"Why now, why me?" wonder many teens, who see no need to pay special attention to their health. Teen years are the time to establish good health habits that will last a lifetime - and also a time to recognize some special health issues.
In fact, the health habits you form in your teen years may play a big part in developing problems such as osteoporosis - and even heart disease - later in your life.
Nutritional issues are very important. That daily diet of French fries for lunch may seem fine now. But you may regret it later on.
Learn now how to take care of your body for a lifetime. Southcoast has some special programs just for teen women that can help you do that.
- Begin monthly breast self-exam.
- Begin regular pap smears and initial pelvic exam as recommended by your doctor.
- Cholesterol and blood pressure checks as recommended by your doctor.
An eating disorder is an illness defined by abnormal eating behaviors that may involve eating extreme small amounts of food or excessive overeating. These include disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder. Teens and young women are more likely to suffer from an eating disorder. Professional treatment, which can include psychotherapy, medical care and nutrition counseling, is necessary to help these women develop a healthy self-esteem.
General information: The National Eating Disorders Association(NEDA)
Support groups: Child & Family Services New Bedford
Southcoast Health offers a variety of Weight Management Programs to help you on your journey to better health. These programs, offered by our nutrition department, have been proven to be effective in helping people not just lose weight, but make important lifestyle choices to maintain a healthy weight. Monthly maintenance group counseling is also available after completion of any of the programs.
Teens may feel they don't have to think of this disease, which becomes evident at an older age. But your dietary and other habits as a teen may affect whether you develop this disease later in life. Teen female athletes may put themselves at particular risk for this disease because poor dietary habits are often coupled with stress on joints and bones during exercise, beginning the process of bone mass depletion.
General information: National Institutes of Health: Preventing Osteoporosis
- The RAPPP Program (Responsible Attitudes toward Pregnancy, Parenting & Prevention) is an adolescent pregnancy prevention program designed to be used within the curriculum of the health or science department of high and junior high school systems.
Southcoast's RAPPP program for teens and parents
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs):
STDs are infections that are passed from one person to another during sexual activity. These infections can affect your ability to have children in the future. Most STDs are easily treated with antibiotics. Any symptoms (vaginal discharge, pain etc.) need to be reported to your doctor.
General information: IntelliHealth: Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Scoliosis (curvature of the spine):
It is most often diagnosed in teen or pre-teen girls, when significant growth spurt occurs.
General information: iScoliosis.com
Southcoast Rehabilitation Services
The Southcoast SPORT (Sport Performance & Orthopedic Rehabilitation Team) provides evaluation and treatment for scoliosis and other posture-related problems as well as special programs for female athletes.