TEENS, UT Teen Health

Ask an Expert: frequently asked questions from teens

Signs that indicate when I definitely need to go to a clinic?

You should visit your health care provider if you experience genital itching, yellow or green discharge, malodorous discharge, bloody discharge, genital warts, genital sores, pelvic pain, fever, chills, burning or pain with urination, a missed period, or if you think you may be pregnant. If you have another question, please do not hesitate to contact your health care provider.

I don’t have an emergency, but I was wondering, when should I go to a clinic/ see a gynecologist?

The American College of Gynecology recommends that a teen establish a relationship with a gynecologist before they are 16. Some girls go sooner if they experience problems with menstrual cycles or have other concerns. You should also see a health care provider if you are sexually active or considering becoming sexually active. All women should see the healthcare provider when they are 21 years old, even if they are not sexually active.

Vaginal Discharge- is it normal or should I see a doctor?

Vaginal discharge is a common concern among women. Vaginal discharge contains vaginal skin cells, bacteria, mucus, and fluid produced by the vagina and cervix to protect against vaginal and urinary tract infections. It is normal to have one-half to one teaspoon of white or clear, thick, mucus-like, odorless vaginal discharge daily. The amount may vary with the menstrual cycle. If you experience vaginal itching, green or yellow discharge, malodorous discharge, or bloody discharge seek medical attention from your doctor.

I’m sexually active, should I get tested?

Yes. Any person who is sexually active is at risk for getting a sexually transmitted disease. It is possible to have a sexually transmitted infection and not know it. Visit your health care provider to discuss birth control options and get tested. Also, remember that abstinence is still an option even if you have had sex before. Abstinence is a decision for your future, and no matter what may have happened in the past, you can move forward taking into account what you have learned.