I am really self-conscious about my labia. It doesn’t look like everyone else’s. My labia is big and stretched out. I am curious about labiaplasty (plastic surgery). Is it possible for me to get it now or should I wait until I am older?

Thank you for your question. It is common for girls to feel self-conscious about their labias and we hope our response will help you feel a bit better. Labia is Latin for “lips.” Typically you have two different labia, labia majora and labia minora. The labia majora is usually the larger and thicker of the two labias. The labia minora is usually smaller  with thinner tissue. Labia come in a variety of sizes, colors, and shapes. It’s important to remember that everyone’s body is different and that it’s normal for your labia to look different from your Mom’s or even other women in your family. We are all special and unique in our own way.

However, if you are still feeling self-conscious about your labia, it’s important to talk to your health care provider (HCP) and to know that professional organizations such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists do not recommend that women have plastic surgery to make the labia smaller.  Surgery to change the size and or shape of the labia without being medically necessary may violate federal or state laws.  A young woman should be 18 or older before making the decision to change a normal part of her body.  Women who chose to have a labiaplasty usually have experienced significant symptoms such as pain with intercourse, chronic irritation, or discomfort.  Talk with your health care provider and let them know what your concerns are so they can answer all your questions.

How would I know if I have a bicornuate uterus, but I’m still a virgin?

Thank you for your question. Most girls are born with a very important organ called a uterus. The size, shape, and structure of a uterus is important because it’s where babies grow and develop during pregnancy. A normal uterus shape is similar to an upside down triangle, with two upside down horns on either side (fallopian tubes), each connected to two ovaries.  It’s uncommon for girls to be born with abnormal uterus, but the most commonly seen are bicornuate uterus.

 

 

A bicornuate  (“bahy-kawr-nyoo-it”) uterus is a is one with a different kind of shape and structure. The bicornuate uterus is best known as the “heart-shaped” uterus, because–you guessed it–it looks like a heart! Most girls born with a “heart-shape” uterus won’t know they have a different shape unless they have an ultrasound or MRI, usually for some other reason.  Having a bicornuate uterus is unlikely to affect your ability to become pregnant; however, some women may have a higher risk of miscarrying (losing the baby during pregnancy) than those with a normal shaped uterus.  If you are concerned that you may have a bicornuate uterus, speak with your health care provider (HCP) about why you are concerned.

How safe is it to use ride-share services?

We are glad you want to know more about ride-share services!

Ride-share services are companies (like Uber and LYFT) that allow you to order a ride using an app on your smartphone. Most ride-share companies have rules in place to keep riders safe – like background checks for drivers and rating systems. Whenever you get in a car with a stranger (driver or other passenger), especially alone, there are risks. Most rides are completed safely, but there have been reports of car accidents, physical assaults, and sexual assaults while using ride-share services.

If you use ride-share services, general car safety rules apply, like always wear your seatbelt. Riding with friends can help keep you safe, and also make the ride cheaper! Here are some other ways to stay safe:

Make sure it’s the right car and driver.

  • Check all details for your ride (license plate, make/model of the car, driver’s name/photo) before getting in. If something doesn’t match, don’t get in the car.
  • Confirm that the ride is for you. Ask, “Who are you here to pick up?”
  • Never give out your personal information (full name, phone number, address, school) to your ride-share driver.

Be alert.

  • Sit in the back seat on the passenger’s side to be aware of the driver’s actions.
  • Don’t ride alone if you are drunk or high. It is a great decision to avoid driving while drunk or high, but drugs and alcohol could affect your ability to keep yourself safe in a car with a stranger. Try getting a ride from a friend or family member instead.

Share your trip details.

  • You can use the app to share information about your trip with a parent or friend. This includes your location during your ride, so someone will know if your driver takes you to a different location or makes an unexpected stop.
  • Tell your driver you are sharing your ride. Try calling someone and saying, “Hey, I’m in my ride-share. I’ll share my ride details with you. See you soon.”

Stop your trip at any time.

  • If you don’t feel comfortable for any reason, trust your instincts. You can always end your trip, no questions asked.
  • If you are ending your trip early, please make sure you are in a location where you can safely exit the car and can safely wait for another ride. If you do not know the area well consider stopping in a well-lit crowded area.

Call for help.

  • If you are immediately concerned for your safety, please call 911 (in the US).
  • If you use a specific ride-share service frequently, get familiar with the app and its emergency options before you ride.

