She is growing up fast. It seems like yesterday you were just dropping off your daughter at kindergarten or taking her to her first sporting event. Now she is entering middle school. You find yourself as nervous as she is as she embarks on her newest journey in life. You are seeing your gynecologist as recommended every year and begin to wonder, “when does my daughter need to start seeing the gynecologist? Is it necessary for my daughter to see a gynecologist? What would a gynecologist talk about with my daughter at this age?”
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that young women first see a gynecologist between the ages of 13-15. It is normal for your daughter to feel nervous about seeing a gynecologist for the first time. Our team of dedicated physicians recognizes that it is normal for your daughter to feel nervous and even a little apprehensive about the appointment and we are dedicated to making her feel comfortable.
There are a number of health topics that will be reviewed with your daughter at her first appointment. The first visit will be predominantly a conversation between your daughter and her physician. Our physicians will ask your daughter a lot of questions about her health. While some of the questions will be more general such as her eating choices and exercise habits, others may seem more personal such as questions about her menstrual period and sexual activity. Your daughter should know that all conversations will be strictly confidential.
She will likely have certain physical exams at her first visit. If she chooses, a nurse or family member may join her for any part of the examination. Most often, our physicians will perform a general physical examination and an external genital examination. During her general physical exam, her height, weight, and blood pressure will be checked. She will also be examined for any general health problems. During her external genital exam, the physician looks at the vulva. Our physicians will usually not need to perform an internal examination or a pelvic examination at her first visit unless she is having problems such as abnormal bleeding or pelvic pain. If your daughter is sexually active, she will be offered testing for sexually transmitted infections and contraceptive counseling on available methods to prevent pregnancy.
Even though your daughter probably will not need a pelvic exam, it is helpful to know what a pelvic exam encompasses. The pelvic exam is composed of 3 parts: looking at the vulva, looking at the vagina and the cervix with a speculum, and checking the internal organs with a gloved hand. Another test that you should be familiar with is a PAP test. A PAP test checks for abnormalities of the cervix. This test will be performed starting at the age 21. Our team of physicians will also make sure that your daughter is updated on all of her vaccinations. Our team of physicians will also answer any gynecological or general health concerns that your daughter may have. Some common concerns that our team may address include: cramps and problems with menstrual periods, acne, weight, sex and sexuality, birth control, sexually transmitted infections, alcohol, smoking, drugs, and emotional up and downs.
After your daughter’s initial gynecologic appointment, it is recommended that she continue to be seen on an annual basis. Our team of physicians at the Women’s Health Center of Lebanon are dedicated to your care and look forward to seeing you in our Lebanon or Palmyra offices!