It can be a scary prospect, approaching a GP about your health, but how else can we know what’s ‘normal’ when young bodies are growing and changing all the time? Find the answers here.
1. “It looks like I have man boobs”
Don’t panic – this is almost always totally normal while you’re growing and will pass in time. ‘Man boobs’ appear because of higher levels of the female hormone ‘oestrogen’ in the body, which is also important for development in men.
If you feel like you’re developing ‘man boobs’ after puberty, then this could be a sign of something else, and it’s best to head to you doctor for a check-up.
2. “I’ve got strange discharge coming from my penis”
Pee and semen are the only things that should be coming out of your penis. If you’re noticing any sore or smelly discharge from your penis, you need to get it checked out by your doctor, as it could be an STI or other infection.
We know seeing the doctor about problems with your private bits is awkward, but just remember your penis won’t be the first or the last they’ll be seeing that week, and they can usually sort out the problem with a simple course of antibiotics.
3. “I think I have a problem with my foreskin”
You should be able to slide your foreskin up and down your penis easily, if your foreskin is too tight to slide over the head of your penis or gets ‘stuck’ and won’t slide back down over your penis you should see a doctor, to discuss options for loosening the foreskin.
If your foreskin is red, itchy or sore it could be an allergic reaction to soap or other body products, irritation from being too rough while washing, too much rubbing or pulling during sex, a fungal infection or an STI.
Make sure to wash and dry the area gently and carefully twice a day. If it’s not cleared up in a couple of days, you’ll need to pop into your doctor for a diagnosis.
4. “It hurts when I pee”
Ouch! This one is most likely an infection in your urethra. If you’re sexually active it could be chlamydia. You’ll need to see your doctor and get some antibiotics to sort this out. It’s especially important to see a doctor straight away if you’re also experiencing:
- Pain in your belly or back
- A rash
- Fever or chills
- Smelly discharge from your penis
5. “Why do I keep getting cold sores?”
Once you have the cold sore virus it stays in your body and causes break-outs every so often, usually when you’re feeling stressed or rundown.
Cold sores are very easily spread, so you should avoid kissing anyone or having oral sex while you have a cold sore, and make sure not to pick at or rub your cold sore.
Cold sores usually clear up within a few weeks but you can easily treat them from home by:
- Using a cold sore cream containing Aciclovir
- Using witch hazel, tea tree oil or mint balm to make it more comfortable
- Taking paracetamol for any discomfort
- Drinking plenty fluids
- Avoiding spicy, salty or acidic foods.
Who experiences these symptoms?
It’s not just boys and young men who experience these symptoms – it can also be a reality for people of all gender identities, including some young trans women and young non-binary people.
Everyone’s experience is unique and there is no ‘right’ way to feel. LGBT Youth Scotland and LGBT Health and Wellbeing have lots of information about your experiences.