Q. I have a teenage daughter who is 15 years old. When should she have her first visit for a GYN check-up?
A. There is no need to bring a fifteen year old to the gynecologist unless she is having a problem. Concerns requiring a gynecologic visit would include menstrual problems such as heavy bleeding or cramping (causing her to miss school), onset of sexual activity, and pregnancy.
Many women equate the pap smear with their annual exam, but actually a pap smear may not be needed in a young adolescent with menstrual problems who is not sexually active, although she may benefit from a pelvic exam and education regarding breast self-exams. Current guidelines for pap screening are age 21 or three years following onset of sexual activity, whichever comes first.
Sabrina Collins, M.D.
Chattanooga Center for Women
7490 Zeigler Road
Chattanooga TN 37421-3156