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Health & Body
Chances are, your body's going through major changes these days. If you're not sure what's going on, or have specific questions about your health, our advice team is here to help.
Advice Topics:

Advice Questions about Health & Body:

  • GOI know this sounds weird, but I don't want to grow up. BO, bras, body hair, periods, they are all bugging me so much. I hate to admit I actually need deodorant, bras are a pain, and I have to carry supplies with me all the time because I have no idea when I'm going to get my next period. Why is everyone so eager about developing?

  • GOI wear a sports bra, the kind with no 'spaghetti straps'. I feel that I need more bras, and maybe a few more 'womanly' bras. I don't want to talk to my mom about it, but it doesn't seem that she's going to buy me any more anytime soon. What should I do?

  • GOI always want to wear my bra, but I get worried about what my parents or relatives will think when they feel my strap when they hug me. What should I do?

  • GOI have a major self-conscious problem (darn you, puberty!), and here's one reason why I'm so self-conscious: I have vitiligo. That's a skin condition; it's basically when your skin loses its pigment (color). I have it all over my elbows, knuckles, forearms, knees, and ankles. It's kind of embarrassing, and that's why I don't like to wear short sleeves or skirts or shorts in public. People keep asking me: ‘What's up with the stuff on your arm?’ or ‘What's the white stuff?’ It's hard to not be bothered by these questions and to just be proud of who I am and that my condition isn't worse than it could be. What can I do to be able to say the next time someone asks me a question: ‘It's called vitiligo, and I'm proud of it!’? Help!!

  • GOOkay, I'm REALLY uncomfortable about talking about this. But I need your help. I'm 12, and I'm hitting puberty. But the thing is, I've had pubic hair since I was 11. I am a little nervous about going to gym class because I have to change my shorts and everything, and sometimes the hair is, well, noticeable. I want to find a way to get rid of it, and I'm pretty sure there's a few ways to make that happen. But here's the problem: How do I confront my parents about this? I mean, I'm having a hard time writing about this, so how can I TALK about it? HELP!!!

  • GOI would really like a bra but my mom said I don't need one. I'm 10 and all my friends have them. Please help me!

  • GOOkay, I've hit puberty, had "The Talk" and everything, but there is still one problem. I'm now confronting my first case of BO. Yeah, I know I'm ready to start using deodorant, but I can't figure out how to consult my dad about it without the situation being too awkward! I've been trying to think of something for months! Please help me! I get embarrassed about these things easily, even though everybody goes through it and all that. I need a good approach!

  • GOI really wanna ask my mom when she started her period, so I know when to estimate that I will start mine. I don't know how to start the conversation, and I want it to be when we are alone together...which is never. Any tips?

  • GOI just smoked a cigarette for the first time tonight. I am so disappointed in myself! I need to know whether I should tell my mom or not. I mean I know I'll never do it again. It was disgusting! But what happens if I get really sick or start having problems b/c my body craves the cigarettes? I really need help.

  • GOI am very self-conscious about my body. After 5 open-heart surgeries, I have a scar down the middle of my chest, and I hate to show it. There are so many cute low-cut tops that my friends wear that I can't. Swimsuit season is coming up and it's really hard for me to be comfortable in mine, because I know people are looking if it shows. I keep telling myself that I will never be able to wear a bikini. Or what if I find a guy that I like, we go out, then he sees the scar, and gets grossed out? Please, I would like some help, and please don't tell me to be proud and show it off, cuz it doesn't work, trust me, I've tried many times to tell that to myself and when I do, people laugh and make fun of me.

  • GOI am 10 years old and I am not even going through puberty! Am I too old...too young? HELP ME!

  • GOI am ten years old and I'm going through puberty. My problem is that I don't have my period yet, but all my friends have theirs. Am I too young? Help me.

    HREF="health_body3.html#b" onmouseOver="imgOver('go9','on'); return true;" onmouseOut="imgOver('go9','off'); return true;">GOIm not sure whether I should pierce my ears or not. On one hand I get to wear cute earrings that I really want to wear. On the other hand, I am afraid that it would hurt. I am also afraid that if I get my ears pierced, the person would pierce my ears badly (not the part where the piercing should be), I might get an ear infection, or I might get an allergic reaction to the earring (my mom is allergic to it). Will you tell me what you would do if you were me?

