Do you think it might be time for your daughter to see a gynecologist for the first time? The world of women’s health is ready to welcome the next generation of women to our ranks! Good news, we’re here to help her (and you!) get through that first visit with an obstetrician/gynecologist, also referred to as an Ob/Gyn.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that teenage girls start seeing a gynecologist between the ages of 13 and 15. Annual breast exams should begin at age 19, and Pap tests begin at 21.
Parents, here are a few tips to learn more about what your daughter can expect for her first visit and put her nervous thoughts away. Help her relax; there is nothing to fear.
Before the Exam
- Your daughter should be right in the middle of her menstrual cycle when her first exam is performed.
- Have your daughter write down a list of questions she would like to ask the doctor. Writing down questions will make them easier to remember and ease some of the nervousness when entering the office.
- The doctor is going to ask questions, lots of them! Gather medical history for easier flow of the appointment.
- On the day of the exam she can shower normally. However, remind her to avoid creams and lotions as test results can be altered.
What Should She Expect at Her First Visit?
- First up, a conversation with the gynecologist. The doctor will ask your daughter questions about family health history and vaccinations. The doctor is there to educate her so encourage your daughter to be honest. Remind her not to be embarrassed, as doctors ask these questions every single day and have heard it all. No topic is off-limits! Questions about the first Ob/Gyn visit.
- A physical exam is going to be performed. This is an external exam so no need to sweat; yes, you can stay in the room. The nurse will ask your daughter to undress and she will be given a hospital gown. During this exam, doctors will perform palpation of the breasts checking for any abnormalities. Pelvic and abdominal exams will be performed as well. She should be informed that none of these exams should be painful and if they are, the doctor should know right away.
- Your daughter’s nerves may rise as a speculum examination is up next. This exam is not painful. Remind your daughter to take deep breaths and relax. It may feel funny. Do your best to keep her calm. The Ob/Gyn will insert a speculum into their vagina as a preventative measure to check for abnormalities, such as cysts or irritations.
- If your daughter is 21 years old, or sexually active, a Pap test should be performed. Cells are swiped from the cervix with a brush to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Spotting is normal following a Pap smear.
- The nurses will follow up with any test results.
Many of the tools you’ll need to ease her fears about the first visit are now in your toolbox! Help your daughter take the steps necessary to build a healthy future.