TeenWell™: Empowering Teens to Own Their Health
As you get older, it’s important to learn all you can about your health, any chronic illnesses you have, and become self-reliant when it comes to managing your health care. Legacy TeenWell™ is all about providing teens and young adults with the information, resources and answers that you need to take an active role in your own health care, in a way that’s comfortable and nonjudgmental.First, How do you select a provider?
There are lots of different types of providers and doctors and some have restrictions on the ages of patients they will see. Pediatricians by definition see children, usually from age newborn to 18 years old, but sometimes they’ll see you a little longer, especially if you have a lot of medical conditions they’ve been handling for a long time. And let’s face it, it can be awkward talking about birth control or condoms in a room filled with kids’ toys. We get it. That’s why at Legacy, we have several options to help guide you through. But for now, let’s talk about the other options for providers and doctors you can see.
A new-ish kind of provider specializes in something called Adolescent Medicine. This can be a great transitional service for tweens and teens into early 20’s because they typically see patients from 12 years old till 21 years old. They work just like regular providers but often are able to do more teenager services, like sexual health, depression and other mood changes, college readiness, in addition to helping your allergy symptoms, your sprained knee, and other every day illnesses. They do check ups, sports physicals, vaccines, and everything else, but with a teenage twist. One of their specialties is also counseling about adolescent and teenage issues. It’s a great option to transition from your pediatrician.
Family Medicine is much like Adolescent Medicine in that they see a wide variety of conditions but they see all ages, often from newborns to the elderly. If you decide to see Adolescent Medicine until you are 21 years old, Family Medicine would likely be the step after that since they see adults.
Ob/Gyn providers see women only. They traditionally assist with issues related to care of women such as pregnancy. While you can see an Ob/Gyn at almost any age after menstruation, for regular check ups and exams, it’s best to wait until at least 18 years old. As of now, most women will not need a Pap smear until 21 years old so you could even wait until then. For women who made need one sooner, discuss with your health care provider.
This chart is an example of different complaints and which providers may be best suited to help. However, these are generalized. Not all providers in all clinics help with these complaints.
|Adolescent Medicine||Family Medicine||Ob/Gyn- Females with a uterus|
|Vaginal bleeding problems||x||x||x|
|Feeling depressed or anxious||x||x||x|
|I have a cold||x||x|
|I need a physical to play sports||x||x|
|I need a yearly check up||x||x||*- before 18 years old, they don’t do regular check ups|
|I need vaccines||x||x|
|I need advice on sexual health||x||x||x|
|I think I’m in the wrong body||x|
|I hurt my knee playing baseball||x||x||x|
|I smoke weed all the time and I want to stop||x||x||x|
|I want an IUD||x|
All providers are here to help take care of you but hopefully this takes some of the mystery and hesitancy out of choosing providers. If you have any other questions, you can reach out to your provider or your clinic’s Care Team Assistant.
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