A friendly reader asked when girls should start getting their check-ups. While, I haven't been the mother of a girl very long, I will answer as well as I can. :)
1. Girls should get regular well-checks every few years after age 5. For me, because my kids don't ever see the doctor (Conner hasn't been in for a sick visit since he was about 4) I take them for well checks every year. I just don't want to be missing something, and it's a good time for a professional to talk to them one on one about good health habits. When Conner asks me why (for the millionth time) he has to sit in a carseat, I tell him let's ask his pediatrician next time he has a check-up. Honestly, whatever she says goes in his mind. And for me, that's worth the 15 dollar copay. Frankly, I'd probably keep them at lesat seeing their physician yearly, be it a sick visit or a check-up. However, if you think that's over-kill I'd try to do a well-check every 2-3 years, and if you think sex is something they're considering make it every year.
2. Girls need to have gynecological exams from when they become sexually active or once they are 18. Frankly, I didn't get one until I got married, but I think it would've been better to have been a tad more familiar with body prior to that. Again, the advice of a doctor on things like this is important. Plus, it sets a good example of personal health.
3. At the exam, the girl will most likely get a pap smear, a check of her ueterus and ovaries (that's what the doctor is doing when they palpate internally after your pap smear). If they aren't sexually active they most likely won't get a pap smear again, until they are, but it's good to have a baseline. The doctor will also talk to them about sexual health, personal health/hygeine and possibly even nutrition. I think it's SO important to find a good doctor for this check-up. It shouldn't be a 10 minute exam. I waited 40 minutes entirely undressed at mine, and I have stories from it that would make you laugh til' you cry. I thought I was possibly going to die after it. Just FYI.
And now, the million dollar question, what do you think about the HPV vaccine, and will P be getting one? The answer is a resounding yes. No, I don't plan on P having sex until she is married, just like myself... but there are great chances that she will, or the partner she will have one day will have. Cervical cancer is considered an STD. People who aren't with several partners don't get it, I only get a pap smear every 3 years (I think) because I had an HPV test, which came back negative and unless something in my sexual history changes I am OK. Also, don't forget the incidence of rape isn't small. There's no reason to not get the vaccine just because you plan on them staying pure. Stay pure, but stay protected and cancer free.
Personally, I think the importance of showing her that a relationship with her personal physician is important. I have started asking Conner if he wants me to step-out during the exam, and so far he's fine with me being in there. I stress to him how important it is to know that you can ask your doctor anything, and you should always answer them truthfully, because they are only trying to help you.
Anyway, I hope I answered that question as well as I could. I am sad to say that my time to get a mammogram is coming up. I don't do breast exams as well as I should, and I just found out a friend has breast cancer. I clean my stove better than I know my own boobs :), but that's a blog for another day....
Keep the questions coming readers!
Hilary is an RN, BSN who has worked in various medical fields for the past 12 years, however, none of the information on this blog, should be substituted for the care of a physician. The information provided on this blog is informational only and shouldn't be taken as medical advice. You have instinct, use it -- and use it wisely. If you have questions, please ask your doctor. If you think you have a medical or psychiatric emergency, please call 911. Also, please don't delay contacting a physician due to something you have read on here. Pulling Curls doesn't takeresponsibility for your health. That's your job. We're just a nice read.