Walking clients through their first gynecologic visit in a gentle and supportive manner is one of the most rewarding parts of our practice. As with clients of any age, you are welcome to be accompanied by a support person, or by yourself - however, you will feel the most relaxed is best.
Why would an adolescent need to see a gynecology provider?
Puberty brings many changes to young women and their bodies. Jill Gustafson, CNM helps young women to understand these changes and how to care for themselves, as well as providing treatment for any conditions and advice on sexual health. Teenage girls are recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to begin seeing a gynecologic provider between the ages of 13 and 15. While pap tests are not usually required until a woman is 21 years old, if a teenager is sexually active, has irregular periods, or symptoms consistent with pelvic inflammatory disease or sexually transmitted diseases she should definitely see a gynecologic provider for specialized support.
What are common gynecological concerns for teenagers?
Due to the hormonal fluctuations of puberty, young women often experience irregular periods. Irregular periods include early or delayed first menstruation, heavy or frequent periods, significant pain during menstruation, or amenorrhea, which is the absence of periods. Breast masses are also common as a young woman develops. Even if a young woman is not sexually active, it is important for her to build a relationship with a trusted gynecologic provider.
What should a young woman expect during her first appointment?
Our adolescent visits are approximately one hour long, and we focus our discussion on any topic that you need to know more about. Common concerns of adolescence include physical and emotional changes, irregular periods, PMS and cramps, breast changes, vaginal health and hygiene, acne, sexual health, and/or pregnancy prevention. Jill will also offer a full physical exam, but a breast or pelvic exam is only needed if you are having pain or other concerns. Pap tests are usually only required once a woman is 21 years old.
For those having their first pelvic exam, it is normal to be nervous! During the first part of your appointment, you will get to know Jill and have any questions answered about how the exam works. Once you are ready, you will be offered a robe to change into, or the option to stay in your own clothes for your exam. Jill will help you to find a position that is comfortable for you and allows you to participate as much as you want. The exam takes no longer than 5 minutes and should not be painful, although if you are feeling very sensitive to pain or touch, you can trust that your boundaries will be respected.