adolescence and their teen years, girls experience significant
physiologic changes, which can make understanding their bodies and
the things they do very difficult. Because of this, education is critical. We look at it
as an opportunity to start girls off on the right foot in terms of
taking care of themselves.
To give our young patients a good start, we like to talk to them about anatomy and physiology. We also discuss menstruation, pap smears: why they are done and what takes place during one, sexually transmitted infections such as HPV and how to avoid getting those, contraceptives, pregnancy and many other
areas. We take the time to answer all my patient’s questions. And
while we always encourage girls to discuss
their concerns and questions with their mothers, my office is
committed to maintaining our patients’ rights to privacy.
We also believe it's important to get to know what teens are thinking, what their
goals are, what their level of self-esteem is and how much they
know about smoking, drinking, and weight. All this lets them know
that we are concerned with more than just giving them a pelvic exam —
we want to help them to be successful in life. And that is usually
easier for teens when they delay childbearing, avoid STIs, and stay
Many people ask
us when we think a girl should come in for her first gynecologic
visit. The answer is: it depends. However, girls should know that
many times their first visit may not require an exam, especially if
they are younger than 16.
Beginning to menstruate is part of normal development. When a girl’s
period first starts, it can be normal to have an irregular menstrual
cycle. For most girls this is not a problem, but for others —
perhaps due to school, sports, and other activities — irregular
periods can be quite disruptive. Sometimes it is necessary for a
girl who is not sexually active to take birth control pills to help
regulate her cycle.
Pap smears/cervical exams
Pap smears are a screening test for cervical dysplasia, the
precursor to cervical cancer. Pap smears are indicated for
sexually active girls and all women 21 or older.
Sexually transmitted infections
Once called sexually transmitted diseases or STDs, sexually
transmitted infections (STIs) can be eliminated with proper
papillomavirus (HPV) is the most widely known STI at present.
Questions about getting the Gardasil vaccine (which
can protect young girls and teens from HPV) provides a great reason
for adolescents to come talk to us.
When it comes to birth control, we always discuss available options
with girls (and their mothers if the patient is okay with this),
making sure they understand the benefits and risks of each. Of
course, we adamantly encourage use of condoms to prevent STIs.
We understand the complex issues involved in teen pregnancy, and are
prepared to address these issues in a comforting way. Pregnant teens receive the very best care from our providers and staff.