Adolescent Gynecology | OB-GYN


Adolescent Gynecology

We offer state-of-the-art, compassionate care for the gynecological concerns of adolescents and young adults.

Medically reviewed by Melissa Chen, M.D. on Aug. 17, 2023.

Adolescent girl talking with a female doctor in exam room.

What Is Adolescent Gynecology?

Gynecology covers health issues in reproductive organs such as the uterus or ovaries. Adolescent gynecology focuses on reproductive health care from puberty to age 19.

During this stage of physical development, it is common for youths to have questions and concerns about changes in their bodies. Many of the gynecologic conditions that affect adults can begin in adolescence.

UC Davis Health’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB-GYN) is nationally recognized for excellent care. Our providers understand the unique needs of adolescents and young adults.

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Symptoms of Adolescent Gynecologic Conditions

Adolescents can experience a range of gynecologic symptoms as their bodies develop. It’s important to discuss any new or changing symptoms with your provider. Early detection and treatment can protect your child’s health.

Common Symptoms

Possible signs of a gynecologic condition include:

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Bleeding or spotting between periods
  • Heavy bleeding during periods
  • Irregular periods
  • Painful periods and cramping
  • Pelvic pain
  • Swelling of the labia or vulva

Emergency Symptoms

Seek help immediately if you have any of the following:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • High fever
  • Severe pelvic pain

Common Causes of Adolescent Gynecologic Concerns

Reproductive health concerns can happen at any age. During adolescence, physical changes associated with puberty can cause a range of gynecological conditions.


Endometriosis is a condition where tissue that resembles the lining of your child’s uterus grows in other parts of their pelvic area. It can cause pelvic pain and heavy bleeding during menstrual periods.

Fluctuating Hormones

Your child’s hormones can fluctuate (change inconsistently) at the beginning of puberty. Irregular periods are common for the first few years.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a condition triggered by abnormal hormone levels. It can lead to irregular ovulation and periods. PCOS is a common cause of infertility.


Chemicals called prostaglandins cause pain and cramping before and during your child’s period (dysmenorrhea). Their body makes prostaglandins in the lining of their uterus. Prostaglandins cause their uterus to contract, which leads to cramps.


Diagnosing Adolescent Gynecological Concerns

Our gynecology providers are highly trained in diagnosing reproductive health conditions in adolescents. We are compassionate and sensitive to their questions and concerns.

We will discuss your child’s symptoms and do an external visual exam to diagnose a gynecological condition. We may recommend a pelvic exam if your child’s symptoms include vaginal bleeding or discharge. We may also recommend a urine test to check for a urinary tract infection (UTI) or sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Adolescent Gynecology Treatments

UC Davis Health’s OB-GYNs offer a range of treatments for gynecologic conditions. We’ll create an individualized treatment plan for your child. Treatment for adolescent gynecologic issues depends on the condition. Our treatment options include:


We may prescribe medications like antibiotics to treat vaginal infections, UTIs or STIs.

Hormonal Contraceptives

Hormonal contraceptives (such as birth control pills) that contain a progestin or a combination of an estrogen and progestin can treat symptoms of irregular periods, PCOS and endometriosis.

At what age should girls first visit a gynecologist?

13-15Years old is the recommended age

Source: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: The Initial Reproductive Health Visit

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