What Is the Best Age to Start Seeing a Gynecologist?
Having a daughter who’s going through puberty can be one of the toughest times in parenting. The teenage years are difficult and frustrating for both parents and their children.
Young women in particular go through major changes in their anatomy as they hit puberty. Getting their first period can be a traumatic experience, and learning to manage it is difficult.
A gynecologist is a doctor who specializes in women’s anatomy, especially once girls begin their reproductive years. So, how do you know when it is time to book a gynecology appointment? This guide will help you navigate the process.
When It’s Time to Visit the Gynecologist
Ideally, you should take your daughter to visit the gynecologist sometime after she gets her first period. Anywhere between the ages of 13 and 15 is ideal if there are no obvious problems with their menstrual cycle.
If your daughter complains about issues like painful periods, then it may be worth it to take her earlier than the recommended age. A gynecologist can take note of serious problems like endometriosis, or give advice on how to deal with period symptoms.
It is important to catch health issues early on. Some young women are ignored because their mothers or doctors see painful periods as normal. However, heavy periods can lead to iron deficiency anemia or other health complications.
Ultimately, it is up to your personal judgment when you take your daughter to the gynecologist for the first time.
Find the Right Doctor
After you decide to visit a gynecologist, the next task is finding the right doctor for your daughter’s needs. Remember, the most important factor here is how comfortable she feels with the medical professional.
If you have insurance coverage, look within your insurance network first to see your options. You can cross-reference available doctors with online reviews to narrow down your list.
An HMO plan may have a limited choice of doctors within the network. However, if you have a PPO, you may even be able to visit a private practice or a gynecologist outside of your main healthcare system. Always contact your insurance to verify if a provider has coverage.
You can also ask your friends and family if they know any good gynecologists. Since the reproductive system is a sensitive part of the body, you know that good recommendations from people you trust are invaluable.
It may take a few trials and errors to see if you can find someone who’s the right fit for your daughter’s needs. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is a great resource for locating quality doctors.
Go to Your Appointment
Once you locate a doctor in your area, it’s time for your first gynecology appointment. On the way to the appointment, walk your daughter through what will likely happen during the appointment.
You should also ask your daughter ahead of time if she wants you in the room with her or not. No matter what, make sure to respect her wishes during this intimate time in her life.
The gynecologist will likely ask your doctor about her menstrual cycle and when she had her last period. The doctor may talk about period symptoms, heaviness of flow, and whether your daughter experiences abnormal levels of pain.
Your doctor may also ask if your daughter is sexually active or needs contraception. Sometimes birth control can help alleviate symptoms of painful periods.
What to Ask the Doctor
Even if the gynecologist does a thorough job detailing the changes in your daughter’s body, you may still want to ask them some questions.
Ask them to explain some common symptoms of STIs, or sexually transmitted infections. Even if your daughter is not sexually active, it is still important to know what to look for and how to treat STIs.
Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are also prevalent among young women. Ask the doctor what symptoms your daughter should keep an eye out for when it comes to UTIs, and how to treat them.
If your daughter is interested in birth control, ask about what options may be best for her. For younger patients, the oral contraceptive pill is a common treatment method.
Some other issues that young women may have include bacterial and yeast infections. It’s important for your daughter to know what to look for, and how to take care of her reproductive anatomy.
Give the Patient Privacy
You may want to be involved in the process when you go to your daughter’s first gynecology appointment. However, it is also vital that you respect the patient’s need for privacy.
For instance, your daughter may feel uncomfortable discussing sexual activity in front of you. If she asks you to leave, respect her wishes. This will help her freely talk about medical issues she’s having with her gynecologist.
If there is a major problem that needs your attention, the doctor will let you know. They can give you private medical information if the patient is in immediate danger.
When you give your daughter freedom of privacy at her gynecological appointment, she is more likely to share things with you in the future. She may just want a comfortable and judgment-free environment with the doctor.
Follow Up If Needed
Once you start seeing a gynecologist for your daughter, you need to make sure the resources are always available. Check in with your daughter regularly to see if she’s having problems that may require a visit to the doctor.
If your daughter uses birth control, she should be aware of common problems and side effects that users may experience. If she has any serious issues, let the doctor know and see if you can find an alternative option.
Book Your First Gynecology Appointment Today
If your daughter needs to visit the gynecologist, don’t hesitate to begin the process. With this guide, you’ll both know exactly what to expect before, during, and after the gynecology appointment.
Looking for a new gynecologist? Women’s Health of Augusta is here to help. Call us or visit our office in person to get the quality women’s healthcare you deserve.