As a young girl or teen, you’re probably accustomed to receiving medical care from a pediatrician, internist, or family doctor. But between the ages of 13 and 15 -- around the time you start to menstruate -- you should have your first visit with a gynecologist, sometimes called a GYN for short.
A GYN (also known as an OB/GYN) is a doctor who specializes in women’s health. GYNs diagnose and treat conditions related to a woman’s sexuality and reproductive system. GYNs also help educate women about the steps they can take to protect their reproductive health.
You may feel nervous about having your first gynecology exam. It’s completely normal to feel that way. But at Women’s Healthcare of Princeton in Princeton, New Jersey, our team of all-female care providers do our best to make you feel comfortable and safe during your visit. Our providers have extensive experience providing comprehensive care to young women.
During your first visit, you can see your care provider by yourself, or you can ask your mother or family member to come in with you. Here are some of the things you can expect during your visit.
A check-in on your health
Your first visit includes a physical exam, which is the type of exam you receive when you see your pediatrician or family doctor. Your provider listens to your heart and lungs, checks your pulse and blood pressure, and asks you questions about your overall health.
If you’re having certain symptoms, such as heavy bleeding or pelvic pain, your provider may perform an internal pelvic exam. Usually, however, young women don’t need this exam until they’re 21.
Mostly what you do during your first gynecology appointment is to talk with your provider.
For example, your provider asks you about your periods, including how frequently they occur, how long they last, and whether you have cramps, headaches, or other symptoms before or during menstruation. Be sure to tell your provider if you’re having any pain or discomfort.
Answers to all of your questions
Your provider knows that you probably have a million questions about your health, so she leaves plenty of time during your visit to answer them. Feel free to ask about any issue that you wonder about, including the following:
- Alcohol, tobacco, or drug use
- Birth control
- Body image
- Depression, anxiety, and mood swings
- Eating and nutrition
- Gender identity
- Sexual activity and sexual health
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Sexual orientation
- Social issues at home or school
- Weight concerns
Schedule your first GYN visit
The providers at Women’s Healthcare of Princeton offer care to patients in the greater New York City, New Jersey, and eastern Pennsylvania areas. To make an appointment, call our office at 609-246-5541 or make an appointment using our online booking tool.