As parents, we wonder when is the appropriate time to take our daughters in for a gynecological exam. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that the initial visit to the obstetrician-gynecologist should occur between the ages of 13-15 years of age.

 

The key in establishing a long-term relationship between adolescents and the healthcare provider is to understand the proper techniques of the initial exam. Also, understanding the dynamics of adolescence from a social, psychological and medical perspective strengthens the trust you have with your healthcare provider.

During this visit, important aspects of general health will be addressed such as:

  • Immunizations
  • Risk prevention
  • Issues with obesity
  • Screenings for tobacco and substance abuse
  • Safety
  • Nutrition & Fitness
  • BMI

Adolescent Gynecology

If your daughter is having any problems regarding her menstrual cycle (painful periods, infrequent periods, no periods after having regular periods) or is experiencing any abnormal vaginal discharge or has any other gynecological complaints that you would like further evaluation, you may decide to take her to see a gynecologist.

The initial gynecological visit does not necessarily include a pelvic examination.

Common indications for a pelvic exam would be if your daughter has the following:

  • Delayed puberty
  • Precocious puberty
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Abnormal or pelvic pain
  • History of vaginal intercourse
  • Pathologic vaginal discharge
  • Suspicion of intraabdominal pathology

Sometimes, if the diagnosis is related to regulating her menstruation or decreasing pain during menstruation, your healthcare provider may prescribe oral contraception. (See section on Contraception.)This is for regulating her hormones (estrogen and progesterone), not for contraceptive purposes. If you have concerns or questions, please discuss these issues with your healthcare provider.

Remember, both you and your daughter need to feel comfortable with your healthcare provider to discuss various topics related to your daughter’s health. We encourage you as well as your daughter to ask questions to help you understand what will happen during the visit.

Obstetrics & Gynecology:

April 2009 – Volume 113 – Issue 4 – pp 935-947

 

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