I’ve had my period for a few years now — is it time for me to start seeing a gynecologist?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that a girl first see a gynecologist between the ages of 13 and 15. Gynecologists are doctors who have had special additional training in the health of women and their reproductive systems.
Other health care providers who see teens for issues concerning their sexual health include many adolescent medicine physicians and family practice doctors, as well as some nurses with advanced training.
Your gynecologist (or other expert health care provider) can make sure that your reproductive system is problem free, help you avoid problems in the future, and also answer any questions you may have about how your reproductive system works, your period, or your body.
You should definitely see your health care provider if you've had or are considering having any type of sex. This includes any type of sexual contact — oral, anal, or vaginal. Your doctor can answer any questions you may have about various birth control methods, prescribe birth control, and test for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Also see a doctor right away if you:
- have pain or discomfort in your vagina, lower abdomen, or when you urinate
- have changes in your vaginal discharge or odor
- are concerned that you might have an STD (or that your partner might have one)
If you've had your period for a more than a year or two and your periods are still irregular, or if your periods are heavy, last for more than a week, or are very painful, you should also see a doctor.
Getting into the habit of seeing a gynecologist yearly is a great way to ensure your health now and in the future.
Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: April 2012
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.