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Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology

Pediatric and adolescent gynecology is a medical discipline that focuses on the health care of children, teens, and young adults up to the age of 21. It seeks to promote optimal physical, psychological, and social well-being in young women by providing comprehensive management of gynecologic conditions related to puberty and development. We have certified providers in pediatric and adolescent gynecology to support your daughter, friend, or family member’s needs. Women’s Health—from Head to Soul.

Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology

Common conditions seen in pediatric and adolescent gynecology include menstrual disorders such as heavy menses, irregular menses, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), amenorrhea (absence of menstruation), and dysmenorrhea (painful periods). Other issues treated include hirsutism (excessive hair growth) and vaginal infections. Gynecologists may also treat issues relating to fertility, pregnancy, and contraception in adolescents.

By helping your daughter understand her body’s natural development and providing her with the knowledge she needs to make informed decisions about her health care, you can ensure that she receives the best possible care and guidance.

If you are concerned about your daughter’s gynecological health, it is important to seek advice from a board-certified pediatrician or adolescent gynecologist with experience in dealing with young women’s health issues.

We believe that taking charge of your health begins during the adolescent stage. It is important to begin gynecological care at the ages of 13-15, or around the time of their first period. If there are concerns about delayed puberty or painful menstruation, it is important to seek medical advice earlier. Our team will provide teens and adolescents with the guidance and support they need to become knowledgeable about their own bodies.

They may also see the gynecologist sooner if or when they become sexually active. The gynecologist will be there to discuss and educate on birth control options, if desired. Generally, pelvic exams and pap smears will begin around age 21 years, regardless of sexual activity or birth control status.

Our well-woman care includes your annual visit with your gynecologist. At your annual visits, you can expect to have a discussion about your health, along with breast and pelvic exams. This is your opportunity to ask questions and learn as much as you can about your body. The primary focus of these visits is on prevention of serious health concerns related to your reproductive system.

Our team will check your vitals, evaluate your bone health, and watch for diseases like cancer, diabetes, and high cholesterol. We’ll review your periods and what you can expect from your reproductive system as you age.

Seeing your gynecologist will be an opportunity to discuss your birth control options. No matter what stage of life you’re in, our team is here to support you in your options and choices. Whether you need contraception or are ready to have children, we are here to work with you.

For birth control, we offer birth control pills, patches, rings, IUDs, implants such as Nexplanon®, shots, diaphragms, barrier methods and, if necessary, emergency contraception. If you are ready for a more permanent birth control solution, we can offer tubal ligation and sterilization. If you are ready to have children, we can work with you to come off birth control and prepare your body for pregnancy.

Your gynecologist can discuss and provide screening and treatment options for sexually transmitted infections. Early intervention is key to both prevention and proper treatment of these infections.

Get regular screenings and exams if you are sexually active. These can help detect STIs that may have no visible signs or symptoms. Those at higher risk should be screened more frequently. Treatment of any STIs is important to help avoid future health issues, such as infertility and pregnancy complications.

Your gynecologist is ready to discuss any concerns you have about your menstruation, also known as your “period.” A period occurs approximately every month after ovulation (when your body prepares to be fertilized). When your egg is not fertilized, your body reacts by changing hormones and shedding the lining in your uterus. The result is bleeding from the vagina.

Periods differ among females in length of cycles and symptoms. It is normal to have fluctuations in symptom severity and the amount of bleeding that occurs each month. However, if you are concerned, your gynecologist is here to discuss those concerns. Some concerns include heavy bleeding lasting more than 1-week, painful periods, abnormal cycles, or lack of period.

Every woman will go through menopause, and each woman’s menopause experience is different. Menopause usually begins between the ages 45-55 years 12 months after your last period and can last 7-14 years. Menopause can also be triggered by surgical removal of the uterus or ovaries.

Your gynecologist will help you through the menopausal transition. They will help you manage common symptoms, which could include hot flashes, sleep interruption, vaginal dryness, urinary problems, mood swings, depression, loss of libido, painful sex, weight gain, forgetfulness, or a combination of these symptoms. Several diet, lifestyle, and medication changes will help make the menopausal transition easier. Talk to your gynecologist about these options.

Over the course of your gynecologic care, you will discuss your sexual health with your gynecologist. This includes if you are experiencing sexual dysfunction, which can feel debilitating. Do know that fluctuations in sexual desires are totally normal thorughout life. But sexual dysfunction (decreased libido, painful sex, abnormal dryness, etc.) can be signs of underlying medical issues, such as hormonal imbalances, improper medication dosages, or other medical conditions.

If you fear that your are experiencing sexual dysfunction, talk with your gynecologist. There are lifestyle changes, hormone therapies, and sexual techniques that we can discuss with you to help you stay sexually active.

Your gynecologist will also be able to help you with weight management. It is completely normal for your weight to fluctuate. This is especially true for women who experience a number of changes related to hormones and reproductivity over the course of their lifetime. Weight fluctuations can occur during the development of puberty and menstruation, during and after pregnancy, and around menopause.

Weight changes can also be due to hormonal changes, stress, medical conditions, and certain medications. Should you have concerns or need weight management, we are here to help with maintenance or weight loss programs customized to you.

Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery (MIGS) is a designation by the American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology (ABOG). It is a leading and exclusive designation by is provided to less than 1% of certified OB/GYN physicians in North Carolina. Dr. Cornier, Dr. Haskins, and Dr. Whitley are three of only a handful of MIGS-designated providers in Eastern North Carolina.

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When should I bring my daughter for her first gynecology visit?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that girls have their first gynecologic visit between the ages of 13 and 15 or when they become sexually active.

What is the difference between pediatric and adult gynecology?

Pediatric and adolescent gynecology focuses on the needs of younger patients who are still developing, while adult gynecology typically involves older patients. Pediatric and adolescent gynecologists have specialized training in dealing with issues related to young women’s health.

How can I help my daughter manage menstrual symptoms?

It is important to understand that every woman experiences menstrual symptoms differently. Talk to your daughter about her individual experience and how she feels about it. Help her find ways to be comfortable during her period, such as using sanitary pads or tampons, taking over-the-counter pain relief medication, and exercising. Additionally, it may be helpful to discuss lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise that can help reduce menstrual symptoms.

Key Takeaways

  • Pediatric and adolescent gynecology focuses on the health care of children, teens, and young adults up to age 21.
  • Common conditions seen in pediatric and adolescent gynecology include menstrual disorders, hirsutism, and vaginal infections.
  • Your family physician or gynecologist can provide more information about this topic as well as answer any questions or concerns you may have.
  • Early diagnosis and treatment of conditions can improve the health and wellbeing of adolescents.