Gynecologists who treat teens and adolescents understand that patients in these groups have special health concerns and questions that need to be addressed, and they also know the importance of establishing good health habits at a young age. Teen gynecologists are skilled in creating a warm, relaxing, trusting atmosphere where young women can feel confident discussing their concerns, as well as providing important information about sexual health.
Ideally, a teen should see a gynecologist when she begins her period or at least by age 13 or before she becomes sexually active. Seeing a gynecologist at a young age can help ensure each patient is equipped with the knowledge and understanding she needs to take control of her health now and in her future.
Gynecology exams for teens and adolescents begin like a regular well woman exam, with a patient history, measurements of weight and blood pressure and a brief discussion of any concerns the patient may have. The exam itself typically is conducted in private with the parent waiting outside to preserve the teen’s privacy and to help her feel more comfortable asking questions or discussing concerns. Of course, no medical intervention will be provided without involving the parent or guardian. The exam focuses on the external genitalia, and a pelvic exam is rarely performed unless there’s an indication of an infection or other concern. A breast exam may or may not be performed depending on the patient’s age and other factors. once the exam is complete, the patient will be provided with lifestyle and health guidance and other information related to her sexual and general health.
HPV stands for human papillomavirus, a very common and very large family of viruses that infects just about every sexually-active person at some point. Most of the viruses in this family clear up on their own without causing symptoms; some can increase the risk of cervical cancer and others can cause genital warts. The HPV vaccine is important for helping young women avoid HPV infections so her risks of both these issues are reduced.
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