 

Remember that no one has a right to treat you badly or discriminate against you based on your race, gender identity, sexual orientation, nor any other identity. If this happens to you while using a ride-share service, rate your driver, contact the company, and talk to someone you trust (like a parent, friend, or healthcare provider).

I am in anorexia recovery right now. I am scared that I am going to lose control and gain too much weight because of my metabolism and not eating anything. Will my metabolism speed up and burn enough calories as I recover?

purple eating disorder ribbonThank you for asking this question. When anyone restricts food intake for an extended period of time, the body’s metabolism responds by slowing down because the body needs to conserve energy for other, extremely vital organs (such as the brain and heart). In fact, metabolism slowing down is often a sign we need to eat more. As you start to eat more, your metabolism will naturally increase because your body will gain enough energy to carry out all its necessary processes.

While recovering from anorexia nervosa, your body may change and this is normal. It’s important to have health care providers who can support you during this process. If you need more support, you can contact a confidential Helpline at: nationaleatingdisorders.org/help-support/contact-helpline.

 

How safe is it to jog in the dark?

It is great that you are interested in jogging and want to learn about how to run safely.

Jogging has many positive benefits on physical and mental health. Running outside also has some risks, including activity-related injuries (injuries due to running), vehicle-related injuries, or assault (physical or sexual). Running in the dark increases all these risks due to decreased visibility (ability for you to see your surroundings or for others to see you).

Overall, we recommend not jogging in the dark if you can avoid it. If you decide to jog in the dark, here are some things you can do to lower your risk:

  • Jog with a friend or a group. A running partner can keep you motivated. They can also keep an extra eye on your surroundings. Running with others may also discourage a potential attacker.
  • Wear reflective clothing or gear. This helps you stand out in the dark, especially to cars and other vehicles.
  • Bring a light. This will let you see more of your surroundings, and help you avoid potential obstacles, such as tripping on an uneven sidewalk because you couldn’t see it well.
  • Take your headphones out. The dark makes it harder for you to see what is going on around you. Being able to hear your surroundings will help keep you safe. Being aware of your surroundings is always important. Consider running without headphones or with one ear bud out even in the daytime.
  • Choose your route wisely. It is best to run on well-lit crowded roads with sidewalks instead of in parks or paths. If you are running often, try changing your routine, including where you are running and the time of your run. Changing your routine may help prevent an assault.
  • Tell someone. Let a friend, parent, or other trusted adult know where you are running and how long it will take, that way someone will know if something goes wrong. You can also share your location if you have a smartphone.
  • Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe at any point, run to a safe location. Call 911 (in the US) if you are in immediate danger.

If you have any additional questions about how to jog safely, talk to your health care provider.

I’m not a vegetarian. I eat chicken rarely, and I sometimes drink milk, but I don’t have any other source of protein. How do I get protein in my diet?

Great question! Protein is really important to eat because it helps build bones and muscles. It acts as a building block for enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals that are necessary for us to function. Hair and nails are also made up of mostly  protein.

As you mentioned, both chicken and cow’s milk are dietary sources of protein. Other animal sources of protein include turkey, beef, fish, and eggs. Dairy products such as cheese and Greek yogurt also contain protein. If you do not eat many animal products, vegetarian sources of protein such as beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, seitan, nuts, and nut butters are great choices.

It is important to have  protein with every meal so your body can function and grow the best it can. In general, meals and snacks should be balanced and contain all of the food groups, including protein. For example, you could have Greek yogurt with granola and fruit for breakfast, nuts for snack, a chicken sandwich for lunch, cheese with crackers for snack, and tofu stir-fried with vegetables and a brown rice for dinner. If you are not familiar with many vegetarian sources of protein, try some out to see which you like.

Additional Eco-Friendly Period Products

What if period cups or underwear don’t fit my lifestyle?

It’s OK if period cups and underwear don’t fit your budget or your lifestyle, they’re not for everyone. There are still several eco-friendly options available on the market.

You have options! Check out your local natural food store or larger supermarket chain, many will carry non-chlorine bleached all-cotton pads and tampons. It’s important to mention that these products may be a bit more expensive than regular pads and tampons. They are disposable, so they aren’t as environmentally friendly as reusable products, but they’re not made using chemicals. However, even 100% natural cotton can contain pesticides, so if you want to be sure that the product you’re buying has no chemicals, it’s best to choose a brand made with organic cotton.

