WashU Ob/Gyn > Patient Information > Pediatric, Adolescent & Young Adult Gynecology > Note to Teens & Their Parents

Part of growing up is learning to take care of your body. This means making good choices for your health, avoiding things that can hurt you, and seeing a doctor for routine health care. If you have never visited an obstetrician-gynecologist (ob-gyn) before, you may have questions about what will happen at your first visit.

When should you schedule your daughter’s first gynecology visit? What should you expect during this first appointment? In this video, pediatric gynecologist Holly Hoefgen, MD, answers these questions and more.

You may or may not have an examination at your first visit. It will depend on your age and the reasons for your visit. If you choose, a nurse or family member may be with you for any part of your exam. Your doctor will probably review the anatomy of the pelvic area. Many young teens do not need a speculum exam (a speculum is a special instrument designed to help your doctor look into the vagina), and the current recommendations for a pap smear have been changed to age 21.

Additional reasons for teens to see a pediatric and adolescent gynecologist, besides these routine annual visits, include problems with menstrual periods (pain, nausea, heavy or irregular bleeding, frequent or absent periods), hirsutism and acne (which may be signs of polycystic ovarian syndrome or other endocrine problems), pelvic pain that is not responding to standard treatments, pelvic masses, ovarian tumors, or congenital anomalies of the reproductive orders. The pediatric and adolescent gynecologist is experienced with medications for problem menstrual periods, polycystic ovarian syndrome, contraception (birth control), treatment of sexually transmitted infections, endometriosis, and the new vaccine which can prevent cervical cancer and genital warts (HPV vaccine).

Real talk about periods: Young patients, their parents and even their doctors are often unsure what represents normal menstrual patterns during adolescence. 

Meet our gynecologist

Our doctor has specialized training is are highly experienced in gynecologic treatment and care for teens and young adults.
See appointment information »

Holly R. Hoefgen, MD

Assistant Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology

Division: Pediatric & Adolescent Gynecology