Adolescent medicine specialists primarily treat teen and young adult patients. They have generally reached puberty when treated by these specialists. Adolescent medicine most commonly includes:
The period of adolescence in your child's life includes physical, social and psychological changes. Teens need much reassurance, guidance and support to make good decisions during this time. They are searching for identity and building relationships with others their own age. As they test boundaries and take risks, teens must know that their choices can affect their health in the long term. Adolescence is also when many long-term illnesses can begin to show. Even if your child seems to be transitioning from childhood to adulthood smoothly, he may still need extra attention and support from you, your family and his doctor.
Adolescent medicine doctors have extra training to help with the medical and emotional issues teens may have. Your child may need to transition to adolescent medicine if he is struggling with mental illness, is looking for independence in his health care or needs extra attention due to drug or alcohol use. Pediatricians and other doctors know about teen issues as well. Adolescent medicine specialists just provide additional focus on teen-specific issues. Your daughter may see an adolescent medicine doctor for gynecological care, too.
At his appointment, your teen should be open and honest about his worries and problems. Adolescent medicine doctors are used to discussing tough issues like drug use and symptoms of sexually transmitted infections. Your teen will probably spend the most time talking to his doctor at his first appointment. The doctor wants to learn about your teen's background so that he can provide health advice that is appropriate to your child's needs. All information is confidential.
The teen years are some of the most important for your child's health. He needs to learn how to take care of himself and be able to take control of his health care choices.