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Pediatric gynecology is a branch of medicine that addresses the gynecological concerns of infants, children and teenagers. The physicians and other health care professionals that specialize in pediatric gynecology become familiar with both common and unusual gynecological conditions that may be unique to children, such as gynecological birth defects. They are also specialists in treating gynecological conditions in very young patients. In some cases, parents of young daughters may prefer to seek the services of a pediatric gynecologist when scheduling their daughter's first gynecology exam.
The purpose of pediatric gynecology is to provide quality care for girls who are in need of such services. In some cases, infants may be born with a gynecological condition that requires monitoring and perhaps eventual surgery. Pediatric gynecologists are typically best equipped to provide medical advice and care to these patients. Other conditions that may require specialized treatment include delays in menstruation or the treatment of damage caused by sexual abuse or sexually transmitted infections. A pediatric gynecologist is typically trained to work with very young patients and their parents or guardians, and can address their concerns in a manner that is appropriate to the patient's age.
Depending on a girl's age, family medical history and choice to commence sexual activity, she will likely begin to undergo regular gynecological examinations while she is in her teens. During the exam, the young woman may also be given a pap smear test as well as other screenings for sexually transmitted diseases and infections. For some young women, the process of receiving a first-time pelvic examination can be uncomfortable and, in some cases, even traumatic. Pediatric gynecology physicians and nurses are experienced in giving young women their first pelvic exams and can assist patients in feeling comfortable during the process. Some pediatric gynecology clinics offer routine pelvic exams and screenings to girls and young women until they reach their early twenties.
Adolescent girls may also seek pediatric gynecology services as they mature if they begin to develop problems related to menstruation, including the experience of very painful menstruation. These patients may also rely on pediatric gynecologists for assistance in choosing contraceptive methods. In some areas, concern about teenage pregnancy is significant, and pediatric gynecologists nurses may be instrumental in providing pregnancy prevention services to their communities. These professionals may also provide general educational services to patients and community members about the importance of regular pap smears, screenings for sexually transmitted infections and other women's health issues.