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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 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.
--Caitlin, 13

The IML Mentors respond:

Dear Caitlin,
I think the fact that you have realized you made a mistake and have promised yourself that you will not smoke a cigarette again shows how mature you are. However, your feelings of thinking you should tell your mom may be what you indeed have to do. While you may be nervous about her reaction, the best thing to do is to just be honest and tell her that you know you made a mistake and will never do it again. If you do not tell her, you may regret it and feel guilty for a very long time. While I am pretty sure you know this, cigarettes are really bad for your body, especially when you are growing up. It can affect you in your shortterm and longterm life. Also, the more you smoke, the more you are likely to get an addiction. The best thing to do to make sure you do not get any health problems or those cravings is to just not smoke anymore. Also, having someone to talk to like your mom as a support system for when you do feel tempted to smoke again could really be an asset. Hope it all works out!
--Joy, IML Mentor

I'm really glad that you know you're too young to smoke, that shows that you're really mature. As far as telling your mom, my advice would be TELL her. If she knows that you trust her enough to let her know you messed up, she can then trust you not to do it again. And chances are if you decide to do it again -- which I hope you won't -- your mom WILL find out. Adults are way smarter than we think they are. I wouldn't worry about complications like addiction quite yet, but don't take chances; next time you see a cigarette just back away from the situation. I'm a junior in high school and I'm constantly at parties where there is beer, and cigarettes, and even sometimes drugs. You need to know that the pressure doesn't go away, but you also need to know that it's not impossible to avoid or walk away from situations like that. In fact, it's not even "uncool" to walk away from situations like that, because most people won't care what you do. Don't ever do anything that you will be ashamed of in the morning for 30 seconds of satisfaction or feeling cool. TRUST ME, it's not worth it at all!
--Stormie, IML Mentor

I'm almost certain you can't get addicted to smoking from just one cigarette, but I think you should tell your mom because she might find out from someone else and lose her trust in you. (Trust me, I've been there.) You also should let her know everything you told us (that you're disappointed in yourself and that you'll never do it again), so that your mom will know that you've learned from it and you're going to move on from it. Good luck, Caitlin!
--Roxanne, IML Mentor

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Dear IML,
I 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.
--Hannah, 13

The IML Mentors respond:

Dear Hannah,
I myself have scars ALL over my back because I got the chicken pox when i was in 7th grade...and well, I scratched. Funny as it may sound, my scars are horrible and I have really pale skin so there is NO hiding them. For a long time I would never wear tank-tops or bathing suits in front of people until one day it just clicked: nobody's body is perfect. I know it's hard for you to be proud of a scar, but think about this: if you find a boy worth dating ,chances are he'll be more impressed at your strength of having to deal with so many surgeries than he will be grossed out by a scar. The most important thing I can say to you is to just try to be confident, there's nothing more attractive than someone who's comfortable with herself and that's the truth! Plus, I don't know if you've noticed, but there are a lot of one piece bathing suits, that have cutouts on the side so they're like bikins only then have material going down the very center of the chest...and I know i'm getting one this summer because they are sooo cute. I really hope that helps and please don't let anything keep you from feeling beautiful because truly as hard as it is to be proud of a scar, it really just demonstrates what an amazing person you are and your real friends shouldn't care a bit!
--Stormie, IML Mentor

Dear Hannah,
It sounds like you are extremely self-conscious about your scar and that is totally understandable. While hopefully you will indeed one day be proud of it and show it off, the first step is to probably accept you have a scar down your chest and try to cope with that fact. It sounds like you are trying to do this already, but are having difficulties doing so and worry about what others will think of you when they see your scar. The thing is, the people who matter won't care, and the people who do care don't matter. Do you really want a boyfriend who does not like you just because you have a scar or do you want someone who will like you for who you are and find the fact that you were able to survive such an ordeal just another thing amazing about yourself? Hopefully you have someone in your life that likes you for you, regardless of what you look like. If not, someone in the future then. I can only imagine how hard it must be for you to feel like you can't be a normal teenager, but hopefully time will make you more comfortable with your body and yourself.
--Joy, IML Mentor

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Dear IML,
I am 10 years old and I am not even going through puberty! Am I too old...too young? HELP ME!
--Joplin, 10

The IML Mentors respond:

Dear Joplin,
I feel your pain...I myself was a late bloomer! But at 10 you're nowhere near too old, in fact you might be a little young. Most people hit puberty somewhere between 10-13 but for most people I know it was closer to 12 or 13. Either way, there's no magic age or time that is the "right" time to hit puberty. Most kids don't hit it at the same time at all. I get that it's hard to deal with developing at different speeds because someone always feels like they should be going at the same rate as their friends but I promise you, it's a confusing time for everyone. The best thing to do is to talk to your parents or parent, depending on who you feel most comfortable with, and see when they started puberty. I know that my mom and I were pretty similar in timing. If you have more questions about it, next time you go to the doctor you could maybe ask him or her to speak in private about what to expect or what's normal.
--Stormie, IML Mentor

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