As you continue to grow and change, you will have new health needs.
We want to assure you that we would like to continue to help you stay healthy. We will continue to see you until you reach 21 years old. When you are 11 or 12 years old, we will speak with you and your parents at your check-up and suggest that you spend some time alone with your physician at future health care visits. What you talk about during these visits will remain confidential. This way you will begin to learn how to take care of your own health. As you grow up your body is changing and you may feel differently than you did a few years ago. These changes can be confusing and leave you wondering what is happening to your mind and body. You may have questions about these changes and how you should take care of yourself. Your physician can answer questions about the following:
- eating right
- exercise and sports
- school performance
- alcohol and other drugs
A few words about privacy
Because we respect you as a patient, we will keep your discussions private whenever possible. However, your parents are obviously concerned about your health and well-being, and your pediatrician will want to keep them informed of extreme situations; for example if your life or someone else’s is in danger. In most cases though, the information you share with us will stay between us. Some teens only come in when they are sick or hurt, but we recommend that you come in once each year for a check-up. These annual visits are a time when we can discuss how you can keep yourself healthy, recommend any appropriate screening tests, and make sure everything is okay. This is a first step in taking charge of your own health. You should also make an appointment to see us when you are sick or concerned about what is happening to your body. Physical growth may also trigger changes in how you think and feel. You may feel sad, angry or nervous at times. You should feel free to talk with us about these things. Below is a partial list of things that you can talk about with your physician.
Sports or School Physicals
During a “sports physical” we focus on health issues that are important to sports participation. We recommend that you schedule your sports physical at least 6 weeks before you are to begin practice. This way if we encounter a problem that may limit participation we can thoroughly evaluate it before you are scheduled to begin practice. During these visits, we discuss many ways to keep healthy and fit during your sports season.
Treatment of Illnesses or Injuries
It is important for you to tell us about any chronic pain or illnesses that you have or any changes in the way you feel, even if you don’t think they are serious. We can discuss the impact that these may have on your health.
Growth and Development
Your body will go through a big growth spurt during puberty. You may want to discuss things like how tall you will be, is your sexual development normal, should you worry about your weight, or are you having problems with your menstrual periods? These are all things you can discuss openly and freely with your physician.
Problems with Friends, Family, or School
Sometimes it is difficult to know who to turn to when you have a hard time dealing with problems with friends, family or school. Feel free to talk to us about your concerns.
Alcohol or Drug Use
You may be tempted to take risks or feel a lot of pressure from your friends to do things that make you feel uncomfortable. Becoming an adult means more than just physical growth. It means making decisions that are best for you. We can explain how smoking, drinking, or taking other drugs can affect you.
During your visits with us, you’ll have a chance to ask questions about dating, sexual activity, and infections. We can also talk to you confidentially about postponing sex and how to protect yourself against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and pregnancy. It’s important to make smart choices about sex now since the wrong choice could affect the rest of your life.
Referrals to Other Doctors for Special Health Needs
If you have a medical problem that will require you to see a different type of physician, we will refer you to a specialist who can help. A referral may involve an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) for visual problems, psychologist for stress or depression, physical therapist for injury rehabilitation or other physicians to address your special needs.
The information on this web site is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a health care professional.