The teenage years are a particularly difficult time in your child’s life. Not only does puberty put them at an awkward stage in their life, they also face many health issues that only a teenager can understand. From sexually transmitted diseases to mental health disorders, the teenage years are tricky to navigate.
At New England Women’s Healthcare, our expert professionals are ready to help you and your teen stay healthy throughout this time in their life. Our amazing team of highly trained OB/GYN doctors not only takes care of your teen through puberty, but also helps them with any health issues that pop up along the way.
Health problems and teen girls
Teenagers are right smack between childhood and the coveted adulthood. Teenage girls have it especially hard, as they go through the demanding hormonal changes of puberty while society puts pressure on them to be perfect.
The ups and downs of hormones, puberty, and just trying to fit in bring certain risks and health issues. Teen girls are sometimes a little more daring, but also afraid of the consequences. This can make for an unhealthy combination. Teens are at risk for certain health issues, and the following are five of the most common:
1. Eating disorders
There’s a lot of pressure at school to be skinny and look good all of the time. This expectation is why eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are so prevalent among teen girls. Without proper treatment, these disorders may lead to more severe health issues, including death.
2. Sexually transmitted diseases
Teenagers are exploring their bodies and experimenting with sexual intercourse. They may be timid to ask for birth control or information about safe sex. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, human papillomavirus (HPV), and herpes are all common, but catching one is completely preventable.
Between the pressure of school, home, and friends, depression and anxiety are common among teen girls. If not treated properly, depression in teens may lead to severe consequences, including suicide. However, with treatment, many teens overcome this disorder.
Teen girls may be afraid to ask you for help when they’re ready to become sexually active, so make sure you have the discussion first. Without abstinence or proper birth control, your child has an increased risk of teen pregnancy, which impacts the rest of their life.
Obesity is a huge health concern not only for teens, but for adults as well. Obesity doesn’t just affect your child’s self-esteem, but can have a huge impact on their overall health as well.
If your teen is overweight, it can lead to long-term problems with fertility due to abnormal periods. Giving your teen the proper tools of a nutritious diet and daily exercise can help prevent obesity.
How to be proactive
Although it may prove very difficult, you can take steps to help ensure your teen girl gets through these years unscathed. As a parent, your first goal is to protect your child, no matter what their age. Whether that’s from health problems or from the stress of life, you have their back.
Although not all medical problems are preventable, many of the ones that affect teen girls really are. There are several things you can do to protect your child from preventable problems, including:
- Talk about risks of alcohol and drugs
- Discuss birth control options and safe sex
- Help your teen stay physically active
- Discuss the benefits of good nutrition
- Keep an eye on their mental health
- Discuss coping mechanisms for stress
- Allow them to get plenty of sleep
It’s also important to remind your teenage girl that she is not expected to do everything. Taking on too much is a gateway to stress and can lead to substance abuse and other medical problems. A good balance between school, home, and sports is a great way to promote good physical and mental health.
Some of these discussions are hard, especially with a teenager. However, it’s important to have them, as they can help save your teen from medical problems that could potentially affect their entire life.
Taking an interest in your teen’s life and extracurricular activities not only helps keep them out of trouble, but decreases the likelihood of them turning to substance or alcohol abuse.
If you’re concerned about your teenager’s health, call one of our offices in Woburn or Wilmington, Massachusetts, at 781-787-3003. You can also request an appointment online with our booking tool.