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Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Teens, Preteens, & Young Adults > Gynecologists for Teens
Can anyone recommend a sensitive and caring primary care physician &/or a gynecologist for an 18 year old girl? Preferably in the Berkeley/ElCerrito/N Oakland area. Current pediatrician has been good, but now seems out of tune and impatient with issues such as school stresses, severe menstrual cramps. Anon
I wonder if anyone else has had this exerience with their teenage daughter. Recently, I brought my 16 year old to my OB-GYN to consult and get tested about a discharge she was having. I have a very close and collaborative relationship with my daughter's pediatrician and I was expecting something similar with the gynocologist appointment. What a shock, when I was ''shown the door'' and told that my daughter has the right to privacy and that they will only share things with me, like test results, medication precriptions, etc., if my daughter gives explicit permission. I was hurt and confused and couldn't even get my gyn. doctor to explain further to me. All she said was that, after 12 years old, that's how it is... privacy laws. Now, if you're like me, I have always been closely involved in my daughter's life, inclulding medical and health issues. I really wonder why this is any different and why the teen is basically ''set up'' to be against the parent. The doctor actually ''commiserated'' with my daughter making me out to be the ''intrusive and over-bearing mother'' for simply being concerned about my daughter's health. It doesn't make sense to me and was very hurtful. I wonder if anyone else has had a similar expereince. Bewildered and Hurt
My daughters are in their early 20's now. The more you encourage independence now, the better off your daughter will be in coping with life. You are there when she needs you, that is enough. We should not infantilize our children--it hurts them in so many ways. That said, I do sympathize. It is a hard thing for me and I am still going through it. But if you let her be independent, you will be surprised at how competent she can be, and your life will be better for it. an overbearing mom on a leash
The first time it happens you may get all weepy. After than, you realize it is important to have a discussion with your teen regarding doctor appointments, e.g. have a list a questions for the doctor, think about what kind of questions they will ask you regarding symptoms, take notes, etc. Teach her how to take responsibility for her health so when she goes off to college in 2 years, she'll know what to do. YourMomma
So this is not something thought up by the gynecologist to make your life difficult--this is a privacy law put into place by the state of California to make sure that teens have access to full medical information in these areas so that they can get appropriate help or treatment if needed.
Now it would have been nice for the gynecologist to have given you a pamphlet about this, perhaps. But the key issue here is that your daughter is getting medical care by a professional and that professional is interested that she gets the care she needs. So if you want to know what they discussed, you will have to ask her. Anonymous
When I recently took my 17 year old son to the doctor he told me the not very exciting reasons he (obstensively) wanted to see the doctor. When they called him into the room I asked him if he wanted me to come and he said no. (He'd said yes, every visit age 12-16). He will leave home soon, and he is entitled to private conversation with a clinician; I want him to have a trusting relationship with his doctor so there is another adult he'll trust if he gets into trouble....
It sounds like the mechanics could have been handled better, but if your daughter wants you to know what they discussed she can tell you, or she can invite you to stay next time. --Been on both sides of the door MD
Something I did to help myself feel better was to suggest to my gynecologist that she write up or order brochures to give parents, explaining California's medical privacy laws and the ways in which they protect minors. By the way, when I did have a question about my daughter's sexual health, I learned to phrase it in such a way that my gynecologist could legally answer me: e.g., ''If a teenage girl is taking the pill and her boyfriend is using condoms, and they practice monogamy, would you say that is adquate protection against pregnancy and STDs? Would you recommend anything else?''
I also tried to bear in mind that all this was yet another a step toward my girl's inevitable adulthood and independence, and it's good to accept that. Not easy, but good. Anonymous
Your daughter is 16. She'll be leaving home within a couple of years. A concerned parent wants their child to learn the skills necessary to take care of her/himself in the world. Managing one's health responsibly is one of those things that must be learned. I'm frankly concerned that your relationship with your daughter's pediatrician meets your standard for ''very close and collaborative''; your daughter has the same right to privacy there as at the GYN's office, and given your expectations it sounds as though her rights are being violated by her pediatrician. Ever since my daughter was 11 (she is now 13) I have asked her whether she prefers that I be present in the exam room during doctor's appointments. So far she has wanted me to stay, but I have no expectation that I am entitled to be there. I let her and her pediatrician talk; I speak up only when there is something my daughter doesn't know or if her doctor addresses me directly.
