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Puberty is the process of physical changes through which a child’s body matures into an adult body capable of sexual reproduction. Puberty is initiated by hormone signals from the brain to the gonads (sex glands), that is the ovaries in a girl, and the testes in boys.

During puberty, the body produces a hormone that increases the production of sebum (an oily substance produced by glands under the skin). This oily substance helps to protect the skin but it may also cause acne naturally.

However, certain food that contains high fat or oil can increase the production of this sebum, thus increasing the chances for acne. Avoiding these oily or fatty foods may help improve symptoms of acne and help prevent breakouts.

Please speak to your doctor if you are worried about your acne.

Acne is not caused by neglecting to wash your face. There are other factors, like changing hormones and bacteria that cause this skin condition. That said, regular cleansing is an important step in your acne treatment routine.

Acne treatment may take longer than other conditions. Your body naturally heals most acne within four to six weeks. Acne medications work by reducing oil production and swelling or by treating bacterial infections. Sometimes it can take many months or years for your acne to clear up completely.

There is no sure way to prevent acne. But these tips might help reduce the number and severity of your breakouts:

Washing your skin (face) is the most important thing you can do. It helps remove excess surface oils and dead skin cells that can clog your skin pores. But do not wash too much to irritate your skin.

Cleanse daily with a mild cleanser.

Exfoliate regularly (twice a week will be just fine for most people) to help reduce the number of dead skin cells.

You do not have to stop wearing makeup altogether, but you might try switching brands or going with a different type. If you are noticing breakouts along the sides of your temples, hair creams or gels might be exacerbating your acne.

The key is to select cosmetics that don’t cause acne (for example those with the label “non-comedogenic,” meaning that they do not clog pores) and establish a skincare routine that works for your skin type.

Some girls may begin to develop breast “buds” from 8 years. Breasts come in endless shapes, sizes, and colors. There is no way to predict how big or small your breasts will be, and there is no way to know how long it will take your breasts to fully develop. On average, it takes about 4-5 years for your breasts to fully develop into their adult size. A woman’s breast size is in her DNA - that means she is born with a predetermined size.

It is a normal, natural thing. Especially because, at puberty, girls are emerging into beautiful young ladies. Attention is a good thing but it must be controlled and responsible. Girls must also learn to manage their response to attention and be careful about how they handle it.

During puberty, the human body begins producing more hormones that cause several changes in the body including the growth of hair at the armpits. The hormonal changes in addition to the armpit hair contribute to heat, temperature regulation, and sweating. Shaving the armpit hair can help reduce sweating.

Not every man is able to grow beard or facial hair. The most common reason some men can’t grow beards or facial hair is genetic.

Experiencing a release of sperm while you sleep (sometimes called a wet dream) is completely normal. A wet dream happens when a guy becomes sexually aroused while he is asleep and releases semen. Wet dreams are not something to be embarrassed about; they are natural and happen to most guys at some point during puberty, and even sometimes as adults. Wet dreams usually happens less as guys get older.

A virgin is someone who has never had sex.  The only way to know for sure if someone is a virgin is to ask him or her. Not even an examination by a doctor can confirm if someone has had sex.

Many people believe that a woman’s hymen is an indicator of whether she has had sex or not.  The hymen is a thin membrane of skin that surrounds or partially covers the opening to the vagina. During sexual intercourse the hymen can sometimes break and tear, causing some pain and light bleeding, but many girls don't have this happen at all. The hymen can also break through other means such as vigorous sports like bike riding or gymnastics, using tampons, or just growth and development of her body.

Yes, a girl can become pregnant the first time she has unprotected sex. Anytime a girl has unprotected vaginal sex with a guy, she is at risk of becoming pregnant. Even if a guy ejaculates outside of but near a girl's vagina or pulls out before he comes, a girl can get pregnant.

It's also possible to get a sexually transmitted infection (STI) anytime you have unprotected sex, including the first time. Actually, whenever people have any kind of sexual contact (oral, anal, or vaginal) they run the risk of getting an STI.

The use of condoms can protect against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Learn more about Condoms & Contraceptives!

The decision to be in a relationship is one that only you can make - regardless of the pressure you may receive from your friends.  It is not necessary to have a boyfriend regardless of what age you are.

