Seeing a gynecologist for the first time is often very overwhelming and nerve wracking for most females. Those parts that have been covered up and treated as private for so long are now being openly discussed and examined by a doctor. For many young ladies, the thought of this appointment is embarrassing and can bring up many emotional factors. However, this is a rite of passage for teenage girls in becoming women, and it is recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that the first visit be between ages 13 to 15.
Most girls are pleasantly surprised at their first visit that the gynecologist does not do a pelvic examination (unless certain circumstances indicate that one is appropriate). For young girls who have not been sexually active, the first visit is really a means of establishing a relationship, education, and open communication between the doctor and patient. Many times girls wish for their mothers to remain with them in this visit so that they feel more comfortable, and this should be fine with the doctor as the patient is still a minor.
The topics discussed during the very first teenage gynecologist appointment include menstruation, development, sexual activity, safe sexual practices, contraception, smoking, drugs, alcohol use, and screening for different emotional and behavioral issues. For girls who have already been sexually active, the discussions of safe sex and contraception may be more in depth, and a pelvic exam will probably be ordered.
When looking for a OB/GYN practice that you can trust with your daughter’s health, find one that you feel comfortable and safe with. Adolescent care should be the highest priority when taking a young girl to her first gynecologist appointment. The comfort level and relationship established at the very first visit will go a long way in promoting female health in the future.
Posted on behalf of Sean Lambert M.D., North Pointe OB/GYN Associates