41 answers

7 Year Old Well Check Up... Is This Normal?

I took my daughter do the doctor for an eye exam and figured since it had been a while, and she just turned 7, to have her do her well check up. When they asked my daughter to strip to her undies I asked the nurse why and she said that the doctor is just going to look at some moles and freckles. I was shocked when the Dr pulled down her undies and looked in her vagina! I am pretty upset actually and cant get over it! I teach my daughters these are private parts and I feel like she is a little traumatized. I am expecially upset because the nurse lead me to believe her undies will stay on! I am ok with looking at moles but not her privates! Is this normal at well checkups and should I talk to my daughter? I dont know if it would be better to talk about it or just let it go. How do I get over it! I feel like she was way too young and this was completely unnessary and they should have asked me permission first and let me know...Is this what a normal well check up is like??!!!! please help.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you everyone for your responses and advise. I tried to talk to my daughter and she was embarrased and "didnt want to talk about it" so I dropped it because I didnt want to make it a big deal. I hope over time she will forget it. I called the Dr office and said I want a note or something on each of my childrens' files that I do not want undies taken off without letting me know and asking me before hand. I have had a dr quickly "peek" at my 4 year old before and it wasnt as big of a deal as having my 7 yr old lay on a table and do this exam (it was a different dr). I am still sick about it but feel a little better. Thanks again!

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I can remember at 9 having this happen...it was close to menarche age. 7...ehh....it's iffy. Some say it's normal, others would say it's a bit early. This is one of many reasons honestly why I don't take my children to the doctor unless they are sick or I notice something wrong. If she is traumatized (or even if she isn't), I would ask that they explain what they are looking for and why, and ask that they ask permission first from both of you before an exam starts. Some would think that's silly, whatever, but in my mind it is only respectful that permission be granted from child and mom before sensitive areas are examined. Even if it's expected that at the exam this type of examination will be performed, I'm still a firm believer of permission being granted first..it sets a standard to me.

I have three daughters, the oldest 7, and this has NEVER happened to me. They have had to take pants off for shots. One time, a pediatrician did have my daughter remove most of her clothing, but
1. She was much younger
2. He explained why it needed to be done to her
3. He told her that because he was a Dr. and because her parents were there it was OK and no one else should touch her at all unless mom and dad are there.

The fact that you both are so upset means it was not handled well, even if it was 100% legit and necessary. And it means he thinks it's OK to handle patients this way. If you decide to leave this practice, tell them why, at least. Finally, yes that is part of her body, but IMO, unless you have expressed concern about an issue involving her vagina, there was no reason to examine it. I know I was never examined that way!

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Totaly normal...
The vagina is a part of her body...should he have ignored her ears during the exam? Why then should he not externally examine any part of her body? What if she had a rash or a growth or discharge from her vagina and he DIDN'T examine it?

Privacy is one thing...doctors are another...if she is going to take good care of herself as a woman she better get used to having professionals take a peak "down there".

I assume you or the nurse was in the room? THAT would be the only thing I would have concerned myself with if a guardian or assistant has not been present.

You say looked "in" her vagina...did he put her in stirups and do an INTERNAL examination? (Which would be inappropriate unless a problem was indicated) Or did he just do a visual EXTERNAL examination?

My pediatrician says girls should start seeing a gynacologist as young as 9 or 10 years old or as soon as they start their periods for preventative care and Guardasil etc. That is going to ivolve more "trama" than a doctor taking a quick peek under her undies.

1 mom found this helpful

Hey A.,

I just wanted to let you know that this is a normal thing for the doctor to do, although perhaps he didn't handle it as well as he could have. At this point, I think it's important for you to talk to your daughter about what happened, and explain to her that her vagina is a part of her body, and as she matures, the doctor is going to look there to make sure that everything is growing properly and that there isn't any kind of infection, etc... It is onw thing to tell our children that their private areas are private, but it is quite another for us to breed shame because a doctor performs a physical on them. I had my first "real" gynecological exam when I was 10 or 11, because my mother was concerned about something. She was in the room the whole time, and while it was uncomfortable, I didn't feel like anything inappropriate was being done to me. I would talk to your pediatrician and tell him that you were taken aback, and that in the future, you'd like some warning beforehand if he intends to check your daughter's vagina, and that she certainly needs some warning, as well.

