The gynecologist may be the only physician that an adolescent depends on for primary and reproductive healthcare services. Because adolescent females often make personal healthcare decisions without the benefit of supportive parents/caregivers, it is imperative that the gynecologist understands the developmental issues encountered during this phase of life. The objective of this study is to identify cited complaints of adolescent females seeking reproductive care and, thus, provide gynecologists with needed information about the medical/mental health issues that may be encountered during routine reproductive care exams. The study group was adolescent females between the ages of 12 and 20 years old. The medical records of 479 adolescent females seeking reproductive care from an adolescent medicine clinic at a southeastern teaching medical center were reviewed to determine the most frequently cited medical/mental health complaints of adolescent females initiating a "routine" gynecological exam. Results indicated that adolescent females present for "routine" reproductive care exams with a myriad of concerns without formally requesting medical/mental health intervention upon initial presentation. The identified primary healthcare needs of adolescent females seeking reproductive healthcare include: 1) issues related to reproductive dysfunction (60%); 2) gastroenterological pain/issues (15%) 3) mental health issues (15%) and 4) general medical physical complaints (10%). Gynecologists are often asked to serve as a primary care provider as well as a reproductive healthcare specialist. Identification of the specific healthcare needs (reproductive and otherwise) of adolescent females will assist gynecologists in being uniquely prepared to practice in the setting of their choice.

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Published in International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, v. 21, no. 2, p. 243-248.

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