The following questions may help you think about whether a guy is good and responsible:

  1. Is he respectful of his friend and family? He should be!
  2. Does he care about you as much as you care for him?
  3. Can he take care of himself and pay his own bills? He should be able to.
  4. Does he have life goals and aspirations that you admire?
  5. Are his habits healthy and legal?

Overall, it really helps if your lifestyle is compatible with his.


Menstruation is caused by changes in hormones (estrogen and progesterone) in the body. These hormones cause the lining of the uterus (womb) to build up. The built-up lining is ready for a fertilized egg to attach and start developing. If there is no fertilized egg, the lining breaks, and bleeds. This same process happens all over again after every 28 or 30 days.

Ovulation is the process by which an ovary releases an egg, and typically occurs two weeks before a woman’s next period would take place (in a 28-day cycle). If the egg is not fertilized, it is shed off by the body as menstrual blood due to the withdrawal of the hormones that otherwise, if present, could sustain the egg.

To learn more, visit our Menstruation & Ovulation page.

Occasionally having irregular periods is fairly common. In general, women will menstruate (or get their period) every 28 days or 30 days on average, but it is also normal to see your period every 21-35 days. In adolescents, menstruation can be pretty unpredictable and may not come every month. But as you get older, your period tends to become more regular and easier to predict, whether it comes every 21 days, every 28 days, or every 35 days. But if someone often has very long or short menstrual cycles, or cycles that change from month to month, or even missed periods (no period for the month), this can stem from an underlying health issue.

Doctors consider a person to have irregular periods if their cycle is longer than 38 days, or if the length of each cycle varies by more than 7-9 days.

Some potential causes of irregular periods include pregnancy, use of contraceptives, breastfeeding, stress, polycystic ovarian syndrome, thyroid conditions, uterine fibroid, endometriosis, some medications, cervical cancer,

Track your period using a diary, a calendar, or a period tracking app to help you note any irregularities or changes in pattern.

If you think you may be pregnant or are worried about changes in your menstrual cycle, find a health center and talk with a healthcare provider.

Yes, a girl can get pregnant as soon as her period starts. A girl can even get pregnant right before her very first period. This is because a girl’s hormones might already be active. The hormones may have led to ovulation and the building of the uterine wall. If a girl has unprotected sex, she can get pregnant, even though she has never had a period.

You may have many choices about how to deal with period blood. You may need to experiment a bit to find which works best for you. Some girls use only one method and others switch between different methods.

Most girls use pads (reusable or disposable) when they first get their period. Pads are made in different ways and come in lots of different sizes and shapes.

Many girls find tampons more convenient than pads, especially when playing sports or swimming. A tampon is a cotton plug that a girl puts into her vagina. Most tampons come with applicators that guide the tampon into place. The tampon absorbs the blood. Don’t leave a tampon in for more than 8 hours because this can increase your risk of infection.

Some girls prefer a menstrual cup. Most menstrual cups are made of silicone. To use a menstrual cup, a girl inserts it into her vagina. It holds the blood until she empties it.

It may look like a lot of blood, but a girl usually only loses a few tablespoons of blood during the whole period. Most girls need to change their pad, tampon, or menstrual cup about 3 – 6 times a day.

When women reach menopause (around age 45 – 55), their periods will permanently stop. Women also won’t have periods while they are pregnant.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is when a girl has emotional and physical symptoms that happen before or during her period. These symptoms can include moodiness, sadness, anxiety, bloating, and acne. The symptoms go away the first few days of a period.

During menstruation your uterus contracts — cramps up — to help the uterine lining detach and drop from the uterus. Most women have menstrual cramps at some point during their lives. Menstrual cramps can be dull or throbbing pains in your lower abdomen, back, or stomach area.

If your cramps are too uncomfortable, you can speak to a healthcare provider who can provide some solutions. Learn more about how to manage pain here

If cramps bother you, you can try: a warm heating pad on your belly or take a pain reliever. You can also speak to your doctor about your cramps.

It is okay to have sex during a woman’s menstruation. There is nothing dirty or unclean about menstruation. The menstrual fluid itself is not infectious, and it does not cause disease or sickness. You should make sure to discuss having sex during menstruation with your partner to make sure you are both comfortable with it. Also, remember that you can get pregnant or be exposed to STIs/HIV any time you have unprotected sex - even during menstruation.

