Preparing your daughter for her first gynecologist appointment

Preparing your daughter for her first gynecologist appointment

The first visit to the gynecologist can be a very scary and confusing event for many teenage girls, but doctors say there are ways to prepare for the appointment to alleviate any anxiety.

Dr. Luther Gaston, an obstetrician/gynecologist with Advocate Medical Group in Chicago, shares a few tips for what parents can expect:

  • The first visit should take place between the 13 and 15 years old.
  • Little preparation is needed. Teens may be asked when their menstrual cycle began. In most cases, the doctor’s primary goal is to make sure that they are going through puberty normally.
  • Parents can bring medical records if the teen has had a prior gynecological diagnosis, testing, treatment, medical or surgical issues.
  • Some teens may want to ask questions about the HPV vaccine or health problems they are experiencing. A gynecologist should direct questions that focus on identifying medical, physical or emotional issues to a mental health professional.
  • The gynecologist may also discuss health topics such as sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy prevention, sexual assault prevention and puberty.

When choosing a gynecologist, Dr. Gaston recommends looking for a gynecologist that listens and shows compassion and concern for the teen’s overall physical and emotional health.

“I would recommend an annual visit, without a pelvic exam or pap smear, to address any new female related concerns and to address preventive health care needs,” says Dr. Gastron. “If the patient does not have reproductive, urinary or bowel concerns, the annual pelvic exam is not recommended until age 21. Pap smears for cervical cancer screenings begin at 21 years old in average risk patients, and should be done every three years from age 21 to 29 if they are normal.”

More specifically, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, teenage girls may be asked the following questions related to her medical and reproductive history:

  1. When was your last period?
  2. Are you, or have you ever been, sexually active (meaning vaginal, oral, or anal sex)? If so, are you using birth control and STD protection?
  3. Are you having any problems with your period, such as pain or heavy bleeding?
  4. Do you have any worrisome discharge, sores, itchiness or discomfort in the vaginal area?
  5. Do you think you could be pregnant?

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Comments

22 Comments

  1. This article was for informative. Thank you for sharing3

  2. I think it’s great to prepare a teenage girl for the questions she may be asked; that can definitely help with her nerves. I remember one thing that helped me during my first visit was just having a female gynaecologist. It felt less intrusive for me, personally, and really helped me calm down. I really hope that girls are able to have a positive experience with their gynecological visits.

    • Jane, my daughter was really nervous during her first gynecologist appointment too. Thankfully, the doctor was able to make her feel more comfortable and at ease. It was a good experience for her, she actually started joking with the doctor towards the end. I’m glad that my wife and I were able to help give her some tips for this new experience. She now looks forward to her appointments, cause she knows what questions to ask.

  3. Thanks for the information. My daughter is going to be going to the gynecologist for her first time soon! I’m going to make sure she asks the questions like, “are you having any problems with your period, such as pain or heavy bleeding?” Is there anything else she should ask?

  4. You’re a life saver, David! I’m taking my daughter to the gynecologist this week, and I’m unsure on how she’ll feel about it—I don’t want her to feel uncomfortable about talking about her body. She’s 15, so I hope she isn’t sexually active, but, I suppose, it’s good for her to talk about that with the doctor just in case! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Samantha Dantley July 9, 2015 at 11:51 am · Reply

    I know I was a little intimidated with my first visit to the gynecologist. Your tips about finding the right one to see are perfect. That would really help my daughter to feel more comfortable. Thanks for sharing this.

  6. Deanna R. Jones July 21, 2015 at 2:12 pm · Reply

    Thanks for the tips! These tips should make going to the gynecologist for the first time a lot easier for my daughter. It seems like the list of questions a gynecologist could ask her will be good for her to know. She told me about how her periods have been unusually heavy for the past couple of months, so it will help her to know that she can talk about that with a gynecologist.

  7. Thanks for the tips. I remember I was so nervous going for my first time. I think that the stigma is a lot less now and communication is better. Having constant communication before hand helps a lot.

