When should a teen have their first well-woman exam? Many moms struggle with this question, so we will try to make it a bit easier to navigate.
The Experts Say…
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the optimum time a girl should see a gynecologist for the first time is between the ages of 13 and 15.
The first visit will most likely be simply a regular health exam and a talk with your daughter. Unless there are some issues, she will not have a pelvic exam, and it will mostly be conversational in nature. Pelvic exams and Pap smears are usually not recommended until age 21. This first visit gives you and your daughter a chance to meet Virginia Women’s Health Associates.
Making It Easier For Her
If she seems nervous or uneasy about this new territory, giving her some options and basic information can help her get over any fears.
- Explain the purpose of a well-women visit. She will be getting information and have all her questions answered about her body and sexuality. Everything is confidential, so she should feel safe.
- Help her understand that she will get treatment for any issues like painful periods, missed periods, or any other issues that may arise.
- Give her some options. Would she prefer a woman or man? Young or older? Does she want to see the same physician as you, or would she rather it be someone new?
What About You?
It may be difficult at first to allow her to see the doctor without you present, but many times girls are more comfortable talking about things without mom in the room. Getting some alone time with your OBGYN also gives her a chance to get more comfortable and be able to be open about any issues. At the same time, she may actually want you to be in the room with her.
The Next Appointment
If nothing seems abnormal, your daughter’s next appointment could be in a few years. Your OBGYN will recommend the timing dependent on what he or she learns or notes. If there is a yeast infection present or other concern, she may need to return for treatment.
Otherwise, unless she begins to have irregular, heavy, or especially painful periods, there should be no need for immediate follow up.