At Metro Health and Wellness, Dr. Kirstie Cunningham and her staff offer services that include adolescent and teen gynecology. The doctor serves residents in the Atlanta, Georgia area who are actively seeking gynecological care.
Gynecologists often recommend a teenager receive a yearly teen or adolescent gynecological exam when they begin to have their monthly period or become sexually active. The doctor may or may not perform a pelvic exam on young, female patients. Most will wait until the teen has become sexually active before performing a full gynecological exam. Children today seem to mature much faster than in the past. Gynecologists recommend that patients talk to their teenage and adolescent girls from a very young age about their bodies and what to expect as they get older. This will help familiarize the girl with what is going to happen to her body and how she should react when the changes begin to occur.
A teen gynecological exam can involve many of the same things an adult woman goes through. Although the pelvic exam is optional, the doctor will discuss any problems the teen may be having with their periods or other reproductive organs. The doctor will discuss what the girl can expect over the next few years, and educate her on what she will need to do to remain happy and healthy. The doctor will also talk to the parents so they understand what type of changes may be taking place. Once the girl has completed the exam, the doctor may request to see her the following year in case she becomes sexually active over the next year.
Most doctors believe the onset of a girl's first menstrual cycle normally occurs between the ages of 12 and 14 years. During what is known as precocious puberty, the onset of a girl's menstrual periods may begin as early as the age of 9. While this is not always the case, the earlier they begin to exhibit these types of signs, the earlier and higher the risks of them becoming pregnant begin to appear. If the mother has not educated the teen about what her menstrual periods are like, the first few days when they appear can be extremely frightening. Girls who participate in physical activities that are extremely demanding may not have a period for several years.