14 December 2010

Common problems in this age group

Adolescence is certainly not without its fair share of physical problems. All the changes that your body undergoes put a lot of stress on both body and mind.


There are a number of problems that are particularly prevalent during adolescence. These include acne, mood swings, period pains, sudden weight gain, vaginal infections and the onset of eating disorders.

Some girls are lucky and sidestep all of these, but they are in the minority. Most young women have at least a few spots, gain a few kilos over the years and become short-tempered before their periods. This is completely normal and must be expected. If however, you feel terribly depressed, or develop severe acne, it would be a good idea to see the family doctor.

Acne, or zits as they are generally known, are caused by hormonal imbalances – and during your teens, your body is positively brimming with hormones. They are not caused by eating chocolates, as was long believed, but leading a healthy lifestyle and getting some exercise and eating healthy food can only do you good.

When you're in your teens, there is a lot of social pressure to fit in and to look like your peers. Many teens go on starvation diets or excessive exercise regimes to achieve and maintain a body weight they see as acceptable. Your body is growing and needs good food at this point in your life – and it's not going to get it from chocolates, chips, hamburgers and pizzas.

And if a weekend of junk food is followed by a week of starvation again and again, your body's metabolism may be permanently damaged. Eating disorders, like anorexia, where the body is starved and bulimia, where binge eating is often followed by self-induced vomiting, often begin in adolescence. These are the results of many complicated factors. Point is, professional help is needed to sort this out. You can't do it by yourself.

(Liesel Powell, Health24, July 2003)


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