Women's Wellness March 2011
Teen Health: Coping with Change
According to girlshealth.gov, a site created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, puberty is the start of changing from a child to an adult. These changes include the reproductive system, which includes the ovaries; fallopian tubes (which connect the ovaries to the uterus); the uterus, where a baby would grow; the vagina; and the cervix, the narrow entryway in between the vagina and uterus.
For girls, puberty is characterized by the following changes: larger breast size, changes in body hair, and the beginning of menstruation.
To help learn about your body, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that teenage girls start seeing a gynecologist between the ages of 13 and 15. Seeing a gynecologist can:
- Help you understand your body and how to care for it
- Establish what is normal for you so you can notice any problems or changes, like signs of a vaginal infection
- Allow the doctor to find problems early so they can be treated or kept from getting worse
- Explain what normal vaginal discharge should look like and what could signal a problem
- Teach you how to protect yourself if you have intercourse
Crozer-Keystone Health System’s unique “Tots to Teens Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology Program” empowers parents, young girls and teens to address their health care concerns in a sensitive manner through education and skilled health care. The Tots to Teens program provides an interdisciplinary team approach to addressing gynecologic issues affecting girls and teenagers. The team includes two female gynecologists and a female adolescent medicine specialist who work together to diagnose, manage and treat both medical and surgical issues.
Although the Tots to Teens program does not provide routine OB/GYN care, some of the conditions that are treated through the program include:
- Vulvar and vaginal issues (such as infections, inflammation and dermatologic problems)
- Recurrent yeast and/or urinary tract infections
- Pelvic pain
- Breast problems
- Ovarian cysts
- Menstrual irregularities
- Hormonal issues
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Sexually transmitted infections
- Abnormal Pap tests
For information about teen health and the Tots to Teens Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology program, or to schedule an appointment with a Tots to Teens physician, call (610) 338-1816 for an appointment.
Reviewed by Stacey Leigh Rubin, M.D., Crozer-ChesterMedical Center OB/GYN and newest member of the Tots to Teens program. Dr. Rubin has office locations in Ridley Park, Springfield and Glen Mills, and can be reached at (610) 521-4311.