I’m looking for a tampon that will last longer like the cup or the underwear, do they exist?

Yes, Sea sponge tampons are a natural alternative to synthetic tampons that come in different sizes to absorb varying amounts of menstrual flow. On average they cost between $12-20 dollars (for a package of 2). These are not the same sponges that you might buy in a grocery store to wash dishes with. Sea sponges are actually harvested from the ocean floor and contain no synthetic materials. After harvesting them, they’re naturally bleached with hydrogen peroxide however, they’re not sterile. One sea sponge will last about 6 months, but some may not last as long. A menstrual sea sponge should be thrown away and replaced if you notice that it rips apart while you’re inserting or removing it from your vagina. You should follow the instructions that come with the product. Before using a sea sponge tampon, you’ll have to dampen it, squeeze it tightly in your hand, and then gently insert it into your vagina. When the sponge is dry it’s surprisingly hard, but once dampened it softens up immediately. Once in place, it works like a tampon to absorb menstrual flow.

A sea sponge needs to be rinsed out about every 3 hours and thoroughly cleaned, dried, and properly stored at the end of each menstrual cycle. Care must be taken to remove the sea sponge to avoid tearing it. Check the manufacturer’s website for instructions on how to disinfect your sponge. As with tampons, it is possible to get toxic shock syndrome from sea sponges.

What if I am not comfortable inserting anything into my vagina?

A great solution for you may be reusable, washable, cloth pads. They work just like regular disposable pads, but instead of throwing them away after use, you rinse them out, wash them, and use them again. Reusable pads usually come in two parts: a liner and a liner holder. The liner goes inside the holder, which has wings that snap around the crotch of your underwear to keep it in place. They come in different sizes and absorbencies and are usually less irritating because they are made of cotton, not plastic. Cloth pads are more expensive than disposables (when you first buy them) but they will save you money over time because they last for years. You change reusable pads as often as you would change disposable pads, except with reusable pads you hand or machine-wash them instead of throwing them away. Girls with sensitive skin or allergies may prefer cloth pads made with organic cotton.

It’s important to remember, what you chose for your period product is completely up to you. If you have questions about which products might be best for you, speak with a trusted adult or your health care provider.

 

Period Underwear

Are there other period products available besides tampons and pads?

Yes. If you are looking for a reusable period , you may want to consider period underwear. Unlike tampons and pads that can only be worn once, most period underwear can be washed and used over and over again.

What is period underwear? 

Period underwear are a new eco-friendly period product that is both reusable and absorbable. The idea behind the underwear is similar to that of a pad, but one that is more comfortable. In the lining of the underwear, there are many thin layers of material, which traps blood, while preventing moisture from coming in contact with your skin and vagina. The amount of the blood the underwear can hold depends on the type you buy. Typically, period underwear absorbs a light to moderate flow (or as much as 1-2 tampons); however, it all depends on the type you choose and the amount of your flow. Period underwear looks exactly like a regular pair, and they are available in a variety of colors, patterns, and styles. One company has even designed a pair of period athletic shorts.  Many people are swapping out their one-time use pad or tampon for a pair of stylish period underwear for the convenience and the fact they are reusable.

Can I wear a tampon or cup with period underwear?

Yes, you can absolutely wear a tampon or cup with them. Many people may wear the underwear for added protection from possible leakage.

Can I wear a pad on top of my period underwear?

Technically, you can wear a pad on top of your underwear; however, period underwear were designed to replace the use of a pad. The pad may also prevent the underwear from working properly to trap blood.

Will there be an odor (smell)?

Be sure to change and clean your period underwear at least every 12 hours or sooner. The longer you wear them, the more blood they collect, and the more likely there is going to be an odor. Many of the brands come with an antimicrobial layer to help minimize any odor. Changing them more regularly and wearing cotton/breathable clothing can help as well. It’s important to shower and clean your vulva (outside of vagina) at least once a day, especially during your period. Do not use feminine hygiene deodorants as they can cause irritation of the vulva.  It’s completely normal for periods to have a slight smell; however, it’s important to remember that if you have an unusual odor coming from your vagina that’s different for you, you should call your health care provider (HCP).

Can I wear period underwear while playing sports (i.e. running, swimming, dancing, etc.)?

Yes, there are several companies that have created period athletic shorts, swimwear, and leotards. When you are swimming you can either wear period underwear under a bathing suit or buy special period swimwear. If you choose to wear a period leotard for dance or gymnastics, remember to wear your tights over your leotard, so it works properly.

