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Prepping Your Daughter for Her First Gynecology Visit

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that a girl’s first gynecological exam takes place between the ages of 13 and 15. However, if your daughter has already started menstruating or if she’s sexually active, you can bring her in when she’s younger than 13. 

Maria Cole, APRN, FNP-C, and Kelly Wenger, APRN, FNP-C are patient and caring nurse practitioners (NPs) who offer gynecologic exams as part of their women’s health services at Maria Cole Family Practice in Odessa, Texas. If your daughter is ready for a gynecology exam, we’ve prepared the following guide to help her understand this new phase in her life. 

We encourage you to read this blog with your daughter and feel free to call us if you or she have any questions. 

Gynecological care is for women’s bodies

During a gynecological exam, your NP evaluates the health of your female reproductive organs. She also asks you questions about menstruation, sexual activity, and any symptoms you might have, such as periods that seem to be too long or too short.

Only women and girls receive gynecological exams. They’re an important part of your self-care routine. Regular gynecological exams are as essential to your health and well-being as annual general exams and biannual visits to the dentist.

Because our NPs are both women, you can feel comfortable and safe talking about your body. Your mom can also stay in the exam room. Before we start the exam, we talk to you about what’s going to happen, so you won’t be surprised.

Your NP examines your whole body

Even though a gynecologic exam is focused on your reproductive organs, our NPs and staff also make sure you’re well by conducting a brief general physical exam. You remove your clothing and wear a paper gown for all of your exams. 

During the general physical, we test and determine your:

We also ask you questions about any kind of symptoms you might have. If you need a vaccination or booster shot, we administer those during your exam.

Girls as young as 9 years old can receive a vaccination against the human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV is the main cause of cervical cancer. 

Your NP examines your breasts and external genitalia

The aim of a gynecologic exam is to ensure that you’re healthy and to catch any potential problems in an early stage. While you lie back on the exam table, we gently palpate your breasts and squeeze your nipples to determine if you have any lumps or irregularities.

We then ask you to put your feet in the metal stirrups at the end of the table. The stirrups support your feet as you separate your knees and legs so that we can see your vulva, which consists of the inner and outer labia, plus the clitoris and vagina.

We may hand you a mirror so that you can look at your external genitalia, too, so that you become familiar with the way they look. We also teach you the names of your vulvar parts, vagina, and anus.

Unless you’re sexually active, we probably won’t conduct a pelvic exam. However, if we do perform a pelvic exam, we may press down on your abdominal area while inserting a gloved hand into your vagina to check for irregularities.

You may receive a PAP test

For your first gynecological exam, you probably won’t receive a Pap test. However, once you become sexually active, a Pap test should be part of your regular gynecologic exams.

During a Pap smear, we insert a metal tool called a speculum into your vagina and use it to open the cervix, which is the entryway to your uterus. Once the speculum has opened the cervix, we swab some cells from the cervix. The lab then checks them for precancerous changes.

You ask about anything that concerns you

A gynecological exam is the perfect place to ask your NP about any issues that are on your mind. If you’re sexually active and are worried you may be pregnant or have a sexually transmitted disease (STD), we give you the tests you need. You can also ask about:

But you don’t have to limit your questions to those that are related to your reproductive organs. We can also help with:

At Maria Cole Family Practice, we’re devoted to keeping you in the best health possible, both physically and emotionally. You can talk to us about anything that worries or concerns you so that we can find a solution. 

Contact us today at Maria Cole Family Practice, 432-200-9087 to set up your daughter’s first women’s health exam. You can also reach our team with our online message form

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