Dr. Eryn Clipp remembers her first visit to the gynecologist.
“I remember going to see the gynecologist for the first time when I was a teenager. I was so nervous and embarrassed. I knew we would discuss really personal things — things that I had never shared with anyone before. To do that with someone you just met can be very intimidating. I was lucky, I had a great experience. Because I remember the significance of that first visit, I do everything I can to put my younger patients at ease. I want them to know that I am their ally. As with all medicine, but especially with my younger patients (and sometimes their parents), I know that attentively listening to their concerns and answering any questions without judgment goes a long way to building trust and rapport!”
Advice from Dr. Clipp to make your first gynecologist visit less stressful:
Don’t wait until you’re having sex to see a gynecologist.
In fact, experts recommend that a girl’s first visit to the gynecologist be between the ages of 13 and 15 regardless of whether they’re sexually active. “Think of this first appointment as research,” suggests Dr. Clipp. “If you want, we can talk about your birth control options now so you can make more informed decisions when the time comes.”
You don’t have to get naked.
Typically, your first GYN appointment is just a meet and greet. There usually won’t be a physical exam or blood tests. This lets you start to get comfortable in our office and get to know your provider.
No need to be nervous.
We get it, this kind of healthcare is extremely personal. But remember that your gynecologist went to medical school for four years, then did a residency, and then did even more specialty training after that. Plus she sees dozens of patients every week. “There is nothing I haven’t seen or heard,” says Dr. Clipp. “Besides, I’m here to help you, not judge you,” she continues. “I became a gynecologist because I’m super interested in these topics, but I’m even more interested in helping girls understand them.”
Be prepared for questions from your doctor.
Your doctor or nurse will ask you about everything from your periods to personal relationships. So if you’re not already tracking your period, start now. There are plenty of great apps, including Spot On and Flo, that make it really easy. Fitbit and Apple watches have apps for that, too. And know that your doctor is happy to answer your questions. Keep a list of everything you’re curious about on your phone so you don’t forget anything important when you’re finally here. “Talking about really private matters takes practice,” admits Dr. Clipp. “I will always give adolescents time with me one on one at the end of a visit. If it’s too hard to ask me something face to face, you can always send me a message through the patient portal—essentially medical texting.”
Your doctor expects honesty.
“I can’t take care of you and help you make good decisions if I don’t know what’s going on in your body and your life,” explains Dr. Clipp. Everything you share during your visit is protected by privacy laws. Bottom line, if you don’t share, we can’t help.
You can expect patient-doctor confidentiality.
Rest easy knowing there is doctor-patient confidentiality during your visit. “If you’re 18 or over, everything you say is confidential. If you’re under 18, what you share and your exam are confidential. However, if you are a dependent on your parent’s insurance, the explanation of benefits (EOB) for your visit will detail the charges and tests administered—but not the test results themselves. Unfortunately, we can’t control what insurance companies share in their EOBs.
You don’t have to be alone.
“If having your mom or a friend in the room makes you more comfortable, that’s fine,” says Dr. Clipp. “And if you want your mom to leave the room, that’s fine, too.” Just know that your GYN will never do a physical exam without a parent or nurse in the room.
You don’t have to have a pelvic exam to get birth control.
“But,” adds Dr. Clipp, “ if you’re having any pelvic or abdominal pain, experiencing a funky discharge, or think you might have a sexually transmitted infection, a pelvic exam is a good idea.”
Dr. Eryn Clipp sees patients at our Short Pump location. In addition to being a board-certified OBGYN, Dr. Clipp has a particular focus in Pediatric & Adolescent Gynecology (PAG). This enables her to care for very young girls and their unique health challenges. Watch this video to hear, in her own words, how she can help even the youngest of patients.
You can schedule an appointment with Dr. Clipp, or another VWC provider by clicking here or calling us at 804.288.4084.
Want to Know More?
These resources are just right for pre-teens and teens.
There’s Something New About You: A Girl’s Guide to Growing Up
Girlology Hang-Ups, Hook-Ups, and Holding Out: Stuff You Need to Know About Your Body, Sex, & Dating
The Care and Keeping Of You 2: The Body Book for Older Girls
Changing Bodies Changing Lives