Can I wash my period underwear?

Washing instructions may vary depending on the brand of period underwear. Be sure to read the instructions before you wash them. However, most say it’s ok to wash them either separately or with other clothes in cold water, then hang dry.  There are also some brands that are disposable, so again be sure to read up!

What else do I need to know about period underwear?

You can buy period underwear online or at most department stores. Unfortunately, period underwear can be pricey. Each pair can cost between $10-$65 depending on the brand and style. Usually, the disposable underwear is the more affordable option, but that can defeat one of their benefits of being eco-friendly and reusable. However, investing in a couple of pair of reusable period underwear may end up being cheaper than buying 1-2 boxes of tampons or pads each month.

Period underwear can be used instead of pads or tampons. They cost more initially; however, they are reusable and may be more comfortable and cost less over time. Using period underwear during your period is a personal choice.

Period Cups

Are there other period products available besides tampons and pads?

Yes. If you are looking for a reusable period product, you may want to consider period cups. Unlike tampons and pads that can only be worn once, period cups can be washed and used over and over again.

What is a period cup?

A period cup is a small, soft, flexible cup made of silicone or rubber. It is placed inside a women’s vagina (close to the cervix) during her period. As blood leaves the uterus, it gets trapped inside the cup. Similar to tampons, there are different size cups that hold different amounts of blood, and there are also different brands and styles of period cups. Just like tampons, menstrual cups do not change your hymen or your “virginity.” If you have a small opening in your hymen, you may not be able to put the cup in and out easily. Some may be more comfortable than others.

  • Period cups should only be used to collect menstrual blood.
  • Menstrual cups will not change your virginity, nor will a tampon.
  • You should NEVER leave the cup in for longer than 12 hours.
  • Period cups are not a form of birth control. If you are sexually active, talk to your health care provider about the best birth control method for you. Barrier methods such as condoms greatly decrease the risk of sexually transmitted diseases.

How do I know which size period cup is right for me?

Period cup sizes vary by brands and can depend on several things, such as how much blood the cup can hold, and your cervix size (length of cervix). Talk with your health care provider (HCP) about which period cup is best for you. Some are more rigid (stiff) so they may be better when you plan on being very active, with sports, etc. In the beginning, it’s a good idea to buy a couple of different styles to find the right fit. Unfortunately, you cannot return them to the store if they do not fit because they are personal hygiene product.

How do I insert a period cup?

  1. Read and follow the instructions that come with your period cup.
  2. Before you insert the period cup, empty your bladder (pee) and wash your hands well. You may stand, squat, lay down, or sit at the edge of the toilet or chair.

Basic instructions

  1. Take the cup and fold it so that the top is small and compressed (fold it into a “C” shape or push the lid into the center of the cup).
  2. Once you have a good grip on the cup and you’re in a comfortable position, use the other hand to separate your labia (skin folds of your vagina) and slowly insert the opening side of the cup first (while keeping it ) into your vagina with your other hand. Try to keep the cup folded as long as you can while you insert it, so it doesn’t open until it’s all the way inside.
  3. When you can’t hold the folded cup any longer, let it unfold and open. Use your fingers to push the base of the cup so it moves into position. Be sure you don’t push the cup too far back so that you can still grab the base when it’s time to empty it.
  4. If your cup came with instructions to twist it to confirm placement, you should do this now. You’ll want to twist it one full rotation at the base.
  5. To make sure it’s inserted correctly, take a finger and circle the opening of your vagina. If you are able to get a finger passed the top of the cup, you need to make an adjustment (revisit step 3).
  6. You can also gently pull on the stem of the cup to confirm placement. If you feel a bit of resistance that means the suction is working and the cups in the right place!
  7. Never leave your period cup in your vagina for longer than 12 hours at a time.

 

How do I remove the period cup?

Removing the cup is easy. Simply follow the following instructions below:

  1. Begin by washing your hands well with soap and water.
  2. Removing the cup is easy, as long as you’re applying pressure and in the correct position. You can do this by squatting and bearing down like you’re having a bowel movement (pooping).
  3. While in the squatting position, pinch the bottom of the cup (to release suction) and pull downwards, making sure you continue to pinch the cups base to prevent any blood from spilling out.
  4. Once the cup is out, pour the blood into the toilet.
  5. Next, wash your cup well with soap and water, before reinserting it or storing it.
  6. Once you are completely finished, be sure to wash your hands again with soap and water.