A.

1 mom found this helpful

Although it SHOULD have been explained better so both you & your daughter would be comfortable, I'm confused why so many people think this is "abnormal". As stated, the vagina is part of the body & should be taken care of & NOT treated differently at well checks! I was a family practice nurse & always tried to make sure children had healthy thoughts about all of their body parts. We asked permission of the mom right in front of her daughter.
Please explain w/ no embarassed looks/blushing that this is normal so she doesnt cringe at appts or think her private parts are dirty. I know that is one of the last things you would want. You are a great momma for asking this question, but please DON't file a grievance like some suggested. Instead, talk w/ the Dr & nurse privately. I doubt they want their patients uncomfortable!
take care,
S.

1 mom found this helpful

Looked "in," (as you stated) or around the area?? Around, is very normal. Although, the Dr. should have talked you daughter through it. They need to check for multiple things, i.e- cleanliness, growth, infection, fusion etc.

1 mom found this helpful

This is normal not only do they check little girls down there they do boys to to make sure their testicles are in the right spot not swollen and the like.

I have taught my children that it is okay for a doctor to touch and look down there as long as mommy or daddy is in the room. However it is not okay for strangers, teachers, male family members that have not been approved for bath time. Which in my family only the grandpas are approved for that but only to a certain age.

The nurse however should have given you better information. I would have straight up asked the doctor when he did it what he was doing. I am surprised that your doctor had never done this before. Especially when she was a baby and toddler.
Talk with her about it. Help her feel comfortable. Tell her you were not prepared that they would do that type of exam this time so you had no time to prepare her for it. That it was only okay cause mommy was with her.

1 mom found this helpful

At the practice I take my kids to, this is normal. The pediatrician is responsible to ensure that 100% of the child is checked and healthy, not just 75% or 90%.
Also, if the doctor is just looking around the genitals, that isn't the vagina. The vagina is located inside the body. Doing a vaginal exam would require the insertion of a finger or being in the stirrups using the "duck" so that the doctor could actually see in the vagina.
I also don't think that the nurse led you to believe anything, if what you typed is the entire conversation about the topic (hard for me to know since we all usually do not type other conversations word for word.) I think that you asked an incomplete question and she gave an incomplete answer based on both of your expectations and experiences. The nurse experiences well child checks, probably every 20 minutes... so they are part of her daily routine, she also can see the medical reason why it is done. You probably aren't looking at it from the medical stand-point (I don't know your background, so I can't be sure) but instead from the protective parent point. Y'all weren't on the same playing field. Perhaps next time you can ask very specific questions to get the very specific answers that you need.
You also said you were shocked when the doctor did this... when you were researching and looking around for the right pediatrician, didn't you get this information? You know, on what they do at all of the well checks from newborn to age 12 or 15 (whatever age they take care of kids to, since all practices are different)?? And if you didn't do that, did you ask the doctor what was going to happen at the next appointment?
Yes, talk to your daughter and ask her if she is really traumatized, or if it is merely you projecting your feelings onto your daughter... or even a little bit of both.
Don't get me wrong, the doctor's office should have handled this differently! But you as the parent need to educate yourself on what is going to be done and communicate it to your daughter before going to the doctor's office.

1 mom found this helpful

My 4 children have always had their genitals examined. But a pediatrician should always be explaining along the way what they are doing. "Now let's check your reflexes, I can hear your heart beating, etc." Our ped. makes a big deal about who can see their privates and why she is going to and how mom is here with her and it is NEVER Ok for anyone else to do something like this ,etc. The exam is OK, but how the doc went about it might be another issue.

I would ask your daughter if she remembers it, but don't make too big of a deal. She might not be as traumatized as you think she is, and you don't want to get her scared. But clarifying why the doc did it and when it's OK and not OK.

1 mom found this helpful

I am nurse and have a 8 year old daughter. This is a normal part of a well child check, however they should not have led you to believe they were just checking for moles and freckles. My doctor also asks me and my daughter if it is "OK" for him to check her private area with me there. They should be just be checking that anatomy is correct. I Hope your daughter is not to traumatized. The doctor is someone that your daughter should feel she can trust and if you don't have the trust and open communication then I would recommend looking for a new Dr.

