What to Expect from a Gynecologist Visit (at Every Age and Stage)

By Toni Gasparis

Women know that they have to go to a gynecologist for their health. But many women don’t know what to expect or what they should be aware of every time they go. A woman’s body constantly changes as she ages so what was focused on in her visit at age 25 is not the same at age 55. OB/GYN and Director of Female Sexual Medicine Program at Stanford University School of Medicine Dr. Leah Millheiser breaks down women’s health and explains what you can expect from your annual visit at every life stage.

More: 5 Secrets You Need to Tell Your Gynecologist

Age 12-18

The first visit to a gynecologist should be at the age of 12 or 13. This is not for an exam but rather an educational session to discuss menstruation and becoming a woman. Primary care physicians are also advised to encourage vaccinations for the human papillomavirus (HPV) in girls that are 11 or 12. By age 18 a woman should have her second gynecological visit to discuss sexual behavior, contraception, and STDs. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) can be common in young woman and can cause an abnormality the uterine lining so it is important to get this checked out as well. If a woman becomes sexually active in this age range she should get a pap smear and STD test soon after she becomes sexually active.

More: HPV Fact Sheet

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