How often do I have to empty my period cup?

In the beginning it will take a little while to figure out how often to remove and empty the cup. On your heavier flow days (usually Day 1 & 2), you may need to empty the cup more often. However, on your lighter flow days, you will likely need to empty it less often. Since everyone’s menstrual cycle is different, the length of time the cup can stay in, is determined by your flow. However: NEVER leave your period cup in your vagina for longer than 12 hours.

Can I leave the period cup in my vagina while I sleep?

As long as it’s not more than 12 hours it’s ok to wear while you sleep. However if you aren’t sure how long you sleep for, it’s better to be safe and use a pad or other period product.

How can I tell how much I am bleeding (when I’m using the period cup)?

Sometimes, your health care provider (HCP) may ask you how often you need to change your pad or tampon.  This helps your HCP figure out how much you are bleeding.  If you are using a period cup, simply tell your HCP the number of times you need to empty the cup and how full it is when you do. Some cups have measuring lines that makes measuring the amount easier.

Can I wash my period cup?

Yes. It’s super important to wash your period cup with soap and water before you use it for the first time and every time you empty it. Be sure to read the care instructions that come with your cup to make sure you’re cleaning it properly.

What are the tiny holes in the period cup for?

The tiny holes help keep the cup in place by using gentle suction If you clean the tiny holes properly it’s unlikely that your cup will leak, so be sure to clean the cup thoroughly.

Can I use someone else’s period cup?

No. It’s best to buy your own period cup and not share it with anyone. Although the cup is reusable, it is meant to be used by one person. Sharing the cup with others, could lead to the spread of infections.

Can I use a tampon with the period cup?

No. Tampons cannot be used with period cups; however, you can wear a panty liner if you are worried about leakage.

Can I make my own period cup?

No. Doctors do NOT recommend homemade period cups. Using household items as a period cup put you at risk for losing the item (inside your vagina) and/or developing an infection. DIY (do-it-yourself) or homemade period cups are NOT safe.

Where can I buy a period cup?

You can buy a period cup at most pharmacies and online. Here are some period cup brands:

  • MeLuna
  • Ruby Cup
  • DivaCup
  • OrganiCup 
The period cup can be used instead of pads or tampons. They are reusable and environmentally friendly. Using a period cup during your period is a personal choice. Remember to never leave your period cup in for longer than 12 hours at a time.

On most days, I have a really hard time concentrating and sitting still. I have been struggling with this for a long time and I am beginning to wonder if I have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Do you recommend that I see someone once COVID-19 calms down a bit?

Excellent question, thank you for asking. ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) may be more common than you think! According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 9.4% of all school age children have ADHD, but it can go undiagnosed until teen years or adulthood. It’s also common for ADHD to run in families, such as with a parent, but many may never know they have ADHD. There are three different types of ADHD and symptoms may span from mild to severe.

  1. “Inattentive Type” – People who have a hard time concentrating or focusing on a task.
  2. “Hyperactive/Impulsive Type”- People who feel restless and sometimes do things without fully thinking through what they are about to do.
  3. “Combined Type” – People who have trouble with both concentration and restlessness.

ADHD (by itself) isn’t considered a learning disability, but it’s very common for kids who do have a learning disability to also have ADHD.  Talk to your school counselors, because students can often receive extra help under what is called the Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). It’s important to share your concerns about ADHD with your healthcare provider (HCP) because they can help determine if the symptoms you are experiencing are related to ADHD or perhaps depression/anxiety or a thyroid problems. Your health care provider may suggest getting more records from your teachers, special screening tests, or formal neuropsychological (neuropsych) test.  If you have ADHD,  your HCP can prescribe you medications and other strategies to help manage your symptoms. It’s very important that you consult your HCP before ever starting any medications.

 

Rideshare Safety

What is rideshare?

Rideshares such as Uber and Lyft are similar to taxi services. The difference is, rideshare drivers use their own cars. These services can be requested at any time day or night through an app on your phone. The cost for rideshare may be less than a taxi and easier to use. However, it’s important to know the risks of using rideshare and how to stay safe while riding.

Are there age restrictions?

Yes. Rideshare services do not allow riders under the age of 18 years old to create user accounts without adult supervision. This means, if the rider is under the age of 18 years old they must have someone 18 years or older riding with them.

What are some ways I can stay safe?

