Skip to content. Published on Sep 17, in Health Tip of the Week. From infancy to school age, you have been in the doctor's office with your child for fevers, ear infections, well visits and vaccines. Today, the doctor asks to talk to your teen alone — without you in the room.
Path to improved health
How much will my adolescent grow?
Pressure to do drugs, drink, or smoke. Too much growth in places you don't expect — and not so much in places you do. There's a lot going on health-wise during the teen years. Adolescent medicine specialists have extra training in the medical and emotional issues that many teens face. They're taught to deal with topics like reproductive health , drugs , eating disorders , irregular periods , mood changes , questions about sexual identity , and problems at home or school. Adolescent medicine specialists are doctors and other medical professionals, like nurse practitioners, who work alongside doctors to provide care. Seeing an adolescent medicine specialist is a great way to transition from childhood — where your parents controlled your health care — to adulthood, where you manage your own health and well-being.
Things to consider
Learn about our expanded patient care options for your health care needs. The teenage years are also called adolescence. Adolescence is a time for growth spurts and puberty changes. An adolescent may grow several inches in several months followed by a period of very slow growth, then have another growth spurt. Changes with puberty sexual maturation may happen gradually or several signs may become visible at the same time. There is a great amount of variation in the rate of changes that may happen. Some teenagers may experience these signs of maturity sooner or later than others. Sexual and other physical maturation that happens during puberty is a result of hormonal changes. In boys, it is difficult to know exactly when puberty is coming. There are changes that happen, but they happen gradually and over a period of time, rather than as a single event.
The doctor also can help your teen understand the importance of choosing a healthy lifestyle that includes good nutrition, proper exercise, and safety measures. The more that teens understand about their physical growth and sexual development , the more they will recognize the importance of active involvement in their own health care. Teens should visit their doctors annually. Older teens may be screened for alcohol, drugs, and sexually transmitted diseases STDs. A tuberculin PPD test may be done if a teen is at risk for tuberculosis. Vision and hearing will be checked. Doctors recommend a Tdap booster at 11—12 years of age, with a tetanus and diphtheria booster Td every 10 years after that. The flu vaccine , given before flu season each year, also is recommended. Young women may be referred to a gynecologist for a first visit.