Obstetrics and Gynecology

Pediatric obstetrics and gynecology is the branch of medicine specializing in diagnosing and treating of complications with the female reproductive system in children.

What is it?

Pediatric obstetrics is the branch of medicine specializing in pregnancy, childbirth, and the period of time after a child is born in young girls.  Pediatric gynecologists are trained to diagnose and treat problems with the female reproductive system that are induced by developmental issues and other abnormalities.  Physicians are often trained in both specialties, allowing for comprehensive care of reproductive problems and pregnancy.  Pediatric OB/GYN physicians can provide preventative care, prenatal care, reconstructive care, Pap test screenings, and sexually transmitted disease testing.

What are the commonly associated medical diseases or symptoms?

Younger females and adolescent girls can face a number of problems when it comes to their reproductive health.  They are still growing and people do not often think of young girls having reproductive health issues. Common issues in young females include vulvovaginitis (yeast infection), pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, dysmenorrhea, and early puberty.  Precocious puberty, or early puberty, begins when a young girl under the age of eight starts to go through changes such as breast development, acne, rapid growth spurt, body odors, and vaginal discharge or bleeding.

What are the commonly associated medical procedures?

The first course of action used to treat conditions involving the female reproductive system in young girls is often hormone medication.  This treatment can be used to balance out hormones in order to manage the development of the reproductive system.  Other procedures, such as a vaginoscopy, require the child to be sedated in order to get a more comprehensive diagnosis of the child’s condition.

Are there any preventative measures I can take?

There are several signs and symptoms that can affect a young girl’s appearance and demeanor.  Keeping an eye out for unusual and early developments can help in managing any hormone imbalances the child might have. Anomalies in development and maturation cannot necessarily be prevented but there are actions that parents and children can take to adapt. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and open communication with specialists can improve overall health and address specific physical and mental developmental needs.

What are the common misconceptions about this specialty?

A common misconception is that girls should only go see a gynecologist if they are sexually active.  Unless there is already a specific issue that requires a girl to be seen earlier, girls should begin seeing a gynecologist between the ages of 13-15.  This can allow them to become comfortable with talking about their reproductive health.  When the body begins changing, a girl will have questions.  A Pediatric OB/GYN is capable of informing a young girl of bodily changes and what to expect physically as well as mentally.


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