When is the right time for a teen to have her first appointment with a gynecologist? That depends on a number of factors, including a her physical and emotional development and medical history.
But it’s never too early for a young woman to develop trust with a doctor who may see her through multiple periods of her life. MetroHealth's Dr. Barbara Rhoads offers some helpful insight for parents on what to expect at that first office visit.
Check out the following video, and view her tips below:
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When to Go
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that the first reproductive health visit happen between ages 13 and 15.
The First Visit
- The main point of most first visits is providing information on preventive health care, including age-appropriate discussions of physical development, menstruation, healthy eating, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy prevention, and rape prevention.
- The first visit generally does not call for an internal exam, unless there is a medical issue or the teen is sexually active. The doctor will perform a breast exam and an external exam. Because the risk of cervical cancer is so low at this age, Pap tests are not called for until women are 21.
- That initial visit is really about education. It’s a very vital time of a young woman’s life, and there are all these changes that are going on throughout their body.
On the HPV Vaccine
- A lot of first-time patients have not received the Gardasil vaccine to prevent Human Papillomavirus, or HPV.
- The vaccine prevents the most common types of HPV, which cause cervical cancer and genital warts.
- There are many parents who think their kids don’t need this vaccine because they aren’t sexually active yet. And some people are concerned that it is a newer vaccine. However, it’s important to know that the vital time for the vaccine is before a girl is sexually active and to be assured that the vaccine is really very safe.
Make an appointment with Dr. Rhoads or any MetroHealth OB/GYN by calling 216-778-5341.