  • GOI have a real problem when it comes to my body! First of all, I have a pretty big bust for my age. But this is the worst problem: I had my period. I am really embarrassed when I can't go swimming with my friends or go to pool parties when I get it. Please help me! It's hard to cope with it!

  • GOI have a big fear that my first period will come at a real bad time. I don't want to go say to a teacher, 'IT happened,' and I don't want it to happen in the shower. Are these fears okay? What can I do to prevent those kinds of things from happening?

  • GOI want to talk about periods with my math teacher. What should I say? Or should I ask one of the female gym teachers?

  • GOI'm the thinnest and most petite girl in my class. My clothes are size 10 in kids and my shoes are size 3 in girls. I also weigh only about 70 pounds, which is underweight for my age by 10 pounds! I can't shop at the stores a lot of girls my age shop at. I feel so small! Why aren't I growing like the others?

  • GO"I'm only 10 and dealing with acne. Sometimes people just stare. What should I do?"

  • GO"I just got my period. I get really frustrated and I don't want to be. Plus, I don't know how to tell my mom! Help."

  • GO"I am always having trouble sleeping. I don't fall asleep 'till 1 or 2 in the morning, then I have to wake up to get ready for school at 6. My mom won't let me take anything to help me sleep. What can I do to sleep better?"

  • GO"My grandma smokes and my family comes by a lot to visit. When we come over, she's always smoking. I always go to another room where I can't smell the smoke. I'm worried about my baby brother or someone else getting sick from secondhand smoke. What should I do?"

Dear IML,
I have a big fear that my first period will come at a real bad time. I don't want to go say to a teacher, 'IT happened,' and I don't want it to happen in the shower. Are these fears okay? What can I do to prevent those kinds of things from happening?
--Meg, 11

The IML Mentors respond:

Dear Meg,
I can understand feeling anxious about your first period, but there is really nothing to be afraid of. You can't control when it will happen and there really is no ideal time, so the best thing to do is be prepared. Carry supplies in your purse or backpack, and try to relax. Even when it does happen, you probably won't realize it at first. It's not like anyone will notice as soon as it starts, and youll probably have time to find supplies even if you're stuck at school or something. If you have any questions about it, you should get them answered before your first period. That way you won't feel rushed into talking about it the day it happens and may be more comfortable with it. It's scary at first, but soon it will be just another part of your life! Also, remember that in the future, youll be able to figure out how many days your cycle is and know approximately when your period is coming each month.
--Megan, IML Mentor

Hey Meg!
Your fears are perfectly okay and absolutely normal! I don't think I've ever met a girl who wasn't worried about getting her period at a bad time. While you can't decide when it comes, you CAN be ready for it. Bring an emergency bag with you when you go to school or sleepovers and have one at home. Put a maxi-pad, extra pair of underwear, and anything you think you'll need in a bag in one of your backpack pockets. You might want to use a cloth bag or makeup bag so you won't have to worry about anyone seeing if it ever fell out. Luckily, when your period comes for the first time, it usually isn't very much so you'll notice before anyone else. If it happens in school, just ask to go to the bathroom and grab your emergency bag on the way out. Good luck!
--Lauren, IML Mentor

Hey Meg!
I am actually glad you are worried about it happening unexpectedly. I laugh about it now, but I got my period at school and I was completely unprepared! Now you can have the gear ready and you wont be caught off guard! It is very important to find out when your momma started, your aunts, and grandmas (if they could remember). That MIGHT give you an idea of when itll happen for you, and you can prepare yourself. In your backpack, have a cute little purse (to disguise its contents) filled with about 5 pads, pantiliners, extra underwear, and a coin purse with a few quarters, dimes and nickels. Warning: Never, ever put toilet paper on your undies! OK? OK! In case of IT coming at the wrong time, you will have all the gear necessary to make an unpleasant inevitability an easy (and tidy) transition.
--Vanessa, IML Mentor

Hi Meg,
Getting your first period can be really nerve wracking. A lot of times girls are scared that they will get stained or that someone else will notice before they do. There really isn't a for sure way to know when you're first period will come, but sometimes, girls experience cramps or intense headaches before their period. If you start to feel these symptoms, you may want to talk to your parents about buying pantiliners. These are very thin pads that you can wear to help prevent staining. You can wear these every day even if you do not have your period, and this may help you feel less nervous. Also, remember that getting your period is a natural part of life. It happens to all girls, so don't feel embarrassed about it. At first it will be weird to talk about it, but as you get older you will realize that its not a big deal and you have nothing to be worried about. Good luck!
--Cyntianna, IML Mentor