It seems to be pretty normal, and something done at all well visits (frankly I am surprised that they haven't checked down there before). Our Dr. always explains to our children what he is going to do and that no one is allowed to touch or look in the private area unless their mom says it is ok. I know it is a little unnerving, but nothing to be ashamed about, and it probably presents a great teaching opportunity to go over safety.
I recently learned that my friend teaches her kids the correct names of the 'private parts' to give her children extra protection-she claims that a child that says "don't touch my vagina" is much more safe than a child that doesn't use correct terms. The theory is that a sexual predator will assume that the child's parents have talked to him/her about such things and a bigger risk, therefore leaving the child alone.
Anyway, I wouldn't be too concerned, but I do think the DR. should have explained things to both of you before hand.

TALK TO YOUR DAUGHTER!!!!

The more important issue is that your daughter know what is and is not appropriate. If anything she's traumatized because she can sense how upset you are about what happened and if you don't say anything it must be okay for someone to pull down her panties. Tell her this was a doctor and you were in the room and she should never get undressed for ANYONE unless you or daddy are there and ask her to. Say you were just surprised because you didn't know the doctor was checking there, but that if he had touched you or been doing something bad you were there to protect her. Don't LET her be traumatized.

Next talk to the drs office about how you felt and what you wished they would have done differently. Obviously there was just not enough communication, because had something been truly wrong you would have seen and stopped it.

The #1 thing I've learned about the medical profession is there is never too much communication. Ask, ask, ask and if they get annoyed because you "talk to much" that means you are in the wrong place. Find a dr who actually cares that you understand whats happening.

Best Wishes!

I have three daughters, the oldest 7, and this has NEVER happened to me. They have had to take pants off for shots. One time, a pediatrician did have my daughter remove most of her clothing, but
1. She was much younger
2. He explained why it needed to be done to her
3. He told her that because he was a Dr. and because her parents were there it was OK and no one else should touch her at all unless mom and dad are there.

The fact that you both are so upset means it was not handled well, even if it was 100% legit and necessary. And it means he thinks it's OK to handle patients this way. If you decide to leave this practice, tell them why, at least. Finally, yes that is part of her body, but IMO, unless you have expressed concern about an issue involving her vagina, there was no reason to examine it. I know I was never examined that way!

When my daughter now 7 had her check up she did not have to strip nor did they even ask about her private area. I don't think this is normal for a 7 yo check up. I would ask your daughter if she had any questions and if not drop it with her but follow up with a second opinion as to what they did to her. Hope you get through this easily.

I can remember at 9 having this happen...it was close to menarche age. 7...ehh....it's iffy. Some say it's normal, others would say it's a bit early. This is one of many reasons honestly why I don't take my children to the doctor unless they are sick or I notice something wrong. If she is traumatized (or even if she isn't), I would ask that they explain what they are looking for and why, and ask that they ask permission first from both of you before an exam starts. Some would think that's silly, whatever, but in my mind it is only respectful that permission be granted from child and mom before sensitive areas are examined. Even if it's expected that at the exam this type of examination will be performed, I'm still a firm believer of permission being granted first..it sets a standard to me.

This is not normal, and it is not o.k. Trust your instincts and act accordingly, always!!
My daughter had an odor which we took her to the doctor for, not only did the doctor insist on my being present, he explained that because he was a doctor it was ok and because her mom was there... all this was set before she was ever even asked to undress. This is an extremely sensetive age. This was by a male urgent care doctor. I followed up with a wellness check with her usual doctor, a woman and she too went through the same routine saying essentially the same things before she ever undressed. There is obviously a correct code of conduct for doctors in this situation.This behavior should be reported so other children do not have the same traumatic experience, or worse!!

This is normal and could have been handled differently. If it made you uncomfortable, it certainly made her uncomfortable. Talk to your daughter about it. Tell her your feelings and hopefully she will open up and share hers.

