Young women may be wary of the first visit with a gynecologist, and may even not be aware of when they should have that first appointment. A gynecological appointment is all about learning about your reproductive health, and how to take care of yourself. Your family doctor, pediatrician, or a gynecologist can perform this type of appointment, and is there to answer any questions or concerns you may have, and help keep you healthy. Here are some things you may want to know about before you have to put on the doctor’s office fashionable sheet or paper gown:
1. At what age should women begin to see their doctor or gynecologist about sexual and reproductive health?
According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, young women aged 13-15 should have an initial visit with their doctor about their sexual reproductive health. Other reasons to go to the gynecologist are:
• If you have had your period, but then don’t have it for three months.
• If you have stomach pain, fever, and a foul smelling discharge from your vagina that is yellow, gray, or greenish in color (this may indicate an infection or pelvic inflammatory disease).
• If you are having problems with your period (irregularity, excessive pain or bleeding, or extended bleeding).
• If you haven’t gotten your period by the age of 15 or within three years of when your breasts started to grow.
• If you are sexually active and miss your period.
While the doctor will not perform a pelvic or pap exam (unless you are sexually active), the doctor may administer the HPV vaccine, may perform an external exam, and will discuss sexual health with the patient and explain how to maintain sexual and reproductive health throughout adulthood. All women, sexually active or not, should visit with a gynecologist by the age of 21.
2. Why do women need to go to the gynecologist?
A gynecologist or a gynecological appointment can help you understand your body and how to take care of it. A doctor also can help you to understand what is considered normal, so you will know when you need to be seen for any problems that may occur.