Although gynecologists can treat girls and women of any age, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that teens have their first visits between 13 and 15 years old. While you may not think that your teen needs a visit this early, there are numerous reasons why sooner is better than later.
Your Teen’s First Visit
While pap screenings for cervical cancer aren’t needed until the age of 21, it is recommended that teens between 13 and 15 visit a gynecologist even if they aren’t having any concerning problems. This is because it can help answer any questions that teens may have and it can put their minds at ease that everything is normal. Typically, this first appointment may not even involve a pelvic exam and instead will include a physical exam and a brief genital exam. However, the main goal is to help answer questions and give information on changes that your teen can expect.
This is important as it can help them feel more comfortable and less anxious about visiting a gynecologist in the future, and it can help ease any worries that they might have about their development, which sometimes they may feel too embarrassed to talk to you about directly.
When Should Your Teen Visit a Gynecologist?
Aside from this first visit, which doesn’t have to be because of any issues, there are some things that could warrant an appointment, such as:
- More than three months between periods
- Stomach pain coupled with a fever and yellow discharge
- Heavy bleeding or abnormally painful periods
- Menstruation not beginning by age 15
- Irregular periods for more than two years
- Becoming sexually active
If your teen is experiencing any of these, you should schedule an appointment with a gynecologist so that the proper treatment can be applied. It is also important that you try and maintain an open dialogue about these issues so that your daughter will feel comfortable coming to you if they notice any problem or are considering becoming sexually active. The worst thing you can do is make them feel like their feminine health is something to be hidden. You want to make sure that you are providing a safe and comfortable environment where your daughter knows that they can always come to you without worrying about feeling uncomfortable or judged.
With all of this in mind, consider making an appointment for your teen with a gynecologist if they are between the ages of 13 and 15. You may also want to start talking to them about the importance of these visits and why they aren’t something to be afraid of. By doing this, you can help avoid potential health problems in the future and ensure that your daughter feels more comfortable during their development.