It can be a scary prospect, approaching a doctor about your health, but how else can we know what's 'normal' when our bodies are growing and changing all the time? Find the answers here.
Though it can be hard to pluck up the courage to approach a doctor, they're there to help you. You will be able to get confidential advice, and treatment if needed, from a health professional and this is always best to seek out in the first instance if you're having any health worries.
It can sometimes be a bit nerve-wracking and you might feel alone – but most of the time that isn't the case! Throughout the process of growing up, you might experience many different changes and it's completely normal.
Lots of girls and young women experience one or two of these common conditions – people of all gender identities, including some young trans men and young non-binary people, experience them too.
Any kind of pain, burning or itching that happens when you go for a wee is worth getting checked out.
It tends to most likely be the case of having a small infection.
If it hurts when you wee, go and see your doctor or speak to your school nurse.
It's especially important to see a doctor if you also:
- feel pain in your belly or back,
- have a rash,
- have a fever or chills,
- have a smelly vaginal discharge, and/or
- start vomiting.
Finding any kind of unexpected discharge coming from your vagina or urethra (where you pee from) can be alarming.
It could be natural, but you should get it checked out if it's sore or smelly.
- It's normal to get some discharge from your vagina. The only thing that should ever come from your urethra is pee.
- Normal vaginal discharge ranges from clear and runny to quite gloopy.
- In the weeks before your very first period comes, you might get a sticky white discharge. This is normal.
- Once your periods start, your natural discharge will get thicker and thinner depending on where you are in your monthly cycle.
- If you're feeling sexually aroused, your vagina also produces more lubrication.
If you're worried about changes in your discharge, speak to your doctor or school nurse. We know it can be embarrassing, but it's likely they've seen a similar thing a hundred times before - and they're duty bound to keep it confidential. You can also ask to see a female doctor or nurse if you prefer.
Lots of girls and young women get growths of facial hair. It's quite normal.
Mostly, it's very fine, light-coloured and unnoticeable but some of us get darker hair that's easier to see.
When we hit puberty, levels of hormones in our bodies change.
If you find you've started growing lots of hair on your face it could indicate a hormone imbalance so it's a good idea to get this checked out by a doctor as soon as you can if it is really bothering you.
In regards to removing unwanted hair, there are many options available to you.
You could shave it off, pluck it, use waxing or sugaring or you might consider bleaching it lighter (unless you have a darker skin tone). There are pros and cons to the different approaches, you might want to try different options or speak to a pharmacist or doctor for further information.
Cystitis is a swelling of the lining of the bladder caused by an infection.
It sometimes affects men and children but almost all women will have an attack of cystitis at some point in their lives.
Most cases of cystitis in women are caused by bacteria getting into the bladder through the urethra (where you pee from).
Once inside, the bacteria multiply and irritate the lining of the bladder.
- pain when you pee - burning or stinging,
- needing to pee lots, but only producing small amounts when you go,
- your pee is cloudy or smells strong, and/or
- a pain just above your pubic bone or in your lower back.
You should see a doctor immediately if:
- you have blood in your pee,
- you start a fever or chills,
- you have back pain, and/or
- you start vomiting.
They may do some tests to find out exactly which bacteria is causing the problem and to rule out any other causes.
Who experiences these symptoms?
It’s not just girls and young women who experience these symptoms – it can also be a reality for people of all gender identities, including some young trans men and young non-binary people.
LGBT Youth Scotland, LGBT Health and Wellbeing and Mermaids UK have lots of information and people you can chat to about your experiences.
Check out five things guys might not want to ask the doctor about.