For parents of adolescent girls, or if you are a young teenager yourself, you may wonder about when to schedule a first gynecological visit. You may be surprised by the answer including both when and why.
Recommended Timing Of First Visit
Although most young women won’t need to begin having PAP screening for cervical cancer until age 21, The American College Of Obstetricians And Gynecologists recommends that young girls between the ages of 13 and 15 see a gynecologist for the first time regardless of whether they have begun their period or are sexually active.
It may seem a bit young, but there are reasons.
Purpose Of The First Visit
This initial visit is more about becoming comfortable with Birmingham Obstetrics & Gynecology and having an opportunity to ask questions and get accurate information. This conversation can be kept confidential if one wishes.
The second reason is to have a brief physical exam including taking your blood pressure, plus noting weight and height. In addition, the doctor may do an external pelvic exam. That is simply looking at your pelvic area or vulva. This can help you to learn the names of your sexual organs.
The third purpose of this visit is for your physician to counsel you about about many topics including some of the following:
- Drugs and alcohol
- Unprotected sex
- What happens during puberty
- Emotional ups and downs
Lastly, this is when you can receive the HPV vaccine if it hasn’t already been given by your primary care physician. This protects you from the sexually transmitted infection known as the human papillomavirus.
This is most effective when given before a girl becomes sexually active.
The Next Visit
It may be that a girl will not have another visit for years. It depends on any issues that may occur like painful menstruation, yeast infections, or urinary tract infections. If bleeding is excessive, this could indicate another appointment. In most cases, Birmingham Obstetrics & Gynecology can guide you or your parents about another visit.