As parents, being watchful of our children has never been more challenging. The fast-paced world we live in today is hard to catch up to and there are so many sources of pressure that tend to accompany both us and our children in our every waking hour.
But one thing that we should be careful not to neglect is the developmental changes that they go through during adolescence. Especially in girls who on average, begin puberty about two years earlier than boys.
When your daughter hits puberty, her body undergoes
so much change over the course of a few years. The hormonal changes put her physical and sexual maturation in motion which in turn, affects her mentally and socially.
Visiting a gynecologist in this early stage of womanhood can be of tremendous help, not only with regard to her reproductive health and development, but also in other respects including the mental, behavioral, and social aspects of her life. It equips your daughter with the necessary knowledge and awareness about important topics such as puberty, hygiene, sexual health, contraception, STIs, mental health, and much more.
When Should My Daughter Start Seeing a Gynecologist?
For the reasons stated above, it is recommended that your daughter have her first gynecologist appointment in her early to mid-teens. According to the American College of Gynecology and Obstetrics, the best time frame for the first visit is between the ages of 13 and 15 years, regardless of whether or not she has had her periods or is sexually active.
Generally speaking, adolescents and preadolescents are not comfortable enough to talk with their parents about their issues and concerns regarding sex, birth control, and menstruation. This makes them more susceptible to being exposed to misinformation on the internet or hearsay from their peers and friends.
Moreover, most girls feel a lot more comfortable seeing a gynecologist before they experience any problems. By having the first visit early, they get to establish a trusting, long-term relationship with their doctor in which they feel comfortable talking about their most private issues and concerns. This alleviates a great deal of anxiety if and when an issue arises later on.
So, this early appointment is, in part, aim at creating a setting where she can get the right information, from the right source, at the right time. It greatly helps to smooth her
transition into adulthood.
What Happens During the First OBGYN Visit?
The first visit is mostly about counseling and introduction to gynecologist care. It doesn’t typically include a pelvic exam unless certain concerns render it necessary like if she has painful and abnormal periods, or wants STI testing.
Your daughter will have the opportunity to ask about anything that concerns her. She will learn the basics about her reproductive anatomy, how it works, and what are the things she can do to maintain good sexual health.
The doctor will want to know about her medical history and gather as much relevant information as possible. The history check includes any past medical diagnoses, surgeries, health markers such as blood pressure and body mass index, and any significant family history.
trusted OBGYN in Columbus will ask questions about her periods—assuming she has had her period. These questions cover things like the frequency of her periods, the number of days she bleeds, and the symptoms that she experiences.
The doctor will also ask if she is sexually active and if she has a history of sexually transmitted infections. She may not feel comfortable talking about these things in front of others including her parents, so you may be asked to step out. It is very important that your daughter’s doctor knows about her whole history to be able to provide the best care possible.
How to Prepare for the First Appointment?
There is not much that needs to be done prior to your daughter’s first OBGYN visit. It mostly revolves around communicating and providing mental support to make her feel comfortable.
You can start by discussing your family medical history and relaying any health information you know about her close relatives. Doing so will help her have a better understanding of the role of genetics in a variety of hereditary conditions and how knowing about our family health history can inform us of the steps we can take to reduce certain risks.
Although your daughter probably won’t need a pelvic examination, it is important that you also communicate with her about what it is and how it is done. Because she is at a sensitive age and may feel self-conscious, it is paramount that you make her feel comfortable with herself and her body. Let her know that paying regular visits to a gynecologist is a normal part of a healthy woman’s life so that she develops a healthy attitude toward her physical and sexual wellbeing.