Asking questions about your health

Being a young person is full of changes, and some of these changes may lead you to having questions about your health.

You might wonder whether the things you’re feeling, thinking or experiencing physically are normal.  Oftentimes to get answers to the questions we have, we search the Internet.  It’s nice because it’s so convenient and fast.  Also you don’t have to share with anyone what you’re looking up – so no embarrassment! Right?

But do you really find the answers you’re looking for?  Here’s an example of when using the Internet to look for answers can go wrong. Let’s say you feel a lump on your neck.  Maybe there was a Dr. Oz episode about diagnosing tumors early.  You begin to wonder if it’s a tumor. You look it up online and see all kinds of possible scary cancers!  Keeping these thoughts and online research to yourself can make you really stressed!  The fortunate truth is most young people who find a lump on their neck will not have cancer.  So how do you get your health questions answered accurately without getting stressed out?

Photo Credit: irfanherdyato Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: irfanherdyato Flickr via Compfight cc

You should know that a trusted adult can be more helpful – they most likely have had similar experiences and can help you think it through – and if they don’t know the answer, you can always talk to your doctor or a health professional. Here’s some advice about how to talk to adults about your health!

Also as teenagers get older, it can be important to begin having some independence in regards to your health.  Try talking to your parents about becoming more independent during your doctor visits.  Listed below are a few steps from the University of Michigan on how teenagers can become more independent during their checkups:

  • Before an appointment write down any health problems or questions you have.
  • Upon arriving at a doctor’s visit, check yourself in at the registration desk and complete the forms to the best of your ability.
  • During the visit, speak with your doctor directly and ask any questions.
  • Ask for time alone with the doctor without your parent in the room.

Do you have any other suggestions or stories about talking to a trusted adult or medical professional about your health or about becoming more health independent?  We would love to hear!

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Moderator ★

Hi! The moderator is a research team member with a background in behavioral health. We're here to help answer your questions and stimulate some great conversation! We don't provide therapy and are not available 24-7 so please if you are in crisis, go to our crisis page: https://sova.pitt.edu/i-need-help-now We look forward to talking to you!

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