if your doctor insists, then i think you should switch doctors and report your experience with the medical board to explain what happened last year and what is going on.



You do not have to do any medical procedure--including a physical--and no one can force you to do them. you can always, always opt out on philosophical grounds.
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#29 Old 07-31-2006, 08:03 AM
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I think I was unclear in my first post, and I apologize. Last year the doctor did not do a pelvic, but I did have to take my clothes off.



Hun, you said in your first post that the doctor checked "down there" and that "it was bad". What exactly happened? Did the doctor touch your genitals or just look at them even?



Even if an internal pelvic exam was not done, it still sounds like something inappropriate took place.
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#30 Old 07-31-2006, 08:32 AM
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oh, and also to this statement:



Quote:
Do know, however, that eventually you'll have to get them done.



for many women, pelvic exams are not necessary. you can do fertility charting and learn about your own biology and do your own examinations. IF you come to something that doesn't seem right to you, you could go for an exam if you want to.



the only 'caveats' for this are women who have a history of pelvic or gynocological problems or they or their partners have sexual histories that include exposure to STDs. pelvic exams--at whatever frequency the individual is most comfortable with--would be useful in these circumstances.



but if you are 'low risk' (like i am--only one partner, he only had one partner and that's me; no family history of gyn disorders, etc), then there's no reason for yearly pelvic exams, or for even getting them at all until you feel that there is a reason for them.



i haven't had a pelvic exam in 6 years. Prior to this i had 3 pelvic exams because i thought i was 'supposed' to or because i 'needed them' from a cultural stnadpoint. I now realize that this is not the case.



As i have no health problems, i chart my cycles and am very aware of my body, i simply provide my own care and observation. I also do not plan to use prenatal care or ob/gyn care or midwifery when i am pregnant and birth--unless i feel that it is necessary.



menstruation, fertility, pregnancy, and birth are not medical events. most of the things that exams look for as 'preventative' medicine can be done on your own through observation and just taking care of yourself--as long as you are low risk.



if you're interested in learning more about your body and fertility in general so that you can know what is normal and healthy and what isn't (such that you may need outside help from a midwife, nurse, or doctor), i would recommend checking out Garden Of Fertility by Katie Singer.



empowerment is the key here--learn and empower yourself to get what you need and opt out of what you don't so that others can't take advantage of you.
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