If your daughter is between the ages of 13 and 15, this is the recommended time for her first appointment with a gynecologist. As we know, every woman should be under the care of a gynecologist throughout her life.
Your gynecologist offers well-woman care and routine screening for cervical cancer and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), as well as information and access to contraception.
Since Dr. Pamela Kimbrough is an OB/GYN (obstetrician and gynecologist), she treats women throughout their lives and during the important transitions of adolescence, pregnancy and childbirth, and menopause. She and the Life’s Cycle team approach caring for your daughter with both reassuring expertise and welcoming warmth.
Why are the early to mid-teens the right age to first see a gynecologist?
The 13- to 15-year age window is when meeting with a gynecologist makes the most sense, because your daughter has entered puberty and has either started menstruating or will soon. It’s also a time when a young woman needs accurate information on questions about sexuality, reproductive health, and her changing body.
Dr. Kimbrough’s open approach puts her youngest patients at ease, so they feel comfortable asking questions. You can consider her an ally as you and your daughter navigate the sometimes choppy waters of adolescence.
The many benefits teens get from a visit to a gynecologist
Your teen’s first visit to Dr. Kimbrough is an important learning experience, not just about her health, but also about how she will learn to manage her own care. Her first visit to Life’s Cycle typically includes:
- A conversation about her medical history
- Evaluation of her overall physical and emotional health
- A discussion of her lifestyle habits, like eating, exercise, and covering the dangers of harmful habits like smoking
- A snapshot of where she is in her development — for example, whether she’s started menstruating and, if so, whether she’s experiencing challenges like cramping
- A chance for your teen to ask questions about her body and development, and what’s “normal,” a concern teens often have
- Counseling about the importance of STD testing, or getting tested for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and other STDs if she’s sexually active
- Information about contraception
- Getting the HPV vaccine if needed (it’s a two-part vaccine if administered to girls under 15, but a three-part series if she receives it at or over age 15) to prevent cervical cancer
- Giving a urine sample so we can test for certain conditions she might be unaware of, like a urinary tract infection (UTI)
Going over what we’ll do beforehand with your daughter helps keep the first-visit jitters at bay, but it’s good to talk to her before the appointment about the importance of honesty when she’s answering Dr. Kimbrough’s questions.
It also helps to emphasize with her that we’re nonjudgmental and respect her confidentiality. You can remain with her throughout the appointment if she likes, or if she prefers you to wait while she has her appointment, that’s OK, too. At some point during the visit, Dr. Kimbrough usually speaks to her alone.
We know teens feel uncomfortable by nature with situations like this, so we make every effort to let them know they’re in a safe, accepting environment. Something important to know is that we don’t typically perform a pelvic exam, so that might relieve you both. The normal age for a woman’s first pap smear is 21.
Communication is key
Like with most things in life, preparation and communication are critical when it comes to you and your daughter feeling well prepared for her first gynecological appointment. Our hope is that this visit can be the healthy, non-stressful beginning of your daughter’s health care journey.
Contact our Norman or Ardmore, Oklahoma, office to make an appointment, or use our convenient online booking tool.