Thursday, 1 June 2017
How to prepare your teen for her first gynaecologist visit
A teen's first visit to an obstetrician-gynaecologist can be intimidating, so a gynaecologist offers moms some tips to help make the experience easier for daughters.
"Before you go, explain why regular ob-gyn visits are important. Not all doctor visits are just because you're feeling sick," said Dr Julie Jacobstein, an adolescent gynaecologist with LifeBridge Health in Baltimore. "Going to the ob-gyn provides your daughter with a safe space to ask questions and learn about prevention.
A more comfortable conversation
"Let your daughter know that the first visit is often just a way to establish a relationship with your ob-gyn," Jacobstein advised in a LifeBridge news release. You should also prepare your daughter for questions about her medical history.
"Ensuring that your daughter understands why the doctor needs this information and knows what questions will be asked can often make the conversation more comfortable. Arriving with a vaccination history can also be helpful," Jacobstein said.
It's also important to explain the parts of the physical exam, including a breast exam, and offer reassurance that it won't take too long.
"Teens are often most concerned about the physical exam, however there are many parts to an ob-gyn visit, and the physical exam is often a minor part," said Jacobstein, who noted that a pelvic exam is not always done on a first visit.
An open discussion
"Address any additional concerns your daughter may have before the visit. Explain to her that she shouldn't feel embarrassed and that it's important for all women to have regular ob-gyn visits," she said.
"After the visit, talk to her about how it went. If your daughter mentions that she felt uncomfortable with the doctor or nurse practitioner, consider finding a new one," Jacobstein said.
"By being open and discussing the experience with your daughter, you can help to make the first visit to an ob-gyn a more comfortable one," she added.
A Health24 article explains when and why a young woman should go for her first gynae visit:
• Once a woman/girl becomes sexually active she should see a gynaecologist. The gynaecologist will advise her on contraception and protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STIs).
• A woman/girl of any age, whether sexually active or not, should see a gynaecologist if she, or her mother, thinks something might be wrong – for example, an unusual discharge or abnormal periods.
• Young women who are not sexually active but use tampons, should go for their first gynaecological check-up around the age of 21. The use of tampons facilitates an internal examination, which might not be possible otherwise.