When Should My Teen Start Seeing a Gynecologist?

When Should My Teen Start Seeing a Gynecologist?

Your daughter grows up so quickly, and before you know it, she’s a small adult who can benefit from specialized women's healthcare. If you’re wondering when to introduce your daughter to this care, read on.

It seems not all that long ago that your daughter was in diapers or just learning how to walk. Now, she’s a small adult who is asking you about using tampons or pads.

Introducing your child to gynecologic care can be daunting, and you want to make sure that you're serving her needs well. If you’re wondering when, exactly, to schedule her first adolescent visit with us here at Bay Area Physicians for Women’s Health, our team pulled together a few points to consider.

Following the hormones

Gynecologic care essentially follows the main reproductive hormone cycles of a woman’s life, namely:

  • Puberty
  • Reproductive years and pregnancy
  • Menopause

During these stages, major hormonal shifts occur that cast a wide net over a woman’s health and wellness.

The average age for puberty in girls ranges from 11-15, and most girls get their first periods around the age of 12. Of course, these are just general guidelines, and girls as young as 8 can have periods, or on the opposite side of the spectrum, girls can be very late.

Many parents take their daughter to see an OB/GYN after the first period, but the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends first seeing a women’s health specialist between the ages of 13 and 15. These are just general rules of thumb, and this is a decision that you can make with your daughter.

There are times, however, when seeing an OB/GYN sooner rather than later is well-advised.

Menstrual concerns

We outlined a normal entry into puberty above, but some girls experience a rocky entry. For example, if your daughter gets her period early or she still hasn’t had it by the age of 15, it might be a good idea to come see us.

Also, if there are any abnormalities with her periods, such as heavy bleeding and cramping, please come see us.

If your daughter’s periods are irregular, this is normal when women first start menstruating and isn’t necessarily cause for concern. If the irregularity persists, such as having a few periods, and then skipping many, it’s a good idea to get to the bottom of the issue.

Sexual concerns

This can be a delicate topic, but we want to make sure that your daughter practices safe sex, whether now or in the future. Despite awareness efforts, sexually transmitted diseases are still reaching all-time highs in the United States. Thankfully, unplanned teen pregnancy numbers are going down, but they’re still a threat.

During your child’s visit with us, we can discuss these issues and make sure she understands the importance of protecting herself in the future. Of course, we will work within your wishes on this front, but we feel it’s best to be prepared.

If you have more questions about when you should schedule your daughter’s first visit with us, please contact our office in Mobile, Alabama.