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At What Age Should Girls First See an OBGYN?
Health needs change, but an OBGYN is there for women throughout their lives. One of the biggest questions you may have as a mother is when your daughter should start going to the obstetrician/gynecologist. Every girl faces different physical and emotional challenges and issues, so the answer may not be the same for all patients. Still, it can be helpful for mothers and their daughters to understand when it is time to make the switch from a pediatrician to an OBGYN.
What the OBGYN can do
The obstetrician/gynecologist has knowledge and training of the female reproductive system and other common conditions women confront. This doctor should be a woman’s first choice for health and wellness in adulthood and even during the teenage years. This professional can diagnose and treat many problems and issues. The doctor may also perform a wide range of tests and procedures to assess wellness. Some of these various elements include the following:
- Conduct a pelvic exam
- Give a pap smear to test for cervical cancer
- Care for a woman during pregnancy
- Deliver babies
- Provide counsel and treatment for postpartum depression
- Help with reproductive challenges
Why women should see this doctor
Regular doctor visits are crucial, just as it is important to get dental checkups. Doctor’s appointments can help identify health conditions before they get worse and may provide treatment for ongoing illnesses and disorders. Avoiding these appointments can compromise one’s health and may also inhibit proper development. Consistently seeing the doctor can also give a woman peace of mind and calm apprehension.
When to start
Young girls should make annual visits to the pediatrician. These doctors have training in the problems and typical issues that affect babies, children and youth. However, as a girl enters puberty and gets closer to young womanhood, additional care will be essential. Most OBGYN professionals recommend that girls make the first appointment between ages 13 and 15. Visits can be earlier if girls have painful or irregular periods.
Many girls can be nervous for their first visit to the obstetrician/gynecologist. This can be an intimidating experience for any teen. The doctor will strive to make the girls as comfortable as possible and create an atmosphere where all patients can feel at ease. A pelvic exam may not be necessary at this stage. A teenager’s first appointment will likely include a health history review and a discussion about the changes in her body and care during the menstrual cycle.
For most women and girls, going to the doctor is not a reason to celebrate. There can be some anxiety and even fear for visits at any age, especially for younger patients. If your daughter is between the ages of 13 and 15, it is time to prepare to transition to an OBGYN. This doctor can provide care and treatment that other medical professionals may not give. Speak to one of these doctors today and make a wellness appointment for your daughter.
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