Your teenage years can be a confusing time. As your body changes and you experience new things, you may have questions about your body. You may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable talking to your parents about the changes you are going through.
Moreland’s team of OB-GYN physicians can help comfort teen patients and address any questions or concerns they may have about their health.
Importance of Adolescent Gynecology
Girls between 15 and 16 are recommended to get their first annual adolescent gynecological appointment. Having a confidential relationship with a medical professional educates adolescents about their reproductive health and empowers them to make educated choices.
A visit with an OBGYN physician can address various topics such as vaginal itching or odors, contraceptive services, menstrual abnormalities, and ensure overall reproductive health and well-being.
Helpful Resources for Adolescents
Below are excellent resources for information.
Adolescent Gynecology Services
Adolescent gynecology addresses female adolescents' reproductive health and gynecological care, typically starting at ages 10 or 11 up to 21. Moreland is proud to offer gynecology services that cover a variety of needs and concerns, such as:
- Menstrual Irregularities: One of the most common concerns among adolescent girls is irregular periods. Young girls' menstrual cycles may not have settled into a pattern yet, and they can experience several issues with their periods, like heavy bleeding, infrequent periods, extreme pain during menstruation, or missing their period altogether.
- Painful Periods: Severe menstrual cramps, also known as dysmenorrhea, are caused by severe contractions of the uterus. Diarrhea can also be a symptom of dysmenorrhea. There are several other causes of pain during periods, such as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, or uterine fibroids.
- Heavy Periods: Heavy menstrual bleeding, or menorrhagia, is characterized by heavy or prolonged periods. Heavy periods can be a symptom of several conditions, such as hormone imbalance, bleeding disorders, infections, polyps, and uterine fibroids. Heavy periods can lead to fatigue or lightheadedness.
- Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): STIs are passed from one person to another through close sexual contact. Common STIs include chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), syphilis, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). While many STIs do not show symptoms for a significant period, they can harm your health if not treated. Your doctor can prescribe medications to cure some STIs, while others aren’t easily treated. It’s essential to know how to protect yourself from STIs.
- Contraception: Depending on the method used, contraception can prevent pregnancy, protect from STIs, and treat certain health conditions like endometriosis and PCOS. Your doctor can help determine the best type of contraception for you, including birth control pills, injections, IUDs, and condoms.
Learn about the different uses of birth control other than pregnancy prevention in this blog post!
- Ovarian Cysts/Masses: Ovarian cysts are usually found between puberty and menopause. Cysts commonly develop during your period and can go undiagnosed and dissolve independently. While these cysts are generally small, some can become large or occur in tandem with tumors that require surgery to remove. While in most cases, ovarian cysts are not a cause for concern, they can lead to ovary rupture, hemorrhaging, or torsion if severe.
- Late Puberty: Delayed puberty in girls is defined by a lack of breast development by age 13. An underlying medical condition like celiac disease or hormone deficiency can cause delayed puberty. If a parent also went through delayed puberty, it is more likely the child will, too. Hormone treatment is typically a successful method to jumpstart puberty.
- Breast Concerns: Concerns as the breasts develop can be alarming, but they are common and typically not a cause for concern. One breast being larger than the other (asymmetry), being small or large, or breast pain around periods are normal and not alarming. Some conditions can be treated, like fibroadenomas, cysts, or infection of the breast tissue.
- Pelvic Pain: Pelvic pain is a sharp or dull pain in the lower abdomen. Pelvic pain can range from mild to severe and can feel like cramps, a stabbing or shooting pain, or a dull ache. There are several possible causes of pelvic pain, such as mittelschmerz, ovarian cysts, or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Treatment ranges from over-the-counter medications, doctor-prescribed antibiotics, and, in some cases, specialty referrals or surgery.
- Abnormal Genital Exam: An abnormal genital exam may be conducted on the external genitalia, or vulva, and surrounding areas to reveal findings or characteristics outside the expected or normal range. Abnormalities in the genital area may include lesions or growths, discoloration, inflammation, or ulcers. Most adolescents do not need an internal examination involving a speculum or bimanual examination.
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and Other Endocrine Concerns: PCOS occurs when the ovaries produce an abnormal amount of male sex hormones (androgens). This results in a woman not producing enough hormones to release eggs and ovulate, causing the ovaries to develop small cysts. PCOS can lead to irregular periods, excess body hair, weight gain, and infertility. PCOS can be treated through medications, birth control, and changes to your diet and activity levels.
Our Approach to Adolescent Gynecologic Care
At Moreland, we believe in collaborative care and shared decision-making with all patients, including adolescents. We understand the importance of assessing each person’s unique needs and preferences and use this to tailor a healthcare plan for each person.
Our goal is for all patients to feel safe, comfortable, and respected during their visit. You should be able to discuss any questions, fears, and goals with your healthcare provider. By providing facts and information to our patients, we empower adolescents to make educated choices about their bodies and reproductive health.
A Note for Parents
Parents are always welcome to support their children during their Moreland visit, but we also understand some patients prefer privacy without their parents in the room. We will always uphold patient confidentiality, and anything discussed during your health care visit is confidential unless the patient is a danger to themselves or others and unable to make decisions independently. We also encourage open family communication and being able to discuss important topics between parents and their adolescents.
Educational Resources for Parents of Adolescents
If your child is entering their adolescent years and you have questions about how to provide guidance about their health and bodies, many resources are available online. You can always consult a Moreland healthcare provider with questions you have.
Schedule an Appointment at Moreland OB-GYN Today
Moreland OB-GYN is proud to be a leading women’s healthcare provider, serving outstanding care at our fourteen locations across southeastern Wisconsin. Our team of caring providers work with every patient to deliver compassionate patient care focused on shared decision making and an exceptional patient experience.
For compassionate gynecological care for adolescents, call Moreland OB-GYN at 262-544-4411 or request an appointment on the website. We hope you contact us today!
Note: Starting at age 14, patients can call and schedule their own appointment; however, scheduling does inform them their insurance information is needed and will be billed to the parent’s insurance.
Patients can be prescribed birth control by providers without parental permission; this includes IUDs and Nexplanons, and the doctor may not release any of the above information to a parent without the minor’s permission. Sterilization and abortion procedures require parental consent under the age of 18. For more information on minor rights in Wisconsin, click here.