If you are the mom of tween or teen daughters, it’s a familiar question with an uncertain answer: how old should a young woman be for her first gynecologist visit?
Pediatrician to gynecologist: when is the right time?
As parents, it’s tricky to know the best timing for some of these childhood transitions. Moving your daughter from their beloved, familiar pediatrician to a gynecologist can be overwhelming for everyone involved.
But there’s good news: it doesn’t need to be. Our team of compassionate, approachable Women’s Health experts at The Christ Hospital are here to ease this transition. Our team recommends making the switch somewhere between the ages of 15 and 17 – earlier if your daughter is having an issue with her periods.
“It’s always nice to get established with a gynecologist, so before a young woman would become sexually active, they have an established relationship with someone they trust,” says Dr. Leanne Olshavsky, obstetrician/gynecologist at The Christ Hospital.
Many young patients – and their parents – fear the first pelvic exam will come too soon. Dr. Olshavsky says that should not be a concern. Our women's health physicians don't routinely perform pelvic exams on women under the age of 21 unless there is a specific problem or concern that needs to be addressed.
Tips for a First Gynecologist Appointment
If your daughter is going in for her first gynecologist appointment, here are a few tips and suggestions to help put her at ease:
- Questions are good: Come with a list of items you’d like to discuss – it could be anything from period concerns to how to stay healthy and active as you grow.
- Get comfortable: Be prepared to start the appointment with your mom or a trusted caregiver in the room if that makes you most comfortable. Typically, your mom or caregiver will leave the room for a few minutes, giving you the chance to speak openly with your doctor.
- It’s confidential: Almost everything you tell your doctor will be confidential, especially if it is just the two of you in the exam room – so be honest with your questions or concerns.
- Get vaccinated: Ask about any vaccinations you need to stay up-to-date and healthy, including the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
- Protection is key: As you get older and become sexually, have an honest conversation about protection, both from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
- Be honest: Your gynecologist should be someone you trust. Make sure to be honest with him or her so they can offer you the best medical advice.
It’s important to remember that we’ve all been there. Building a trusting relationship with your gynecologist is one of the best gifts a woman can give her health.