Five reasons to see a gynecologist before age 21
Although most young women do not need to a have a Pap test until they are 21 years old, gynecologic visits between the ages of 15–21 are really more of a conversation than an exam.
Dianna T. Gurich, MD, shared five reasons why you should see a gynecologist before age 21.
- Get to know your doctor. Establishing a relationship early with a doctor you can trust is the best way to get and to stay healthy for many years to come. Your OB/GYN is your cheerleader in health and in life. He or she wants the best for you, both physically and emotionally. Your doctor will establish a baseline for you so that they know when things are off. Once you’re an established patient, it’s much easier to get an appointment for sick or follow-up care, and if you need a referral to a specialist, your doctor will already have access to your medical record.
- Understand what is normal. Find out if things are normal, like your period. Is it painful, too heavy, too light, too close together or too far apart? Do you have bleeding between your periods? Are you suffering from premenstrual syndrome (PMS)?
- Be prepared and educated. Learn about safe sex and think things through before you have sex for the first time. This includes discussing your birth control options. An OB/GYN can also talk to you about having safe and healthy relationships with a partner.
- Know what to do if you become pregnant. You do have options and your OB/GYN can walk you through those options, including planning ahead for a safe and healthy pregnancy.
- Get tested. Protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases (STIs), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and human papillomavirus (HPV). Understand and take steps to lower your risk of becoming infected.
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