A Pelvic Exam is Not Necessary to Test for Sexually Transmitted Diseases

There is a growing number of women who are declining routine pap tests and pelvic exams, but Doctors have found a way around this.  Doctors are now promoting yearly sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing together with a pelvic exam they claim goes with it.  While many women are  saying no to STD testing, there are some who agree to testing and who are also willing to tolerate the pelvic exam that Doctors are including.  However, a pelvic exam is not necessary to test for STD’s.  Blood and urine is all that is required to test for STD’s, the same way in which men are only required to supply blood and urine for the exact same tests.

Most Doctors will not offer a choice, so women who are asymptomatic/who do not wish to undergo a pelvic exam but who still want to be tested for STD’s will need to speak up.  If your Doctor wants to conduct a “whiff test”/”pH test”, which requires taking a swab from your vagina, you should know that these tests merely indicate bacteria and pH level of your vaginal secretions – they do not test for STD’s.  Both vaginal pH and presence of bacteria are often transitory meaning they will fluctuate depending on your time of the month, whether or not you have recently taken a bath, engaged in intercourse, used a tampon, etc.  You do not need a whiff test or a pH test to test for STD’s.

Doctors have recently added a test for Trichomoniasis to the list, an STD that causes itching/burning/odor.  If you suspect you have this and want to include it in testing, you will need to ask to perform a self vaginal swab.  However, Trichomoniasis is difficult to diagnose due to the poor sensitivity of the tests.  Both men and women can contract this STD but doctors do not usually bother to test men for it.  If you do not wish this test included you have the right to decline.  Do your research, protect your healthy mind and body.

A number of web sites reveal urine and blood tests are not only much less invasive to test for STD’s, they are also more accurate.  Excerpts and links to sites with more information:

Private Testing Center provides affordable testing for HIV and STDs, including herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and hepatitis b & c. All of our HIV testing and STD testing is done through the blood and urine. No pelvic exams, painful swabs or embarrassing visual exams are necessary as blood and urine testing is the most accurate.

via http://info.stdtestexpress.com/metro/losangeles/how-it-works-177T-13751N.html

Guidelines from laboratory: Send 5-10 cc of first void urine for gonorrhea and chlamydia NAT.

For Syphilis draw blood in purple or red top tube.

std_testing.pdf application/pdf Object.

For chlamydia and gonorrhea “you can request the new urine tests instead of having to undergo an uncomfortable swabbing of your urethra.”

via Which STD Tests You Should Get and Why – MSN Healthy Living – Health and Wellness.

There is a quick and easy test for chlamydia and gonorrhea that can be done without a pelvic exam and without swabs. It simply involves urinating in a cup and the office sending the urine sample to a lab to test for these STDs. . . Testing for other STDs, including HIV and hepatitis B, is from blood tests.

via STD Testing – Tests for STDs.

Should You Get a Herpes Blood Test? If your doctor is unable or unwilling to perform a blood test for herpes, and you want to get screened, I highly recommend visiting your local STD clinic. STD clinics often have better resources for comprehensive STD screening than doctors in private practice. However, since some areas have formal guidelines that recommend against generalized testing for herpes antibodies, you may need to argue for why it is important to you to receive a herpes blood test. A known exposure is generally considered an acceptable reason to want to be screened for herpes, even when the desire to inform yourself and your partner(s) is not.

via STD Testing – Is There a Herpes Blood Test?.

The following methods can be used to detect Trichomoniasis (T. vaginalis):

  • In men a urethral swab and in women a high vaginal swab (can be self-collected) can be sent to the laboratory for culture of the organism. It is harder to detect T. vaginalis in men and false negatives are common. Reliability may be improved by combining a urethral swab with a urine sample for culture. It is often recommended that male sexual partners of infected females receive empiric treatment (without relying on culture results); however a full STI screen is still recommended due to the increased likelihood of co-infection with other STIs.
  • Wet mount microscopy – a small amount of vaginal discharge is placed on a slide with a few drops of saline and immediately examined under a microscope. The organism may be visible, but only for 10 to 20 minutes after collection of the sample. Excess white blood cells may also been seen in this fluid and indicates accompanying inflammation.
  • Cervical smear tests sometimes note the presence of trichomonads, however false positives can occur (less likely with liquid based cytology) so this should be confirmed with culture. A cervical smear test cannot be used as a screening test for trichomoniasis, due to the high number of false negatives.


