by Blanca Duncan, MD
Q: At what age should the first visit to an gynecologist take place?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that the first visit take place between the ages of 13 years and 15 years.
Q: What topics are typically discussed during the initial visit?
Screening and preventive health measurements including educational information and guidance.
Discussion of common health concerns shared by many young women such as:
- Menstrual cycles: normal and problematic
- Nutrition and exercise
- Sex and sexuality
- Birth control
- Alcohol, drugs, and smoking
- Mental health
Q:What exams are performed?
- General physical exam
- External genital exam
A pelvic exam is not usually performed at the first visit unless there are problems.
Q: What happens during an external genital exam?
The doctor looks at the vulva, which is the external female genital area. This is a good opportunity to learn about the body and the names for each part.
Q: What are the Pap test and Pelvic exam?
The Pap test checks for abnormal changes in cervix that could lead to cancer. It is recommended at the age of 21 years.
Although a pelvic exam will not likely be needed, the adolescent should understand what one is.
The pelvic exam has three parts:
- Looking at the external female genitalia
- Using a speculum to look at the vagina and cervix. When a Pap test is performed, a small brush is used to obtain a sample of cells from cervix.
- Assessing the internal organs with a gloved hand
Q: How often should visits take place?
Typically visits should occur yearly, or as appropriate depending on arising health issues.
Q: Why is it important for adolescent to visit ob/gyn?
Gives patients and parents the chance to meet the health care provider, alleviate fears, develop trust, and start a physician-patient relationship.
Assists adolescent in negotiating entry into the health care system when she has a specific health need.
To learn more about women’s services at St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center click here