Teen Health Problems

Skin

Acne
A majority (85%) of adolescents experience acne. In spite of the fact that acne is so common, having acne during these vulnerable years can make a teen feel embarrassed and lonely. Teenagers especially feel an intense pressure to look their best and strive to achieve a flawless complexion.

Oily skin is one of the first signs of puberty. The increase in androgen hormones causes oil glands to enlarge and produce more oil.

Teen acne often starts with a few blackheads and little pimples around the nose, later spreading to the checks and forehead. Boys typically have more severe acne than girls. Teenagers who are physically active are more inclined to have acne on their backs, chests, shoulders, upper arms and even buttocks.

Prevention is the key in controlling teen acne. Acne breakouts can be cleared and prevented by treating skin with the right combination of products. Early intervention for teen acne is critical to prevent it from worsening and potentially scarring.


Growth and development

Puberty
Puberty is a period of time during which a child’s body develops from that of a child to that of an adult and they gain the ability for sexual reproduction. The ages at which these pubertal changes begin are different for boys and girls and can vary from child to child.

It takes approximately 4-5 years for a child to go through the pubertal process. The onset of puberty is influenced by nutrition and health. Hormones are chemicals produced by the body that incites the changes of puberty. The primary hormone in girls is estrogen made by the ovaries whereas in boys it is testosterone made by the testicles.

Delayed Puberty
If a girl has no signs of puberty by age 13 years (that is, no breasts and no pubic hair), she needs to be evaluated by her physician and possibly referred to an endocrinologist.

If a boy has no signs of puberty by age 14 (that is, no pubic hair and no increase in size of the testicles), he needs to be evaluated by his physician.

Delayed puberty can be normal but there are cases where there might an underlying condition that needs to be addressed. The reasons for delayed puberty range from poor weight gain or excessive exercise to abnormal hormone function. Sometimes the body does not produce the necessary hormones (estrogen or testosterone) to stimulate puberty.

The doctor may perform a blood test to measure the hormone levels. Certain genetic problems can cause delayed puberty, and this can be determined by a blood test to look at the chromosomes (genes).

Teenage pregnancy
Most teenage girls do not plan to get pregnant, but unfortunately many do. Teen pregnancies carry additional health risks to both the mother and the baby.

Often times, teenagers who get pregnant do not get prenatal care soon enough, which can lead to problems later on. They have an increased risk for pregnancy-related high blood pressure and its complications. Risks to the baby include premature birth and low birth weight.

Mind
Eating disorders are so common that 2 out of every 100 students struggle with it. Every year, thousands of teenagers develop eating disorders, weight problems, or concerns with body image.

Eating disorders represent extremes in eating behavior and ways of thinking about eating. This is not just the normal dieting and exercise to maintain a normal weight. Individuals with eating disorders may undergo extreme dieting and exercising to the extent that they often times end up with abnormal body weight.

The most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Other food-related disorders, like restrictive food intake disorder, binge eating, body image disorders, and food phobias, are becoming more and more commonly identified.

Drugs and alcohol
Many teens experiment with alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. A lot of them try these substances for only a few times before they stop. Unfortunately some teenagers are unable to control their urges or cravings for them, and may continue using. This is classified as substance abuse.

Teens may experiment with a variety of substances, including cigarettes, alcohol, inhalants, prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and illicit drugs. Alcohol is the most commonly used substance among teenagers.

Teens may use a substance for many reasons. They may do it because they want to fit in with friends or certain groups, they like the effect that the substance gives them, or they have the misconception that it makes them more grown up.