Health Tips As You Prepare for College
It’s recommended girls 13-15 years see their health care provider to start and build a relationship to discuss screening, preventive services and other health care guidance. If you missed this window, now is the time to make yourself an appointment. You want to develop a comfortable relationship where you feel safe to ask questions that may make you squirm in your seat or turn red in the face. The good news is this visit can be a consultation only and/or an external examination to make sure everything is anatomically normal. Pap smear testing for cervical cancer does not start until you are 21 years old. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommend a pelvic examination only be performed on patients younger than 21 years if medically necessary. For example, if you have painful urination or abnormal vaginal discharge or odor an internal pelvic exam would be necessary. This “external only” pelvic exam allows the healthcare provider to make sure the external genitalia, the vagina and vulva (lips), are normal.Topics covered during your pre-college doctor’s visit:
- Menstrual Periods-Are they coming monthly? Do you have cramps that prevent you from going to class or participating in extracurricular activities?
- Sexual Health Issues-Having the opportunity to ask about sexual health issues will make you feel comfortable about your personal choices.