  • Choose a safe place to wait for your ride. If possible, wait inside. If you must wait outside, chose an area that is well lit and heavily traveled.
  • Check the ratings. Rideshare services have a rating system where riders can rate their drivers and leave comments. Be sure to read the reviews before you ride.
  • Do a double check. All rideshare apps will send you: a description or photo of the driver, and make/model and license plate of the driver’s car. If the information doesn’t match perfectly, decline the ride and do not get in the car. Let the rideshare service know that the information they provided did not match the vehicle/driver that showed up.
  • Do a triple check. After you complete your double check, ask the driver who they are picking up. Just like you have their name, they have yours too. Make sure it matches.
  • Check the locks. When you open the door to get into the ride share, glance down at the door frame for a child lock, and make sure this is switched off so you can get out of the car in the event of an emergency.
  • Chose the safest seat. If you’re riding alone, sit behind the passenger seat. This allows you to keep your eyes on the driver as well as the road.
  • Buckle up. Wear your seatbelt just as you would if you were in your own car.
  • Tell a friend. Share your ride information with a trusted friend or family member so they can track your location as you ride.
  • Don’t over share. It’s totally fine to chat a bit with your driver, but you shouldn’t share personal information for safety reasons.
  • 911 button- Both Uber and Lyft users have a panic button that will come up once their ride begins. For Uber the button is located in tab labeled “Safety Toolkit.” Lyft emergency button is located under the tab “Emergency Assistance.” Under both apps will display the make/model of the car, your location, and connect you with emergency services.
  • Listen to your gut. If something doesn’t seem right, it most likely is not. For example, if you sense that your driver may have been drinking, don’t accept the ride! Call the Rideshare service and report what you observed.

It’s important to keep in mind that the safety regulations for rideshares here in the U.S. might be different or nonexistent in other countries. So pay attention and stay alert by following the safety tips listed above to make sure you ride safe.

Nosebleeds

Nosebleeds are very common. In fact, 60% of  people living in the United States will have at least one nosebleed at some point during their life. Although it might seem scary while it’s happening, a nosebleed isn’t usually dangerous. Read on for more information about why a nosebleed happens, how to treat it, and ways to prevent it.

What is a nosebleed?

A nosebleed (also called “epistaxis”) is exactly what it sounds like – bleeding from the nose. The most common type of nosebleed is called an anterior nosebleed, which means that the blood is coming from the front of the nose. An anterior nosebleed occurs when tiny blood vessels inside your nose break and bleed.

Another type of nosebleed is called a posterior nosebleed, which means that the blood is coming from the back of the nose. The blood from this type of nosebleed will go down a person’s throat instead of out of the nostrils. Posterior nosebleeds are much more common in adults or in someone who experiences an injury to the nose or face. It’s more likely that you would need to see a health care provider for this type of nosebleed.

What causes a nosebleed?

There are many things that may cause a nosebleed (such as an injury to your nose), but the most common causes are dry air, allergies, colds, sinusitis, some types of nose drops, and nose picking.

When the air around you is dry (either from low humidity or heated indoor air) the membranes inside your nose can become very dry. This can cause an itchy crust to develop, and if you scratch or pick at it, it can cause bleeding. Your nasal membranes can also become irritated from allergies, colds, or sinusitis. Blowing your nose over and over again can cause bleeding as well.

What do I do if my nose is bleeding?

If your nose is bleeding, try your best to stay calm, and follow these steps:

  • Get something to catch the blood, such as tissues, paper towel, or a damp cloth.
  • Make sure to sit up (lying down can cause the blood to drip down the throat) and lean forward. Sitting up with your body tilted forward lowers the pressure in your nose and helps prevent you from swallowing blood, which can bother your stomach.
  • Gently blow your nose to get rid of clots, and then pinch your nostrils shut with your thumb and index finger. Breathe through your mouth. Do this for 5 minutes (10-15 minutes for adults). If your nose is still bleeding after 5 minutes, keep holding this position for another 10 minutes.

After your nosebleed has stopped, don’t do anything that would cause you to strain. Make sure that you don’t blow or pick your nose for about 24 hours.

What happens if my nose doesn’t stop bleeding?

Most nosebleeds will stop either on their own or by following the steps above.

You should get emergency care if:

  • The bleeding doesn’t stop after 20 minutes
  • Your nose is bleeding after an injury (such as a car accident)
  • You’re having trouble breathing

What if I get nosebleeds a lot?

