By: Dr. Lara R. Hart, MD
Patients often ask me when they should bring their daughters in for their first OB/Gyn appointment. There is not always a clear answer to this question. Certainly if a girl of any age is having an issue with any of her “bikini zone” areas (breasts, vulva, vagina) it is wise to seek the input of an OB/Gyn. Once menstruation or puberty has begun it is also a good time to initiate contact with an OB/Gyn. In this post, I will share with you when to start seeing an OB/Gyn, as well as what those particular appointments will entail.
Young girls can experience issues prior to puberty that need to be evaluated. Issues can include: vulvar irritation, vaginal discharge, signs and symptoms of early puberty, as well as others. The younger the patient, the more important it may be to seek out an OB/Gyn comfortable with that particular age group. Generally at these visits the exam will focus primarily on the area that is affected. The young patient is made to feel as comfortable as possible with as much talking and explanation as is appropriate for that age range. The parent/s are always kept in the room. Personally, I use humor as much as possible to make everyone comfortable! I also have found that it is helpful to enlist the patient in her own exam. Internal exams are often unnecessary and, if deemed necessary, are scheduled to be done in the OR so the patient can receive anesthesia for comfort.