Often a patient comes in for her yearly wellness, and asks the question of when is the right time to bring in her daughter. There is often hesitance to do so, as it signals the transition to adulthood.
It is best to establish a healthy, non-urgent tone with her first visit. This, hopefully, promotes a non-fearful attitude to seeing a physician.
ACOG, the governing body for obstetricians & gynecologists, recommends that the first visit should occur between ages 13 -15. There does not need to be a problem or issue. It is a good time to educate a girl about her body and its changes. We can also answer any questions she may have. Myths and misinformation can be prevented with this type of visit. She will have the opportunity to build trust, and be able to discuss any concerns she may have. There is a level of confidentiality that is supported by state law between the patient and the doctor, but we establish this with the parents and the patient before the visit. We encourage open communication when at all possible.
An internal pelvic exam is usually not needed at this first visit, which is the main concern about bringing in a girl for her first gynecological visit. A general physical examination with external pelvic exam will be performed. Pap smear testing, the test for cervical cancer, is not initiated until age 21. We recognize that there are differences in physical and emotional maturity and will tailor the visit accordingly. Depending on the maturity level, topics like sexuality, contraception, and sexually transmitted diseases can be introduced.
At Peachtree City OB/GYN, we take pride in caring for women in all stages of life and want to be there from the beginning. Start your daughter’s healthy reproductive life with us.
Written by Dr. Deanna E. Guthrie