Learn more about Condoms & Contraceptives and how they can help protect you from pregnancy and STIs/HIV.


Pregnancy happens when a sperm fertilizes an egg, which can happen even if you have not had penetrative sexual intercourse.

During vaginal penetrative sex (where the penis enters the vagina) semen can be ejaculated. The semen enters the female body through the vagina, then travels through the cervix and womb to the fallopian tubes, where the egg is usually fertilized (conception). The egg can be fertilized by sperm contained in semen or pre-ejaculate.

Semen is the liquid produced during ejaculation and contains millions of sperm.

The ovaries release 1 or more eggs (ovulation) between 12 – 16 days before a period starts.

There is no truth in this statement; Childbirth has nothing to do with sexual debut before the age of 25 years.

You may feel your body making changes quickly or you may not notice any symptoms at all. The symptoms of early pregnancy can include a missed period, an increased need to urinate, swollen and tender breasts, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and morning sickness. Speak to a healthcare provider if you suspect you are pregnant.

If you think you could be pregnant, you can take a pregnancy test in order to know for certain. Pregnancy tests can be conducted at home with a test strip that is purchased at a pharmacy or done at a health center. If you take a pregnancy test at home and it is positive (indicating that you are pregnant) you should make an appointment at a health center in order to confirm your pregnancy.

Speak to a healthcare provider who can check your health and answer all your questions.

No. Pregnancy is caused by sexual intercourse, not touching.

Learn more by visiting our Myths and Questions about Sex page or learn about How to Get Pregnant.

The symptoms of early pregnancy can include a missed period, an increased need to urinate, swollen and tender breasts, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and morning sickness. Not every woman will have these symptoms, in fact, some may not even be aware of the new changes in their bodies until later but it is expected that women should notice at least one of these signs and symptoms at the early stage of pregnancy.

To learn more about these symptoms visit our How to Get Pregnant. The surest way to be certain is to take a simple pregnancy test at a health center.

Yes. Even though the chances are low, it’s quite possible. Any sexual activity that introduces sperm into or around the vagina could result in pregnancy. Pregnancy can occur when the sperm makes its way to the egg, leading to the fertilization of an egg.

If you want to avoid getting pregnant, you should use contraception


There is no evidence to show that contraceptives cause infertility. Some contraceptive methods may cause a delay in return to fertility, however, none has been proven to cause infertility.

Speak to your healthcare provider about your fertility concerns before taking up a contraceptive method.

Contraceptives have a range of benefits other than their primary purpose of preventing prevention. Contraceptives reduce pregnancy-related morbidity and mortality, reduce the risk of developing certain reproductive cancers, and can be used to treat many menstrual-related symptoms and disorders.

The most common side effects of contraceptives are spotting or bleeding between periods (this is more common with progestin-only pills), sore breasts, nausea, or headaches. But these usually go away after 2 or 3 months, and they don’t happen to everyone who takes the pill. Contraceptives should not make you feel sick or uncomfortable.

If you forgot to take one of your pills, you should take it as soon as you remember. Take your next pill at the normal time. This may mean that you will take two pills on the same day. Continue taking your pills as prescribed. If you miss more than two pills, you should use a backup method of birth control (like condoms and spermicide) for seven days in a row. If you did not take a pill for over 48 hours, you are not protected against pregnancy again until you take a pill every day for 7 days in a row.

Incorrect use of contraceptive pills is a major reason for unintended pregnancies. Contraceptive pills work best if taken according to schedule and at the same time each day.  If you miss one or more pills, you increase your chances of releasing an egg that could be fertilized and lead to pregnancy.

Speak to your healthcare provider for detailed information.

Emergency contraception refers to methods of contraception that can be used to prevent pregnancy after sexual intercourse. These are recommended for use within 5 days but are more effective the sooner they are used after the act of intercourse.

Most women and girls can use emergency contraception pills. This includes girls or women who can’t use hormonal contraception, such as the combined pill and contraceptive patch. Girls under 16 years old can also use it.

Emergency contraception can be used in a number of situations following sexual intercourse. These include:

When no contraception was used before intercourse

Sexual assault when the woman was not protected by an effective contraceptive method.

When there are concerns of possible contraception failure, from improper or incorrect use, such as – condom breakage, missed pills, missed injectable, failed withdrawal, the expulsion of an Intrauterine device, etc.

