Pediatric Gynecology Q & A
Why Would an Adolescent Need a Gynecologist?
The doctors at San Francisco Women’s Healthcare can help young women to understand their bodies and pubescent changes. The doctors also help their younger patients to learn how to care for themselves, provide treatment for any conditions, and give advice on sexual health. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that girls start to see a gynecologist between the ages of 13 and 15. Pap tests are not usually required until a woman is 21 years old; however, if a teenager is sexually active, has irregular periods, or symptoms consistent with pelvic inflammatory disease, or sexually transmitted diseases, she should definitely see a gynecologist for proper screening and counseling.
Are Adolescent Gynecology Appointments the Same as Those for Adults?
Yes, when a young woman visits the gynecologist, the doctor will perform some of the same measurements and tests that adult women have during their annual well woman exam, such as taking her weight and blood pressure and asking questions about her lifestyle. The doctor will also perform a pelvic exam, where they look at and feel the outside and inside of the vagina to check for any abnormalities. A Pap smear will be taken if the patient is sexually active or shows signs of any abnormalities. Adolescents can request to have a parent, sibling or friend in the room with them during the exam, or she may request that her exam is confidential. The doctor will answer any questions her patients have about the exam, their health, or other issues around their maturing bodies.
What Kinds of Concerns Can be Talked About at This Visit?
The doctors at San Francisco Women’s Healthcare want their young patients to feel comfortable and confident in their bodies. The doctor will answer questions and provide advice on a number of topics including periods, bodily changes, and how to care for her body. The doctor can also provide advice on sexual health concerns including birth control, pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases, answering any questions her young patient might have. The doctor will also answer questions about any other health related issues like acne, weight management, and the emotional and physical changes associated with puberty.