According to a recent American College of Ob/Gyn Bulletin ( the Ob/Gyn’s ”Go – To” Source) it’s between the ages of 13-15 (1). At first, I was a bit surprised by that early age, but then upon thinking about it, it made a lot of sense. This is the time in a teen’s life where many questions arise: physical and emotional changes of puberty, self-esteem, problems with menstrual cycles and possible sexual exploration. It is an ideal time to establish a relationship and provide valuable information. It’s always better to be prepared – regarding all aspects of health – especially when it comes to the health of your daughter!
What are my goals for this initial visit?
1) Establish a level of trust and comfort – a safe haven for her to share her health concerns.
2) Create an adolescent friendly environment – have her know that she is being “heard” and “understood”.
3) Ensure confidentiality- gives her another outlet to discuss intimate topics – from how to insert a tampon, to heavy periods and bad cramps, to peer pressure regarding sex.
4) Educate regarding normal menstrual cycles and sexually transmitted diseases.
5) Alleviate fears about “female doctor and pelvic exam” – No internal exam is needed at this initial visit, unless otherwise indicated. The PAP smear can wait until she’s 21 years old.
6) Review her medical history, her family history and immunization status. (This is also when the pros and cons regarding the HPV vaccine can be discussed.).
What’s so important about family history?
If you or any other female relative has a certain gynecological condition, this may very well affect your daughter too. For instance, such conditions as endometriosis, fibroids, delayed puberty, breast, colon, ovarian and uterine cancer, and polycystic ovarian syndrome have a definite genetic component.
Other very important factors regarding family history would include a family history of clot formation (venous thromboembolism), heart disease, diabetes, mental illness and substance abuse. Having this background knowledge allows for the best treatment and wellness plan for your daughter.
What about social history? Will Dr. Hoppe also discuss risky behaviors?
Yes! This aspect is critical. Many adolescents are at risk of engaging in unhealthy and risky behavior, such as smoking, alcohol and other substance abuse. Having another trustworthy and confidential woman to voice her concerns and fears may well decrease her likelihood in engaging in these activities.
Why wait? Schedule your daughter’s appointment today!
I’m here for you and your family. Providing the highest quality care for mothers and daughters (as well as grandmothers!) is a true gift of my profession. Call the office at 760-635-5600.