A quite common query that I get requested as an OB/GYN is, “when ought to my daughter begin seeing the gynecologist?” It’s a good query with a nuanced reply that deserves some clarification.
First, it’s necessary to debate and perceive the elements that may make up the completely different sorts of gynecological exams and why somebody would wish a gynecologist. There are two major classes of gynecological visits. The primary is a well-woman examination and the second being a problem-based go to.
A well-woman examination is a yearly really helpful examination that’s corresponding to the yearly really helpful bodily at your major care physician’s workplace. It’s the place we take the chance to just remember to are updated in your well being upkeep, which might embody exams like pap smears, mammograms, colonoscopies, bone density scans, and different attainable indicated exams. The overall suggestion is to begin pap smears at age 21, so we’d advocate establishing care with an OB/GYN at the moment when you have not already discovered one.
The opposite kind of go to that individuals have with their OB/GYN is a problem-based go to. This type of go to is for when folks have gynecological points. This could embody issues like heavy or irregular durations, vaginal discharge or itching, pelvic ache, to call a number of.
So, when ought to an adolescent begin visits with a gynecologist?
Any time a affected person asks me this query, my reply is identical. I at all times say that an adolescent ought to begin seeing the gynecologist after they have a gynecological challenge, after they wish to speak about contraception, or after they flip 21, whichever comes first. We frequently see youngsters to speak about contraception and protected intercourse practices. That is one in all my private favourite visits once I see it on my schedule. I didn’t really feel that I had nice steerage on the makes use of and objective of contraception as an adolescent, and I want I had established care with a gynecologist to assist me type by way of all of that. Moreover, many youngsters could have heavy or irregular durations. It could be completely applicable to speak concerning the administration of those points with a gynecologist.
What else will occur at that first go to?
Lots of my adolescent and teenage sufferers will come into my workplace very anxious. They typically imagine that they’re going to have a painful pelvic examination. I at all times make it one in all my first targets on the go to to elucidate that I’ll solely carry out a pelvic examination on a affected person in the event that they want one. Except an adolescent is having vulvar or vaginal points, they typically don’t want a pelvic examination.
Most conversations about contraception or menstrual cycles are simply that…conversations. As soon as we get by way of that a part of the dialog, I can typically really feel the anxiousness within the room begin to lower.
A pelvic examination is important for issues like pap smears or IUD placements, however that is at all times one thing that needs to be defined intimately if it’s going to be carried out in order that the affected person understands what the examination is and why. More often than not, a gynecology go to with an adolescent is simply speaking and counseling in addition to a bodily examination consisting of issues like listening to the guts and lungs and palpating the stomach.
How typically does an adolescent must see a gynecologist?
In my observe, I’ll inform my teenage sufferers that if they’re doing nicely with out issues, I might advocate coming to my workplace for a wellness/check-in go to yearly. That approach, we will evaluation any updates within the gynecological historical past which have occurred since their final go to and guarantee that any contraception or drugs I could also be prescribing are nonetheless working and assembly our targets
One last item…
I feel that in all probability an important factor when contemplating making an appointment with an OB/GYN for an adolescent is to seek out a physician with whom you’re snug! It’s so necessary that teenage ladies really feel that their medical doctors are folks whom they cannot solely relate to, but additionally will be sincere and open to share info and are available to in the event that they need assistance. This will likely imply suggestions from pals, household, or the web, however positively don’t neglect this element of issues when trying to discover a gynecologist for the youngsters in your life!
To seek out an OB/GYN that’s proper to your teenager, go to www.bjc.org/obgyn/gynecology.