Gynecologists provide care pertaining to the female reproductive system. All women should receive well-woman exams at least once a year to check for cervical cancer and other illnesses. Parents may be unsure when to start bringing their teenage daughters to the gynecologist's office. Here are four key pieces of information that can help girls and their parents safeguard their reproductive health:
1. Girls can start seeing a gynecologist as soon as they get their first period.
For most of their childhood, girls' healthcare will be handled by a primary care pediatrician. Parents may be unsure when to schedule a gynecologist appointment for their daughters. As a rule of thumb, girls should attend their first gynecologist check-up when they have their first period. This appointment is a great time for girls to learn about the changes happening in their bodies. This is also an opportunity for your daughter to start building a rapport with their gynecologist that will serve them well in the future.
2. Internal pelvic exams are not always necessary.
Many parents hesitate to schedule gynecologist appointments for their teenage daughters because they fear their daughters are too young. However, parents and their daughters may be relieved to know that internal health exams are typically not performed on teenagers. Unless there's a specific reason for a pelvic exam, gynecologists will likely perform external exams only. This will ensure that your daughter has a positive and minimally invasive experience at the gynecologist's office.
3. Girls can choose to have a parent present for the exam.
Gynecologists understand that protecting children's privacy and safety is of the utmost concern. For this reason, girls can choose to have a parent present during their gynecological exam. Some older girls may be uncomfortable with the idea of their mother being present for such an intimate examination. In that case, a female nurse may sit in on the examination instead. The presence of an additional female medical practitioner is designed to ensure that girls remain safe and comfortable throughout their exams.
4. Gynecologists can give girls important information about sexual health.
Last but not least, gynecologists can play an important role in educating girls about their sexual health. Gynecologists can talk to teenagers about contraceptive options available to them. This can help girls avoid unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Girls who are sexually active can receive routine STD screenings to ensure they stay healthy and avoid complications associated with STDs.
Contact a gynecology services provider to learn more.