No, using emergency contraceptive pills (also called "morning-after pills" or "day after pills") prevents pregnancy after unprotected sex. It does not cause an abortion. In fact, because emergency contraception helps women avoid getting pregnant when they are not ready or able to have children, it can reduce the need for abortion. Emergency contraceptive pills work before pregnancy begins. Emergency contraception will not work if a woman is already pregnant.

Emergency contraceptives are very effective and can prevent pregnancy up to about 98%. Ideally, emergency contraceptives should be taken as early as possible after unprotected intercourse, within 120 hours. Emergency contraceptives are more effective between 72 -120 hours after unprotected intercourse.

Emergency contraceptives are safe just like other methods of modern contraceptives.

Side effects from emergency contraceptives are similar to those of oral contraceptives, such as nausea and vomiting, slight irregular vaginal bleeding, and tiredness. Side effects are usually not common, and if they occur, they are mild, and normally resolve without further medication.

Drugs used for emergency contraceptives do not harm future fertility. There is no delay in return to fertility after taking an emergency contraceptive.

Emergency Contraceptives should not replace regular contraceptives. It should be used in cases of emergency.

As soon as possible for people of reproductive age or any sexually active female or male. The best time to start taking contraceptives for a female is on the first day of her menstrual period.

Learn more about all the methods of birth control available to you by visiting our Condoms and Contraceptives page or by speaking to our trained service provider.

No. There are no scientific evidence contraceptives (birth control) cause infertility or damage to the womb or other reproductive organs. People have used different types of contraceptive methods for thousands of years. Today, we have many safe and effective methods available to us.

learn more by visiting our Condoms and Contraceptives page!

Single or Married, Divorced or widowed, anyone can use contraceptives safely. Learn more about the Contraceptive methods available to you.

Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) have side effects which may include irregular bleeding, lighter or shorter periods, no periods, skin blemishes etc.

Learn more about side effects here… or speak to our trained service provider

Breastfeeding as a method of prevention of pregnancy is called Lactational Amenorrhea (LAM). When done correctly, by feeding the baby with only breast milk for the first 6 months of life, breastfeeding can be as effective as hormonal contraceptives.

However, breastfeeding won’t prevent pregnancy if you feed your baby anything other than breast milk. It also doesn’t work if you use a breast pump. You need to nurse your baby if you want your breastfeeding to prevent pregnancy. It is important to remember that breastfeeding can only be used as birth control for the first 6 months of your baby’s life, or until your period returns.

Withdrawal method (also known as coitus interruptus or pull out method) is a form of birth control. However; it is not as effective as other methods of birth control.

Sterilization is a permanent form of birth control effective at preventing pregnancy; Tubal ligation for women and vasectomy for men.


STIs often have no signs or symptoms, which means that you can feel healthy and have no tell-tale signs but still be infected. Even with no symptoms, however, you can pass the infection to your sex partners. So it's important to use protection, such as a condom, during sex.

Some common symptoms of STDs can include Sores or wounds, rashes, bumps or raised skin/lesions or blisters on the mouth or genital; feeling of hotness or painful urination or pain in your vagina/penis; swollen penis, scrotum/testicles, vagina area or mouth; unusual discharge, serious itching or bad smell from the vagina; pain in your lower stomach area; bleeding or pain during or after sex.

To learn more, visit Do I have an STI?

If you have sex – oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse and genital touching, you can get an STI. Regardless of your marital status or sexual orientation, you are vulnerable to STIs and therefore you may need testing. Many STIs do not show any symptoms 9especially in females), so you have to be really careful if you do not want to catch and/or transmit them.

Find a Health Centre where you can get an STI test.

HIV can be transmitted by the exchange of body fluid between an HIV-infected person to another person. These body fluids are blood, semen, vaginal fluid, and breast milk. HIV can be spread by having unprotected sex with someone who is HIV positive; passed from mother to child during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding; and receiving blood transfusions that are contaminated with HIV.

Learn more about HIV/AIDS

HIV does not show on the face and most times there are no visible symptoms. It is impossible to know if someone is infected with HIV by merely looking at him or her. The only way to tell if a person has HIV is through an HIV antibody test, which detects the presence of antibodies produced by the body in response to the HIV virus. HIV tests are available at Health Centers, and you can learn more by visiting our HIV/AIDS page.

