For some parents of adolescent girls, the question of when their teen should first visit a gynecologist may spark uncertainty. An adolescent’s first gynecologist appointment could be stressful or daunting. But this initial visit can be surprisingly simple.
When Should a Girl See a Gynecologist for the First Time?
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, adolescents should start seeing a gynecologist between the ages of 13 and 15. A parent can schedule the first appointment to be proactive. This will allow them to discuss hygiene, puberty, contraception, risky behaviors like unprotected sex, and more. Most times, a concern or a question related to the adolescent’s development usually prompts the visit.
Why Should Teens Consider a Gynecological Visit?
The ideal age for teen girls to start with a gynecologist appointment may vary. But one should consider specific factors. These include:
- Heavy Periods or Painful Cramps
In the U.S., a teen girl can start her period at age 12. Menses are typically irregular and can become heavy for the first few years. After some time, most girls have regular periods, while others experience irregular menses for most of their lives.
Overactive hormones can sometimes be the reason teens have heavy periods and painful cramps. If these conditions affect a teen’s quality of life or the heavy periods last more than a week, a gynecologist appointment is necessary. Parents should also schedule an appointment if their daughter uses more than 1-2 pads per hour. This visit will help diagnose problems with irregular hormone production.
- Late, Early, or Irregular Menstruation
Sometimes, a teen’s menstrual period usually starts between ages 12 and 13, and this is often three years after the onset of puberty. If a girl’s first menstrual period does not fall within this window, the parent may want a gynecologist to examine her for hormonal imbalance. Parents can also see a gynecologist if their girl’s period is irregular after a year or two.
- Sexual Activity
Once a girl becomes sexually active, she should receive regular vaginal health exams or sexually transmitted disease (STD) screenings. Parents may want to consult if their doctor recommends that their teen receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine before age 26. Most teens engage in sexual activity before age 19. So, parents should ensure their teens have the right resources and education to stay healthy.
When Should a Girl Have Her First Pelvic Exam?
As teen girls grow into adolescence, they need proper healthcare. Yearly checkups from the ages of 13 to 15 that focus on the female reproductive system are necessary. These are called well-woman visits and help physicians to catch minor problems before they become big ones. So, when should a girl have her first pelvic exam?
A girl’s first pelvic exam is after she turns 21 or becomes sexually active. However, an adolescent girl may need a pelvic exam if she is experiencing problems with her period or has other symptoms, such as pelvic pain or lower abdomen pain. A pelvic exam will a doctor to diagnose the causes of these symptoms.
What Should a Girl Expect During Their First Gynecology Visit?
A teen’s first visit is an excellent way to get to know their doctor. Meeting a gynecologist earlier and getting familiar with the doctor will help an adolescent feel more comfortable with these types of visits.
A girl’s first appointment with a gynecologist can include a general physical exam to collect her weight, blood pressure, and height. A gynecologist will take a comprehensive history, including your family and medical history.
A doctor will also want to review some general questions regarding health. In most cases, a brief external examination is vital. A doctor will explain all procedures and considerations thoroughly and answer any questions. Most of the questions are personal as a physician may discuss sexual and menstrual history.
This is an opportunity for doctor to counsel adolescent girls on contraceptive options to help them understand the available resources and how to access them. Besides any complications that may arise, an adolescent may not need to see a gynecologist again for many years.
Are You Ready to Get Started?
At TopLine MD Alliance, we understand the emotions that come with this great milestone. Our goal is to offer teens a comfortable and safe environment, and we are here when they need us. Contact us today to find out how we can help you find a women’s health provider for your teen girl.
The TopLine MD Alliance is an association of independent physicians and medical practice groups who are committed to providing a higher standard of healthcare services. The members of the TopLine MD Alliance have no legal or financial relationship with one another. The TopLine MD Alliance brand has no formal corporate, financial or legal ties to any of the affiliated physicians or practice groups.