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When Should My Daughter Start Seeing a Gynecologist? | Dr. Carrie Gordon

When Should My Daughter Start Seeing a Gynecologist? | Dr. Carrie Gordon

There’s varying information out there about when girls should visit the gynecologist for the first time. Is it when she starts her first period? Is it when she becomes sexually active? What about pap smears and pelvic exams? Some mothers dreaded their own first visit and worry their daughter will have a traumatic experience. Adolescent gynecology is one of Dr. Carrie Gordon’s favorite clinical interests. Today she’s answering the questions that young ladies and their parents have.

When do you recommend girls/young women first visit a gynecologist?

“Most young women don’t need their first pap smear and pelvic exam until age 21, but there are many reasons why they might visit us before then,” says Dr. Gordon. “Sometimes adolescent girls are referred by her pediatrician, and other times moms bring their daughters in to address specific concerns that are suitable for an OB/GYN.”

What types of health concerns do you help young girls with?

Dr. Gordon sees many patients who are in their teens or preteens. “Most of the problems I see among teens and pre-teens are related to their menstrual cycle, including pain, abnormal flow, very heavy periods, or infrequent periods (those who don’t have a bleeding cycle every month).” Among teens and young women, she tends to see issues related to pelvic pain, recurrent infections or irritations, and birth control consultations.

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Why is it beneficial to start seeing a gynecologist early in life?

Many health concerns are well-addressed by pediatricians, but as girls mature, they start to encounter things that can be handled better by OB/GYNs, such as pelvic problems and menstrual abnormalities. Dr. Gordon also asserts that establishing a doctor/patient relationship tends to lead to better overall health.

“Having a trusted healthcare professional is a powerful thing, especially in adolescence. It’s important that I equip these girls with the confidence they need, follow-up care, and ease their fears/anxieties about reaching out to a doctor as they move into their reproductive age group.”

Are adolescent girls uneasy about visiting the OB/GYN?

“I see anxiety in young ladies all the time,” says Dr. Gordon. Most often, it’s the dreaded pelvic exam. “Pelvic exams can be an emotionally uncomfortable situation, but we usually don’t need to perform one until age 21. When I tell teenagers ‘we’re not doing a pelvic exam today,’ the anxiety melts off them. I love that.”

Why are you passionate about adolescent gynecology?

For Dr. Gordon, equipping girls with the confidence to take charge of their health is rewarding. “Some OB/GYNs aren’t as comfortable with this age group, but I really enjoy helping patients ease their fears and concerns.” She also loves educating girls on what the gynecologist can help them with, as this tends to foster an ongoing relationship between her and her patients. “When women know where to go, it equips them for a lifetime.”

Dr. Carrie Gordon

Dr. Carrie Gordon is an OB/GYN who practices at Intermountain Layton Hospital. Schedule your first visit with her here.