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Prepare Your Daughter for a Well-Woman Exam

My 18-year-old daughter has never been to a gynecologist and is a bit apprehensive. What should I tell her to help her stay healthy?​


​“Women should start having pelvic exams and Pap tests by age 21 or within three years after having vaginal intercourse for the first time,” says Alecia Davis-Townsend, M.D., a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic – Clear Lake. “Even if your daughter feels well, it is still important for her to see a gynecologist regularly for a well-woman checkup.”

A gynecologist can help a young woman understand her body and how it works and to establish what is normal for her, as well as find problems early so they can be treated or to keep them from getting worse.

“On the first visit, the doctor will ask your daughter about her medical history and how she is feeling,” notes Dr. Davis-Townsend. “The doctor may use this visit to explain to your daughter why it’s healthier for her not to have sex while she is a teenager and how to help protect herself if she does become sexually active, as well as help her prepare for healthy relationships and future pregnancies.”

During a woman’s first gynecological exam, the doctor will examine the patient’s pelvic area to make sure her reproductive and other internal organs are healthy and feel normal. A clinical breast exam will also be performed to feel for lumps and swollen lymph nodes.

“Since breast cancer does occur in young women in their 20s, this is an ideal time for the doctor to teach your daughter how to perform a breast self exam,” says Dr. Davis-Townsend. “Your daughter should promptly report any breast change to her doctor."​

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Alecia Davis-Townsend, MD, FACOG

​Obstetrics and Gynecology involve very personal issues, so it is important that my patients feel comfortable asking and telling me anything. A trusting partnership between physician and patient is key to designing a treatment plan for any medical problem and achieving a healthy lifestyle.