Girl Talk: When Should Teenagers Make That First Gyn Visit?

WARE — Many mothers wonder when their daughters should make their first visit to the gynecologist.

“It is recommended that women of all ages check in with a gynecologist or health care provider every year or two as part of overall preventative health care,” said Dr. Dyanne Tappin of Baystate Medical Practice Mary Lane Ob/Gyn. “The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that girls first see a gynecologist when they’re between the ages of 13 and 15.

Not all girls will need a pelvic exam during this initial visit, though. “Many times we will just do a regular health exam and talk to a girl about her development,” noted Tappin.

“This is a great way for your daughter to develop a relationship with her gynecologist, so that she is comfortable sharing personal information in the future,” she added. “While it is good for teenage girls should see a gynecologist, it is especially important if your daughter has problems with her period or been sexually active.”

According to Tappin, a visit to Mary Lane Ob/Gyn will provide girls with a place where they can get accurate information and confidential answers to any questions they may have about their changing body, menstruation, pap-smear testing, and sexuality. They may also learn about healthy lifestyles, healthy relationships, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, and pregnancy prevention.

“Your daughter’s exam will include a basic physical exam, just like at regular doctors, including an examination of their blood pressure and weight,” said Lisa Beaudry, certified nurse midwife at the practice. “We will do a breast exam and teach your daughter how to do a breast self-exam. The visit may also include an abdominal exam to note if any spots are tender or painful, and a pelvic exam when warranted.”

Added Dr. Mohammed Ahmed, medical director of the practice. “it’s very normal to be uneasy about something when you don’t know what to expect. We take the time, both before and after a visit to our office, to answer any questions or concerns that our patients might have.

“One of the best parts of beginning a relationship with a gynecologist is that it gives young women a great go-to person for any questions,” Ahmed continued. “We want to be their personal source of honest, accurate women’s health information for years to come. Adolescence can also a rough time for most teenagers. A visit to the gynecologist can prove empowering for young women and can help them to adopt the attitude that sexually transmitted diseases won’t happen to them, and help them feel empowered to make health-conscious and safe decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health.”

Ahmed, Tappin, and Beaudry provide comprehensive care to women at two locations: Baystate Medical Practice Mary Lane Ob/Gyn at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital in Ware, or at 95 Sargent St., Route 9, in Belchertown. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (413) 967- 2655.