Should My Teen Still See a Pediatrician?
Teens go through many of physical, emotional and mental changes on their way to adulthood. Teenagers and their parents may wonder if it is necessary for a 15-year-old to still go to the same healthcare professional that they saw when they were 7 years old. Simply put, teens should still see their pediatrician. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that patients continue seeing their pediatrician until age 21 unless other health circumstances apply. Here are a few reasons that a teenaged child should still visit their pediatrician regularly.
Pediatricians Provide Consistent Care
If a teenager has been going to the same pediatrician since they were a child, they have a unique relationship with that healthcare professional. Their pediatrician knows their medical history and can continue to provide consistent care. Pediatricians also help keep adolescents up to date on their immunizations.
Teens May Trust Their Pediatrician
Because of familiarity, a teen may see their pediatrician as a confidant. Teens are often dealing with a lot of confusing physical and emotional changes that they may not want to talk to their parents about. However, they may feel comfortable with bringing it up with their pediatrician, who will be able to give them advice from a medical perspective. A pediatrician can be a trusted resource to help make sure they are getting the care and guidance they need. Teens may want to discuss the following in private with their pediatrician:
- Changes in their body that may be embarrassing
- Understanding the importance of sexual health and sexual urges
- Mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression and stress
College-aged adults between the ages of 18-21 may choose to continue seeing a pediatrician. For one thing, finding a new provider is typically not a priority for a college student. They may not want to deal with the stress of starting a new relationship with an adult primary care or family medicine physician. While they remain with their pediatrician, they will continue to get high-quality care.
As stated above, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that patients typically remain with their pediatrician until 21 years of age, and then they will transition to adult care. Outside of certain circumstances, the decision to transition to adult care should be made by the patient.
Eventually, everyone grows up. It is a bittersweet time for pediatricians, but we are happy to see them grow up and move on through life!
Our pediatric team prides themselves on establishing lasting relationships with each of our patients and their parents and families. We help parents manage their child's health through prevention and education. As your child's physician and advocate, our pediatricians focus on your child’s healthcare needs. Our physicians are specially trained to solve complex diagnostic problems and manage chronic illnesses. When other medical specialists are needed, our general pediatricians collaborate and coordinate to serve as consultants in your child’s care.
Learn more about Pediatrics at Ochsner Health.