Your little girl is growing up. But wait! Is she still a little girl?
While you may still see her as your sweet, pig-tailed cutie, tearing around the neighborhood on a pink tricycle – your “little girl” may have turned into a young woman without you even realizing it.
Is It Time to Schedule an Appointment With a Gynecologist?
One of the most important parts of any well-woman checkup includes a pelvic exam and pap smear, and those are both recommended for women 21 years of age or older. However, there are multiple reasons why you should schedule an appointment for your daughter to see a gynecologist well before age 21.
Here are five of the most important:
- Your daughter’s comfort and confidence. A visit to the gynecologist means an examination of – and conversation about – some of our most private and guarded aspects – both physically and emotionally. Waiting until your daughter is 21 deprives her of establishing a more comfortable and relaxed relationship with an OB/GYN early on.You can make a meet/greet appointment when your daughter is 14 or 15. Without taking off a single garment, we can meet her, talk to her, get good records of her medical history, record her height/weight and do a gentle pelvic exam. This is such a comfortable way for her to get used to the office, the diagrams/pictures, the types of things we talk about and so on. A pre-checkup visit paves the way for more honest and open communication down the road.
- Further education about her menstrual cycle. You may think you’ve explained it all, but there may be more she needs to learn. Parents and guardians are often surprised to hear the questions that pop out of their teenager’s mouths in our office. They ask excellent questions, questions you may not know the answers to. Or summarize what you taught them, with glaring mis-interpretations you didn’t even know they misinterpreted. This is a great chance to clear all that up – along with diagrams and pamphlets they can refer to as needed.During these early visits, we also have a good chance at detecting if your daughter’s irregular periods are the result of pre- and early-pubescence – or whether there is something else going on, like endometriosis – a condition where early detection (and potential treatments) can make life much easier for your daughter as her reproductive organs continue ramping up.
- Create an open dialogue about sexuality. After the first visit or two, we prefer that mothers or guardians stay out of the examination room so their daughter feels more comfortable being open and honest, in a more confidential setting. Even in healthy parent/child relationship, daughters often find it impossible to be honest about their sexuality, feelings or sexual activity. However, without a place to experience full disclosure, they make choices that can permanently impact their future.Being honest, open and non-judgmental about your daughter’s sexuality will form a foundation of trust that lasts a lifetime. We will provide her with all of the information she needs to make healthy decisions about who she spends her intimate time with, how to know whether a relationship is healthy or not and to help her sort out the confusing feelings or thoughts she might be experiencing on a daily basis.
- Pregnancy prevention and counseling. One of the leading contributors of teenage pregnancy is a woman’s fear of admitting she’s sexually active to her parents, or trusted adults. This is a travesty. While you may prefer your daughter be celibate, odds are your stronger preference is for her to be healthy, happy and unburdened by a teenage pregnancy. We can discuss the birth control options that are best for her, provide pregnancy tests when needed, and discuss her options if she does become pregnant.
- Prevention & treatment of STDs. We can provide routine STD screening for girls who are sexually active. Our pelvic exams and internal exams may reveal symptoms your daughter hasn’t even noticed yet, or that she attributed to something else. Her appointments can help us catch things like yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis – two common conditions that teenage girls often suffer indefinitely because they’re too embarrassed to tell you – or another trusted peer or adult –that they are itchy down there!If she is diagnosed with an STD, count your blessings it was caught early because odds are that swift treatment will do the trick.
Contact Women’s Health Associates to schedule your daughter’s first appointment with a caring staff who will respect her sensitivities and well-being and do our very best to make you both as comfortable as possible. (913) 677-3113.