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How do I know when I’m really ready to have sex?


The appropriate time to have sex is different for everyone. Sex is a big decision that can permanently impact your life.

Sex is not just a physical act, it can be emotional too. Sex is very intimate, which means it’s private or closely personal. It’s normal to have strong sexual feelings for someone but that does not always mean you have to act on them. There are times when you can feel physically ready for sex but not be in the right relationship.

Because sex is emotionally powerful, it’s easy to get hurt. Sex should only be a part of a relationship where other important things such as trust, mutual respect and caring also exist. You must always remember that sex can also have a downside. It can lead to unplanned pregnancy,  sexually transmitted diseases (STD) or both.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you doing this because you want to and not because your partner wants to?
  • Do all your friends seem to be having sex, so you feel you should be too?
  • Is someone pressuring you to have sex?
  • Have you talked to a trusted adult?

The decisions to have sex is a big one. There is no perfect moment when you will know that you’re ready for sex. It is a complicated and personal decision. It’s about knowing and doing what’s best for you.

For more information or to chat,  contact us or check out stayteen.org.

How Do I Use the Nutrition Label?


With so many foods available, it can be tough to make healthy choices. Thankfully the Nutrition Facts Label is here to help you out! Follow these tips for how to read the label and choose healthier options.

The Basics

Start at the top and check the “Serving Size”. This tells you what amount of the food the label is based on. Under that, you’ll see a list of the nutrients in the food. To the right of each nutrient, the “% Daily Value” will tell you what percent of your daily needs are in one serving of the food. A food with 5% or less of the Daily Value is low in that nutrient, and a food with 20% or more of the Daily Value is high in that nutrient.

But which nutrients do we want LESS of? Which nutrients do we want MORE of?

What to look for LESS of

Some items on the label aren’t as good for our health as others. Look for foods that are lower in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium and added sugar. We want to get as little trans fat as possible. For the rest of these items, we want to get LESS than the 100% Daily Value each day. It’s okay to have them in smaller amounts, but too much can lead to health problems.

What to look for MORE of

There are some items we need to make sure we get enough of! These are extra important to look for on the label. For example, fiber, calcium, vitamin D, iron and potassium are all great nutrients to find in foods. For these items, we want to meet the 100% Daily Value each day to keep our bodies healthy.

Make the healthier choice!

Using these tips and the Nutrition Facts Label, you can compare foods and make the healthier choice for your body! For more info, you can ask the Teen Health Center about nutrition counseling with a dietitian.

Want to know more? Check out these links:

Does Teen Mental Health Matter?


Absolutely! In today’s society, being a teen is not easy. Especially when trying to balance school, sports, a social life and several other things at once. It can become overwhelming. It’s not uncommon to feel as if you are performing a juggling act and at any given moment something will fall and when it does, it will be a disaster. Well, it won’t. You’re human and things happen. As a teen, you’re going to go through tons of emotions at once and that’s normal. It’s all about finding good mental health methods that work best for you in those tough situations.

Mental Health

What is mental health? Simply put, it’s the overall emotional well-being or health of a person. Mental health is not just about being diagnosed with an illness, it has more to do with a person’s ability to handle certain challenges that life will bring. As teens, it is important to understand that there will be good days and bad days. Your mental health has more to do with your thoughts and feelings rather than having a clinical diagnosis.

Mental Health Includes

1. How you choose to feel about yourself

2. Your ability to respond to unwanted stress

3. How to deal with different challenges

4. Building self-esteem and confidence

Taking Care of Yourself

It is very important to find different ways to cope with life’s challenges. For example; exercising (running, yoga, swimming, walking) or reading. Just like you can do things to keep physically fit, you can also do the same things to help to keep you mentally fit.

For more information on mental health or to chat, contact us!

Feeling Angry?


If you feel that it is easy for you to snap or react negatively you may have issues dealing with anger. Being unable to properly control feelings of anger can often lead to unwanted consequences.

What is anger?

Anger is a normal emotion that you may feel when going through different situations. There is no reason to feel bad about being angry. Managing anger is not as hard as you may think. It is important to remember that you should always be mindful of how you respond when you’re angry.

Managing Anger

There are several ways to manage your anger. You can use the following 5 steps: self-awareness, self-control,consider consequences, make a decision and check your progress. These steps are good to use when in the heat of the moment. Other things that may be helpful are listening to music, meditation and writing. Distracting yourself from what angers you often leads to positive results.

 

What can you do?

