The Doctor Is In : Tweens, Teens & Taboo Topics

Content sponsored and provided by Henry Ford Hospital

On Wednesday, join Deena Centofanti and a doctor from Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital as they talk about some of those sensitive health issues that affect tweens and teens.

Beginning at 8:35 a.m. ask your questions in the chat room:

Our Expert:
Melina Dendrinos, M.D., Pediatric & Adolescent Gynecologist

Although we may typically think of a gynecologist as someone who treats women, from the late teenage years through the senior years, it is not uncommon for girls of all ages - infants, young girls, "tweens" and adolescents - to experience reproductive health issues.

"Many parents and kids are very anxious discussing the types of conditions we treat. It's important for
them to have a provider with dedicated training who is very comfortable addressing these issues," says Dr. Dendrinos.

Pediatric & Adolescent Gynecology (PAG) is a sub-specialty of OB/GYN and is the perfect resource for those seeking care for the still-developing bodies of young girls.  Specially trained physicians evaluate and treat a variety of gynecological and reproductive health issues in girls from birth through age 21. 
PAG's help to educated not only their young patients about female reproductive health but help keep parents updated on screening and vaccine recommendation changes.

What Parents Need to Know

The best time to schedule your daughter's first visit to the gynecologist is between the ages of 13 and 15. A pelvic exam is not recommended at this time unless there is a health problem that warrants it.

The first GYN visit as an important time review normal development, and reassure young girls and teens that although they may be different than their peers, that difference can be very normal.

As more girls are beginning puberty earlier, it is recommended that parents consult with a physician if your daughter begins puberty before the age of eight.

The recommended age is 21 for a woman to have her first pelvic examination and Pap smear.

Most girls who play sports have regular periods, but being very active may result in an irregular cycle. It is very important for female athletes to get proper nutrition.

The HPV vaccine is recommended for preteen boys and girls at age 11 or 12 so they are protected before ever being exposed to the virus which causes cervical and other cancers.

The HPV vaccine has cut infection rates in half among girls 14 to 19 years old according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.

But, national surveys show that among 13- to 17-year-olds, only 37 percent of girls and a mere 13 percent of boys have gotten all three recommended doses of the vaccine.

Government advisors are currently considering whether to recommend two doses of the newest version of the vaccine rather than three, which may help increase immunization rates.

A two-dose regimen of the original Gardasil vaccine is already the standard in more than 80 countries.