I have spoken before about my first trip to the gynecologist at the age of 16. I went to see my mother’s doctor, a jolly man who was about six feet five and weighed in at about three hundred and fifty pounds. Not intimidating at all. It is a memory that is burned in my brain, but I am glad that I went as it helped me learn more about my body, the UTI that I was having, and also got me on some much needed contraception.
I recommend that every girl go to the gynecologist by the age of 15 (or earlier if she is having problems with her period.) It is extremely important for everyone to know that you do not need a pap smear before the age of 21. With that said, that does not mean that you should wait to go to the gynecologist until you are 21.
Going to the gynecologist has a lot of benefits and although scary really should be looked at as an opportunity to learn more about your body and ask as many questions as possible. Here are 21 reasons to go to the gyno before the age of 21:
1. Learn what is a healthy body weight and tips on how to achieve that.
2. Evaluate your diet and exercise plan.
3. Find out what a healthy vagina is all about: discharge, itch, odor.
4. Learn more about normal anatomy. So many girls wonder, “Am I normal down there?”
5. Investigate about your period-is it normal?
6. If your period is painful; find out what you can do about it.
7. Learn ways to lessen PMS.
8. Find out if your mood fluctuations are PMS related or if something else going on.
9. Talk about sex. (Whether or not you are having it.)
10. Ask questions about what constitutes normal sex.
11. Build trust with your doctor, so that you have someone to go to if you are ever a victim of abuse or violence.
12. Learn about safe sex.
13. Learn about contraceptive options.
14. Learn about the non-contraceptive benefits of birth control.
15. Get tested for pregnancy.
16. Know your options and what to do if you become pregnant.
17. Educate yourself regarding STDs.
18. Learn how to lower your risk for STDs.
19. Learn your family risks of diseases and how to prevent them.
20. Get vaccinated.
21. Talk about whatever you want concerning your mental and physical health!
The last one is so crucial. No matter how close you may be to your mom, sister, or friend there are some things that seem just too personal to ask and that is okay! That is what your gyno is for. So, I encourage every young girl to take charge of her body and her health and make an appointment with a gyno!