As girls grow into teens, it is important that they receive appropriate medical care. We recommend that the first gynecology visit occur during adolescence to discuss menstrual health and to assess for contraceptive needs. If there are no medical issues, she can wait until she is 18-21 for this initial appointment. Seeing a provider for her first gynecology exam can make a girl feel nervous or embarrassed, so it is important to explain what to expect the first visit. This visit is an opportunity to build trust and counsel patients and parents about healthy behavior as well as dispel any myths and fears that may be present.
During this visit, we will gather information about the following:
- Personal past medical history- has she had any surgeries or any other major illness or disease?
- Menstrual cycle- is her cycle regular/irregular? Does she experience cramps?
- Family history- is there anyone in the family who has had breast cancer or any other kind of cancer? Any other pertinent family history?
- Social history- is there any history of smoking or drug/alcohol use? Is she sexually active or thinking about becoming sexually active in the near future?
- Preventative health- we will discuss healthy lifestyle habits such as diet, exercise, and stress reduction. We will also discuss STD prevention- if applicable. I will spend time explaining how the body works and answer any questions she may have.
- Treatment- if she has dysmenorrhea (painful periods) or irregular menses, we will discuss treatment options.
The exam for this visit will consist of:
- Listening to the heart, lungs, and examination of the thyroid gland.
- A pelvic exam is not necessary unless the patient is sexually active and medical history provided suggests an exam is necessary.
- Lab tests may be performed depending on necessity. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends that all women ages 25 and younger be screened for STDs, if sexually active. This can be done through a urine examination or through a culture swab during a vaginal exam.
Our goal is to establish healthy behavior habits to carry on into adulthood. If you have any questions about the initial visit you can contact the Couri Center and we would be happy to help you.
Renee Alwan Percell, MMS, PA-C