Posted by Dr. Taryll Jenkins
Many parents wonder what the right age is for girls to start seeing a gynecologist. Is it before their first period or when they become sexually active? Should they speak with a pediatrician or a gynecologist clinic? Located in Katy, TX, Dr. Jenkins, Dr. Torres, and Dr. Falae of Jenkins Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Medicine are available to answer your questions and to provide comprehensive female health care.
Gynecology focuses on the health of the breasts and the female reproductive system including the vagina, uterus, and ovaries. The services deal with the functions and diseases specific to women and girls. Our team focuses on providing the best care for women from adolescence to menopause. Our goal is to support women and to help them stay happy and healthy. Our team provides feminine health care as well as guidance about breast care, menstrual periods, and other women’s health concerns. We create a safe, comfortable experience and utilize current technology to deliver the quality care.
The female body goes through many changes. Changes that can be confusing for the adolescent mind. Most girls begin to develop breasts around 10 to 11 years old. The average age for menstrual periods to start is 12.5 years old. A normal cycle is 25-40 days. However, for the first couple years, periods may be irregular. Bleeding more than 10 days is not normal and may bring on concerns of anemia. Once a regular cycle is established, if periods start being irregular again by skipping months or becoming more frequent, the patient should be checked. Although some girls need more time, if a teen has not started her period by age 14, an evaluation may be recommended.
Menstrual cramps are common and may gradually worsen after the first two years of having a period. However, cramps that are so severe they lead to missing school are not normal. Girls experiencing serious cramps should see a gynecologist.
Routine examinations and screenings
Whenever possible, the HPV vaccine should be administered prior to the patient becoming sexually active as it is more effective if she has not already been infected with the virus. This vaccine lowers the risk of getting HPV, genital warts, and cervical cancer. Women should begin getting pap smears by age 21. A pap smear may not be needed to begin birth control at an earlier age. Breast exams start around 20 years old unless a lump is noticed, in which case, it should be checked. Thankfully, in most cases, lumps at this age are benign.
For patients who are sexually active, it is important to see a gynecologist for routine exams. Birth control medications are available and can help to prevent pregnancies. They do not prevent sexually transmitted diseases though. Routine screenings should be performed for all teenagers who are sexually active.
The most important reason for your daughter to visit a gynecologist is for preventative care, even for teenagers who are not sexually active. Appointments at this age are not just to perform physical examinations but also to provide education to parents and their daughters. This includes information on hygiene, abstinence, practicing safe sexual behavior, condom use, emergency contraceptives, and contraception counseling. Teenage girls have to adjust to new hormones, how to act on and handle them, and the emotional pressures and difficulties of being a teen.
Teens should have time alone with their physicians. This gives them a chance to ask any questions or voice concerns that they do not feel comfortable asking their parents. The point is to keep the teen safe, to provide answers and education, and to provide feminine well care. This bridges the gap from adolescence to adulthood and helps teens make smart decisions
For women of all ages, our general gynecological services include:
If your daughter is ready to visit a gynecologist clinic, contact the team at Jenkins Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Medicine. Our professional team provides personal and quality care for women in all phases of life. Call 855-346-8610.
- General women’s health - This includes annual gynecological care, pelvic exams and Pap smears, and uterine and vaginal infections.
- Reproductive medicine - With teenagers, preventative measures such as birth control, safe sexual practices, and abstinence are discussed.
- Gynecology concerns - Abdominal pain, abnormal bleeding, cysts, fibroids, and STDs are health issues that should be addressed by a gynecologist.
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