Visiting a gynecologist for the first time can be awkward and embarrassing for some teens. But the visit is crucial to help them understand their bodies and lay the groundwork for future health and wellness.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends the first visit should be between the ages of 13 to 15. The exam should be an opportunity to educate teens about their bodies and help them establish a relationship with a gynecologist at an early age.
What to Expect
The first visit is an opportunity for teens to get accurate information about the changes in their bodies. A gynecologist will discuss acne, painful or irregular periods, breast changes, pelvic pain, body hair, nutrition, sexual behavior, contraception and sexually transmitted diseases. It is also an opportunity to talk about preexisting conditions and any family history of cancer.
Beyond talking, the visit might also include a breast exam, pelvic exam and a pap test, which screens for cervical cancer. The gynecologist might ask for a relative or nurse to be present during these exams.
While the first visit might be awkward, it's an important step in the transition from teenage girl to healthy woman. Starting a conversation with a doctor helps you lay the foundation for health and wellness.