The #1 question moms ask me about their daughters is when should they have a first gyn visit?
The answer is there is no right answer. It’s not when you get your period, when you start having sex, when you’re 13, 16, 18, or 21. It really depends on the individual:
1)There’s a PROBLEM. Period problems, ovarian cysts, tampon difficulties, infections. These are all often quite easy to manage.
2) There’s a NEED. Most of the younger girls I see for this will be for contraceptive needs and/or STD screening.
3) SCREENING. Current recommendations are for cervical cancer screening, the Pap smear, at age 21 or 25. If you are not having sex, the chances are very low that you would have precancerous cervix cells. But this is a great time to learn how to get informed, take charge, and be responsible for your own health.
4) JUST BECAUSE. These are my favorite. A girl taking control of her health and body, asking questions and getting answers.
👩🏻⚕️Can a pediatrician take care of most of these issues? The short answer is probably yes. The long answer is that gynecologists are trained experts in dealing with the treatment option nuances that are available (for example, not all birth control pills are equal). We see the above issues multiple times a day and are sometimes more aware of what works best. It also comes with the benefit of establishing a relationship with the doctor you will often see after childhood and adolescence.
👩🏻⚕️My Orthodox Jewish angle: Go before seminary, go before you start dating. We can identify issues before they become problems that may be intensified after marriage and/or pregnancy.
👩🏻⚕️And we can also start the female anatomy, sexual health awareness, cycle physiology discussions BEFORE kallah classes. This will actually make your kallah classes BETTER. You can focus on what they are meant to be, rather than a biology lesson.
👩🏻⚕️Find a doctor you feel comfortable with for this new experience. And remember, your doctor does NOT have to do anything you don’t feel comfortable with yet. You can ease into a full gynecologic exam over a few years time.