  8. I had no idea that your daughter’s first visit to the gynecologist should happen between 13 and 15. This makes sense, however, because the visit is meant to make sure that they are going through puberty correctly, as you suggest. Utilizing these medical resources, however, and making these visits a priority for your daughter, will show her the importance of getting checked. Plus, it will help you as a mother know that she is healthy and her body is functioning properly. Thank you for the insight!

  9. As a guy, I’m always uncomfortable discussing women’s health like this, but my wife is really busy with her work so taking our daughter to the doctor might fall on me. I really appreciate your article here; it’s just what I needed. It looks like we still have a couple of years (since you said 13-15 is the right age) but we’ll keep this in mind!

  10. I like how you said, “I would recommend an annual visit…”. My wife goes to the gynecologist once every 6 months. I feel that this is helpful in maintaining her health. Also, it helps prevent any problems that may arise. Should I go with her next time?

  11. Thank you for the tips. I have a daughter that is getting to the age where she will be visiting the gynaecologist soon. I am actually pretty nervous because I don’t know how I can prepare her better. I really hope that we can get her situated soon so she then doesn’t have to be nervous too.

  12. Great tips! The first trip to the gynecologist can be really intimidating, but it’s nothing to get too worked up over. Thanks for sharing.

  13. I like how you added a doctors advice of what to do on the first visit to the gynecologist. I was kind of worried about what kind of tests they would be doing on my daughter but this looks like just a normal check up. This clarifies a lot. It is also simple so I can even have my daughter read it before her appointment, thank you.

  14. I am the father of 3 girls and all of them are very precious to me. Well, they are hitting their teenage years, and with that being the case, I’m trying to get a feel for what we need to do to keep them healthy as they mature. Between this and my amazing wife, I have a much better idea of how this is all going to go down for them.

  15. When I was 14, my mom took me to the gynecologist for the first time. I was having an irregular period and it was really worrying her. My mom didn’t tell me anything about what would happen and so I definitely think that it would be important for me to prepare my own daughter more than I was before I have her go. She is only 15 and so I think that it is time to take her, because she has been experiencing irregularity problems as well. However, should I be in the room with my daughter when she has her appointment?

  16. Kenneth Gladman April 14, 2016 at 5:45 pm · Reply

    Thanks for the article, raising two daughters as a single parent is tough. I understand how stressful it could be, my oldest is 15. I don’t really feel she wants to discuss it with me, should I get a family friend or aunt to go?

  17. I remember that I felt really nervous about seeing a gynecologist when I was young. My daughter is old enough to go to her first appointment, so these tips will help her feel better prepared than I did. I liked what you said about choosing a doctor that’s concerned about teenager’s physical and emotional health. It seems that those two things are tied with gynecological health, so this should be a priority when choosing a doctor she’ll feel comfortable with.

  18. I didn’t realize that your first visit to the gynecologist should take place between 13 and 15 years old. I didn’t go to the gynecologist until right before I was married, but I would imagine that it doesn’t hurt to go when you’re young. I will have to start taking my daughter to a gynecologist just so we can make sure her body is healthy and functioning properly.

  19. It’s a good idea to take your teenage daughter to her first visit to the gynecologist so that she can start become familiar with her female body. I remember when I was young how scary the thought of seeing a gyno sounded and how helpful it was to have my mother there with me. If a mom is not available then a mother figure or some other older female family member would work, as well.

  20. I’m trying to help my daughter prepare and want to be sure I do a good job. I hadn’t considered that you should be sure to get a professional that listens and shows concern for your teen’s health. Another thing to do is to make sure that you get a gynecologist that is local. That way, you can make regular appointments to help your teen stay healthy.

  21. I like the tip that you gave to be completely honest with your gynecologist. My daughter is going to her first gynecology appointment this afternoon, and I want to help her be best prepared. I will be sure to suggest that she is completely honest, so I can be confident that she can get the best treatment.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.