Vaginal exams are performed on women once they reach puberty to ensure their internal organs are developing well and are cancer free.
Most girls aren’t given a vagina exam until they reach puberty. For many, the first exam is at 13 or 14 when their school requires it for sports or general attendance. Some doctors routinely examine girls as young as 12 while others only examine 12 year olds if they are experiencing painful or heavy periods.
Exams for eleven year olds and younger are normally only done for special reasons. If a preteen is having pain in her abdomen, she may receive a vaginal examination. It is also common to perform a vaginal exam if there is a question of sexual abuse.
Most doctors only perform exams for preteens under sedation to prevent anxiety for the patient.
A few schools are now performing well girl checks as part of a routine physical for all sixth graders. These checks often include external examination of the girls genitals. Should there be any sign of redness or other issues, those specific girls are then sedated and undergo a full vaginal exam while they sleep.