Going to the gynecologist is not always on the top of any woman's wish list. However, it’s necessary from time to time, and as you probably already know, it's really not that bad. So what’s the best time for your daughter to start seeing one?
Here are some tips from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) that’ll help you decide when to take your daughter to the gynecologist for the first time.
Unless your daughter has a specific concern or a problem, she should begin going to the gynecologist at either age 18 or when she becomes sexually active, whichever comes first. Do not feel that you need to take your daughter after her first period unless she asks to go or you feel something may be wrong.
You can accompany your daughter on her first visit or encourage her to go on her own – whatever works best for her. It's the same for making that first appointment. After that initial visit, however, she should be encouraged to do this task on her own, since looking after (and advocating for) her own health is an important life skill.
Reasons to make an appointment
Here are some reasons you may need to make an appointment for your daughter:
- She is 14 and hasn't noticed any pubertal changes
- She is 16 and hasn't had a period
- She is contemplating becoming sexually active and needs to discuss contraception and safe sex habits.
Other reasons to make an appointment
Here are some reasons you should definitely make an appointment for your daughter:
- Severe menstrual cramps or any other pelvic pains
- Bleeding is extra heavy, unusual, or lasts more than seven days
- She is bothered by vaginal itching, redness, sores, swelling, unusual odor or discharge
- She thinks that she is pregnant
- She has been menstruating for more than a year and still has irregular periods or has missed more than three periods. (She should only wait three months if she is certain that she is not pregnant. If there is a chance that she may be pregnant, she should see a doctor right away.)
- She is experiencing frequent urination or a burning sensation when she urinates
- She has suffered an injury to her pelvic area
- She has had non consensual sex
- She has had unprotected sex and is not concerned about pregnancy
- She has exposed to a sexually transmitted disease
- She has noticed a change in the regularity of your menstrual periods
- The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Education Pamphlet AP150, Your First Gynecologic Visit – Especially for Teens