Health Tips As You Prepare for College
As you transition from a high school to college student you are also transitioning from childhood to adulthood. Your body is transitioning to a stage of sexual development both emotionally and physically, putting you at high risk for pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STI). Counseling by a health care professional involves issues and questions related to your period, birth control and sexual and mental health. These and other topics are helpful as you head off to college and unfamiliar territory.
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: