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January 21, 2019 | OB/GYN
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends girls have their first gynecologic visit when they’re between the ages of 13 and 15. Generally, this visit involves a conversation between the doctor and your daughter about her menstrual cycle, sexual activities and overall health. If your daughter is having problems, the doctor may recommend a pelvic exam. Here are some things you can talk to your daughter about before her first exam.
Pelvic exams are an important part of women’s health. You should try to schedule the exam when your daughter isn’t on her period. In addition, before the exam, she shouldn’t:
Also, tell the person scheduling the exam that this is your daughter’s first pelvic exam.
The healthcare provider will ask your daughter about:
The healthcare provider may leave it up to your daughter whether she wants to have you in the exam room or not. Remember that it’s normal to be nervous and even embarrassed, so don’t be offended if she doesn’t want you to join her.
The doctor will give your daughter privacy to change into a gown. Before the exam starts, the doctor should explain each part of the exam to your daughter. Encourage your daughter to ask questions if she doesn’t understand something.
She will be asked to lie down on the exam table and given a sheet to cover her stomach and legs. The healthcare provider will do everything possible to make your daughter feel at ease. Tell your daughter to say something if she feels nervous, scared or uncomfortable. Pelvic exams are important to young women’s health.
Typically, a pelvic exam consists of three parts. The first part is the external exam. The doctor may do a breast exam then examine the outside of the vagina. The second part is the speculum exam, in which the doctor looks at the vagina and cervix. He or she may take a sample of cells for Pap smear, but most doctors will wait until the patient is 21 years or older. The third part of the exam is the bimanual exam to check female reproductive organs. The procedure may be uncomfortable but shouldn’t be painful.
One thing that can help your daughter is to take deep breaths and relax as much as possible. When the exam is over, your daughter will get the results and learn about follow-up care, taking care of herself and when to make her next appointment.
Giving your daughter information about her sexual health when she’s younger can help her make healthy choices as she becomes more independent. Talk to her doctor about her first gynecological exam.
“Your First Gynecologic Visit (Especially for Teens)” American College of Gynecology.
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.