Establishing a relationship with a gynecologist can help teens and preteens feel comfortable when asking private questions. Providing an environment where they can receive accurate answers and advice will help them as they continue to mature. Let’s say they may require a pelvic exam in the future to address an urgent health concern – having an established relationship with their gynecologist can decrease a young person’s anxiety about the actual exam.
Personal Health and Hygiene Education
During their first visit, they will have the opportunity to ask their questions. It also gives the gynecologist a chance to offer important, age-appropriate patient education.
General topics covered during the first visit can include:
- Basic hygiene
- Normal versus abnormal vaginal discharge
Wellness Exams and Assessments
Depending on the patient’s individual needs, the gynecologist may:
- Review the medical history
- Discuss physical and/or emotional development
- Perform a basic pelvic exam and/or breast exam
- Offer solutions to address any symptoms or other concerns
Many new patients can feel anxious or nervous about wellness procedures, especially if it is their first pelvic exam or breast exam. That is completely understandable. These exams may be performed under certain circumstances during the teen years. However, they typically become more routine at the age of 21. Starting with a pediatric and/or adolescent gynecologist can be ideal in a lot of cases.
If you are selecting a new gynecologist for your daughter, it is a good idea to ask that a staff member of the office talk through how the first appointment with them would go. Most gynecologists understand these concerns and can help to give you and your daughter some insight.
The HPV Vaccination
You also may have questions about the HPV vaccine. Preteens and teens can get the HPV vaccine at their gynecologist’s office. The HPV vaccine helps to protect adolescents from developing the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is known to lead to more than six types of cancer. The CDC recommends two doses of the HPV vaccine between the ages of 11 and 12 – 6 months apart from each other.
Ultimately, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends teens start seeing an OB-GYN between the ages of 13 and 15. You may want to schedule the first appointment sooner to be proactive or to start getting established with a new gynecologist. Again, the first appointment can start with general health counseling and a discussion of any concerns.
Our goal here at OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch is to make the experience as positive as possible, helping our patients to understand the benefits of routine wellness and preventive care at any age.