The first gynecological visit is an opportunity for teen girls to establish a relationship with a gynecologist for future reproductive health care needs and preventative health care. As a young girl experiences puberty and her body begins to change, there are many questions and concerns about reproductive and hormonal changes that are best addressed by a provider trained in these specialized areas. A caring and compassionate gynecologist can thoroughly educate a young woman on the often confusing and stressful changes her body undergoes. Establishing this relationship early is important; the young women will know where to turn for care regarding any concerns. This first visit is about education and is catered to her unique needs. Your daughter may have some questions about her body. Many teenage girls are concerned with: Menstruation, healthy diet, puberty, STDs, pregnancy prevention, sexuality, and substance use and abuse. Current recommendations are for a woman to start having her pap smear done at 21 years of age. Usually a pelvic exam is not necessary. Personal and family history are discussed and is important because although family history cannot be changed, there are things young women can begin doing to best avoid certain conditions. Prevention is key.
The transition from the pediatric care setting to a gynecologic setting is an important milestone. Family medicine practices and pediatricians may have difficulty providing the full range of preventative and reproductive care in one office visit. Establishing a once-a-year visit with a gynecologist ensures your daughter’s needs and concerns are best met now and throughout her life. Optimal health promotion is achieved and sets the stage for a healthier future.
Although some young women may be nervous about the first visit, ensure your daughter that the visit is meant to educate her. The initial visit is an opportunity to eliminate fears and myths. Establishing a trusting relationship and improving your daughter’s long-term health is our overall goal.