Adolescent & Pediatric Gynecology
Your daughter’s first gynecological exam: Adolescent and Pediatric Gynecology.
When should your daughter have her first gynecological visit? It’s a common question. The American College of Obstetrician and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that adolescent girls see a gynecologist for the first time when they are between the ages of 13 to 15 years.
Adolescence is an ideal time to begin the transition from pediatric care, where the parents are actively involved, to a more independent adult model, where the teen develops a confidential and trusting one-on-one relationship with her physician. This transition is a critical time for establishing positive long-term interactions with health care providers.
The primary health risks for adolescents are behavioral and are strongly influenced by their peer group. Therefore, counseling on lifestyle choices and health risk reduction is at the center of care for teens. Where appropriate, Boulder Gynecology educates adolescent patients on a variety of topics including physical activity, diet, immunizations, smoking, alcohol and drugs, driving safety, body changes and image, menstruation, sexual activity, sexually transmitted infections, and contraception. Another common question is when an adolescent’s first gynecological pelvic exam should take place. The initial visit does not generally include a pelvic exam. In fact, unless there are specific complaints necessitating a pelvic exam, we usually wait until an adolescent’s first sexual encounter to conduct a pelvic exam. Treatment for specific gynecologic problems, such as severe menstrual cramps, can nevertheless be provided.
Girls rarely need to see a gynecologist before their teen years. However, there are occasional problems that require the care of a women’s health specialist. We are well versed in pediatric gynecologic conditions and treat them with care and sensitivity. Our primary objective is to manage the problem effectively without causing any undue anxiety or psychological trauma.
We encourage vaccination against the human papillomavirus (HPV), the primary cause cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine is currently recommended for girls and women ages 9 through 26. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices endorses immunization of females and males at the age of 11 or 12 years. We provide information about HPV and the HPV vaccine, and we administer the vaccine in our office. For more information on the topic of HPV and other relevant topics, see our Resources for Women page.