Gynecology: First Exam

At present it is recommended that a young woman have her first GYN visit at age 18 or earlier if she becomes sexually active. An examination is not necessary at this visit unless there are specific problems.

This visit provides an opportunity for a young woman to discuss any questions or concerns she may have and to establish a comfortable relationship with her care provider.  Important topics to review at this visit include:

  • Personal and Family medical history
  • Any known gynecologic problems in the family
  • Menstrual period pattern and problems or discomfort with periods
  • Any questions about normal growth and development
  • Questions about plans for sexual activity.
  • Vaccinations, including the HPV vaccine.

A first examination which includes a pap smear is recommended by age 21 if a young woman is healthy and has no medical concerns or questions. This exam should be completed before age 21 if any health issues arise. Some examples of such health issues include:

  • Menstrual periods that are unusually heavy or painful and may interfere with activities.
  • There are concerns about recurrent vaginal infections or bladder infections.
  • A young woman does not have her first menses by age 16.
  • A young woman has questions about her physical or sexual development.