Teen Health Blog

Q&A for teens

My Face Breaks Out!

Help me...the only time my face breaks out is when I am having my period. Can I do something to prevent this?

Some girls will experience an increase in skin breakouts around their periods due to changes in hormone levels. Males also break out due to testosterone release, which may also be cyclical in nature. Stress in both sexes will cause outbreaks of acne. The week after "test time" can be a bummer.

For mild acne, washing with soap and water with a washcloth, followed by application of over the counter benzoyl peroxide (5-10% lotion or gel), will provide good control by providing adequate cleansing and helping to keep your oil glands open.

Avoid harsh scrubbing and oil based cosmetics.

Avoid dirty caps and headbands.

For moderate to severe acne, numerous prescription medications are available. Please ask your doctor if you would like help-there is much we can do to help control acne.


Bullying

I am going into Jr. High next year...I have read and seen so much information about bullying, I am worried that it may happen to me. What should I do if I'm being bullied?

Bullying is a very serious problem for many of America’s youth. If you feel that you are being bullied you should report it to your parents or your teachers immediately.

If you are being bullied:

  • Tell a parent or trusted adult. They can help.
  • Don’t fight back. It may make bullying worse.
  • Stay in a group.
  • If you are bullied online, don’t reply
  • Join clubs and take part in activities to meet other kids
  • Don’t show your fear or anger. It fuels the bullies.
  • Calmly tell the bully to stop, or else quietly walk away.
  • Use humor, or agree with the bully so it’s less satisfying for him or her
  • Avoid the bully

Am I Depressed?

I am 17 and I have been crying a lot lately. I can't seem to explain to anyone why I feel sad. Do you think I'm depressed?

Everybody feels sad sometimes. This is normal for all of us. Being a teenager can be full of conflicts as you are learning to balance the demands of competition, grades, friendships, complicated family relationships, discrimination and other problems. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and to need some time to figure these things out for yourself.

Depression, not just having a depressed mood, is an illness. It is characterized by continuing feelings of being hopeless, or helpless to make things better in your life. Someone who is truly depressed may feel worthless. They may experience a lot of physical symptoms like stomachaches, headaches or headaches that don't seem to have a medical cause. They may feel restless and experience difficulty concentrating or sleeping, and even think about suicide.

Depression has been linked to poor academic performance, truancy, delinquency, drug and alcohol abuse, and other self destructive behaviors.

If you have the following symptoms, please seek help from a medical professional.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression:

  • You are sleeping a lot or are unable to sleep
  • You have gained or lost a large amount of weight
  • You have no interest in your friends or the things you used to like to do
  • You cry all the time
  • You are not able to control your anger
  • You have seen a change in your grades

You may not always recognize these signs in yourself, but others may. If you feel you are being pushed with questions, from your parents or friends, it may be because they recognize a change in you and are trying to find a way to help.

Don't be afraid to ask for help.


Painful Periods

I have miserable periods with lots of pain and cramping. What can I do?

Painful periods are common in teenagers and young adults.  Periods tend to become less painful as you get older.  In most cases the cause of the pain during periods is not clear.  The main symptom is crampy pain in your lower abdomen and these period pains may develop 6 - 12 months after your first period.  Other symptoms, in addition to the pain, may occur during a period. For example: headaches, tiredness, faintness, breast tenderness, feeling sick, bloating, diarrhoea and feeling emotional.

An anti-inflammatory painkiller can greatly ease the pain in about 90% of women.  There are several types and brands that you can purchase at the pharmacy, but the main ingredient is ibuprofen.  Refer to the directions for proper dosage.

If the pains continue despite the use of an anti-inflammatory we recommend that you consult with your physician.