While it may seem like an eighth-grade girl is too young for a gynecology visit, ACOG recommends that the first gynecological appointment for most girls occurs between the ages of 13 to 15 in order to help them understand their reproductive health. Other indicators that an adolescent girl is ready for a gynecological visit include:
- If she hasn’t gotten her period by age 15 or three years after her breasts began to develop
- If her period is irregular for two full years after it begins
- If she has particularly long, heavy or painful periods
- If she has ever had sex, particularly if she misses a period
A gynecologist can help girls understand birth control options, including those that can help address acne or irregular menstruation. If she is sexually active, her doctor can also test for pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Other issues girls may discuss with their gynecologists during appointments include:
- Lifestyle choices to put her on track for a healthy future
- Preventing STIs
- Treatment for heavy, painful periods
Some girls are more comfortable with a female provider than a male. Some may prefer to see someone younger rather than someone older. If your daughter is ready for a gynecological appointment, it is key to ask her thoughts about her provider. Additionally, it may be more comfortable for her if you give her time alone with her provider and nurse during the appointment. This provides her with the space to ask any questions she may feel uncomfortable discussing in front of you.
Brittney Herald, APRN is a provider for women of all ages. To schedule an appointment with Brittney, call 606-666-6600 or to schedule yourself online, anytime visit KentuckyRiverAnytime.com.
Kentucky River Clinics is a part of Kentucky River Medical Center.