I can remember being seven and having a well checkup. The doctor did the same thing, however, he asked my mom to leave to make me more relaxed. EXCUSE ME!!!!! I was traumatized to say the least and before this time I do not recall a doctor ever looking at my genitals, so it was pretty groundbreaking! I became very self-conscious and private when it came to that area and I don't feel it needs to be that way all the time. I was mortified to be naked even in front of my family.

So, please talk to her.

Yes it is normal...yes they should've talked to you and your daughter about it first.

When my girls were babies - 4 yrs. or so it was normal... then I switched drs. cause we movied & the dr. we just went to didn't take clothes off, but did lift up their dresses to look at their backs.... My previous dr. who did take clotthes & when she looked at their vaginas she would say "This is a private area, but it is okay for me to look because your Mama is right here." I would talk to your dr. about your concern & mention your surprise.... ask him/her what he was looking for.... it may be an easy explanation & one that will ease your daughters anxiety.

I can't imagine what business an EYE dr. would have looking for moles and freckles or a vagina for an eye exam. I would check in with the medical board that supervises this type of Dr and verify...but it sure feels weird to me. In the mean time I would follow up with the Dr. to determine why this was necessary and document what they say. I would find another dr. and report this one if the board verifies that it was inappropriate. Either way, any Dr worth their salt would check in with a parent before such an exam.

Yes- it's normal. They sometimes check girls (I have 3:) to be sure that they are cleaning and wiping well enough. If they aren't, the vagina can actually fuse together causing the opening to become smaller, and urine can be trapped inside, causing infection. I would agree with you however, that they should have informed you about what the check up would entail before starting so that you could ensure your daughter that what the dr. was doing was ok. I wouldn't mention it to her unless she seems upset by it. If she does, just let her know that it's important the the dr checks those areas periodically to make sure everything is ok.

doctors are NOT suppose to check the child of any kind boy or girl private area after they turn a year. the only reason the dr checks it when they are babies is to make sure that everything is working properly. the only way a dr can check a child area older than 1 is to have the parents permission or the something has to be wrong like if the child is abused then the dr do the exam a girl should not have dr looking at her area until she hits the age that she has to start getting a pap smear and 7 years old is way to young so the dr should not have did that i would switch drs and report that dr for inapproiate behavior. i would talk to your daughter too and if something seems wrong with her after a while seek help for her that the best advice i can give you.

My daughter is just now 7, and our Dr. doesn't do well visits at this age. However, it's my recollection that she always checks the privates during a well visit, after all, it is part of their body and should be included in the overall checkup (I have three other kids as well). She does always preface it with an explanation of what she is going to do, and then says it's only ok because she is a doctor and mommy is present. If, now assuming that it was normal to check, you search your memory and still feel uncomfortable with the WAY that it was done, you should definitely bring it up with your doctor. He doesn't want to go around traumatizing kids if he is a pediatrician. If you feel your daughter was traumatized, then you should definitely take this opportunity to bring up the privacy again, but also to discuss what is ok. You wouldn't want her keeping a problem from you because it was "private". Good luck. It's better to be safe than sorry.

I would check with the medical board & see if this is normal & look this dr up to see if there were any complaints. I dont think this is right from a male dr. did he ask if he could do thid? did he ask your daughter any questions??? something seems wrong to me about this,I would have stopped him in the middle & got her dressed & left.

Well I think that the action of this dr is unacceptable.
I have two daughters, both of them are covered in freckles and never had a doctor say that he was checking them.
I also have never had a doctor pull down their undies without saying what they are going to do before they do it. Doctors have never checked them below the undies without a reason or concern.
I think if it was me I would have not only a talk with your daughter but also with the dr. Let them know that you were offended that he would just yank down your daughters underwear without explaining what he was going to do so that you and your daughter could be prepared.
I do not believe that this was a normal check up nor do I believe that this doctor showed a good dr./patient relationship.....

No, that is not normal and you should have been consulted. I would report it to the AMA.

Yes it is but this usually happens around the age of 9 or 10. You should talk to your doctor if you feel uncomfortable with this situation.

