Medical Patient Modesty - a non-profit organization to improve patient modesty in medical settings


Tips For Parents of Teenagers

Parents often want their children to go to doctors for checkups and certain problems, but they fail to think about how their teenage children may feel about modesty in medical settings and having opposite sex doctors and nurses for certain procedures that are intimate. Many adolescents are very sensitive about the opposite sex seeing certain parts of their body because they are undergoing a lot of changes. Most adolescent girls don't feel comfortable letting their male pediatricians see certain parts of their body. Many girls don't even like to discuss personal matters such as periods and breast growth with their male doctors. There is usually no need for teenage girls to have pap smears if they are virgins. Check out our article about virgins and pap smears. Sometimes, virgin girls have problems such as abnormal heavy menstrual periods, severe cramps, or large ovarian cysts that need to be taken care of. It is best that you find a female ob/gyn for her if she has some gynecological problems that needs addressing. Be willing to drive as far as you have to find a good female ob/gyn for your daughter if there are no good female ob/gyns where you live.

Many teenage girls have been traumatized by having intimate examinations by male doctors. Many teenage girls are uncomfortable with strange men including doctors touching certain parts of their bodies. Some teenage girls have made a commitment to save sex until marriage and they also feel that their future husband should be the only man in the world who can see and touch certain parts of their body after puberty.

Many teenage girls are even uncomfortable discussing personal matters such as their menstrual periods, breast health, and some other female health issues with their male pediatricians.

Help your teenage child to think in advance about what parts of her/his body need to be examined before she/he goes to the doctor. For example, if your teenage daughter has an elbow injury, it would be best if she could wear a short sleeved shirt instead of a long sleeved shirt so she would not have to take her shirt off. Remember that it is unnecessary for a girl to take off her shirt for the doctor to listen to her heart. If she wears a sweater, she should have a thin shirt under it. Encourage your teenage children to speak up about what they want in regard to their modesty in medical settings no matter how hard it is. Make sure they know that they have the right to decide if they want same gender nurses or doctors for certain things and that they can refuse to take clothes off for certain procedures or even refuse certain procedures.

Be sensitive to the fact that your teenage son may not want female nurses around when he has certain examinations or procedures that would expose his male organs. It is very normal for a man to be modest. There are many men who want only male nurses and doctors for certain procedures. Many teenage boys have been traumatized by the sports physical examinations they've had to have in order to play sports at school. Please check out an article, Are Breast / Genital Exams Necessary for Sports Physicals?

If your child want an all same gender team for certain procedures or surgeries, work hard to advocate for his/her wishes no matter how hard it is. Your teenage child will appreciate your sensitivity to his/her needs for modesty.

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