The adolescent stage of human development is a critical phase that influences the rest of a person’s life.
Unfortunately, studies have shown that as children get older and transition into adulthood, they become less likely to go to the doctor for annual wellness visits, even though the American Academy of Pediatrics and Bright Futures recommends yearly well-care visits during adolescence.
Why Regular Checkups are Important For Adolescents
As children transition into adolescence, wellness appointments become much more than just checking developmental milestones or height measurements. A pediatrician's role changes as well.
During adolescent visits, the pediatrician becomes an involved health participant who can help a teenager navigate adolescence and provide them with much-needed guidance, health advice, and support in a trusted and safe setting.
For adolescents, annual checkups can help them adopt and maintain healthy habits, avoid harmful food and lifestyle practices, manage chronic conditions, and prevent disease. These visits can also promote healthy behaviors and assess teenage mental health, meaning they are essential to a teen's overall well-being. That’s why it’s important to schedule a teen wellness visit at least once a year.
Teen and Adolescent Mental Health Evaluations
As individuals become more independent during adolescence, they are also expected to maintain personal relationships, manage their extracurricular activities, perform well academically, and manage their mental health. This transition from childhood into adulthood can be a confusing time, especially with the increase in responsibility.
Teenagers are also at a period in their lives when they are most vulnerable to being influenced by their peers or other adults in their environment. During this stage, peer pressure can be particularly strong. A visit to the pediatrician provides a safe space to discuss your teen's emotional and mental health. Even though some adolescents might be reluctant to discuss their concerns and worries regarding their mental health with their parents, their pediatrician is typically an ideal unbiased and trusted adult in their lives. This means that their primary care physician is in the best position to guide them through managing their mental health.
During a doctor visit, your teen's mental health will be evaluated through a series of questions. This evaluation will look for any worrying signs of mental health distress, such as anxiety, depression, behavioral issues, or other mental health problems that may require treatment from a specialist. If your teen needs help from a professional, we can refer them to one.
Because we value your teen's independence and privacy, we provide the option to see them alone for part or all of the visit. We will also talk with you and your teen about how things are going socially and emotionally, as well as your family's health.
Services Offered for Adolescents
At Rexburg Pediatrics, adolescent checkups include a physical exam, a developmental review, and a review of vaccination records.
As teens enter puberty, they’re likely to experience changing hormones or hormonal imbalances which can affect their physical health, too. Because their bodies are still growing, a complete physical exam with their pediatrician ensures that everything is on track health-wise.
The doctor will also examine the skin, listen to the heart and lungs, examine the back for spine curvature, and monitor puberty development. During the physical exam, a parent or guardian should be present. Having a health advocate they can trust during this transition into adulthood is comforting and beneficial, mainly because a pediatrician is familiar with your teen's health background.
Developmental and Mental Health Review
During the developmental review, our doctors will offer advice on nutrition, exercise, and mental health. Your teen's emotional well-being is also assessed. We'll inquire about how things are going at school, with their friends, and with you and your family. We encourage you both to discuss any difficulties openly so that we can provide needed assistance and resources.
Our health care providers are trained to ask questions throughout the exam to detect concerns and provide education on health, wellness, and safety. Our doctors will respond to your teen's questions about their own health and well-being. The goal is to ensure that your teen is healthy both physically and mentally.
If your teen requires vaccinations, they will be administered during their visit. Vaccinations are administered in accordance with the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations. Flu and COVID vaccines are also recommended if they haven’t already been given.
Involve & Educate Adolescents About Their Own Healthcare
Another goal of teen and young adult wellness visits is to teach adolescents to take more responsibility for their health and wellness. A strong relationship with their health care provider serves as the foundation for that transition.
Giving your teenager a voice for their own health is vital. You can encourage your teen to choose their own healthcare provider and book their wellness appointments. This will help them learn about planning their time and empower them to make their own health decisions and become accountable for themselves. All these skills are essential for preparing for adulthood.
Schedule an Appointment
At every age and stage of growth and development, regular well-child care exams are the foundation of your teen's health and well-being. We recommend making these appointments with your primary care physician as far in advance as possible.
At Rexburg Pediatrics, we are dedicated to providing the best care for your teens while keeping them healthy and fulfilled. Our caregivers are eager to assist you in your goal of raising bright, caring, and responsible adolescents.
We value your teen's comfort and trust and will collaborate with you and your teenager to overcome any current or future health challenges. We are here to help you with your children's medical needs from infancy to adolescence and beyond. Call us today to schedule an appointment!