FRIDAY, June 25 (HealthDay News) -- Adolescent girls may require two "well-child" visits annually -- one general preventive visit and one dedicated to reproductive health, and both visits should be covered by health insurance, according a committee opinion of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) published in the July issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
ACOG's Committee on Adolescent Health Care writes that a primary care practitioner or an obstetrician-gynecologist alone may not be able to provide the full scope of general care and reproductive health guidance adolescents need, or may require more than one visit to do so; thus, the committee recommends two visits a year: one that covers general health and the other covering reproductive health issues. The committee further writes that both visits should be covered by insurers to ensure adolescents are receiving comprehensive preventive care.
The panel also recommends that a girl's first reproductive health visit happen between ages 13 and 15. According to the opinion, the initial visit presents an opportunity to discuss menstruation, eating habits, sexually transmitted disease, contraception, and other important issues. It does not usually include a pelvic exam unless the patient's medical history indicates it.
"We encourage parents and guardians to look at this initial visit as a prime opportunity for young girls to meet with us so that we may help alleviate any fears, dispel myths, and really start off on the right foot in creating a healthy doctor-patient relationship," Richard N. Waldman, M.D., president of ACOG, said in a statement. "This will be the beginning of a lifetime of care."