In Your Teens
Get to know your body, mind and more.
Let's face it—most teenagers' priorities are on things other than healthy eating, regular exercise and adequate sleep. But these habits are vital for growing your body and creating an active mind.
This is the time to start getting regular checkups, vaccinations (flu shot and HPV vaccine, for example), and recommended medical tests.
Having a strong foundation now could make it easier to manage physical changes as you get older.
Important Stats for Teens
What to know about your health at this age.
6 Steps to Better Healthcare
Not sure where to start? Here are healthy steps to take today:
- Meet with a pediatrician or primary care doctor to learn more about menstruation.
- Choose a gynecologist and start annual exams.
- Practice healthy eating and exercise habits that will continue into adulthood.
- Learn how to do a breast self-exam.
- Talk to someone about possible mood disorders.
Screenings & Vaccinations
Knowing family history can help you get the proper screenings and vaccinations. Here are the ones you need:
- Flu shot: every year, before flu season
- STD and HIV screenings: every year, or as needed, if you're active sexually
- HPV vaccine: series of 2 or 3 shots
- Depression and anxiety screening: as needed
- Breast self-exam: monthly, starting at age 18
- Eye exam: every 2 years
- Dental exam and cleaning: twice a year
- Meningococcal vaccine: if in college or the military
Personalized Care in Adolescent & Teen Years
Cedars-Sinai is available to answer questions or help you get started with the care you need in these important areas:
9 Tips for Healthy Living
How teens treat their bodies now affects their future wellbeing. Get a head start with these healthy tips:
- Eat a healthy diet of whole foods, including plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise daily.
- Get regular medical checkups, recommended tests and vaccinations.
- Use sunscreen or SPF-coated clothing to protect yourself from ultraviolet (UV) rays.
- Use protection during sexual activity.
- Get plenty of sleep every night.
- Wear a seat belt, and don't drink, use drugs or text while driving.
- Wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle, bike or skiing, and wear protective gear for sports.
Understanding Your Body's Changes
Teenagers often have questions as they cope with physical and emotional changes of puberty. Browse these frequently asked questions:
As your body matures, you’ll also experience emotional changes—such as occasional mood swings. This is normal. If extreme moods persist, or you're having trouble dealing with them, reach out to your doctor. It’s important to know that support is available for mental and emotional issues, and that there's nothing wrong with asking for help.
The odds of having breast cancer at this age are extremely low. Still, it's important to start getting to know your breasts. Since they're still developing, your breasts will look and feel different, depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle. Contact your doctor if you notice any of the following:
- A lump in your breast or underarm area
- Thickening, dimpling or pitting of the breast
- Nipple discharge that is clear yellow or bloody
- Nipples pointing inward (inversion or retraction)
- The breasts looking uneven
- Redness of the breast
- Change in the appearance of the breast or nipple
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that girls start seeing a gynecologist between ages 13 and 15, after their first period. A gynecologist can help you understand physical changes and speak openly about reproductive health options.
Disclaimer: These are general guidelines for people in your age group, but every individual is different. Talk to your doctor about your personal medical needs.
Life in Your Teens
A cancer diagnosis at age 17 didn't stop Kelsey from staying positive. Some days were tough, but loved ones rallied around her during treatment. Now, Kelsey is supporting other teens who have cancer through her "You Can Do It" project.
From peer pressure and body-image issues to physical and emotional changes, teens face many challenges that can take a toll on their mental health. Learn the answers to commonly asked questions about teen depression and moodiness.