Many young women may feel uncomfortable about going to a gynecologist, but a trip to the gynecologist should be looked at as other wellness visits benefiting overall health. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends seeing a gynecologist as early as age 13 to establish healthy routines and be knowledgeable about female self-care. It’s also good to establish a relationship with a doctor early. A good relationship with a doctor will enable a teen to be more comfortable asking questions about sexuality, sex, periods, and other developmental questions or concerns. The more a doctor knows about a patient’s routine and medical patterns, the better a doctor can guide her toward making safe and smart choices.
Some of those choices may pertain to sex and relationships. It may not be easy for some young girls to talk to their parents about those topics. A gynecologist can be a safe and reliable confidant who can provide expert advice. These conversations may eventually lead to discussing pregnancy, or options to avoid getting pregnant. It’s important for young girls to have these conversations about their choice to have sex, losing their virginity, and how to be safe engaging in a sexually active relationship. Gynecologists can educate young women on birth control options, awareness of sexually transmitted diseases, and more.
Additionally, seeing a gynecologist is important to a young woman’s developmental health. A doctor can advise a young woman about her menstrual cycle, like whether her cycle seems normal, or address any concerns like missed, light, or heavy periods.
Starting regular visits with a gynecologist will help a young girl identify anything that doesn’t seem normal. Of course, these visits won’t replace regular checkups with a primary healthcare provider, but they will add to her health care and knowledge.
Adolescent women should know that their first visit is intended to make them feel comfortable and start a trusting relationship with their gynecologist. They shouldn’t be too nervous about what will happen during their first appointment. If a patient is under the age of 21, she will most likely not have a pelvic exam done, unless she is sexually active or expresses a concern in which it would be necessary to administer the exam. For most young women, the first gynecological visit includes the doctor checking vitals, a quick external genital exam, and a breast exam. Patients may request a female doctor if that would make them more comfortable. Patients can also request to have their mom, sister, or friend in the room during their visit, too, for support.
Starting early with visits to the gynecologist will help a young lady be more knowledgeable when it comes to taking care of her body, learn to identify problems, and establish trust with a reliable expert.
If you have any questions about bringing your teen to the gynecologist, please give us a call at 307-634-5216.