Women's Health

When to Begin Taking Your Daughter to a Women’s Health Provider

March 9, 2021

When to Begin Taking Your Daughter to a Women’s Health Provider

When or why would my daughter need to start seeing a Women’s Health provider? This is a very intense and personal question for me too! Not only am I a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, but I have a 10 year old daughter who thinks she is entering womanhood far sooner than I would like to think. But the fact is my fellow parents, our young women and their bodies are going through a lot of changes and with this comes questions, from them and their parents!

At What Age Should I Bring My Daughter in to Be Seen?

There is no set age limit when it comes to transitioning from pediatric to women’s health care. As women’s health care providers, these are a few topics that we can help coordinate with your primary care or pediatric provider.

  • Menstrual cycle control
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Acne
  • Body image, including health weight and nutrition
  • Sexual health and sexually transmitted diseases

Ideally, women’s health care providers want to become involved around the time when the menstrual cycle begins (average age in the US is 12.5 years old) (ACOG, 2021). Don’t worry! At the first office visit, we will discuss our privacy policy and include the parent/guardian and young woman together. These first visits are intended to get to know you, your family, and any past or current personal and family health issues or concerns. The provider may need to speak with the adolescent alone to discuss other private issues that may include:

  • Home life
  • School
  • Friends
  • Relationships
  • Sexual health
  • Drug/alcohol use

What Can we Expect for the First Few Visits?

Education and preventative measures, including vaccinations and health screenings, are some of the top priorities at these office visits. Pelvic exams do not need to be performed, unless there are any concerning symptoms such as pelvic pain, unexplained vaginal bleeding/discharge, or when they turn 21 years old. While the latest recommendations discourage Pap smears for cervical cancer screening until age 21 (ACOG, 2018), the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine helps protect against the types of HPV that most often cause cervical cancer and is recommended for adolescents beginning as early as age 9 (CDC, 2020):

  • HPV vaccination is routinely recommended for male and female preteens aged 11 to 12 years, but can be given starting at age 9.
  • HPV vaccine is also recommended for everyone through age 26 years, if they are not vaccinated already.
  • The US Food and Drug Administration recently approved the use of HPV vaccination for males and females ages 9 to 45.

In summary, there is no right or wrong answer as to when, where, or how often your daughter needs to see a women’s health care provider. Consider it a tool in your tool belt to use as needed to help navigate the unique territories of womanhood! Opening lines of communication with your daughter and health care providers helps create the strong foundation of knowledge, education, and trust that can carry them through lots of challenging times that may lie ahead.

For more information, contact one of our CHI Health Women’s Health providers.

References:

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) (2018). Cervical Cancer Screening. Retrieved online on March 3, 2021, from Cervical Cancer Screening (acog.org) .

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) (2021). Top 3 Questions Parents Ask About Their Daughters and Puberty. Retrieved online on March 4, 2021, from The Top 3 Questions Parents Ask About Their Daughters and Puberty | ACOG .

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2020). When to get HPV vaccine. Retrieved online on March 3, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/parents/vaccine.html .

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