If you have frequent nosebleeds such as more than once a week, talk with your health care provider. He or she will ask you if other members of your family have a lot of nosebleeds or a bleeding problem and may want you to have a blood test to check for anemia and clotting problems. Treatment depends on the cause (injury, allergies, infections, clotting problems etc.).

Is there anything I can do to prevent a nosebleed?

Yes. Things you can do to help prevent nosebleeds include the following:

  • If you have a cold or allergies, or whenever you need to blow your nose, make sure you do it gently.
  • Avoid picking your nose, even if it itches.
  • Wear the proper protective sports equipment when playing sports to avoid a nose injury.
  • Use a humidifier in your room to help keep the air moist in the winter.

 

Ringworm

Ringworm is a common infection that causes an uncomfortable rash. Although the name “ringworm” might make you think that it’s caused by a worm, this isn’t true. Read on to learn what really causes ringworm, what you can do to treat it, and how to prevent getting it.

What is ringworm?

Ringworm is an infection caused by many types of fungus, also called “Tinea”.

The terms for these infections are named for the part of the body they infect, but more than one type of tinea can be responsible for the four locations:

  • Tinea pedis: infection in the feet; you might know this as “athlete’s foot”
  • Tinea capitis: infection in the head or scalp
  • Tinea cruris: infection in the groin or inner thighs, also called “jock itch”
  • Tinea corporis: infection in any other part of the body

What are the symptoms of ringworm?

Symptoms of a ringworm infection depend on the part of the body infected, and include:

  • Itchy and painful rash (tinea cruris)
  • Itchy, red, cracked skin with blisters (tinea pedis)
  • Itchy, red skin, and bald patches on the head (tinea capitis)
  • Small red spots that grow into large rings, and may also itch (tinea corporis)

The fungus tinea spreads out in a circle as it grows, but it leaves normal looking skin in the middle – this is where the “ring” part of “ringworm” gets its name. The “worm” part of “ringworm” gets its name because a little bit of irritated skin is raised up at the edge of the ring, and sometimes it looks like there’s a worm underneath the skin. Don’t worry though, there isn’t actually a worm there.

How does someone get ringworm?

Ringworm is very contagious, and spreads very easily between people.

You can become infected by:

  • Touching another person who has the infection
  • Touching an animal that carries the fungus (it’s common in cats)
  • Touching an object or surface that has the fungus on it, such as a shower or a pool

How is ringworm diagnosed?

Most of the time, your health care provider will be able to diagnose ringworm just by looking at your skin.

Is there treatment for ringworm?

Yes. Treatment for ringworm includes things that you can do at home, and/or medicine prescribed by your health care provider.

Here’s what you can do if you have ringworm:

  • Make sure to keep your skin clean and dry
  • Use clean bed sheets and wear clean clothing
  • Wear clothes that don’t rub against the infected area

Your health care provider (HCP) will likely tell you to use an over-the-counter topical anti-fungal medication such as clotrimazole or terbinafine cream which you will put on the affected area for several weeks. If you have a very bad case of ringworm, your HCP may prescribe an anti-fungal pill.

What can I do to prevent ringworm?

Here are some helpful tips that you can use to prevent getting ringworm:

  • Keep your body clean and dry; make sure to dry yourself thoroughly after a shower or bath.
  • If you play a sport that involves skin-to-skin contact, make sure to wash off with soap and shampoo afterwards. Make sure to dry your skin, especially the area between your toes.
  • Don’t share sports equipment, clothing, or towels.
  • If you’re in a public place such as a pool, gym, locker room, or shower, make sure to wear flip-flops, rubber sandals or shower shoes.
If you’re concerned that you might have ringworm, here’s a tip on how to bring it up with your provider: “I have an itchy rash on my skin and it looks like there are circles – how can I get rid of it?”

I’ll still be able to go to the doctor’s office for my annual physical this summer, right? I know that we should be wearing masks and avoiding in-person interaction because of the pandemic, but that makes going to the doctor more important, right?

Thanks for your question. Annual physicals (or routine check-ups) with your health care provider are still important. These visits are helpful to make sure you are healthy and to get any needed vaccines. If you have any chronic medical problems, these visits can also be helpful to make sure your treatment plan (such as medicines) is still okay, and your health care provider can make any changes as needed.
Clinics are taking lots of step to protect patients and make sure to keep you healthy. To make sure you are prepared, we recommend you call your health care provider before your appointment.
Here’s a tip on how to bring it up: “Could I please schedule an appointment for my annual physical? Is there anything I need to do before my visit?”​

I’ve had a red rash half way down my breasts. It’s not itchy but sometimes I get little spots on my breast too. Is this normal?

