Gynecologic Wellness for Adolescents Offered at Mercy

The Institute for Gynecologic Care at Mercy - Baltimore, MD

The Institute for Gynecologic Care at Mercy Medical Center offers an Adolescent Gynecology Program to young women in the Baltimore area. The program provides adolescent females routine gynecologic care and health education, focusing on establishing a long-term relationship between patient and gynecologist.

About the Condition

Gynecologic wellness for adolescents refers to the routine physical care of a young woman’s reproductive system during her transitional stage of physical maturity known as puberty. Generally beginning at age 12, this period is most closely associated with the teenage years. Beyond routine physical care and examination, gynecologic wellness for adolescents also includes continued health education.

Recommendations for Adolescent Gynecologic Wellness

Gynecologic wellness for adolescents is focused on prevention and care through routine examinations and education. In some cases, there may not be any specific condition or symptoms to treat other than those natural to the physical maturity of a young woman. Initial GYN visits for an adolescent may not necessitate a physical examination, but remain an important time for patients to establish a comfortable relationship with their physician.

Women should see a gynecologist on an annual basis. These annual visits are tailored to fit each woman's individual needs based on age as well as family and personal health history. Patients who experience abnormal symptoms, such chronic pelvic pain or an irregular period cycle, should address these issues with their gynecologist.

Typical gynecologic examinations may include:

  • Review of your medical history and menstrual cycle
  • Physical exam of the breasts and genital area
  • Pelvic exam including the vagina and cervix
  • Pap smear test as a woman approaches the appropriate age, generally early 20’s
  • HPV vaccine with parental consent
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Treatment Options

Maintaining Gynecologic Wellness in Adolescents

Beyond routine care and education, medications and lifestyle changes may be prescribed to treat minor symptoms and irregularities. In more severe cases, such as polycystic ovary syndrome or endometriosis, surgery may be necessary.

HPV Vaccinations for Adolescents

The Gynecology Center offers the FDA approved Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine as a recommended part of routine vaccinations for all girls at age 11-12. This vaccination can prevent cervical cancer, genital warts and abnormal cervical cells caused by some types of HPV. The vaccine is most effective when given prior to any exposure to HPV and does not protect against all types.

The HPV vaccine is given as three shots over a six month period, and is recommended by the Center for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.