If it is time for your daughter to schedule her first gynecology visit, there are some important steps you should take to ensure she feels comfortable.
As a woman, you know how important it is to see a gynecologist on a regular basis. However, going to a doctor that inspects the most private part of your body for the first time can be quite intimidating, which is why it is so important to properly prepare your daughter before her first gynecology visit.
When Your Daughter Should Go to the Gynecologist for the First Time
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend the first exam should be sometime between the ages of 13 and 15. A good rule of thumb is to go at some point relatively soon after puberty is well underway. We here at The Woman’s Clinic recommend getting the first exam at age 18 or when the patient becomes sexually active, whichever comes first.
That being said, if there are any complications (such as painful or irregular periods, unusual fluids, or anything else that appears concerning or odd), the first visit to the gynecologist should be scheduled sooner rather than later. The most important thing is to schedule the visit when you as the parent feel most comfortable and to remember that reaching out and asking questions is never a bad thing.
Choosing a Gynecologist for Your Daughter
For a decision as important as choosing a gynecologist, it is important to get input from your daughter about what type of doctor she would be most comfortable with. Would she prefer a male or female doctor? Is it possible that your daughter’s pediatrician could also serve as her gynecologist (and is that something that your daughter would be more comfortable with)? These are just a few examples of the questions you should speak to your daughter about before choosing a gynecologist for her.
Getting input from friends and reviews from the web is also a good idea. While you certainly cannot trust every review, typically a doctor that has a large number of positive (or negative) reviews will more or less fit into that category.
What You Should Speak to your Daughter About Before Her First Exam
Before going to the gynecologist, it is important to set expectations for your daughter about what the visit will include, and explain why it is so important that your daughter begins going to the gynecologist on a regular basis. You should explain to your daughter why she needs to see a gynecologist, and how the gynecologist can help her stay healthy for the rest of her life. If your daughter has had complications of any kind, a trip to the gynecologist can also be the time when much-needed answers are given.
What the Visit Will Entail
The first trip to the gynecologist is different than trips later in life. One of the biggest differences is the fact that there is usually no internal examination and no PAP smear is obtained. According to new guidelines for women regarding PAP smears, the first screening now occurs at age 21. There will, however, be a breast exam and an external examination of the genital area during the first visit.
It is important to prepare your daughter as much as possible by explaining (from your own experience) what these examinations are like.
Please contact us if you have any questions about your daughter’s first trip to the gynecologist or call us at 501-664-4131 any time.