Dr. Prema Kothandaraman is a board certifed OB/GYN physician who specializes in Female Sexual Health. At Hero OB/GYN, the doctor performs pap smears and STD screenings/testing, and also prescribes birth control pills to those who need them.
Many people debate on when an adolescent girl should first visit her gynecologist. Doctors often recommend a girl see her OB/GYN as soon as she turns 18 or becomes sexually active. Girls that are younger, between the ages of 10 and 14, who have started their menstrual period and are having difficulties should immediately contact their doctor. There is no need for a pelvic exam for young girls who are not sexually active unless the doctor determines there is a problem in the reproductive system that cannot be verified any other way. Most doctors will wait to perform a pelvic exam until the girl turns 18 or becomes pregnant.
Girls that have already started having their monthly cycles may be able to take birth control pills without any problems. In most situations, however, birth control pills will not be prescribed for girls under the age of 16 unless there is a potential health problem that calls for some form of hormone therapy. Girls who have irregular periods with an excessive amount of bleeding may require the birth control pills to regulate their monthly cycle and prevent blood loss that can eventually lead to anemia. Once a teenage girl becomes sexually active, birth control pills or other forms of contraceptives may be offered if the parents approve.
STD testing and screenings should start when it is known that the teenager is sexually active. Most sexually transmitted diseases are only passed through sexual contact. Unless a young girl is sexually active they would normally not be exposed to any type of activity that would pass the STDs. Girls that have just started to have their menstrual periods may be checked if the doctor believes it is necessary. The vaccine for the HPV virus is intended for girls between the ages of 12 and 26 years of age. Boys should also get the vaccine between the ages of 14 and 21. An STD screening may be recommended if a teenager (boy or girl) shows any sign of sexual trauma or abuse.