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Teens and Adolescence: Women's Health at UPMC in Central Pa.

It’s no secret that your body is changing and growing at a rapid rate. While it’s obvious that you look different on the outside, many things are also happening to you on the inside (both physically and emotionally) that signal you’re becoming an adult. Most important, you’re likely becoming more independent and starting to make more of your own choices.

The physicians at UPMC want you to know that the health habits you develop now will have long-lasting effects throughout your lifetime. Healthy habits will make you feel good and look good and will help you do your best in school, work and sports. They might also prevent diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis, stroke and some cancers later in life.

Here's what you can do now to ensure the best health possible:

  • Avoid using drugs, alcohol, tobacco products or breathing in secondhand smoke.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat healthy, that means cutting out junk food and replacing it with fruits and vegetables.
  • Stay away from soda and stick to water.
  • Don't take dieting too far, you could risk developing an eating disorder.
  • Always wear your seatbelt.
  • Wear protection such as a helmet when biking or participating in sports.
  • Talk to your parents, physician or school teacher/counselor if you're feeling sad, depressed or have thoughts of harming yourself.
  • Get an annual checkup.
  • Don't feel pressured to become sexually active before you are emotionally ready.
  • If you do have sex, use condoms to prevent pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.
  • If you become sexually active, see a gynecologist regularly in addition to your family physician or pediatrician.
  • Breast health is also very important, so be sure to talk with your physician about how to do breast self-exams.

UPMC services in Central Pa. that can help you stay healthy through your adolescent and teen years:

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