Dear IML,
I want to talk about periods with my math teacher. What should I say? Or should I ask one of the female gym teachers?
--Elizabeth, 12

The IML Mentors respond:

Dear Elizabeth,
Is there a reason you aren't comfortable talking to your mom or another family member? Do you think the adults in your family would be okay with you getting this type of important information at school? If you truly believe the answer is yes, then I think the best person to start with is your school nurse. Make sure there is a time when you can talk to her when nobody will be interrupting you. If youd rather speak to another adult, understand that periods are a topic some people are uncomfortable talking about, so make sure its really someone you trust; for instance, your doctor or a school counselor. If you are uncomfortable talking to anyone, you could also look up the information online or in a book.
--Megan, IML Mentor

Hi Elizabeth,
I understand how important it is to find someone you feel comfortable talking to about periods and other things youll encounter when you enter puberty. Any woman who you like talking to personally and feel comfortable with is a good person to ask -- someone in your school, a family friend, a neighbor. If there is a health teacher or nurse at your school, she might be a good person to start with. Open the conversation by telling her youd like to talk in private about girl problems. This is a kind of code word for periods and other personal things that any woman would understand. If shes willing to talk to you, just state your questions. If there is anything you dont understand about what she says, tell her!! There is really nothing to feel embarrassed about, because every woman had to ask the same questions sometime in their life. Good luck, Elizabeth. =)
--Carren, IML Mentor

Hey Elizabeth!
Talking about periods for the first time can be scary! It's easier and more comfortable if you bring up the topic with a female you trust. If you feel okay talking to your math teacher about it, then go for it. If you'd rather talk to a gym teacher, that's fine too. Remember that teachers aren't the only people who know about periods! The school nurse can tell you a lot, or if your school has a guidance counselor, she could be helpful too. I would suggest setting up a time to talk with your trusted female; approach her when shes not busy and ask if she has any extra time in the next few days to talk to you privately. When you first talk to her, you may be too nervous to remember all the questions you want to ask! To make sure you get to ask everything you want, it might help to write down questions you think of during the week, and then you'll have them right in front of you when you talk. If you're too nervous talking to an adult alone, do it with some of your friends. It's likely that a lot of girls in your grade are worried about periods too. If a group of you got together to talk, you could get answers to questions you never even thought of!
--Lauren, IML Mentor

Hi Elizabeth,
I'm glad you understand that you need to talk to someone about this subject, rather than keep wondering or relying on what you hear from your peers. If you don't have an older female in your family whos comfortable talking about puberty, then yes, you should ask a female health or gym teacher. After class, ask the teacher if she wouldn't mind talking privately about female puberty, and explain to that you have many questions that youre hoping to get some answers on. Another approach is this: ask your school nurse for a pamphlet with information on periods, then once you finish the pamphlet, go back to the nurse for answers on any questions the pamphlet did not answer. I wish you lots of luck!
--Tiffany, IML Mentor


Dear IML,
I'm the thinnest and most "petite" girl in my class. My clothes are size 10 in kids and my shoes are size 3 in girls. I also weigh only about 70 pounds, which is underweight for my age by 10 pounds! I can't shop at the stores a lot of girls my age shop at. I feel so small! Why aren't I growing like the others?
--Sabrina, 11

An expert responds:
From Paul Horowitz, MD, FAAP

Hello there Sabrina,
Thank you very much for the question about your size. I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who feel the same way you do and are glad you asked this question. As youve probably noticed, every person has qualities that make him or her unique. Sometimes those qualities are visible (like hair color, or weight, or skin color), and sometimes they're invisible (like religion or generosity). These differences between people should be celebrated.

I know you're feeling different because you're not growing as quickly as some of the others in your class. Although being small makes you feel unhappy and worried, the largest person in your class would probably be glad to trade places with you! It may also help you to remember that even though you feel like you're not growing like "all the other kids," you probably ARE growing emotionally, intelligently, or spiritually faster than most of them. It's just a little harder to see those qualities. But like you probably already guessed by now, it's what's on the inside that counts. If your parents are concerned about your growth or you still aren't feeling better about this, consider asking one of them to make an appointment to see your pediatrician.


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