When should a young woman first see a gynecologist?

GHP-0643A gynecologic exam can be stressful at any age, but especially when it is your first appointment.

As a woman and a health care provider for 25 years, I strive to make women of all ages comfortable as they take the steps necessary to be proactive about their health.

Why see a gynecologist?

A gynecologic exam is an important part of health care. Typically, young women first visit the gynecologist at 18, with exams starting at age 21. The gynecologists at Baptist Health Women’s Choice Blair Tolar, MD, and Amber Savells, MD – as well as my myself see girls as young as 13 for issues such as painful menstrual periods or abdominal pain.

The visit usually includes a health screening and a physical examination. We can discuss the benefits of the cervical cancer vaccine and the prevention of sexually transmitted disease and pregnancy.

Preventive care

As women age, they will need to schedule regular preventive health visits with a gynecologist. Conducted during a pelvic examination, a pap smear test to check for cancer is recommended annually, beginning at 21.
We also encourage patients to do regular self-breast exams starting at a young age. Some young women have lumps in their breast, but you need to be aware of your body in case they change or you feel pain.
In addition, we can discuss contraception, fertility and family planning, as well as other health concerns. It is important for you to feel comfortable with discussing every detail of your health with your physicians and their staff.

Talk to our nurses

If you have any question about your health, ask our nurses at Baptist Health Line 24 hours a day at 270.575.2918.

– Tammy Carr, APRN, Baptist Health Women’s Choice


About Baptist Health Paducah

Baptist Health Paducah is a regional medical and referral center, serving about 200,000 patients a year from four states. With more than 1,800 employees and 200 physicians, it offers a full range of services, including cardiac and cancer care, diagnostic imaging, women’s and children’s services, surgery, emergency treatment, rehabilitation and more. Since its humble beginning in 1953, Baptist Health Paducah has grown from 117 beds to 349 beds on a campus covering eight square blocks.
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