Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"At what age should my daughter see a gynecologist?"
My daughter is 15 but not sexually active. Should she see a gyno?
It is great that you are considering the need for a gynecologist for your daughter as it is important to keep on top of routine health and gynecologic visits. The age at which a female must be seen by a gynecologist is somewhat up for debate. New guidelines recommend all women to visit a gynecologist once she turns 21 to obtain a PAP smear (see below), regardless of sexual activity. Older guidelines had recommended younger girls who were sexually active to be seen by a gynecologist within 3 years of beginning sexual activity, however this guideline is no longer used. Some physicians recommend all teenage girls to be seen by a gynecologist for a routine exam and menstruation evaluation. However, if you and your daughter are able to speak with your pediatrician regarding her menstrual cycles and sexual/pubertal changes, and there are no concerns with either of these, then there might not be a need for a gynecologic evaluation at this time. The PAP smear (Papnicolaou smear) is used to identify abnormal epithelial cells at the transformation zone (which is the area where the inside and outside part of a woman's cervix meet and is the area where cervical cancer develops). It is very important for women to get routine PAP smears to catch cervical cancer early or even when there is only a slight abnormality before the development of true cancer. For this reason, it is very important to have routine visits with a gynecologist. It may not be necessary for your daughter to see a gynecologist at this age if there are no concerns, but you should speak to your pediatrician regarding the possibility.
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