Adolescent Medicine: Helping Your Teens Thrive

Adolescent medicine is a sub-specialty of family medicine and pediatrics, that focuses on the health issues of youths from ages 9 through 23.  At times, the healthcare that many of these youths receive begins and ends with their yearly sports physical.  And while this is a good start, thorough healthcare during these years is so much more than simply a yearly physical, including puberty, mental health, along with social and emotional development. The adolescent years can be exciting, but they can also be challenging due to the many physical and emotional changes happening.   This is one small part of why having a physician that is specially trained in navigating this age range is important.

An adolescent specialist can be a one stop shop for addressing all the changes your youth may be experiencing including acne, menstrual problems, ADHD, and other school/learning issues, and even sports injuries.  Adolescence can also be a socially challenging time for your youth, and this makes them prone to depression, anxiety and eating disorders.  The signs of these problems may present differently in youth, such as anger, hiding out in their room, or even a sudden drop in academic performance.

Adolescent specialists are also experts in the changes that puberty brings, and they can come alongside parents to discuss the physical, mental, and emotional changes their youth is experiencing and help them to identify any abnormalities that may need to be addressed further.

Preventative medicine is vital for adolescents including injury prevention, assessing growth and development, and immunization.  At age 11-12, it is recommended that they receive Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), HPV (human papilloma virus) and meningococcal immunizations.  Then, at age 16-18 additional meningococcal immunizations are recommended to protect them during their college years.  While meningococcal meningitis is rare, it is a dangerous infection of the lining of the brain that has a 15-20% death rate and is most commonly contracted in a dormitory-type living setting.

We look forward to working with parents to maximize their young person’s health and achievements as they transition from childhood to adulthood.


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