adolescent health part 2

29 Nov, 2022

Adolescence Health Part 2

What are the medical problems of the adolescents?

The medical problems may be:

1. Sex related-lack of sexual awareness, Sexual abuse, early sexual relationships and attended complications.

2. Emotional : These arise because of the changes that occur with the transition from childhood to adulthood, being attracted to the opposite sex, fantasies, mood changes (irresponsible, stubborn) and a search for identity and sexual development that creates a sense of crisis

3. General medical problems :Mainly dietary mal-adjustments resulting in anaemia, obesity, food-faddism and anorexia nervosa (Extreme cases of impaired body-image)

What is sexual awareness? How does one become sexually aware?

Sexual awareness is no way obscene or a no-no to adolescents.

Sexual awareness simply means understanding the physiology of the human body with special reference to the reproductive organs.

Understanding your bodily functions not only gives you a sense of being in control but also helps explain the various changes that occur in your body and which may be baffling to the un-initiated.

It is desirable that the adolescents know about the medical aspects of how human life is conceived. For this, a basic understanding of the reproductive organs-namely, the production of egg from the ovary; the production and functions of the sperms and the consequences of fertilization must be understood. Nowadays this information is being imparted in schools as a part of the curriculum. However, if not, the adolescents must approach any elder in the family with whom they feel free or the counselors at school and request them to clear the doubts and mis-conceptions. This approach is far healthier and informative than resorting to pornographic web sites or reading material or even an ill-informed peer.

What is incorrect ‘sexual awareness?’

Information from the pornographic sites is most often incorrect, far from reality and given with an aim not to be informative but provocative. If anything, they cause more confusion than awareness!

Pornographic books: Same as for the internet information. There are however a few reliable and authentic books which may be of help.

Ill-informed friends- may turn out to equally dangerous, as they are poorly aware themselves!

Finally, experimenting and sexual escapades are certainly not the ways for adolescents to become sexually aware!

What are the actual problems related to sex in the adolescents?

Most stem from ignorance and irresponsibility.

1. Early sexual involvement with its attended complications of an unwanted pregnancy. This naturally leads to resorting to abortion, not to mention the attended psychological trauma.

2. Reproductive tract infections: Infection of the reproductive organs which may cause pain, white discharge and even infertility (inability to conceive) in future.

3. Sexually transmitted diseases: HIV, Syphilis, Gonorrhoea, Chlamydia, Hepatitis-B are some of the long-standing infections that can be contracted due to unprotected sex.

4. Mal-adjustments to normal bodily functions: The classic example is the fear and mis-conceptions about menstrual pain.

5. Sexual abuse

What is the main way to avoid complications arising from sex?

The best and the only way to avoid pregnancy, infections and psychological scarring is to keep away from sex! It is important to understand that adolescence is a period to consolidate the overall personality of an individual and sex must not be a priority issue.

However, if you have been sexually initiated, the next best advice is to maintain a monogamous relationship and remember to use protection always! Barrier contraception protects from pregnancies as well as infections and sexually transmitted diseases.

It is always advisable if you could consult a gynaecologist who will help you out with more contraceptive advice.

What must be done in the unfortunate scenario of an accidental pregancy?

If unfortunately, pregnancy is suspected or even happens, a gynaecologist must be contacted immediately. And also remember-it is best to confide in your parents, however unpleasant and embarrassing it may be for you. DO NOT GO AT IT ON YOUR OWN. It could cost your life!

What are STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases)?

In India, STDs affect 30 lakh teenagers every year!

STDs are dangerous and occur only after sexual contact with infected partner. So it is obvious that your partner is not monogamous and has in fact, contracted it from someone else!

An infected person may not have visible signs and definite illness cannot be predicted. It can lead to serious consequences like pelvis infection, infection in fallopian tubes and problems in having a pregnancy in future.

Curable STDs include Trichomoniasis, Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis whereas the least Curable / Incurable are HIV / AIDS, HPV, Hepatitis B, Herpes Common symptoms of STDs are discharge, redness, itching, ulcers, over genitals and burning while passing urine. The partner may also have similar symptoms.

What are the safety tips to avoid STDs?

Remember prevention is better than cure.

Learn to Say ‘NO’. Follow your mind more than your heart. Never say YES when you actually want to say NO .Learn to politely refuse and even give a reason!

What constitutes sexual abuse?

Sexual abuse is most often under-reported for obvious reasons.

The following constitute abuse:

  • 1. Whenever a person’s sexual privacy is not respected.
  • 2. Forcing sexual intercourse;
  • 3. Rape.
  • 4. Unwanted touching, fondling, watching, talking, or being forced to look at sex organs
  • 5. "Peeping" secretly at another individual (boy/girl) in bathroom / bedroom

What must be done to protect one-self?

Most often, a known person is the culprit. It could be a distant relative, a married person, a family friend or a neighbor. Whoever it is, it is important to understand that sexual abuse is a crime and must be addressed seriously. Here is what you could do:

  • 1. Tell a trusted adult about abuse
  • 2. If you have been sexually assaulted you may feel ashamed, guilty, depressed, angry, voiceless. This is natural, but silence is not a solution or even an option.
  • 3. Counseling & healing are important to help tend your bruised shaken self & to move on.
  • 4. Choose not to remain silent because harassment will not go away if you ignore it.

What are the medical problems that may be associated with adolescents?

Faulty dietary habits are common among teen-agers and it may cause anaemia, Obesity and even malnutrition (As in anorexia nervosa)

Also Thyroid disorders, PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome) which cause irregularity of periods, acne and certain psychiatric disorders may manifest for the first time during adolescence and may need to be addressed.

What’s the last word?

Adolescence is indeed a roller-coaster ride. It has happened to all others before you and you can sail through it too-with a little awareness, some support from family and a lot of determination and positive attitude from you!

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