When should my daughter see the gynecologist?

lady-doctor-talking-with-young-teenage-girl

A trip to the doctor’s isn’t always fun, especially for kids. And a girl’s first trip to the gynecologist can be especially intimidating. Gynecology focuses on women’s health, specifically with problems or issues with the reproductive system. During the first appointment, the doctor will talk with your daughter about her health and answer any questions.

Here are some tips and information to make that appointment easier.

At what age should my daughter visit the gynecologist?

Girls should first visit the gynecologist between the ages of 13 and 15, said Dr. Christopher Danielson, a gynecologist at the Banner Health Center in Queen Creek. This first visit is generally informational. Girls do not have to have an exam at her first visit, but can find out what to expect at future visits and get information about how to stay healthy.

There is no set guideline for when to seek care from a gynecologist at this age. However, concerns or problems can be addressed at any time.

What questions should you ask the gynecologist?

With this new type of doctor visit for your daughter, it might help to have some questions prepared in advance. Remember that there are no bad questions. Dr. Danielson recommends that parents and girls ask any questions they have.

What happens at your first gynecologist appointment?

For the first visit, no preparation is necessary because it is mainly informational. To help your daughter with her nerves, you can talk to her about why it is important to have regular appointments with doctors. Not all doctor visits are because your child feels ill.

Parents should tell their daughter that the doctor might ask questions about her and her family. Some of the questions could be personal such as overall health, menstrual period and sexual activity. Girls should not be worried about sharing this information because the conversation between the patient and doctor is private.

“All answers are kept confidential. This allows the provider and the patient to develop trust,” Dr. Danielson said.

Many patients seek gynecologic care for answers concerning menstrual cycles such as cramping and blood flow.

Dr. Danielson also said that an OB/GYN could also discuss any of the following:

  • Acne
  • Alcohol, drugs, and smoking
  • Birth control
  • Emotional ups and downs
  • Sex and sexuality
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Vaccinations
  • Weight

If your daughter is having any problems, she may have to have a general physical exam, external genital exam or pelvic exam. Most of the testing that teens need, however, can be done by the doctor with a urine sample, Dr. Danielson said.

Frequently, at a first appointment, teens have a lot of questions about menstruation.  “They want to know how much is too much or too little. Patients may have concerns about cramping. There could also be questions about tampons, pads, cycle length and timing,” Dr. Danielson said.

How frequently should girls visit the gynecologist?

After this first visit, girls do not need to see the gynecologist again until they are 18 or after the start of sexual activity.

“All sexually active young women should have yearly testing for sexually transmitted infections. This is generally done with a urine test,” Dr. Danielson said. “However, patients may have a physical examination including a pelvic exam if there are concerns.”

Young women do not need Pap smears until they are 21 and should start to have yearly pelvic exams at that age as well.

If a patient is having problems, she may see her gynecologist at any time.

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13 Comments

  • Tiffany Locke says:
    Thanks for the advice to have girls begin visiting gynecologists between the ages of 13 to 15. I also like your advice to have some questions prepared in advance when you first see them. When coming up with questions, you'd probably want to consider your situation as well as the information you learned about their services while you were researching the different gynecologists so that you can make sure it's what you need.
  • Amy Winters says:
    Thanks for pointing out that girls should have their first visit to the gynecologist between the ages of 13 and 15. My niece just turned 15 and during a recent conversation with my sister I asked if she'd taken her daughter to the gynecologist yet. My sister laughed it off and said her daughter is still way too young. I'll definitely be showing her this article so her daughter can get the information she needs!  
  • Taylor Anderson says:
    I like how you mentioned that girls should first visit the gynecologist between the ages of thirteen and fifteen, as it is typically an informational visit that will help her learn how to stay healthy. My cousin will be turning thirteen soon, so I'll share these tips with her mother. Do you have any tips for choose a great gynecologist?
  • Mark Murphy says:
    I really appreciate your tip to try and have some questions prepared in advance when you go to see the obstetrician. My wife and I have been noticing that our daughter has had some pain ever since the school year started up. I will be sure to tell my wife that we should try and have our daughter prepare her questions in advance before she sees the obstetrician.
  • Millie Hue says:
    Thanks for pointing out that there is no wrong question when consulting with a doctor, so we should not be shy about inquiring. I will definitely share this with my daughter since we need to see a doctor as to why she hasn't gotten her period yet. She is already 17 years old, and she has never experienced menstruation yet which concerns us. This will enable my child to ask anything that concerns her as well.
  • Sarah Smith says:
    Thank you for your advice to take my daughter to the gynecologist starting between 13 and 15. I didn't realize that they can discuss everything from acne to birth control to weight fluctuations. With this in mind, I think that taking my daughter to a quality gynecologist will be very beneficial.
  • Ridley says:
    It's helpful to know when my daughter should see a gynecologist. My wife has been dead for a few years now, and I just thought of this the other day. My daughter is 12, so I guess I need to find a good doctor for her to go to in the next year or so!
  • Marcy says:
    Should my daughter go see a gynecologist? She is 17 about to turn 18 and she has never seen one. She is very afraid to go though so is there any advice to help comfort her. Will they do a breast exam as well or no?
  • Mercy says:
    Should my daughter go see a gynecologist? She is 17 about to turn 18 but she doesn’t wanna go because she is afraid. Will they do a breast exam as well?
  • Talie Shofner says:
    Should my daughter go see a gynecologist? She is 17 about to turn 18 but she doesn’t wanna go because she is afraid. Will they do a breast exam as well?
  • Eli Richardson says:
    My youngest sister is pregnant, and we need to find her a gynecologist for an evaluation. It helped when you said to ask as many questions hen consulting with a doctor. I'll pass my sister this info so she can have a healthy pregnancy. 
    
  • Kate Welling says:
    Thanks for letting me know the questions that I should ask my OB-GYN. I have never been to one before. I'll start looking for one in my area.
  • Tammie Houston says:
    I have a 16-year-old daughter, and I'm planning to bring her into an ob gyne specialist because she's still not experiencing menstruation period. I love that you mentioned that women should have a yearly pap smear at the age of 21 and girls between 13-15 years old must be able to visit their gynecologist regularly to stay healthy. Moreover, it is highly recommended to pay a visit to an ob gyne to ensure that there are no problems, especially about the menstrual cycles.

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