Teen woes

The Times of India

TNN, Oct 22, 2010, 12.00am IST
Adolescence is a stage of transition from dependence to independence, and as such, teenagers have to battle raging hormones, body image issues, peer pressure, assignments and parental expectations.

The reproductive apparatus of growing girls is maturing, and is particularly vulnerable at this stage. The hormonal balance and cyclical changes of menstruation are controlled by higher centres in the brain, which are affected by stress, sleep patterns, nutrition and drugs. Girls, today, are more prone to ovulatory and cycle disturbances. Common gynaecological problems experienced by teenagers are Irregular periods and PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), which usually presents itself shortly after puberty, when she begins to put on weight and menses become delayed. She may also develop excessive facial hair and acne.

Controlling weight (healthy foods and exercise) and stress at an early stage, can prevent or improve the condition, which has long-term implications. Many girls are obsessed with slimness and may indulge in crash dieting.

Hormonal imbalance can increase risk for the formation of ovarian cysts and delayed cycles translate into estrogen excess. This can increase risk for fibroids (benign tumours of the uterus) and endometriosis (presence of uterine lining outside the uterus, leading to heavy/ painful periods and infertility).

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.