When Is it Time to Start Seeing a Gynecologist?

I’ve had my period for a few years now — is it time for me to start seeing a gynecologist?
– Cindy*

Probably. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that a girl first see a gynecologist between the ages of 13 and 15.

Other health care providers who see teens for sexual health wellness visits include adolescent medicine physicians and family practice doctors, as well as nurse midwives and nurse practitioners.

Your gynecologist (or other expert health care provider) can:

  • make sure that your reproductive system is problem free
  • help you avoid problems in the future
  • answer your questions about how your reproductive system works, your period, or your body

Here are other reasons to see your health care provider or gynecologist:

  • if you’ve had sex (including oral or anal sex) or are thinking about having sex
  • if you’ve had your period for more than a year or two and your periods are still not regular (don’t happen monthly)
  • if your periods are heavy, last for more than a week, or are very painful

See a doctor right away if you:

  • have pain or discomfort in your vagina, lower abdomen, or when you pee
  • have changes in your vaginal discharge or odor
  • think that you might have an STD (or that your partner might have one)

Getting into the habit of seeing a gynecologist yearly is a great way to ensure your good health now and in the future.

Reviewed by: Julia Brown Lancaster, MSN, WHNP-BC
Date reviewed: July 2015

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.