Tanner Health System MyChart

  • Home
  • What is the right age to see a gynecologist?

What is the right age to see a gynecologist?

For some young people, there may be gynecological issues that cannot be properly addressed by a pediatrician or primary care provider and will require a visit to a healthcare provider that specializes in reproductive health.

When is it time to see a gynecologist?

While there is no “right” age for a first visit, if there are no issues that necessitate a visit, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends a first visit between the ages of 13 and 15.

There are cases where a physical issue might mean that a visit at an earlier age is warranted. Most first visits are basic and include discussions on puberty, menstruation, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and birth control. Internal pelvic exams are only performed if there are symptoms to require one; cervical cancer screenings — like Pap tests — don’t begin until after adolescence.

Young people often feel more comfortable discussing these topics with a healthcare provider than with their parent or guardian. Sexual health knowledge is a vital part of growing up. Having a healthcare provider who knows how to listen and speak with young people about their sexual health and how their bodies work is essential.

Why should a child see a gynecologist at an earlier age?

The onset of puberty and the first menstruation cycle is not dictated by age. If a child begins to develop earlier than their teenage years, a visit to a gynecologist can be helpful.

Menstruation is often irregular at the beginning of puberty, but some teens may experience heavy periods, frequent periods or extreme cramping. These issues are not normal at any age and there are treatment options that can improve these symptoms.

Preparing for your first gynecology visit

It’s important to prepare your child for their first visit and explain what will happen during the appointment.

While it can be a difficult topic of discussion, ensuring your child knows what to expect can alleviate their fear or anxiety. A bimanual exam may also be conducted, which involves using two hands to check the size and location of the pelvic organs like the uterus and ovaries, including pressing down on the lower abdomen while fingers in the vagina are used to elevate the uterus and ovaries.

Discussing gender identity

Visiting a gynecologist can feel especially daunting for those experiencing gender identity concerns.

Healthcare providers may adjust their treatment for those who do not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. If a child or teen has questions for concerns about their gender identity, a gynecologist can be a helpful resource to talk about the subject.

Read more about preparing for a first gynecologist visit in The Scope.

If you’re ready to make an appointment, we’re here to help! Tanner Healthcare for Women has practices in Carrollton and Villa Rica. Find more at TannerHealthcareForWomen.org.

Tanner Health System, Tanner Medical Group, Gynecology Care, Primary Care

Comments have been disabled for this post.