Adolescent Gynecology Q & A
Why should a teenage girl visit a gynecologist?
The time when a girl transitions from childhood to her pre-teens, through puberty, and into reproductive age, may be fraught with fear, uncertainty, and many questions concerning her health. Am I normal? Will I be able to have a baby someday? How can I prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases?
Dr. Hurst is a patient and compassionate gynecologist who young girls in the community–many of whom she delivered–have come to trust as they navigate these changes. She takes great care and pride in her ability to educate young women about their bodies, thereby instilling confidence and self-esteem. If her young patients are amenable, she involves their parents in discussions and decision-making.
When should a girl first visit the gynecologist?
Dr. Hurst follows American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology guidelines in her treatment of
all patients, including her youngest ones. If a young woman is not sexually active and she is not bothered by any gynecologic issues, her first gynecologic examination should be at age 21. Pap smears are not performed before this age. However, many mothers encourage their daughters to come in for a consultation prior to this, for an opportunity to ask questions or to discuss concerns regarding their gynecologic health. This forms the basis for a long-lasting, trusting relationship.
What gynecological needs do adolescent girls have?
Adolescence is a time of huge physical changes, and with it comes lots of questions and concerns.
Typical issues that might arise are:
- Hygiene and reproductive health
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Sexual activity and birth control
- Irregular periods
- Body image
Dr. Hurst also suggests the HPV vaccine, which protect girls against many strains of the human papillomavirus.
What should a girl expect at her first appointment?
A girl’s first appointment will involve a general health exam and a discussion of her health
- Sexual activity
Be prepared to answer questions about your:
- Last period
- Family’s health history
The nurse checks your blood pressure, and pulse. Your parent can stay with you, or you can
request to be examined alone. Dr. Hurst may look at your breast and external genitals just to check development.
If you’ve had sexual intercourse, she may want to test you for STDs and will likely discuss
birth control. Dr. Hurst may also discuss with you the HPV vaccine, which protects you against HPV — a common sexually transmitted disease that causes genital warts and can lead to cervical cancer.
What concerns should an adolescent girl raise with the gynecologist?
Dr. Hurst is a person in whom you can confide, even about sensitive sexual issues. If you
experience irregular cycles, heavy bleeding, pain, itching, or discomfort, bring it to her attention. It’s important to let Dr. Hurst know if you’re sexually active, as she may need to test for sexually transmitted diseases. You can trust that she will keep any information confidential.