A. -
I'm so confused. What doctor are you seeing that does by eye exam and physical exam? In my opinion, under NO circumstances would a doctor be examining your 7 year old daughter's genitals unless you took her there with a specific problem involving that area.
I'm flabbergasted. Unless other mothers would confirm that this is a typical practice, I think it should perhaps be reported.

While I think you should have had some sort of forewarning/explanation I am actually surprised that you are surprised. At well-child exams my kids are checked everywhere, including their genitals, since they were infants. And as a teenager and into adulthood whenever I go for my well-woman exam they check my vagina. So if they do it for infants, toddlers, teenagers and adults, why wouldn't they check children down there as well? It only makes sense to me and there is absolutely nothing sexual about it, and I think it's a little unhealthy when innocent, medical things like that are sexualized. She will probably feel more comfortable with a female doctor from here on out. I remember as a child that my mom taught me that the only people to see and touch my private parts besides myself were my parents to help me clean them if necessary and the doctor to examine them. I would definitely talk it over with your daughter. She probably sensed your horror and concern and she probably feels like something bad happened. Reassure her that it's okay and the doctor was just making sure she was healthy everywhere and maybe even explain that you didn't expect it, hence your reaction. Sorry you weren't prepared for that--I can see how that would be a shocker, especially for your daughter, if you didn't realize it was going to occur.

Hi A.,

I would absolutly be freaked out! That is not normal... not in my relm of normality anyway. Your conscience, gut and instinct are your best friend here. All three can't be wrong. If your daughter wasn't complaining of anything in the vaginal area he shouldn't have been there and most certainly should have asked you first. BTW... Don't make a big deal about it to your daughter. She's young enough that she'll most likely never remember it but you making a big deal of it may cause her to freak out a bit and feel shameful or imbarassed. I know you don't want that. See if the Doctor has any other complaints against him would be my first move. Never go back and consider filing a complaint. Good Luck!

actually no! that is not a normal check up, i mean i remember when they would have you strip to your undergarments, but now its just a shirt and shorts. but they would push on your stomach, a few times, check your heart,ears,throat,eyes, but i remember at 1 point they pull down your undies a bit but not enough to see your vagina, just enough to feel that area, and its just the top, you now where you cramp! but that's it! i would also let it go unless she brings it up.

I may be of no help here since I do not have a 7 year old or a daughter for that matter. I am taken aback and not sure what to think. But I think you coming here and asking if this is normal is a good step. Another thing you can do is call your insurance company and file a grievance and they will look into the situation. Please don't take this the worng way but when you stated that they should have asked you first I kind of raised a brow because the minute you saw the Dr pull down her undies I think you should have started asking questions. I understand if you were just in shock when it happened but I just thought I would point it out because if I did that intially then maybe someone else would too. So if you do file a grievance I think maybe you should word it that you were in shock and speechless and assumed it was routine but that you started asking questions to see if this was normal and the more you think about it the more it bothers you. And I am sure that all of this is true I just want you to word it a way that they can not question you. Because I know how much more upsetting that would be. But none the less I do agree with you that they should have let you know that was going to be done and I do not agree with it either. Just hearing about this bothers me and it didn't even happen to my child.
Now just to let you know when you file a grievance they never do tell you what was done but at least you will have reported it and they will investigate it. If you find this is not routine I think maybe you should not only file a grievance but perhaps bring it to the publics attention so that other people can be warned and if this happened before maybe others will come forward. Afterall, we are talking about a child.
Keep us posted and best of luck to you and your daughter.

I have a boy who is almost 7 and at his doctor visit a while back, the doctor did explain to him and me and ask about pulling his undies down to look (and touch) his privates just to be sure things were okay. We were fine with that.

I think the dr should have said something before just doing it.

I do remember when I was at a doctor when I was young (probably between 7-12??) and he touched my vagina (just enough to wipe out a little black speck of accumulated dirt or whatever it was at the very beginning of the part line) and it was weird to me. Just because no one had ever touched me that way and it made me conscious of the dirt speck that was there (and it occasionally appeared, I guess it's a normal thing for kids) Anyway years later, my mom and I read in the paper that that dr was reported for child molestation. I DO NOT THINK THAT I WAS MOLESTED NOR DO I THINK YOUR DAUGHTER IS EITHER. Just that you do need to report (at least to the front office staff at the very least) if anything makes you/her uncomfortable.

