If you have a teenage daughter, you—and she—are probably wondering when to visit the gynecologist for the first time. Your daughter may feel nervous and have questions, so it’s important to be open and honest and to put her at ease about this critical appointment.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that girls visit their doctor between 13 and 15, but this can vary a little depending on personal health circumstances. In the U.S., the average age for a first period is somewhere around 12 years of age, and shortly after that first period is a great time to schedule a first visit to the OB/GYN.
In these early years, the first visits to the OB/GYN are more about establishing rapport with a trusted health care professional. It gives your child a chance to confide in someone about issues and questions they may have.
The pap smear test isn’t generally recommended until about age 21, but you and your daughter may discuss many other things with a gynecologist. It may help your teen just knowing they have someone they can trust for their health issues in the future. An OB/GYN can discuss sexual health and sexuality, puberty, menstruation, and contraception options. And it’s not just limited to sexual health and reproduction. Your teen can discuss other common issues and questions about hygiene, exercising, diet, and mental health. An OB/GYN may also discuss other health issues such as smoking, alcohol use, using protection during sex, and more.
If your teen experiences any issues like early or late menstruation or is sexually active, be sure to visit the OB/GYN to check in. Otherwise, it is up to you to decide when your teen is ready for this important health visit.
Before the OB/GYN visit, let your teen know that this appointment will be much like a general physical. Unless there is a specific health concern, for most teens, an internal pelvic exam is not necessary and will not be performed. Knowing this helps put girls at ease about their appointment.
The doctor may take some basic health measurements like height, weight, and blood pressure, and may do a brief external genital exam. But the appointment should largely be conversational.
To schedule an appointment at Women’s Medical Associates of Nashville, please contact us at (615) 329-6745.