Health Blog

Welcome to the ongoing series of blog posts from UTMB Health focusing on key aspects of maintaining your health

three teen girls

Navigating Your First Gynecology Visit

The pre-teen and teenage years can be tough – we’ve all been there at one point in our lives. Our bodies are changing, and sometimes we don’t quite know what all of those changes mean.

This is particularly true for girls growing into women. Many gynecological and menstrual conditions affect adolescent females and require the care of a trained health care provider.

If you or someone you know needs to schedule their first gynecology appointment, look no further. Our providers know how intimidating it can be to see a gynecologist for the first time, so they set aside a specific time each week to meet with pre-teens, teens and young adults to ensure their needs are met, concerns are heard and they’re getting the care they need.

Nakeya Whorton-Ward took her 15-year-old daughter, Khalia Whorton-Shorts, to see Caitlyn McDonald, FNP, MSN, at UTMB Health Women’s HealthCare in Friendswood, Texas in Aug. 2021.

“I’ve been wanting to get Khalia in because I spoke with my gynecologist last year and she said, ‘you know you should start getting her used to it and get her to start coming in around 15 or 16,’” Nakeya said.

Khalia is an outgoing, active teenager, who is very involved in school and sports – she plays volleyball and is also about to start swimming.

“I just wanted her to get everything checked out, be familiar with it, don’t be ashamed or uncomfortable having to go up to the doctor and do stuff like that,” Nakeya explained. “She’s going to be a young woman so that’s why I wanted her to come in.”

When Nakeya and Khalia arrived for the appointment, they checked in and waited for just a few minutes before a medical assistant called them back.

“The medical assistant was very nice, talking to Khalia and making her feel comfortable,” Nakeya said. “Once they got into the room, they started asking some of the hard questions that are embarrassing for kids, but the medical assistant continued to make her feel comfortable, joked around with her and Khalia laughed, and she got a little more relaxed.”

The medical assistant not only made Khalia feel comfortable, but Nakeya as well.

“She’s a mother she said so she related to me, and then she made sure she told Khalia, ‘you know my daughters have been through this, we’ve all been through this, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about,’” Nakeya said. “I felt comfortable to walk away [knowing] that Khalia was going to be in good hands.”

And then it was time for Nakeya to step out while they completed the exam.

“It was a nice atmosphere, it was a good experience for both me and Khalia,” Nakeya said. “I was very nervous about it. I thought she was going to be not willing to do the exam.”

“She actually had a pelvic exam done and then she also had other things checked out as well, so she had what I would say was a big girl checkup,” Nakeya added. “So, I thought she was going to be nervous – and she was – but Caitlyn really made her feel comfortable and so she wasn’t resisting to go back when she needed to go for her follow-up the second time.”

Not only did Khalia have an exam, but Nakeya said that they both left feeling more knowledgeable.

“I haven’t had to be on birth control and stuff in over 20 years so that was good information, new information that I didn’t even know about,” Nakeya said. “They had available pamphlets for us to take home and review. Even just talking to them about Khalia’s periods and what’s been going on with that, I thought was good information for us both.”

If Nakeya could share one piece of advice for other mothers who may be wondering when it’s time to take their daughters to the gynecologist, she said it would be to not wait.

“Do it early so that [your] daughter is prepared and she’s ready,” Nakeya said. “Just go somewhere where it’s going to make you and your child feel comfortable and that would be UTMB Friendswood for sure.”

The Friendswood location launched the weekly clinic for adolescent gynecology appointments in July 2021. Starting in October, the clinic will operate on Thursday afternoons from 4 to 5 p.m., during which patients have the opportunity to see Caitlyn McDonald or Dr. Joyce Muruthi, an obstetrics and gynecology provider. The specific clinic days and times are subject to change depending on patient need and demand.

Similar clinic opportunities will launch at our other women’s health care locations in the coming months, but UTMB Health gynecology providers across the health system are available now to accept adolescent patients during regular clinic hours.

Learn more or find a UTMB Health Gynecology provider near you at www.utmbhealth.com/services/ob-gyn/gynecologyservices.