Thank you for your question. A rash is a tricky thing to diagnose (find the cause) because there can be many different reasons why it’s occurring. Talk to your health care provider and ask about seeing them in person or with a photograph or “virtual visit” during these COVID times.

Here are a few reasons why you may have developed a rash: irritation from a bra because it is too tight or the fabric or lace is scratchy, or allergies to the chemicals used to make the bra, or to the detergent or fabric softener you are using.  Sometimes, stretch marks initially look like red spokes on a wheel.  If your breasts have grown a lot in the past year, this might be a cause.  For starters, take a look at your bra, does it fit correctly? An ill-fitting bra (one that doesn’t fit right) can cause a lot of different problems such as back pain, shoulder indents (from your straps), pain with exercise, bruising, red marks, and rashes either under or on the side of your breasts. An easy way to make sure your bra fits correctly is by getting measured. Most major department stores have sales associates who are specially trained in taking measurements. This will help choose the right bra.

Another thing to keep in mind is the temperature is beginning to rise as we begin to enter summer.  In the summer months, our bodies produce more sweat, which escapes through our glands. Many people get a heat rash. A great way to prevent a heat rash is by wearing moisture wicking materials, usually used in sports bras and athletic wear. Also use a sunscreen that is water-proof or sports-proof.

Again, remember only your health care provider (HCP) can diagnose and treat your rash. It’s important that you talk to your HCP and get it checked out.

I’ve been on the combined pill for years to control my period. If I am thinking about having sex, but I don’t want to get pregnant, how accurate would I have to be when taking the pill and for how long before having sex?

birth control pills

Great question, thank you! The combined pill contains two active hormones: estrogen and progestin (a hormone that is similar to progesterone). Just like with any birth control pill, whether you are taking it to regulate your period or to help protect from pregnancy, the pill is most effective when taken at the same exact time, every single day. Most combined birth control pill packs contain 28 pills, three weeks of active hormones and one week of inactive pills or “reminder pills.” Some girls may be prescribed the combined pill, but they skip the inactive pills each month and start a fresh pack of active hormones every 21 days. This is called continuous birth control. Whether you use the inactive pills or not, the pill works best is it is taken at the same time every single day. If you miss taking the pill by even an hour or so, you run the risk for break through bleeding. Choosing a good time during the day to take the pill can be challenging, especially with a busy schedule. Here are some helpful tips to stay on top of your pill: set a reminder on your phone, place your pill packets in the same spot each day, or plan to take your pill with doing a daily activity such as brushing your teeth. If you find that you continue to miss the pill despite setting reminders, etc., you may want to talk to your doctor about other methods of birth control. It’s also important to also use condoms when having sex since the pill won’t protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

How safe is it to shave pubic hair?

Many people shave or groom their pubic hair for personal reasons, including ideas about attractiveness, comfort, and what a sexual partner may desire. It is important to know that there are no medical benefits to removing pubic hair, and the decision to do it is personal.

Here are some risks associated with shaving pubic hair:

  • Genital itching or burning
  • Injuries including cuts or scrapes
  • Rashes including “razor burn” or reactions to shaving products
  • Bumps including ingrown hairs or folliculitis (infection of a hair follicle)
  • Skin infections or abscesses

There are also studies that show removing pubic hair might increase your risk of getting or exposing a partner to sexually transmitted infections. This could be because of cuts (sometimes even too small to see) or skin irritation caused by hair removal, especially shaving. Make sure to avoid sexual contact if you have open cuts, and don’t share razors with friends or sexual partners.

If you decide to shave your pubic hair, there are some things you can do to lower your risk:

  • Trim longer hairs before shaving
  • Apply warm water to skin before shaving
  • Lather skin with shaving cream or gel before shaving
  • Always use a clean razor blade
  • Shave lightly in the direction that the hair grows. Limit the amount of times you shave over each area (not more than 2 times).
  • Stretch skin slightly while shaving to avoid cuts. Be careful not to pull too tightly because this can cause ingrown hairs.
  • After shaving, wash skin with soap and water. Lightly pat skin dry after washing and apply moisturizer.

If you have questions about pubic hair removal, be sure to talk to your health care provider or read this health guide to learn more about it.