Your Teen’s First Exam
While managing your family’s schedule is likely second-nature to you by now, many parents hesitate when making their daughter’s first appointment with a gynecologist. “What is the right age?” and “When is the right time?” are both questions we hear a lot.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AGOC) recommends age 13 to 15 for a first visit. While most girls won’t require a pelvic exam during their first visit, it helps to establish a health history and rapport for talking about development, what to expect, menstruation and anything on your daughter’s mind. Visits are particularly important for girls who have problematic periods or are sexually active.
“Our first visit involves a lot of conversation, getting comfortable and getting to know each other,” said Dr. Amy Hammers. “Naturally, we are happy to see girls at any age or stage, but we typically agree with ACOG’s recommended age for first appointments.”
What can your teen expect during her first visit?
- A general physical exam and external genital exam
- Conversation about topics such as periods, development and emotions
- Discussion around risky behaviors such as smoking/drinking and unprotected sex as well as any recommended vaccinations
- Q&A to address any ongoing questions or concerns
ACOG recommends Pap tests to screen for cervical cancer beginning at age 21, regardless of sexual activity.
“We understand that many young women are nervous about their first visit to a gynecologist and do everything we can to make them feel welcome, listened to and comfortable,” added Dr. Hammers. “Health education is an important part of women’s empowerment and we are fortunate to work in a field where we can provide just that.”