When is it time to transition from a pediatrician to a gynecologist?
A lot of girls will see their pediatrician even through college and for some young women that’s fine.
However, there are circumstances that may indicate it’s time to make a change.
“One reason why we’re transitioning or at least referring our patients earlier is to obtain long-acting contraceptives such as IUDs and the Nexplanon which goes under the skin,” said Dr. Lia Erickson, a pediatrician with Novant Health Forsyth Pediatrics.
However, you don’t necessarily have to be sexually active for the transition to be appropriate.
“Sometimes during different periods of growth in puberty and adolescence, young ladies can have changes in their bodies that have physical manifestations that sometimes a second opinion is warranted and just evaluation by someone like myself,” said Dr. Jaleema Speaks, a Novant Health obstetrician-gynecologist.
Family history should also be considered.
For example, if a mother has a history of endometriosis or ovarian cysts, her daughter may need to see a gynecologist as a precaution.
Although there is no specific age when the transition from a pediatrician to a gynecologist should occur, it’s important to consider who your daughter may be most comfortable talking to.
Karen Warren, a mom with two daughters ages 12 and 9, says she would have appreciated having more health options when her body started changing.
“I think as a female it would have been nice to have somebody to be able to go to [and] ask questions. Maybe not someone who was my pediatrician, but someone I could talk to as a woman,” she said.
Dr. Speaks says she has seen girls as young as ages 7 and 8, but most often sees young women in the latter part of adolescence around 18 or 19.