Make the Most of Your Teen’s Visit to the Doctor (Ages 15 to 17)

The Basics
Teens need to go to the doctor or nurse for a “well-child visit” once a year between the ages of 15 and 17.

Take Action!
Suggest to your teen that she make a list of questions to ask the doctor at her next appointment.

Start Today: Small Steps

The Basics

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Teens ages 15 to 17 need to go to the doctor or nurse for a “well-child visit” once a year.

A well-child visit is when you take your teen to the doctor for a full checkup to make sure he is healthy and developing normally. This is different from other visits for sickness or injury.

At a well-child visit, the doctor or nurse can help catch any problems early, when they may be easier to treat.

To make the most of your teen’s visit:

What about cost?

Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance plans must cover well-child visits. Depending on your insurance, your teen may be able to get well-child checkups at no cost to you. Check with your insurance company to learn more.

How do I know if my teen is growing and developing on schedule?

Your teen’s doctor or nurse can help you identify “developmental milestones,” or signs to look for that show your teen is developing normally. This is an important part of the well-child visit.

Some developmental milestones are related to your teen’s behavior and learning, and others are about physical changes in your teen’s body.

See a complete list of developmental milestones for your teen.

What are some changes I might see in my teen’s behavior, feelings, and relationships?

Developmental milestones for teens ages 15 to 17 include:

This is also a time when some teens may start showing signs of depression, anxiety, or eating disorders. Your teen may also have a girlfriend or boyfriend.

What are some physical changes my teen is going through?

Teens ages 15 to 17 are usually either finished or close to finishing puberty. Puberty is when a child’s body develops into an adult’s body.

Although it may be different for some teens, most girls finish puberty by age 15. Most boys finish puberty by age 16.

Teens might not ask you questions about sex, their bodies, or relationships. That’s why it’s a good idea for you to start the conversation. You can also encourage your teen to ask the doctor or nurse questions about body changes.

Take Action!

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Take these steps to help you and your teen get the most out of well-child visits.

Gather important information.

Take any medical records you have to the appointment, including a record of shots your teen has received.

Make a list of any important changes in your teen’s life since the last visit, like a:

Use this tool to  keep track of your teen’s family health history.

Help your teen get more involved in visits to the doctor.

The doctor will probably ask you to leave the room during part of the visit, usually the physical exam. This lets your teen develop a relationship with the doctor or nurse and ask questions in private. It’s an important step in teaching your teen to take control of his health care.

Your teen can also:

For more ideas,  check out these tips to help teens take charge of their health care. External Links Disclaimer Logo

Make a list of questions you want to ask the doctor.

Before the well-child visit, write down 3 to 5 questions you have. This visit is a great time to ask the doctor or nurse any questions about:

Here are some questions you may want to ask:

Take a notepad and write down the answers so you can remember them later.

Ask what to do if your teen gets sick.

Make sure you know how to get in touch with a doctor or nurse when the office is closed. Ask how to get hold of the doctor on call, or if there's a nurse information service you can call at night or on the weekend.

Know what to expect.

During each well-child visit, the doctor or nurse will ask you questions, do a physical exam, and update your teen’s medical history. You and your teen will also be able to ask your questions and discuss any problems. 

The doctor or nurse will ask your teen questions.

The doctor or nurse may ask about:

The answers to questions like these will help the doctor or nurse make sure your teen is healthy and developing normally.  See a list of other questions the doctor may ask [PDF - 1.1 MB]. External Links Disclaimer Logo 

The doctor or nurse will also check your teen’s body.

To check your teen’s body, the doctor or nurse will:

The doctor or nurse will pay special attention to signs of certain issues. 

The doctor or nurse will offer additional help if your teen may be:

And if your teen may be having sex, the doctor or nurse will talk about preventing STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and pregnancy.

The doctor or nurse will make sure you and your teen have the resources you need. 

This may include telling you and your teen about:

If necessary, the doctor or nurse may also refer your teen to a specialist. 

Start Today: Small Steps

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