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Health Library

Spotlight on Teen Health

Make your daughter’s health a priority: Schedule her first appointment with a gynecologist by age 15 and empower her with invaluable knowledge about her body.

A young woman should first visit a gynecologist between the ages of 13 and 15. This recommendation by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is based on two important factors:

• A thorough examination with routine checks can confirm a teenager is developing normally.

• A gynecologist can address problems such as missed periods, painful periods or signs of infection.

“During the first visit, I try to create a comfortable atmosphere and just have a conversation with the young lady,” says Angela Watson, M.D., OB/GYN at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital. “We hope that by the time young women are in my office, they have already received the Gardasil® vaccine to prevent cervical cancer, but if they haven’t, we’ll discuss it. We also talk about what’s normal with their bodies and their menstruation, and I provide information about sex, sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.”

If your teen is worried about a pelvic exam, tell her to rest easy. Many physicians don’t perform a pelvic exam until a young woman is 21, unless it’s medically necessary.

“Encouraging your teenage daughter to visit a gynecologist shows her that her health is important,” says Watson. “The key to good gynecological health is ensuring your daughter is empowered with knowledge before she needs it.”

For more information about women’s services at a Texas Health hospital, please visit TexasHealth.org/women or call 1-877-THR-WELL (1-877-847-9355).

(Fall/Winter 2009)

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