It probably seems like just yesterday you stepped into your pediatrician’s office for your child’s very first checkup. But after years of interaction, complete with late-night phone calls, last-minute appointments and trustworthy advice, it may be time for your teen to make the switch to an adult doctor.
There’s no set age for making the switch from a pediatrician to an adult doctor.
“As pediatricians, we can see patients until 21 years of age,” said Dr. Emma Raizman, of Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics Medina. “We love our older patients just as much as our younger ones and would welcome seeing them until age 21.”
Some young adults like the familiarity of seeing their pediatrician until they’re 21, while others may find it harder to connect with their childhood doctors as they get older. It’s not easy to talk about serious topics such as gynecological exams if your doc still thinks it’s cute to tickle your belly and hand out Disney stickers.
“The choice should be made taking into consideration the needs and desires of the patient and also whether they are experiencing medical problems,” said Dr. Raizman. “Persistent or complicated menstrual issues, hypertension or type 2 diabetes, for example, would be a better fit for a family medicine or internal medicine provider.”
If you feel your teen has outgrown her pediatrician, talk to her about making the switch. It’s a good time for your teen to take the first step and start getting involved in making decisions about her health.
Since there’s so much going on health-wise during the teen years, he may want to see a healthcare provider who specializes in caring for teens. Adolescent medicine specialists have extra training in the medical and emotional issues that many teens face.
Other adult providers include family practice or internal medicine doctors.