It’s easy to sit back and let your healthcare provider take charge during appointments, but it’s important to get all of your questions answered and make sure you’re getting personalized advice that’s right for you. Write down your questions, concerns and things you want to fact check before your next appointment so you’re prepared! If you don’t know what to ask, we’ve collected a list of questions to help you get started.
According to ACOG, “most teens have a menstrual cycle that lasts between 21 and 45 days. A typical period lasts 2 to 7 days.” An irregular period can be normal during your teen years but it’s always a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider about your experiences. You can use a calendar or phone app to track your menstrual cycle and record details like discomfort, pain, flow, and length. Your Southdale healthcare provider can help you make sense of what’s normal or if there’s something they can do to help—and you may also see patterns in your discomfort or mood that can help you prepare for the future.
During your teen years your body goes through a lot of changes, and some of them may surprise you. Many of the changes you experience are normal and easy to manage but if you’re not certain about something it’s important to ask your healthcare provider for real facts and if necessary, suggest treatments that are appropriate to you. Some of the things you might experience are swollen and/or sore breasts (and one may be larger than the other), change in body shape, body hair growth or thinning hair, acne, mood swings, and discomfort during menstruation.
Learning to do self breast exams regularly is important. Breast cancer is treated more successfully when caught early so learning to do a self-exam when you’re young and making it a regular habit is valuable. Ask your Southdale provider to teach you how to perform a self-exam, when to do an exam, and what to do if you think something is wrong.
Your health screenings are not based only on your own health, but on family history too. The CDC recommends keeping a family health history—a record of conditions and diseases that have occurred in your family. Your healthcare provider will use this information to make decisions about what type of screenings you may need and when. The good news is that just because a disease ‘runs’ in your family doesn’t mean you’ll get it too, and if you know about something in advance you can participate in healthy habits and screenings to prevent or delay a condition. Your Southdale provider can help you come up with a list of questions to ask your family if you’re not sure where to start.
Your healthcare provider can give you information about different contraceptive methods to prevent pregnancy and protect against sexually transmitted diseases. Birth control is also sometimes used to treat irregular periods. Your Southdale healthcare provider is happy answer questions, give you the facts about contraception and help you weigh the pros and cons of each method.
There are a lot of products for sale that say they’ll help you keep your body fresh and clean, but many of them aren’t necessary and may even cause problems. Basic hygiene like washing your body and your face regularly will keep most problems at bay. Vaginal products like scented washes and sprays aren’t needed to keep clean and may even cause irritation. If you’re experiencing vaginal itching, swelling or discomfort, speak to your healthcare provider for a diagnosis rather than relying on products off the store shelf. During your teen years you may also experience acne, and that isn’t always as easy as washing your face. Ask your healthcare provider for help if you think your acne is a problem.
Never be too embarrassed or scared to ask your healthcare provider questions—we’re here to help you gather accurate, personalized information!