Request that the dr always ask & explain what he is going to do, what he is looking for before doing anything near/around private areas.

Both you and the child (girl OR boy) need to be reassured of the professionalism and the intent/purpose of the doctor esp in regards to privates.

Oh my goodness! I was shocked to read this. I don't have girls, but this seems very abnormal for a check up. I can't believe they didn't talk to you about it first as well. How did she feel about having this done? I haven't heard of this unless she was having a problem down there that you specifically went to the doctor about. I am wondering what other moms have to say about their experiences. Sorry for you and your daughter!

This is definitely part of a normal well check and is usually done every year. The doctor needs to check to make sure she is developing normally. Usually they say something like I'm going to check your privates and this is only ok because mom is here and no one is ever supposed to look there etc. I'm surprised they didn't do this. The nurse may not now the doctor needs to look at a child's genitalia but I agree the communication could have been better.

What about asking your daughter if she has any questions about the doctors visit and just using this as an example of who and when anyone should be looking at this area.

I remember being around her age for a regular check up and the Dr. looking at me. I had to strip to my undies, but don't remember if he pulled them down at all. But it was obviously a little upsetting for me if I can still remember.
If it is standard practice the nurse should have been the one to explain exactly what was going to happen. At 7, your daughter knows what feels right and not and the nurse should have told her what was going to happen. Even if it is standard, I'd call and complain...or at least make mention of how upsetting the appt was to you and yoru daughter. And have a talk with your daughter to make sure she understands that YOU had no clue either. Just so she doesn't blame you in any way for her embarassment.

My neice is 7 and they did the same with her. Although thankfully they did because she had a mole there that needed to be removed and then it was found that she had lichen scorosis (not sure on the spelling) I'm not sure of the protocol, but I think a lot of these checks are also a simple way to check for abuses of any kind. They DEFINITELY should have let you known that it was going to happen!!!

I have been thinking about your question for several days. I do not yet have a girl (or an older child), but upon consideration I do not consider this appropriate. Girls have modesty and privacy that needs to be respected, and I would consider a cut-off age of several years earlier to be better-judged. If the genitalia are well-formed at birth and toddlerhood, there is no reason to suspect anything wrong. Until she becomes sexually active, I believe that genitals should be off-limits.

Thanks for posting your question, as it has allowed me to form my own opinion in advance in case this issue comes up with our children.

Wow. I don't know if this is normal. I certainly don't remember anything like this in my own childhood checkups. At the very least I would expect the nurse or doctor should have given you a warning first.

I would definitely say that you should ask in advance of future visits and decide whether or not you wish the doctor to examine her yoni.

So sorry you both went through this. I would definitely not have been comfortable with this without some kind of advance notice.

M.

Is this her normal dr? I would ask another drs office... and just inquire? I personally would be a little upset too, since I have also taught my daughter that "the area" is private. Well checks are general, take blood, check ears...and so on. Does she have abnormal freckles and does cancer run in your family... ? I am concerned for you and her... but before you go crazy, check around and ask questions. If you freak out, so will she... and you do not want that to happen. Stay calm and find out answers first before you freak and scar her more then she already is.

i think its normal, they are checking for certain. My daughter if only 4 and they have always checked her, since she was 2 they explain its her private area and a dr may only look if a parent is there and no one else can. we have lady drs.

I only have boys, but as soon as they both turned 3, our pediatrician would talk with them about how it is a private area only & must have permission from mom & dad before ANYONE looks there, then turns to me to ask my permission before she pulls their underwear down.

Also... trust your gut... if you have a bad feeling, don't take her to the same pediatrician.

I think filing a grievance with the insurance company is a little too strong right now.

If you have any complaint with the office, please tell the dr. directly. Not all information told to the front office & office manager will get to the doctor. If there is a primary dr or drs in the office talk with them about any issues.

NO WAY WAS THAT NORMAL! The Dr. may need to feel for any lumps oe swelling above the pelvic bone but never under. I have boys and a daughter and our Dr. has never pulled the underwear off all the way. You need to report it.
B. King

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