What to Expect at a Physical for a Teen Girl

checking blood pressure
Much of your teenager's checkup will seem familiar to her, while other parts may be new. (Image: AlexRaths/iStock/Getty Images)

As your daughter goes through her teens, your relationship with her doctor will change. She will become more responsible for her health, and her checkups become focused on the issues and health concerns affecting teenagers. Encourage your teenagers to be open and honest with her doctor and assure her that her concerns and questions will be kept confidential.

The Basics

Your teenage daughter's physical exam includes many of the same tests and measurements that her well-child exams have included to this point. Her doctor or nurse will weigh her, measure her height and take her blood pressure. The doctor will check her heart, lungs, abdomen and throat. If you or she have any health concerns, you should tell the doctor at that time. Depending on the last time it was done, the doctor may send her for blood tests to measure her cholesterol and iron levels.

Teenage Issues

Your teen's doctor should talk to her about various issues that affect teenagers in general, as well as any that pertain to your daughter in particular. If you have been in the room with her, the doctor might ask you to step out so your daughter can speak openly about alcohol or drug use, smoking, sex, eating disorders and peer pressure. The doctor may suggest counseling if he is concerned that your teen is at risk of engaging in risky behaviors.

Vaccines

The doctor should check your daughter's vaccine history to see if she needs any shots during her well-visit. He may recommend Gardisil, the HPV vaccine, if she has not had it yet. This vaccine protects against the virus that can cause cervical cancer. If she is not up-to-date on other vaccines, including those for measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis or Hepatitis B, she may receive boosters at this time. She also may need a yearly flu vaccine.

Pelvic Exam and Birth Control

Your daughter's doctor will ask her when her last period was, how long her periods last and whether they are painful. If she is sexually active, she should be counseled about birth control and disease prevention. She may have a breast and pelvic exam, and if she has been sexually active for more than 3 years, a pap smear. The doctor will explain these procedures and will give your daughter the option of having you in the room or not. In some cases, her pediatrician or family doctor will perform these tests, and other times, she will be referred to a gynecologist.

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