As a young woman, your teen years are a very influential period in your life. This is the time when you are changing both emotionally and physically, experiencing brand-new situations, and trying to figure out what kind of person you aspire to be.
It is now your responsibility to take action with your health and lay the foundation for a wholesome and exciting new stage in becoming a woman.
What is puberty?
As you mature, changes begin to happen to your body. This time in your life is called puberty and usually starts between the ages of 9 and 16. Some of the changes you will notice are:
- Your breasts begin to grow
- You will develop new body hair
- Your menstrual period will start
- Your body shape will change & get curvier
When should I visit a gynecologist?
Your first visit to a gynecologist, a doctor who is specially trained in women’s reproductive health, should happen before you have intimate sexual contact. Talk to an adult you trust to decide when to schedule your first visit.
How much sleep do I need?
Get between 8.5 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Sleep in a darkened room with the TV off and go to bed and get up at the same time each day (weekends too).
How do I keep my skin looking healthy and free of blemishes?
Wash your face regularly with mild soap made just for faces. Use an over-the-counter product that contains benzoyl peroxide, resorcinol, salicylic acid, or sulfur. If acne persists, see a dermatologist, a doctor who specializes in caring for your skin. Avoid tanning beds and wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day.
How can I keep from getting sick?
Washing your hands frequently is one of the best ways to keep germs from spreading and to keep you from getting sick. Lather up with soap and water for about 10-12 seconds – about how long it takes to sing “Happy Birthday”. Immunizations are another way to protect you from diseases. Talk to your parents and your doctor about making sure your immunizations are up-to-date.
What do I need to do to keep my body fit?
Physical fitness is an important way to help you look, feel and do your best. You should do something for an hour each day to exercise your heart, lungs, and muscles. Try an interactive video game, take a brisk walk while you chat with your friends, and try to incorporate exercise into the fun things you like to do.
How do I make healthy food choices?
Your body needs about 2,000 calories each day. The key to eating healthfully is to get the majority of your calories from grains, fruits and veggies each day. Choose a few low fat and lean options. Does this mean you have to give up pizza? No! Try whole grain instead of white crust, substitute your favorite vegetable for pepperoni, and go easy on the cheese.
Can smoking, drugs and alcohol really harm me?
Yes! Cigarettes, drugs and alcohol change the way your body and your brain work. You have heard of the immediate dangers caused by these substances such as car accidents and overdoses that often result in death. Some of the short-term effects may wear off but the long term effects can cause life-long damage. It is much harder to stop these substances once you have started. Choose a healthy future by saying “no” now.
Why am I happy one moment and sad the next?
Your body is not the only part of you that is changing. Your mind is growing too. It is perfectly normal for you to feel a range of emotions. Be patient, this is all part of your development. Take advantage of the love and support of your friends and family through this emotional discovery phase of your life.
Why don’t I look like everyone else?
Would you want to change anything about your best friend? Probably not! People come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. Being comfortable with yourself is called “self-esteem”. A big part of self-esteem is having a positive body image. Taking the steps to stay healthy can help you feel good about yourself and the way you look. If you are struggling with the way you feel about yourself, talk to your parents or an adult that you trust right away.
Why am I so stressed?
Do you get knots in your stomach before a big event? Do you worry about taking tests? Stress comes from the pressure you put on yourself and the pressure you feel from others. If you feel stressed-out too often, talk to someone about it. Just talking it through sometimes makes you feel better.
Why do I feel I’m at my best when I’m with my friends?
Think about your friends and why it feels good to spend time with them. It is probably because they help bring out the best in you. Think of your family in the same way you think of your friends. If you have any relationships in your life that do not make you feel good about yourself, talk to your parents or a trusted adult who can help you figure out what is best for you.
Why are other girls so mean?
For some people, teasing, spreading rumors and bullying is a way to feel important or in control. Sometimes they just think it is fun or will make them popular to talk about other people. Most often, it is attention that they want and if you don’t give it to them, they will quit. It is very important to report bullying to an authority figure.
It won’t ever happen to me, will it?
As you mature, you will be given more responsibilities and more time to spend with your friends alone. You may think that nothing bad will ever happen to you. But traffic accidents, rape, online predators and other unhealthy situations can occur if you don’t behave responsibly. Take every precaution to remain safe when you are not in the company of an adult. The more responsibly you behave the more freedoms you will enjoy.
What does my future hold?
You may think your future is unknown, and to some extent it is. Everything you do will influence what your future holds for you. Make the most of this time. Explore things that interest you, pay attention and do well in school, and be conscientious about what is going on in the world around you. Every experience you have now will build on who you are and who you will become in the future.