Author: Manisha Purohit, M.D., FACOG
In talking with my patients, I’ve found that most women remember their first gynecological exam, but the memories aren’t always pleasant.Embarrassing Uncomfortable Confusing
… all words I’ve heard my patients use. Of course, you want your daughter’s experience to be different. At Arizona Associates for Women’s Health, we believe that a gynecological exam for a teen (or any woman) should be especially comfortable.
When your teenage daughter has a comfortable and easy relationship with her gynecologist, she is more likely to open up about her sexual and medical issues. Plus, she’s more likely to seek routine gynecologic care for herself (and her daughters) in her adult years.
When Should My Daughter Have Her First Gynecological Exam?
The current recommended age range for a first appointment (as stated by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology) is between 13 and 15. There is usually no need for a pelvic exam at a first appointment. Also, the first pap smear testing is usually done around age 21.
How Can I Prepare My Daughter?
Prior to her first gynecological exam, your daughter should know the three purposes of visiting the gynecologist:
- Information: This is an opportunity for your daughter to ask questions and receive information in a completely confidential setting.
- Prevention: A gynecologist can provide your daughter with tools, information, and medical care that may help prevent pregnancy and STDs, while promoting a healthy lifestyle.
- Treatment: If your daughter has pain or irregular menstrual cycles, then she should feel comfortable visiting her gynecologist for treatment.
After explaining the “why” of visiting the gynecologist, ask your daughter what kind of gynecologist she would like to see: male or female? her mother’s gynecologist or someone different?
Once the two of you have decided which gynecologist is right for your daughter, go ahead and schedule her first appointment. Your daughter may wish to have you with her during the appointment, or she may ask to be left alone in the examination room. Either way, your daughter should have an opportunity to speak confidentially, as she could have some questions to ask or information to share which she would prefer to keep between her and her gynecologist.
To learn more about our gynecological exams for teens, call Arizona Associates for Women’s Health at 480-257-2700. Or, schedule an appointment online.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.