As your daughter enters her teenage years, you both may be looking for a care provider she can talk to about the changes taking place in her body. And while a family doctor or pediatrician may be familiar with her personal health history, a gynecologist in Arizona can offer tailored medical care and advice specifically for young women.

While the decision to see a gynecologist is one that you and your daughter should decide upon together, there are four ‘W’s to consider.

When: The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends that adolescent girls have their first visit with a gynecologist in Arizona between the ages of 13–15 for an external physical exam. Internal physical exams and Pap smears typically begin at age 21, unless a woman is experiencing painful periods, abnormal vaginal bleeding or other reproductive issues. In that case she should schedule an appointment at her earliest convenience.

Why: You may be surprised to learn that your teenager is ready for a gynecologist visit but think of it as a way to educate girls about their reproductive health at an early age. It’s a chance for you and your daughter to have an open conversation with a gynecologist in Arizona about issues like sexually-transmitted diseases, safe sex and changes to her body. But it’s also a chance for her to have a conversation with someone other than a parent and ask questions she may not be comfortable asking you.

Who: It’s important for your daughter to find a gynecologist that she’s comfortable with. And while you may be selecting a doctor based on their hours or proximity to your home or office, your daughter’s list of preferences is probably different. Have a discussion with your daughter about what’s important to her when choosing a gynecologist in Arizona.

What to Expect: Once your daughter has chosen a health care provider, you can help her prepare for her first appointment. As with all medical appointments, your daughter’s gynecologist will likely ask questions about her health history, including menstrual cycle and sexual history, and details of her personal health history, like allergies, additional medical conditions, etc.

If your daughter is under 21 and not sexually active, the physical exam will be external and can include an examination of the vulva and breasts, but this is at the discretion of the patient and physician. If your daughter is not sexually active or has no health concerns that require an exam, it may not be necessary.

If your daughter is 21 or older, her first appointment will include an internal exam, which includes a Pap smear. STD testing can also be recommended for girls and women who are sexually active, regardless of age.

A first-time gynecologic exam can be a daunting experience for a young woman but it’s an important step in taking responsibility for her health and body. We have experience treating and supporting adolescent girls with gynecologic issues that are common among younger women. If your daughter is ready for her first visit to a gynecologist in Arizona, call our office today to schedule a confidential appointment.

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