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When Is it Time to Start Seeing a Gynecologist?

I’ve had my period for a few years now — is it time for me to start seeing a gynecologist?
– Cindy*

Doctors recommend that girls start seeing a gynecologist between the ages of 13 and 15. This is extra important for those who are having sex or who have problems such as heavy bleeding, missed periods, or a change in their vaginal discharge.

Other health care providers can see teens for sexual health  wellness visits too, including adolescent medicine doctors, family practice doctors, and nurse practitioners .

Your gynecologist (or other health care provider) can: 

  • make sure that your reproductive system is problem-free
  • help you avoid problems in the future
  • answer your questions about how your reproductive system works, your period, or your body

It might seem like the health care provider asks lots of personal questions about your body and your sexual activity. It’s important to be honest so that the doctor can help keep you healthy. If you don’t want some information shared with your parents, ask what will be kept confidential (between you and your health care provider only).

The doctor also may do an exam. Most teen girls don’t need a pelvic exam. Doctors  don't recommend regular pelvic exams or Pap smears until a woman is 21 years old. You can have a nurse, parent, or other family member there during any part of the visit.

Getting into the habit of seeing a gynecologist yearly is a great way to ensure your good health now and in the future.

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

Reviewed by: Amy W. Anzilotti, MD
Date Reviewed: 04-11-2020

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