Gynecologists are often associated with pap smears and womanhood, something that rarely crosses the mind of parents of teenagers. However, this thought process often keeps teens and young adults from receiving the care they need. Though gynecologists do perform pap smears and other services geared toward fully developed women, their services and expertise are important long before the time comes for those procedures.
The ideal time to begin seeing a gynecologist is somewhere in the range of 13 to 15 years old. Though pap smears are not recommended until age 21, it’s important for growing women to become acquainted with their specialists. By introducing your child to their gynecologist at a young age, the two can develop a relationship of trust that allows for more open and honest communication later. If a woman does not trust her gynecologist, she is less likely to be honest about her health and therefore won’t receive appropriate care. By encouraging trust and communication between your child and their gynecologist, you’re fostering a healthy environment as they move into adulthood.
It’s also important for your growing child to get proper care when it comes to menstruation. As most teens have begun menstruating by age 15, your child must see the proper doctor to care for their body. If menstruation and secondary sex characteristics such as breast growth and pubic hair have not presented by this age, there could be a serious underlying cause. Conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, and period irregularity are all issues that are manageable if caught early and treated properly. By seeing a trained professional, your child will know what is normal for their body and what is cause for concern in the future.
Gynecologists are also poised to present science-based sexual health information to teens. The internet is rife with misinformation about sex, and kids often have questions that they feel too shy or embarrassed about to ask a parent. Even if your relationship with your child is healthy and open, it’s likely that they have some questions that they hesitate to ask. Gynecologists are a wonderful resource for answering these questions, and you can be sure your child is receiving accurate and age-appropriate information that won’t be found online. Fostering this kind of foundation for your child’s sexual health and body questions will allow them to be safe when they choose to begin engaging in sexual activities.
To schedule a gynecologist appointment for your teen, call us at (615) 329-6745.