Adolescent gynaecology sub specialty specifically deals with gynecologic health problems encountered during the phase of “Adolescence” i.e. is a transitional stage of physical and psychological development that generally occurs during the period from puberty to legal adulthood.
Reproductive health implies that people are able to have a responsible, satisfying and safer sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so.
What is adolescence period / adolescent age?
Adolescence is the period of physical psychological and social maturation from childhood to an adult. The term adolescent refers to individuals between the age of 10-19 years which make up about 1/5th of Indian population.
adolescence can be defined biologically, as the physical transition marked by the onset of puberty and the termination of physical growth; cognitively, as changes in the ability to think abstractly and multi-dimensionally; or socially, as a period of preparation for adult roles.
Why gynaecologic problems in adolescent age are important?
Gynecological problems of adolescents occupy a special space in the spectrum of gynecological disorders of all ages. In this age physical nature of problems is unique; and emotional and psychological factors are also associated. The gynaecological problems in adolescence are different from that of adults and these conditions may be caused by other disease conditions or hormonal imbalance.
What are the common problems during adolescent age?
Most commonly faced problems during this age group are:
Menstrual irregularities: Heavy periods / Painful periods / No periods
Sex and sexuality:
Sexually transmitted infections: They are also at increased risk of STDs including HIV and Hep B,C because of unprotected sexual practices. So, awareness about STDs is essential as it can later on cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility in girls.
Cervical cancer (HPV) vaccinations
Irregular breast development
Sports effects on the reproductive system
What an adolescent should know during this age?
Adolescents complete their physical psychological and emotional journey to adulthood in a world that contains both opportunities and dangers. By educating and helping adolescents to break the myths can solve the problems.
• Sex education is important during adolescent period. Knowledge of contraceptives to avoid teenage pregnancies is very important. Adolescents are at risk of early and unwanted pregnancy because of poor understanding of their sexuality and sometimes the only information sources available to them are media and peers. They are not aware of contraceptive measures and teenage pregnancy results in increased morbidity and mortality.
• Genital & perineal hygiene is important. In this age group it is a healthy practice to learn genital and hygiene.
• Knowledge of menstrual cycles and management of self during periods. An adolescent girl should learn how to manage hygiene during periods and managing heavy flow or pain during periods.
• Adequate nutritional health is important during adolescent period to prevent future health problems like anemia, osteoporosis. Balanced diet containing adequate amount of milk and leafy vegetables should be given to the teenagers to avoid nutritional deficiencies.
• Outdoor sports and exercise is important for adolescent to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Exercise and physical activity increase self-esteem and confidence and also decrease anxiety and stress
• Lots of emotional changes occur during this period like mood changes (irresponsibility, stubbornness) attraction to opposite sex and search for identity etc. Adolescents need to learn how to adjust and learn to deal with these.
• Vaccination of teenage girls against Rubella, cancer cervix (Gardasil, Cervarix) is advised. Hepatitis B, Chicken pox vaccination should be offered to both boys and girls.
• Adolescents have significant needs for health services. Adequate care and support should be given to them so that they enter into their adulthood in good mental and physical health.
What all an adolescent should avoid?
• In this age group there is an inclination towards junk food e.g. pizza, burgers, soft drinks etc. Regular consumption of junk food devoid adolescents to have healthy & nutritious diet. Consumption of junk food can lead to obesity, medical problems like hypertension, cardiac disease in adulthood.
• Adolescents are at risk for smoking, alcohol intake and drug abuse. Smoking, alcohol intake and drug abuse cause addiction and use of these should be avoided. Smoking can cause cancers, infertility, hypertension, heart disease and premature death. Drugs are like poisons for everyone and must be avoided.