What to expect during your first visit to the gynecologist
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that girls have their first visit to the gynecologist between the ages of 13 and 15. While it is normal to feel nervous about this first visit, it may help to talk with a parent or trusted adult and let the doctor know so they can ease any nerves you may have.
Obstetrician gynecologist Kristl Vidya Dorschner Tomlin, MD, explained what to expect during a gynecologist visit at this age to help you feel prepared.
“The first visit might simply include a talk between the patient and the doctor. The doctor will ask a lot of questions about the patient and her family. Some of these can seem personal, such as questions about their menstrual period or sexual activities. Most of the information shared will be kept confidential between the doctor and the patient,” said Dr. Tomlin.
What will be discussed at your first visit?
Many young girls share the same health concerns and most of these concerns are a normal part of growing up. They include:
- Cramps and other problems with menstrual periods
- Sex and sexuality
- Birth control
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Alcohol, drugs and smoking
- Emotional ups and downs
Will there be a physical exam?
In addition to a conversation between the patient and the doctor, there may be some sort of physical exam at the first visit. Usually, a general physical exam is performed just like at normal check ups with a pediatrician. A pelvic exam is not usually performed at this first visit unless the patient is having problems, such as abnormal bleeding or pain.
Will any tests be performed?
Any tests that are performed depend on what conversations are had with the doctor during the visit. Common tests that are performed are testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) with a urine sample, or sometimes blood work may be ordered.
“The goal during this first visit is to establish a caring and trusting relationship with our patient. We want her to feel comfortable so that we are setting her up for a lifetime of healthy relationships with her gynecologist,” said Dr. Tomlin.