If you have a teenage daughter, it can seem like it’s too early to start considering her reproductive health. Likely, your daughter feels uncomfortable about it too. However, it’s extremely important for your adolescent daughter to see a gynecologist early on so she can enjoy a smooth transition into adulthood with the help of a women’s health expert. Here are some factors to consider when determining whether it’s time for your daughter to see a gynecologist.
She hasn’t had her first period by 15
Most women have their first periods at between 9 and 15 years old. If your daughter is 15 and has not had a period yet, then it can be a sign that something is wrong. This means it’s time for a gynecologist to assess why her reproductive system isn’t progressing as it should.
She experiences 3 months or longer between periods
When women first start having periods, it’s extremely common for them to be irregular. Especially if she is very active with sports or experiences high amounts of stress at school or home, her periods can occur with one or two months in between. If this goes on longer than three months, then she should see a gynecologist.
Her periods are too long, too heavy, or too frequent
If she has periods more than once a month, experiences abnormally heavy or prolonged bleeding, or bleeds for longer than a normal period, then it may be a sign of an underlying condition. This can often be the result of hormone disorders or bleeding problems.
She has severe symptoms with her periods
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) are both real conditions that can greatly affect your daughter’s quality of life before or around her periods. If she has extreme mood swings, depression symptoms, soreness, bloating, acne, fatigue, constipation, or diarrhea with her periods, then she should see a gynecologist.
She misses school because of pain
Although period cramps are common, your daughter should see a gynecologist if she experiences pain such that she misses school or extracurricular activities. Additional signs include nausea, diarrhea, and lightheadedness. If the pain doesn’t respond to over-the-counter painkillers, then she should be evaluated for medical problems like endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease.
She is sexually active
Although your daughter should ideally meet with a gynecologist before she begins having sex, she should definitely consult a gynecologist who can ensure she’s staying safe and risk-averse from things like unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and nonconsensual sex. For this reason, it’s important to ensure your daughter feels comfortable enough confiding in you when she begins having sex so she can get the care she needs.
She is old enough for a Pap test
If your daughter has not met with a gynecologist by the time she is 21 but is otherwise healthy, then she should have her first appointment. The American Cancer Society recommends that regular Pap tests begin at this age. At this time, a gynecologist can screen for cervical cancer and administer the HPV vaccine if she has not already had it.
Schedule an Appointment
It can seem uncomfortable to talk with your daughter about topics around her reproductive health, but it’s important that she begin establishing a relationship with a gynecologist who can ensure she gets the care she needs for the upcoming stages of her life. To have your daughter meet with our award-winning gynecological team, contact our New York City office by calling or filling out our online form.