Women's health care is an important issue and proper care starts young. Although your daughter or loved one may have been seeing a pediatrician or family health physician for many years, proper gynecology care is also critical. The American College of Gynecology recommends that young women have their first gynecologist appointment in the early teen years, ideally between the ages of 13 and 15. It's important to note that the first appointments do not require an internal exam, however. Typically, teenage girls do not need a pap smear before age 16 unless they are sexually active.
To prepare your teen for her first appointment, it's important to be open and honest. She is likely to feel embarrassed or worried about what to expect. Having a direct conversation and explaining the procedures will help her feel more comfortable. Additionally, it helps to explain why preventative care is so important from a young age. Learning about proper health care as a teen helps to ensure these practices and habits remain into her adult years.
The first visit to a gynecologist will include a conversation between your teen and the physician. Many teens feel more comfortable speaking only with the doctor in the room. Your teen's conversation with the gynecologist is confidential, which helps to ensure that she is honest about her questions, concerns, and sexual activity.
For the first visit, if your teen is not sexually active, the gynecologist may simply perform a general exam and listen to the heart and lungs. She may also check for lumps on the thyroid and perform a breast exam if necessary. However, if your teen is ready for an internal exam and Pap smear, you may need to answer more questions and prepare her for this part of the exam.
Misconceptions are a big reason that young women fear the gynecologist. They often hear from friends that the exam is painful or embarrassing. Reminding your loved one that the exam shouldn't hurt but may feel uncomfortable is a good start. It's also important to share that the exam is typically very quick. Also, remind her that she can ask any questions during the exam or voice any concerns she may have.
Preparing your teen for her first gynecology appointment may not sound like a fun responsibility but it's important. Ultimately, it can lead to greater trust and bonding between you and your loved one. Furthermore, it's critical to her overall health and wellness now, and in the years to come.
If you're looking for a gynecologist both you and your teen can trust, call Dr. Tomeka Roberts or Dr. Cynthia Jones. Drs. Roberts and Jones are skilled and experienced in the fields of gynecology and obstetrics. Furthermore, they are committed to treating you, and your family, with the respect and care you deserve.
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