I have always been interested in seeing young patients. I have been performing "first" pelvic exams on young women for many years. Most of my young patients are college students but many are still in high school. Often I am asked similar questions by prospective patients and their mothers.
A pelvic exam should not be painful if done in a relaxed trusting environment. You, the patient should always have the option to control the situation. You should be able to trust that if something is uncomfortable, your doctor will stop immediately, that you, the patient, should always be in charge, that even if you have never been sexually active, this exam could be done without pain.
There are many answers to this questions. I suggest the following:
It is not necessary to have a pelvic exam every time; I can be a resource for information and can be reached by fax or phone once you are an established patient. I have many students who call from remote campuses to ask advice.
This is a three injection series of a viral particle (not a live virus) that immunizes women to the 4 most common strains of the HPV (human papilloma virus), which is responsible for 80% of all cervical cancers and genital warts. It is very safe. I gave it to my own daughter and would recommend it for most young women because 70% of all women are exposed to this virus by age 30! The immunization is recommended starting at age 10 so that it will be completed long before exposure occurs. Most pediatricians offer this as well.
Emergency Contraception (AKA the morning after pill) is used for those not on hormonal contraception in case of a contraceptive failure (such as a broken condom) or lack of use at all. It is very effective if used within 72 hours of exposure to unprotected intercourse. Plan B is the best available at this time and is progestin given twice over 12 hours. It may cause mild nausea but side effects are quite rare. The period may be delayed or there may be spotting and counseling from your doctor is recommended if and when you use this. I usually recommend getting a prescription from your doctor and filling it in advance as the need usually arises on weekends and holidays when it is difficult to find a doctor or a pharmacy who stocks this drug. Other formulations are high doses of estrogen and progestin equal to about 4 or 5 birth control pills given twice 12 hours apart, which is effective but often associated with significant nausea and vomiting. Plan B is better.
In my practice these fall into a few categories; bacterial, viral, and fungal.