It’s important to find ways to control your feelings. Losing control can allow anger to take over your life. If you feel you may have an in issue with anger that you can’t control, it may be time to speak to a parent or a counselor. Getting help is completely normal and is often a relief. 

For more information on managing anger, contact us or visit the following websites:

From Sex to Pregnancy


How does it happen?

When a female and a male have sexual intercourse (the penis enters the vagina) and the male ejaculates (semen leaves the man’s penis) within several days of the female’s ovulation, fertilization (pregnancy) can occur. Ovulation is when a woman releases an egg from her ovary to her fallopian tube. Fertilization is when the sperm reaches the egg.

The sperm swims up from the vagina through the cervix and uterus to meet the egg in the fallopian tube. Two to five milliliters of sperm are released during ejaculation. Each milliliter can contain from 40 to 400 million sperm. Only one is needed to fertilize an egg.

Implantation is when the egg burrows itself into the lining of the uterus. This happens about a week after the sperm fertilizes the egg. After this, the stages of pregnancy continue. Pregnancy lasts about 280 days or about 9 months.

Frequently asked questions:

  • Can you get pregnant from anal sex?
    • Pregnancy cannot happen from anal sex. Pregnancy can only happen after sexual intercourse where the male ejaculates inside the female’s vagina.
  • Can you get pregnant from oral sex?
    • Pregnancy cannot happen from oral sex. Again, pregnancy can only happen after sexual intercourse where the male ejaculates inside the female’s vagina.
  • Can you get pregnant the first time you have sex?
    • Yes, you can get pregnant the first time you have sex. Any female that is ovulating (releasing eggs) can get pregnant.
  • Can you get pregnant from dry sex (dry humping) or fingering?
    • No. Pregnancy can only happen when the penis and vagina come into contact and the male ejaculates inside the vagina.
  • Can you get pregnant by having sex in the pool?
    • Yes, you can get pregnant in any water if actual intercourse takes place.
  • Can you get pregnant during your period?
    • Yes, you can get pregnant while on your period. Some women ovulate early which can happen during their period. Sperm can live up to five days inside the vagina, so the sperm can still be there to fertilize the egg that is released during ovulation.
  • Does sperm die once it hits the air?
    • Sperm can live three to five days in a warm moist environment. Sperm does die once it is dry.

Want more information on Sex and Pregnancy? Contact us!

Do You Need Protein Powder to Build Muscle?


Protein powders and supplements are not needed to build muscle. In fact, all you need for muscle growth is a balanced diet and exercise. So, what should you do to make sure your body has the right fuel for the job?

Carbs and Fat

While protein is important for muscle building, it’s not the only nutrient you need! Exercise is needed for muscle growth and carbs and fat provide most of the energy used for your workout. Healthy foods for carbs are whole-grain breads or pastas, beans, potatoes and fresh fruit. Healthy foods for fat are avocados, nuts, fish and vegetable oils.

Eat a healthy diet with a variety of foods.

If you’re an athlete, you may need more protein than someone who doesn’t exercise. However, protein powders aren’t required and extra protein beyond what you need won’t make your muscles bigger! A well-balanced diet with healthy choices provides plenty of protein. This means you should focus on eating foods from all the food groups, which includes fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains, and protein.

Try these healthy, food sources of protein:

  •  Grilled and baked meats like fish, chicken, turkey or lean beef.
  •  Nuts like almonds, cashews or walnuts.
  •  Legumes like black beans, peanuts or green peas.
  •  Low-fat dairy like 1% milk or low-fat yogurt.

For more information, contact the Teen Health Center about nutrition counseling with a dietitian or check out these resources:

AM I OBSESSED WITH SOCIAL MEDIA?


You may be obsessed with social media if you have you made several unsuccessful attempts to cut back or stop using it.

Signs

If you are obsessed with social media, you probably spend many hours a day on social sites like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat or Twitter.  You most likely use these sites as an escape from the real world or to relieve a bad mood.  Social media interferes with your everyday activities and you rely heavily on comments and like for satisfaction and validation. Spending too much on time online could be a sign of depression, anxiety or loneliness.

