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When Should My Daughter First See a Gynecologist?

daughter, teen, gynecologist, women

Most girls begin seeing the gynecologist in their teen years. Still, many parents aren't sure when these appointments should begin. If your daughter is nearing adolescence, here's what you need to know about taking your daughter to the gynecologist. 

Best age for the first visit

The best age for your daughter's first visit to the gynecologist is between 13 and 15 years old. Your daughter doesn't need to wait until she's had her first period to see the gynecologist for the first time. In fact, if your daughter has not had her first period by the time she turns 15, she should see the gynecologist as soon as possible to ensure that everything is functioning as it should.

What to expect

Many young women are afraid to have their first visit to the gynecologist because they're afraid of the pelvic exam. They've heard it's uncomfortable and also awkward. What they don't realize is that doctors often put off the pelvic exam. The first visit with the gynecologist will likely involve a standard physical exam, a discussion of health issues and possibly an external examination of the patient's genitals. 

Several topics may come up in the first few examinations with the gynecologist, including the following:

Birth control and pain levels

Birth control can help patients who have extreme pain during menstruation. Often, for the youngest patients, birth control is not used as a contraceptive because these patients are not yet sexually active. Birth control can help regulate hormones, which can reduce pain during monthly cycles. 

HPV 

A new vaccination for the human papillomavirus can help prevent certain types of cancer. Misunderstandings about HPV vaccines are common. Some patients and their parents believe that young women do not yet need the HPV vaccine if they are not yet sexually active. HPV vaccines are most effective when they are administered before the patient becomes sexually active. Often, the HPV vaccine is discussed at the first visit to clarify the facts. 

What's normal

Many patients want to know if their development is normal. They may ask questions about their cycles, how to control the pain and when to expect certain developmental milestones. Sometimes they have fears that their body is not "normal" and they want to talk about their concerns. These conversations are the true core of the relationship between the gynecologist and the patient. Young women who have questions and who don't feel comfortable asking their parents can take these questions to their gynecologist. 

This enables the gynecologist to establish rapport with the patient. Building trust is an important part of developing a productive relationship. Having this rapport could lead to faster diagnosis and treatment of future medical conditions. 

When to begin pelvic exams

Often patients don't get their first pap smear until they're at least 21, so some patients don't get their first pelvic exam until this age. Patients who become sexually active and who are at risk for certain problems may get their first pelvic exam sooner. Pelvic exams can involve a certain amount of discomfort, but an experienced doctor with the right tools can help make this process as painless as possible. 

How often to go back 

Patients are encouraged to return to the gynecologist every year, even if they think everything is normal. Again, seeing the gynecologist frequently helps the patient and doctor to establish a connection and rapport that can make future visits more productive.

Make an appointment today

If your daughter is between the ages of 13 and 15 and she has not yet had her first appointment with the gynecologist, now is the time to get started. Make your daughter's first appointment with Alpenglow Gynecology by booking online today

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