My very loving mother was much like you, and expectations were different when we were growing up (I'm in my late 40's). She would have taken me to her gynecologist had I asked, but I didn't want her involved. At 15, when I had a discharge, I went to a teen health center for treatment. I got birth control (before I needed it), and generally took responsibility for my own reproductive health care. You are fortunate that this GYN cares enough to do the same for your daughter. Not a helicopter Mom - just a loving one
All teens are adults in training. As a parent, I feel like it's vitally important of them to get good advice from trusted adults -- but not necessarily their parents. Aunts, uncles, doctors -- good, responsible advice comes from many sources. Mom
I was livid - I drive, I pay, I am responsible for her care but I can not be a part of the care decisions without her permission. The law exists to protect those young adults who can not share with their parents and need a trusted adult and while I understand the reasoning, and even want that for my daughter if she didn't feel safe coming to me I absolutely hate the result.
Not sure there is anything we can or should do - it has changed the dynamic a little. I ask my daughter if it is ''okay'' with her if I come into the exam room and we have spoken about her need to be responsible about her health knowing that I am now an advisor not a director, but no matter how hard I work at understanding the situation it just makes me mad! Good luck! Maggie
1. from my experience as a mom - when my son turned 12 and the doc asked me to step out of the room for the first time during his physical, i felt sadness and anxiety about letting go of knowing everything that was going on with him, just as you described. but my son clearly felt more comfortable and the doc was very kind about it, so it didn't feel traumatic like your experience. i wish for you that your daughter's gyn could have handled it differently so you would have felt less pushed out.
2. from my experience as a teenager - when i was 13 and having a routine physical, the doc listened to my lungs and asked me if i smoked. i DID smoke, but i lied and told him ''no'' because i didn't want my mom to know. i don't remember if she was in the room or not, but the main thing is that i didn't trust he would keep the information private, thus a teaching moment was lost between me and my doctor. i went on to smoke for 15 years and struggled to quit over and over. could that have been avoided if i'd told the truth to that doctor and he talked to me about quitting then? who knows? but i wish i'd felt comfortable enough to tell the truth and give him a chance to help me.
3. also from my experience as a teenager - when i was 14 or 15 i had a vaginal infection and i did tell my mother. i didn't know what it was and i was scared i'd caught some horrible disease from a boyfriend. she rushed me to the ER (weird, i know, but that's another story...). in the ER she stayed in the room with me while the doc talked to and examined me. i was too embarassed and scared to answer any questions at all in front of her, so i mostly stayed silent. they ended up treating me as they would a rape victim with all the tests, a full pelvic, etc. - when in reality all i probably needed was a kind-hearted and informational conversation and a prescription for monistat.
i've never written in to this list before, but when i saw your letter i couldn't help identifying both with your very real hurt and bafflement at being shut out of a part of your daughter's life AND i also couldn't help remembering what it felt like to be a teenage daughter with a very real need for privacy and good medical care...so i wanted to share this. hope it helps. anon
I just found out that my 17 yo daughter has had sex for the first time. I wasn't too happy about who and how it happened. I found out mainly because she came down with a UTI which was a blessing. I am not at all sure she used proper safety even though she claimed she did. She is going off to college in Aug and I want to be sure she has a through GYN exam before she leaves and gets education about safe sex and birth control from a professional. Any recommendations of good Obs who have worked with your teen daughters? AD
That said, I liked my old GYN before she moved her practice and had a REALLY BAD billing experience at her new office. Dr. Angeline Thomas, she's really thorough and gentle. (510) 845-4200. Good luck! anon mom
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