Consequences

Social media obsession can cause you to miss out on the most important parts of life. When you are distracted by social media, its hard to concentrate in school and at work which can result in failing classes and being fired from your job. Checking your notifications while driving is illegal and can result in fines, injury or even death. Spending all your time on social media leaves no time for real human interactions. This can put a strain on your relationships with your family, friends and significant other. Social media obsession and it’s consequences can lead to serious mental health problems like anxiety and depression

Getting Better

Just like any other obsession or addiction, the first step is to accept and admit that you have a problem. Once you’ve accepted the problem, you can work towards getting better.  Start by turning off all notifications or completely deleting the applications off your phone. Deleting the applications will remove the temptation to constantly check your notifications. Instead of checking your social sites all day, allow yourself a few scheduled times per day to check in. Try to find a more meaningful way to communicate with friends and family like calling them or even hanging out. Remember, Teen Health Center is always here for you!

Read more about social media addiction at:

AM I ADDICTED TO PRESCRIPTION DRUGS?


If you feel that you need to use prescription drugs on a regular basis after you no longer physically need them, you may have an addiction. Abuse of prescription drugs can be very harmful to your body and even cause death.

What is prescription drug abuse?

Prescription drug abuse happens when you take medicine in a way that is not prescribed. Often times the medicine actually belongs to someone else. Prescription pills can be found in your home or sold illegally on the street. Common pills of choice are opioids ( OxyContin and Vicodin), central nervous system depressants (Valium and Xanax), and stimulants (Ritalin and Adderall).

Side Effects and Signs of Addiction

People often use prescription pills because they think it will make them “feel good”, fit in with peers or to deal with personal issues. Side effects of opioids are feeling sick to your stomach, trouble breathing and sleepiness. Abuse of stimulants may cause body temperature and heart rate to rise or paranoia. Side effects of depressants are slurred speech and lack of coordination. Someone that is addicted to prescription pills may have mood swings, changes in weight, or feel the need to use the pills more often.

What can you do?

Being addicted to prescription pills effects you and the people around you. Sometimes addiction can make you sick or even lead to death. If you feel you may have an addiction you should speak to a trusted adult like a parent, teacher or counselor. You can also call the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator at 1-800-662-HELP to find treatment centers near you.

For more information on please contact the Teen Health Center or visit the following websites:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/Drugs

https://www.samhsa.gov/DrugAbuse

https://teens.drugabuse.gov/PrescriptionDrugs

WHY IS HAVING A POSITIVE BODY IMAGE AN HIGH SELF-ESTEEM SO IMPORTANT?


Having a positive body image and high self-esteem makes it easier to create healthy friendships and relationships. It can also make the process of growing up easier.

Healthy self-esteem

Self-esteem is all about having confidence in yourself. It’s also a reflection of what you think others think of you. Your self-esteem can affect your mental health in a good or bad way. When you have high self-esteem you are able to make better choices and choose friends who accept you for who you are. You will also feel like you are able to deal with life better and know your strengths and weaknesses.

Positive body image

Body image is how you feel about your body. When you have thoughts about if you feel attractive or worry about if other people like the way you look, that is related to your body image. Many teens struggle with this, especially with the constant pressure from social media. Loving your body and accepting everything about it lets you live a happier and healthier life.

Tips for improving self-esteem and body image

There are many ways to improve your self-esteem and body image. You can start by thinking good thoughts about your body and stop yourself when you start to think about it in a bad way. You must also choose to accept your body no matter what size or shape it.. If there are parts of your body that you would like to work on to become healthier then you can set realistic goals to achieve. You can also choose to keep a positive attitude and give yourself three compliments each day to improve your self-esteem.

Want to know more about how you can improve your body image and self esteem? Check out these resources:

Why do I have Acne?


Your acne could be caused by hormones, exercise and stress. Almost 8 in 10 teens have acne.

What Causes Acne?

Acne is a common skin condition involving many different types of bumps such as blackheads and pimples. One possible cause could be due to your hormonal changes that happen to your body during puberty. Exercise is another cause of acne due to sweat clogging your pores. Stress is also a trigger, due to an increase of hormones and sweat.

How do I make it go away?

The easiest way to keep your acne to a minimum is good hygiene. You should clean your face with warm water and a mild soap once or twice a day. Avoid touching your break out areas with your hands so you don’t add oils and bacteria to your skin. Cut down on eating fast food and other greasy foods like pizza and french fries, which can make your skin worse.

Should I see my doctor?

If soap or special skin products are not helping, speak to a dermatologist, a doctor who specializes in skin care. A dermatologist can prescribe medicine for your skin condition. For girls, you can ask your doctor about birth control, which is great for clearing up your skin and preventing pregnancy. You are able to get birth control FREE and CONFIDENTIALLY at the Teen Health Center.

Want to know more about acne? Check out these links:

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