The first time a pre-teen or teenager visits the gynecologist, she may not know what to expect. As a parent or guardian of a girl or young woman, you may feel similarly about this experience. At UHealth, our highly trained physicians and staff are sensitive to the unique needs and concerns of younger female patients, including those new to or nervous about receiving gynecological care.
Girls should start seeing a gynecologist between ages 13 and 15 years old. During an initial visit, a consultation can help address many concerns, such as managing menstrual hygiene, understanding hormonal and physical changes during puberty, and developing healthy romantic relationships. A pelvic exam typically isn’t needed at this time unless the patient is experiencing abnormal symptoms of some kind.
Pediatric and adolescent gynecology visits are an opportunity to answer the patient’s questions about her changing body and address concerns about her reproductive, sexual, and overall health and emotional wellness. Some private conversations between gynecologists and minor-aged patients are often recommended to inspire trust and encourage an open dialogue on sensitive topics. By law, your child’s sexual health information will be shared with you only if the patient provides signed consent.
Your UHealth gynecologist can also address topics including genetic and behavioral risk factors for cervical, uterine, and breast cancers; questions about LGBTQ and gender identity; naming and explaining external and internal female genitalia; safe sex practices and abstinence; sexual assault/date rape survivorship; and sexual consent.
The nature of these gynecological visits depends on the patient’s medical history and any underlying physical, neurological, or psychological conditions. UHealth pediatric and adolescent gynecologists consider the patient’s physiological and emotional development, sexual behavior, any issues she’s experiencing related to reproductive health, and the level of care she receives from other health care professionals.
Adolescents with Menstrual Disorders
One of the most common reasons adolescents see a gynecologist is for help managing her periods. A girl’s menstrual cycle should not be so painful or heavy that it interferes with school or her extracurricular activities. Our pediatric/adolescent gynecologists can help determine if there is an underlying problem and offer solutions.
Patients with Special Medical Needs
Menstruating can be especially challenging for patients with underlying medical conditions (such as complex heart conditions, GI problems, and seizure disorders, among others) because menstrual cycles sometimes can worsen some disease symptoms or trigger flare-ups. Our gynecologists specialize in helping these patients manage their periods to improve their quality of life. We provide comprehensive reproductive healthcare for patients with special medical, developmental, and physical needs.
Birth Control Options
Contraception is always safer than pregnancy in adolescents. For girls who have chosen to be sexually active, preventing an unplanned pregnancy can protect her health. Minors can receive a prescription for contraception to reduce the chances of getting pregnant. There are many birth control options to discuss with your UHealth gynecologist. They can also explain why (male and female) condom use is needed in addition to birth control to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections.
Treatments and Procedures
- Birth control options
- Emergency contraception
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine
- Intrauterine device and contraceptive implants (for menstrual symptoms or contraception)
- Reproductive counseling for cancer survivors
- Surgical treatments when needed
Exams and Tests
- Evaluation of vulvar and vaginal symptoms
- Pelvic exam as needed
- Pregnancy testing
- Sexually transmitted infections testing as needed
- Abnormal discharge
- Abnormal periods (irregular, absent, too heavy, too frequent, painful)
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Break-through bleeding between periods
- Breast masses and discharge
- Congenital anomalies (such as absent uterus or ovaries)
- Difficulty managing periods, menstrual hygiene
- Excess facial hair growth
- History of sexual assault or sexual abuse
- Hormonal changes during puberty
- Hormonal disorders
- Menstrual cycle irregularity or no bleeding due to participation in athletics
- Menstrual management for girls with underlying medical conditions/diseases
- Mood changes with periods
- Ovarian cysts
- Ovarian insufficiency (ovarian failure), especially in cancer survivors
- Painful vaginal intercourse
- Pelvic pain
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Precocious (too early) or delayed puberty
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Pubertal concerns for transgender youth
- Sexually transmitted infections
- Unprotected sexual activity/desire for contraception
- Urinary tract infection
- Vulvar and vaginal symptoms (discharge, pain, itching, bleeding, odor)
- Yeast infection
Why Choose UHealth?
An accessible approach for younger patients and their parents. You and your child can feel comfortable speaking openly with your UHealth gynecologist about sensitive topics and have confidence in their expertise. We make gynecological services more accessible, offering the latest diagnostic tests, in-office procedures, surgery, and advanced treatments for girls and young women.
Multidisciplinary care advances women’s health and wellness. The types of exams and services recommended by your UHealth gynecologist will depend on the care already provided by your primary care physician. If additional specialists are needed for consultation, testing, diagnosis, or treatment, UHealth physicians in every specialty (including hematology, nutrition, oncology, obstetrics, psychiatry, and urology) can collaborate or provide referrals to ensure the highest quality of care — all in one location.
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