Home > Teens > Puberty and Sex > Changes During Puberty > Menstruation and Doctors
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Menstruation and Doctors

Pediatrics Expert Advice from Shari Nethersole, M.D.

Q: My 13-year-old daughter has just started menstruating. Should I keep sending her to our family pediatrician (who is male) or would finding a female doctor be better -- less awkward for her? I remember this time as being very uncomfortable for me, and I want to make sure she has a doctor with whom she feels comfortable. I want her to feel she can ask any questions she might have.

A: There is no reason why a teenage girl automatically needs to change physicians, and there are a number of factors you should consider.

If she's had a good relationship with her pediatrician for many years, and feels comfortable talking with him, then a change may not be necessary. A change could make asking questions more difficult if your daughter is shy or takes a while to get comfortable with a new person. You also need to consider the abilities, style, and comfort level of your current pediatrician. Many pediatricians are trained to take care of adolescents completely, but there are also a number who are not.

A physician who treats adolescents needs to be able to provide time and opportunity for the teenager to ask questions and participate in their own health care management. The physician should be able to manage common adolescent issues and provide education on topics such as: breast self exam, gynecologic issues, risk-taking behaviors, and nutrition.

Some male pediatricians have a female nurse practitioner in the practice, to help provide these services. I think it would be reasonable to talk with your daughter first to see how she feels about her current pediatrician. It is also perfectly reasonable to ask your pediatrician what he thinks, and if he is able to provide comprehensive adolescent care. If the answer is no, then your pediatrician may be able to recommend another provider for your daughter.

More on: Expert Advice

Shari Nethersole is a physician at Children's Hospital, Boston, and an instructor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She graduated from Yale University and Harvard Medical School, and did her internship and residency at Children's Hospital, Boston. As a pediatrician, she tries to work with parents to identify and address their concerns.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

highlights

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

10 Best Outdoor Toys of 2015
Looking for an amazing toy that will keep your child playing outside until the sun goes down? See our picks for 10 hot new outdoor toys for all ages.

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks