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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.

  • 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 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.
--Kamara, 10

The IML Mentors respond:

Hi Kamara,
Puberty was probably the single most confusing time in my life! Your friends and you are all changing on the inside and out, and everyone changes at different speeds. I know a girl who got her period in 5th grade, and I know a girl who didn't get her period until freshman year of high school. Everyone's body is different and even though your friends might be ahead of you in the puberty category, that doesn't mean that they're more mature than you in any way. The important thing to remember is that your body knows what's best and don't feel like there's anything wrong with you. It's always been normal for girls to get their periods in the large span of years; some get it really early and some don't get it until they're older. It's hard to be patient for it to happen to you when your body is ready, but try to look at it this way: it's more time of your life that you get to enjoy cramp free!
--Stormie, IML Mentor

Dear Kamara,
Growing up and going through puberty can an uneasy part of a girl's life, but it is totally normal to feel that way. You seem to be concerned with whether or not you are at the right stage in that process, especially because you see your friends getting their periods and you haven't yet. However, there is nothing to be worried about. Everyone goes through puberty at their own right time depending on their body and hormones. My friend got her period when she just turned 10 and I didn't get mine until over a year later. If you still feel kind of stressed over the situation, then consider talking to your doctor or some other trusted adult. Good luck!
--Joy, IML Mentor

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Dear IML,
Im 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?
--Sarah, 13

The IML Mentors respond:

Dear Sarah,
I had many of the same fears when I was deciding whether or not to pierce my ears. However, the most important thing is that you are comfortable and happy with whatever decision you make. They are your ears and you will be the one who is stuck living with them. However, I will try to put your mind at ease with some other things you mentioned. For one thing, if you do decide to pierce your ears, don't be worried about having an allergic reaction. There are different types of studs you can put in (gold, silver, white gold) so that if you are allergic to one of them, you can wear another type. Also, if you clean them really well and follow all of the directions you are given on how to take care of your pierced ears, then getting an infection is unlikely. There are also many different places that will pierce your ears so just hunt around for somewhere you trust will do them right...including, possibly, your doctor! Well, I hope that you make the right decision that suites you and good luck with your decision making process!
--Joy, IML Mentor

Hey Sarah,
I was in the 6th grade when I got my ears pierced, and I understand the debate you're going through with yourself. First off, judging by my personal experience and what I've got from my friends who have got their ears pierced, it really doesn't hurt that much at all. It felt like someone was lightly pinching my ear for like a second and then it was over. In fact it was so easy for me in terms of pain that when my ears closed up (keep earrings in for at least a month after you get them done so they don't close like mine!) I didn't hesitate to get them redone. I understand why you're worried about the person piercing you incorrectly, so make sure your mom or someone is watching while the person does it. In terms of allergies, there are lots of different metals that earrings are made out of, the least allergenic being stainless steel; so if you're really worried start out with those. If I were you I would go ahead and get them pierced, because being afraid shouldn't hold you back from something you really want. Plus, if you decide that it's not for you then you can just let your holes close! I hope that helps!
--Stormie, IML Mentor

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Dear IML,
I 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!
--Melissa, 11

The IML Mentors respond:

Hi Melissa!
I remember how tough it was getting my period and going through puberty...it's even harder when you're ahead of everyone else. Your body grows all over during this time in your life, so wear clothes that make you feel comfortable, but don't feel like you have to hide your body. When your friends want to go swimming and you have your period, suggest some other ideas instead: go to a movie, out to lunch, shopping...there are tons of things you can do without risking embarrassment. If you feel comfortable talking to your friends about it, just let them know why you can't go swimming. Also, talk to your mother or doctor about whether or not you're ready to start using tampons; those will make it easier for you to be in a bathing suit and go swimming!
--Lauren, IML Mentor

Dear Melissa,
First of all, from a girl who's always had a small chest, try to think of your chest size as a positive thing. You may feel like your friends think it's weird that you have a big bust, but I bet they're wondering why they don't. In a few years a lot more girls will have caught up with you and you'll probably wonder what you were ever worried about. This is a strange age for everyone, with bodies changing. I was on the swim team and I remember being all freaked out about my period at first, but I didn't have a choice, and you know what? Everything worked out and after a while I didn't even think twice about it. If that's not for you, don't skip the parties! You should go and have a good time, just maybe not in the pool. Youll see that swimming is not the only thing there is to do at pool parties -- you can have a lot of fun just hanging out instead. Don't let your period decide your plans for you!
--Stormie, IML Mentor

Hi Melissa,
Congratulations! You are one of us now. I was 11 when I started mine. But before I even started I was growing hair in the "wrong" places and I weighed more than my Mom, both of which were really embarrassing. Just recently did I realize that I needed to trust my body. All of our bodies are like machines, they work according to their specific settings and there is nothing we can do about it. Sometimes our bodies are faster or slower in developing than other people's and it makes us stand out more. Youre right: the biggest annoyance with having your period is not being able to swim. If you can, try to plan your swimming events around your "time of the month." Take comfort in knowing you are not alone. You'll notice other girls and women not swimming because it is their "time." Notice that they are not the center of attention. They wear bikinis with board shorts. No one catches the difference. So, don't let your period ruin your summer. Have fun!
--Vanessa, IML Mentor

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