Tag: teen gynecology

Top 5 Women’s Health Myths Debunked by a Gynecologist

Top 5 Women’s Health Myths Debunked by a Gynecologist

There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding gynecology and obstetrics and with so much information, it can be difficult to determine the truth to take the best possible care of yourself. We have many resources available on our website that explain processes and lay out exactly what you can expect during your visits. Here are some of the myths we most often hear about OBGYNs and the facts that dispel them.

OBGYN Myth #1: It is not necessary to go to the gynecologist unless you are pregnant or have a problem

We hear this a lot, and it cannot be further from the truth. A gynecologist is not just for women who are pregnant or seeking a solution for a gynecologic concern. Going to the gynecologist should be something all women do routinely throughout their lives. For starters, you should begin visiting the gynecologist between the ages of 13 and 15 to begin annual screenings and preventive healthcare. 

Gynecologists offer many resources including birth control, cancer screenings, and family planning options. Plus, your annual gynecology appointment is a great time to discuss any concerns you may have about your body. When and how often you should see a gynecologist depends on many factors including your health concerns and medical history. If you have not already, you should establish a relationship with an OBGYN and see her/him once a year. 

OBGYN Myth #2: If you are on your period, you have to cancel your gynecologist appointment

Whether or not you should cancel your appointment if you’re on your period depends on a few factors: where you are in your cycle, how heavy your bleeding is, why you’re visiting your doctor, and your comfort level. For example, if your flow is light and you are going in for a pap smear, your doctor should still be able to proceed as normal. Before canceling your appointment, call your doctor’s office to discuss the best way to proceed. 

OBGYN Myth #3: You should be getting a pap smear every year

While all individuals with a cervix should start getting pap smears at the age of 21, per the American Cancer Society’s recommendation, the frequency of which you will need to get them varies from person to person. How often you get a pap smear can vary depending on your medical history, health concerns, age, and lifestyle. 

As a baseline, it is recommended that individuals get a pap smear every three years if they’re between the ages of 21 and 29. Those 30 and above can consider getting a pap smear and HPV test every five years if they’ve had normal pap smears in the past.

Of course, you should consult with your healthcare provider and follow their personalized recommendations as to how often you should get one.

OBGYN Myth #4: Pap smears test for STIs

Many individuals are under the impression that a pap smear also screens for sexually transmitted infections but that is not always the case. Some medical providers will automatically test women for infections but not all will. If you’d like to get tested, or have noticed a change in your odor, discharge, or are experiencing pelvic discomfort, you should ask your gynecologist to test for STIs. 

As a baseline, the CDC recommends that everyone who is sexually active should get tested for sexually transmitted infections. Make sure to talk to your gynecologist about which tests are right for your lifestyle.

OBGYN Myth #5: If you get the Gardasil shot or a similar vaccine against HPV, you don’t need a pap smear

The HPV vaccine helps to prevent certain strains of the virus but it does not protect against all strains of the virus and therefore cannot prevent all cases of cervical cancer. It is possible to get HPV despite getting the vaccination. So while getting them is important, vaccines are not always 100% effective. 

It is crucial to continue getting screened for cervical cancer even if you’ve been vaccinated.

Choosing a Gynecologist for Your Teen

Choosing a Gynecologist for Your Teen

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:

  1. Would you prefer a male or female?
  2. Do you prefer someone that is older or younger?
  3. Do you want to stay with the pediatrician you currently see or try someone new?
  4. 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
Mid-Atlantic Women’s Care consists of over 30 OB/GYN facilities and 6 Imaging Centers throughout the Hampton Roads community
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