Adolescence can be a tumultuous time marked by a myriad of challenges, including physical changes, new health issues, and enormous social and academic pressures. Adolescent medicine is a specialty area of health care that addresses the specific needs of preteens and teenagers. At Discover Health in San Francisco, family medicine specialist Dr. Radha Lewis and pediatricians Dr. Oded Herbsman and Dr. Jon-Michael Castelli provide comprehensive care for adolescent patients in the North Beach area. Call or book your appointment online today.
What is adolescent medicine?
Adolescent medicine encompasses the full range of medical services designed to meet the particular health needs of preteens and teenagers. Adolescent medicine specialists may see children as young as 10 and young adults as old as 20.
In addition to providing traditional primary and preventive care services, such as annual wellness exams and vaccinations, adolescent medicine specialists are trained to assess, diagnose, and treat the types of health problems that typically affect adolescents as they make the transition from childhood to adulthood.
Do adolescent medicine physicians have specialized training?
On top of their basic medical school education, adolescent medicine specialists undergo an additional three years of general pediatric, family practice, or internal medicine training. Pediatricians and family medicine specialists with a deeper interest in adolescent medicine may also take on further fellowship training in adolescent health.
This specific training is what equips adolescent medicine physicians to understand the unique medical and emotional issues that many preteens, teens, and young adults face.
What are some common adolescent medicine services?
Because adolescent medicine specialists are trained to understand and address the kinds of issues that may affect a young patient’s physical, mental, behavioral, and reproductive health, they can offer services that address a broad range of issues, including:
- Puberty and other developmental concerns
- Nutrition, obesity, and eating disorders
- Chronic medical conditions and special needs
- General reproductive health and sexuality matters
- Depression, stress, anxiety, and self-esteem problems
- Acne and other common adolescent skin conditions
Adolescent medicine physicians also address orthopedic problems in athletic patients who may benefit from sports medicine, provide treatment for patients with learning or attention problems, and help patients struggling with drugs, alcohol, or tobacco use.
What are the benefits of seeing an adolescent medicine physician?
The preteens and teenagers who receive care from an adolescent medicine specialist are likely to benefit in two major ways:
First, they receive thoughtful, understanding health care that’s expertly tailored to meet them right where they are while addressing their individual medical needs.
Second, and perhaps just as importantly, seeing an adolescent medicine specialist can help ease a young person’s transition from childhood to adulthood, from receiving health care that’s directed and controlled by a parent to learning how to take an active role in managing their health and well-being.
To help facilitate a trusting relationship, adolescent medicine specialists want their young patients to feel confident about sharing personal information so they can offer the right treatment or advice. Confidential personal information may include:
- Sexual activity
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity
- Contraception use
- Alcohol, tobacco, or drug use
To see an adolescent medicine specialist, call Discover Health or book your appointment online today.