About forwomenseyesonly

Hi. My name is Sue and I am interested in promoting holistic and respectful health care.
Gallery | This entry was posted in pap test, pelvic exam, Sexually transmitted diseases, STD's, women's health and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to A Pelvic Exam is Not Necessary to Test for Sexually Transmitted Diseases

  1. Adawells says:

    I thought readers might be interested in this piece about the Contagious Diseases Acts passed in Britain during the 1860’s and 1870’s, which allowed for any British woman to be forcibly escorted to the nearest police station to have a pelvic exam. A forerunner of our call and recall system for our cervical screening programme!

    • Alex says:

      Honestly, that sounds a lot like the cops now. Things aren’t quite as broad as that, but more & more they’ve been directing things like that at people.

      I’ve got to ask: Why is the complaint always that it’s a MALE doctor doing something? Every time something creppy goes on, there’s always the distinction made between male & female. What’s the argument? That when a woman does something to another woman it’s the same as her doing something to herself? Or just that it’s not an attack?

      I get that there’s more likelyhood for a male involved in that situation to get aroused by it, but that’s also potentially true for women & gratification of an assailant isn’t the primary factor- it only adds to things. The problem is the act occuring, in itself.

      • adawells says:

        Yes, these are my feelings exactly. A former GP of mine was a lesbian, and harrassed me at every visit for a smear test. When I had my first child, she got her way, and pressured me into 2 very painful ones, which I’ve made sure, ever since, were my last ever. She would also do pelvic exams at the drop of a hat, and being female, didn’t seem to require a nurse to be in attendance either. On another visit for a different matter, she suggested a breast examination. Needless to say, I’ve got a new GP now, but dealing with a lesbian, who can by-pass having another female in the room, is sometimes more dangerous and embarrassing to deal with.

  2. Moo says:

    So why can’t you bring your partner or a friend to spend there while you get your exams? The chaperone is supposed to be the patient’s advocate so they do not have to be an employee of the doctor. If the advocate has a relationship with the patient then somehow they are a legal problem for the doctor?

    • adawells says:

      This was some years ago when I was pregnant, and my husband didn’t attend all my visits, as they were during the day and he was working. Other than this, we don’t have regular “well-woman” exams here in the UK. Just the smear test every 3 years 25-50, then five yearly 50-65. I’ve only had 2 in my lifetime and that was bad enough.

  3. southernlights says:

    My Husband is always with me in the exam room and always will be !!!!!!

  4. southernlights says:

    Why is this not posted to face book ???

    • adawells says:

      I agree. Some of us are getting on in years and my personal experiences are very dated. There have been some changes in recent years as dissatisfaction with cancer screening programmes has grown, and women are getting better informed about their limitations. I would like to see a lot of the issues discussed here being given a much wider hearing, but I’m not on FB.

      • Alex says:

        There are numerous issues that you find in some places more than others:

        (1) Not thinking compositionally. Properties don’t change by designation. Just like if a doctor poisons someone with a needle, it’s still murder. A situation is what it consists of, but some people make an argument that functionally amounts to “what happens ISN’T what occurs.” Don’t know if these people really have this mindset, but when someone says “It’s not like that, it’s a doctor” it pretty much makes this exact point. It’s not like what? Reality?

        (2) Having an issue with fighting back. Don’t know where it comes from, but it’s a pretty common thing among men AND women in America as far as I’ve noticed. Not a complete & total thing, but widespread. Also, it seems like people worry about if something “counts” as

        (3) Coercion. Backing people into corners. Pretty simple: “You don’t get this without that.”

        (4) Guilt. Acting like somoene comporting their own medical situations is an act of tyranny. Also like they’re going to die & that’ll hurt the people they leave behind.

        (5) Impressions of defectiveness. Being defective by not allowing these tests to be performed on them, as well as general physical defectiveness. Their body is made out to be a ticking time-bomb, whether directly or subtlely. Constantly mentioning ailments as if it’s in response to constant occurances. It also comes off like a woman is likely to get a problem that only a woman can get just because she is a woman.

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