Gynecologist before marriage
10 May, 2006
I had a question about the first visit to the gynecologist. My mother says that I should not go until I'm married but I'm 21 and I don't know when I'll be getting married—and it is advised that you get examined at 18-21. What is the halachah regarding this matter? Should I go or can I wait until I'm married? Thanks again.
Halacha definitely encourages taking care of one's health. Therefore, your awareness of the need for periodic medical examinations is to be commended.
There is no halachic prohibition to see a gynecologist before being married. Many women decide to go to the gynecologist during their engagement for guidance as to the health implications of this new stage of life. Others go even earlier to develop a professional relationship with a physician so they will have someone to turn to with questions in this area.
Some women (or their parents) are concerned that a pelvic exam or speculum exam could stretch the hymen and change their status as virgins. It is important to know that the halachic status of betulah is based on whether a woman has had sexual relations and not just on the status of the hymen.
In summary, it is important at your age to have a physician who knows your medical history and with whom you can consult and ask questions. If a woman is not sexually active, this could be a family physician or an internist and not just a gynecologist. If you have any menstrual irregularities or persistent abdominal complaints, then we would encourage a visit specifically to a gynecologist. If you go for pelvic exam, indicate that you are a virgin and request that they use the smallest speculum.
This internet service does not preclude, override or replace the psak of any rabbinical authority. It is the responsibility of the questioner to inform us of any previous consultation or ruling. As even slight variation in circumstances may have Halachic consequences, views expressed concerning one case may not be applied to other, seemingly similar cases. All health and health-related information contained within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for consulting with your health care professional. The advice is intended to offer a basis for individuals to discuss their medical condition with their health care provider but not individual advice. Although every effort is made to ensure that the material within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is accurate and timely, it is provided for the convenience of the Web site user but should not be considered official. Advice for actual medical practice should be obtained from a licensed health care professional.
For further questions or comments:
The Nishmat Women's Health and Halacha Site is a public service of Nishmat, The Jeanie Schottenstein Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women. This project and others like it are made possible by contributions from people like you. If you have benefited from the service, and wish to enable us to help others, click here to donate.
Users of Internet filtering services: This site discusses sensitive subjects that some services filter without visual indication. A page that appears 100% complete might actually be missing critical Jewish-law or medical information. To ensure that you view the pages accurately, ask the filtering service to whitelist all pages under yoatzot.org.