Author: Yolanda Evans, MD, MPH

Teens and birth control: hormone containing methods

Birth control, also known as contraception, for teens is an important topic to discuss. Whenever the subject of birth control comes up in clinic, I can guarantee someone asks the question about safety.  It’s the same question I would ask if a medical provider discussed any new medication with me.  However, birth control also comes with personal stories: a friend who used one form of contraception and gained 20 pounds, or a mother who had an intrauterine device (IUD) and had horrible complications.  The good news is that birth control has had a makeover during the past decade and there are many options that are extremely effect and safe to use.  Hopefully, this blog can serve as an overview and alleviate some fears. To learn more about how birth control is used for medical reasons other than contraception, see our recent post. Today’s post will be the first in a series of 3 posts on birth control and teens. Read full post »

Who should pay for gas?

 I was recently chatting with a colleague who has 3 teenagers and she enlightened me that she spends a considerable amount of money on gas…not for herself (she bikes to work), but for her teen daughter!

Of course, the idea of who should pay for things spills over into other areas.  If a teen wants the latest fashion design, or really wants to see a movie with friends, who pays for it?  When should a teen be expected to earn money for things beyond the basic needs of food, shelter, and school supplies? Read full post »

Safety in Numbers for Teens

Teen safety includes topics like driving, drug use, and violence prevention. It also includes being aware of surroundings. In the city, we routinely hear about robberies and assaults on college age students who may be out at 2 am while leaving a party, but may also just be walking home from a study group. In many of these cases, the victim was traveling on foot alone, after dark, and I wonder if they would have been attacked if they had been with a group of peers. Read full post »

Teen Violence

Here in Washington State, the recent stabbing of two high school students in a school with a good reputation has made many parents and students aware of the implications teen violence can have on a community. Many of the communities in the Pacific Northwest do not routinely think about safety or violence. Parents are involved in community organizations, students attend homecomings and football games. Violent acts may go unnoticed or may be thought of only as associated with gangs, yet violence is a very big public health problem. Violence amongst teens and young adults is the second leading cause of death in the age group of youth ages 10-24!

Read full post »

Should I Let My Teen Travel Abroad?

It is the fall, and teens have started school.  Many are involved in sports, music groups, church activities, or other extracurricular activities.  Often, the opportunity arises to travel abroad.  The teens almost always want to go!  Who wouldn’t want a chance to see the world with a group of friends? For parents, this opportunity to travel is exciting, but at the same time may cause concerns about costs, safety, food borne illness, and lack of adult supervision. In the midst of the end of the Amanda Knox trial and her return to Seattle, parents may be reconsidering allowing their teen to travel abroad.

So what do you as a parent do? It is relatively easy to determine which adults (and how many adults) will be going on the trip.  The cost will also be presented early on, but there are a lot of other unanswered questions… Read full post »

Teen Prescription Drug Use

How many adults have a medicine cabinet full of drugs?  Perhaps you’re saving that painkiller your dentist prescribed ‘just in case of emergency’ or the 10 pills for anxiety your doctor gave you for a case of stage fright? Maybe a grandparent has medications for blood pressure or a heart condition that were forgotten about.

Well, a friend recently told me a new term for a not-so-new trend in teen prescription drug use: “salad bowling”.  The concept is simple: teens go to their parents’ medicine cabinet and dump all the drugs into a salad bowl.  At the next party, set the bowl so friends can take a handful.  This trend is dangerous in its own right, but add alcohol to the mix and the consequences can be deadly. Read full post »

Teens Texting and Compromising Photos

In this age of technology, teens may be tempted to take photos of themselves in compromising positions and send those to friends.  These pictures may be of themselves at a party drinking alcohol or even a picture of them in their underwear (or less) to a boyfriend or girlfriend.  They may think it’s not a big deal to send a private picture to one recipient, but that one ‘innocent’ photo may then be passed along to friends via text messages or posts on social networking sites.  Even if the picture is posted on a social networking site with ‘private settings’ with teens thinking only their friends are seeing them, the recent media coverage on celebrity nude photos shows us just how those compromising pictures can come back to haunt them later. Read full post »

Adolescent Transition to Adult Health Care

Adolescent transition to adult health care is important for every teen. Teens with and without special health care needs may have difficulties with transitioning from pediatric to adult focused medical care. Think about the last time you visited your teen’s pediatric provider’s office… what did the waiting room look like?  Was there a fish tank?  Did the office have child friendly toys, magazines, and books?  Were the colors bright and cheerful?  Now consider your last visit to see your adult medical provider.  My guess is the walls were gray or muted, there was no fish tank, and the magazines included Newsweek and Golf.  Not exactly teen friendly!

Of course, the transition from pediatric to adult centered care involves much more than just a change in scenery.  It includes a shift in focus from the family making decisions, to the autonomy of being responsible for one’s self.  Teens and emerging adults will be expected to know how to make follow-up appointments, arrange for laboratory testing, and get prescriptions filled.  They’ll need to know what medications they take, what insurance coverage they have, and what their medical and family history consists of.  This transition is not just a challenge for the teens, it’s hard for the family to make the shift as well! Read full post »

Teen Marijuana Use

Teen marijuana use may seem like a normal part of the high school experience. How many of us know someone who uses or have personally have tried a blunt, a bowl, or a hit off of a friend’s bong?  I remember growing up and hearing my uncle talk about smoking a ‘joint’ with nostalgia as he recalled the 1970’s.  Well, marijuana is still extremely popular and when asked, many teens think it’s healthier than smoking cigarettes. However, marijuana can have major impacts on health and mood. Read full post »

Teen Dating Violence

 

Dating violence is something no parent or family would want for their teen. Deciding when a teen should be allowed to date is tough enough.  Thoughts going through a parent’s mind may include worries about sex or heart break, but how many parents think about abusive relationships?

Read full post »