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General Medical Questions
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Question : My 11-year-old daughter just got her period. Does this mean she needs to start seeing the gynecologist for exams?
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The Trusted Source
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Howard LeWine, M.D.

Claire McCarthy, M.D., a senior medical editor for Harvard Health Publications, is an assistant professor in pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She is an attending physician and Medical Communications Editor at Children's Hospital Boston.

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July 29, 2011
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A:

No, not yet. She doesn't need to see a gynecologist unless she has trouble with her periods. This would include extremely heavy or frequent bleeding.

She won't need a routine gynecological examination until she is 21. That's the new recommended age for starting Pap smears.

Girls who are sexually active may need an appointment for a birth control prescription or if they have a possible infection.

Sometimes parents make an appointment with me when their daughters get their periods. I enjoy those appointments. I explain to the girls why they get periods, and we talk about pads and tampons and cramps. I give them information on what to expect.

If you feel comfortable talking about all of this with your daughter then you don't need to make an appointment.

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