As a woman, going to the gynecologist is an annual routine of exams and health screenings and part of a healthy lifestyle. But for your daughter, it can seem intimidating, even invasive, which is why we at Mid-Atlantic Women’s Care make a special point of creating a comfortable and informative environment for our young patients. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that adolescents should start visiting the gynecologist as early as age 13-15. So while this may make both parents and teens a little nervous, knowing exactly what goes on in these appointments and how to find the best care for your daughter will put your mind at ease.
How to choose a gynecologist for your teen
While you may have taken care of your daughter’s health choices up until now, this is one that you should allow her to make, or at least give her say in the matter. It’s essential that you choose someone with experience with teen gynecology who takes the time to make her feel comfortable. Ask your daughter these questions to help choose the best health provider:
- Would you prefer a male or female?
- Do you prefer someone that is older or younger?
- Do you want to stay with the pediatrician you currently see or try someone new?
- Would you prefer to see the same person as me or do you prefer to see someone totally new?
What to expect during your daughter’s gynecology appointment
A teen gynecology appointment is not your mother’s gynecology appointment. Her first gynecological appointment has three main objectives:
- Prevention: During these appointments, teens will be educated on how to prevent pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and how to instead make healthy lifestyle choices.
- Information: Teens will receive the most accurate information and have their questions answered. Plus, we’ll keep all the information discussed during this appointment confidential unless it could potentially pose a threat to your teen or others.
- Treatment: For teens experiencing missed or painful periods and other gynecologic issues, we will discuss treatment options with you and your daughter.
Generally, the first gynecology appointment for your teen looks more like a meet and greet where we share necessary information with your teen to know about her body’s transformation, answer any questions she may have, and set both of us up to form a great relationship in the future. A physical exam – internal or external – are not typically part of these visits but if they are seen as necessary to help your daughter with issues she may be facing, we will always get permission from both you and your daughter before proceeding. If needed, we may do an ultrasound to get more information about the systems and their operations inside her body.
What will the gynecologist discuss with your daughter
Your daughter’s first appointment will be an opportunity to talk to her about development and her medical history. This means we will ask questions like:
- When was your last period? How frequently do you get them and how long do they last?
- Are you or have you ever been sexually active? If so, are you using protection?
- Are you having any problems with your period? What are your symptoms usually like?
- Do you have any strange discomfort, itchiness, or discharge in your vaginal area?
- Is there any chance you might be pregnant?
Other topics that may be discussed, particularly if your daughter has a question about them, may include:
- Means of preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases
- Safety and injury prevention
- Puberty and development
- Healthy lifestyle habits
- Prevention of tobacco, alcohol, and drug use
- Anything else of concern