When do I need to bring my daughter in for her first gyn visit?
Well, she does NOT need a pap until she is 21 years old, but I'd love to meet her before then.
Bring her in if she's having heavy or painful periods, especially if her periods cause her to miss school or other activities
Bring her in if she's sexually active, or you think she may become sexually active soon
Bring her in before she goes off to college
For your daughter's first gyn visit, if she's not 21 yet, we'll just talk. She won't need to get undressed, and she doesn't need a breast or pelvic exam. She won't need a pap yet. I will offer her STD testing, but she can usually just pee in a cup for that. I like when their first visit isn't so intimate.
It's fine if you want to come back to the exam room with her to help her feel more comfortable. It's best if she can tell me what's going on, but often my teens are shy. (Which is weird, because I'm still super cool in my 40s, right?!). So it's fine if you want to tell me some things I need to know. But definitely after a few minutes, do excuse yourself and leave the room. Even if you two are really close and share everything, we cannot have a truly open and honest conversation with you there. I need to establish a trusting relationship with her, so she feels comfortable to talk with me about embarrassing and uncomfortable things. And I will ask her about her periods, and I will talk about sex and birth control and STDs and how men can ruin your life (in a fun, light-hearted, kidding-but also-not kidding kind of way).
Once she's 21, then she needs a real-deal gyn visit. She will most likely need a pap too, even if she isn't sexually active yet. She should definitely start having an annual breast exam, and I'll talk to her about risk factors and screening for breast cancer. We'll check her blood pressure and weight. We will talk about family history and risk factors for certain issues. We will also discuss diet and exercise, and healthy lifestyle choices. When we do the pap, I'll make it quick. I'll explain what I'm doing the whole time and just try to make it as unmemorable as possible.
I really like to keep the first gyn visit as short and sweet and easy as possible.
When a patient says, "That wasn't so bad", I consider it a win.