Teen Checkups & Examinations: What To Expect
Family Physicians Explain Everything You Need To Know Before Taking Your Teenager To The Pediatrician
When your children are young, taking them to their pediatrician appointments is a given. You know you will take them and that you will be present during the entire exam. You will answer the doctor’s questions about physical health and development, and you will be able to discuss any concerns you have about either.
However, when your children get older, there starts to be a separation. As teenagers, they are still technically children, yet they are on their way to adulthood and independence. They’ll still be seeing a pediatrician every year for their checkup, but things might look a little differently, starting with you not being in the room.
Medical Checkups For Adolescent Boys
After puberty, the annual wellness checkup is going to look a little different for boys and girls. Bodily changes make that a necessity. While both will get their routine health checkup that includes a look at the eyes, ears, and mouth, as well as tests for heart rate, blood pressure, and more, they will also start to get sexual health exams.
For boys, that means getting a testicular exam. Pediatricians usually check the testicles starting when boys are young, but as they get older and hormones change, the test becomes ever more important. Another difference is that instead of laying on a table for the exam, boys will usually be standing up for it. The doctor will also teach the boy about how to perform a self-exam at home to spot any changes in their earliest stages.
No internal penetration should take place for a teen boy’s checkup, and gloves should be worn during the testicular exam. The doctor and staff should leave the room while the boy is changing or getting undressed, and a gown or sheet should be provided to respect modesty.
Checkups For Teenage Girls
Checkups for girls get more intensive when they become teenagers. While an external genital exam was always a part of a routine checkup, teen girls may also get an internal pelvic exam. Typically, the pelvic exam would only be performed if the girl was experiencing any abnormal pain, bleeding, or discharge. The doctor may also perform a pelvic exam if the girl has not started having periods by the age of 15.
Usually, pap smear tests do not begin until age 21. However, girls should have their first gynecological visit around the age of 13 to 15. During the visit, the doctor may only talk about sexual health, rather than perform any exam. Teen girls who are sexually active may have a gynecological exam before the age of 21.
Parental Supervision & Safety During The Pediatrician’s Exam
Teenagers have a choice about whether they want their parents to stay in the room during their exam. The exam can get personal, and many teens may feel self-conscious or embarrassed to have it performed in front of a parent.
If you are concerned about the safety of your teen during the exam, you can request that a “medical chaperone” be present – usually a nurse or doctor’s assistant. Having such a person in the room during an exam is standard practice for most doctors, so you would likely not need to make a special request.
You will experience a lot of transitions as your children grow into teenagers, and the way they experience their annual checkups is just one of them. You should be able to continue seeing the pediatrician you always have, or you may want to search for a doctor who is more experienced with treating teenagers, specifically. The most important thing is to find a doctor who can not only provide the highest level of care, but who can also make your teenager feel comfortable.
Contact Mesa’s Trusted Family Medicine Physicians
The team at East Mesa Family Doctors provide a full range of health services for teenagers, younger children, and the entire family. Our experienced doctors and nurses are committed to providing the highest level of service and personalized care. We recognize the unique changes that your teens are experiencing, and we are committed to helping them navigate these changes while also ensuring their overall health and wellness. We offer flexible scheduling, with same-day appointments available. Contact us at our Mesa office today to schedule a consultation or a checkup.
East Mesa Family Doctors
8035 E. Brown Road, Building 4, #101
Mesa, AZ 85207
Phone: (480) 750-0085
Email: [email protected]