Yes. Anytime someone is raped without a condom, it is possible for them to contract or transmit sexually transmitted diseases. If you are worried that you may have a disease as a result of rape or otherwise, visiting a healthcare provider is a good first step toward diagnosis and/or treatment.

Currently, there is no cure for herpes but there are treatments that can reduce the severity of the symptoms and lower the chances of passing the infection to others.

Please speak to your doctor for more information.

There are other means of contracting HIV apart from sexual intercourse which include infected blood or blood products, infected mother to child among others

It is quite unlikely to contract STIs from a public toilet because many disease-causing organisms can only survive on the surface of the toilet seat for a short period of time, and bacterial STIs cannot survive outside the body’s mucous membrane.


Masturbation is not dangerous! Masturbation, or self-stimulation of the genitals for pleasure, is not a dangerous or bad activity for men or women. It is quite normal. It cannot cause any health problems-- even though many myths warn of dangers. Masturbation does not cause fertility changes in men or women, such as decreased sperm or egg counts.

There is no numerical safety limit to how many times a day one can or should masturbate. The only time a person should be concerned is if his or her masturbation is so frequent that it significantly interferes with other aspects of the individual's life. For example, if a young man stops socializing because all he wants to do is masturbate, he may become socially withdrawn which creates problems. Otherwise, pleasuring oneself is safe.

Self-pleasuring is a form of sexual expression. Masturbation is a type of sex. It is safe sex since you cannot become pregnant or contract a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) while masturbating.

It is perfectly healthy and safe to masturbate. There is no chance of getting pregnant or contracting a Sexually Transmitted Disease from masturbation. And do not worry, masturbation cannot make you blind, crazy, or stupid. It cannot damage your body or stunt your growth. In fact, masturbation can actually be good for you - it can help you to relax, reduce stress, and learn what feels good for your body.

A potential risk of masturbation is slight skin irritation, but using lubrication will keep that from happening. Read more about masturbation.

It is perfectly sensible and natural to ask yourself that question. Sex has a lot to do with trust and responsibility, so being open with your partner about sex is very essential. Above all, remember that you--and only you--get to decide when you are ready to have sex. No one who truly cares about you should pressure you to do something that you are not comfortable with.

If you decide you are ready, be sure to be crystal clear with your partner about how you are going to protect yourselves against sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy that you do not want or that you are not prepared for.

Learn how to prevent or delay pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases using Condoms & Contraceptives.

The urge is normal. However, you have control over your urges and you should exercise it. Sex comes with responsibilities and you want to be sure you are ready for those responsibilities. Consider the dangers of teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and sexually transmitted diseases. Sex may also affect or change the academic pursuit of the girl you think you love and might distort yours too.

If you eventually choose to have sex, know your safe sex/family planning options and choose the most suitable one for yourself and guide your partner to do the same. You can learn all about the methods of contraceptives that are available by visiting our Condoms & Contraceptives page.

Finally, you can always talk to a healthcare provider.

Romantic or sexual relationships are one way to connect and share with other people. And romantic or sexual relationships often play an important role in our overall health and well-being.

However, Sex is never compulsory and should always be a conversation between both people. No one that truly respects you will pressure you to do something you are not comfortable with.

Love is quite possible between teenagers and some are lucky to even marry their teenage love interests. However, not all teenage relationships end up in marriage. Teenagers may need to allow themselves to grow and mature before they fall in love so they can be sure about what they really want in a relationship and that what they feel is actually love.  Learn more about healthy relationships.

Many people believe that long-distance relationships are too difficult to last. And while they can be difficult, and at times lonely, they can be filled with love and commitment. Some things to keep in mind to get you through the tough times include: Set some ground rules so that both of you know what to expect; Communicate regularly and creatively: maybe one week you only text each other, then the next week you only communicate via phone; enjoy your time alone with your friends and family, and always remember that challenges can bring couples together and strengthen their bond.

Many factors are involved. Environmental factors, financial factors, taste, interest, maturity, experience, level of education, and so on. People should not be judged for the choices that they make. Some girls may even be forced to make such choices. The important thing is to try to understand them and respect their decisions.

Single or Married, Divorced or widowed, anyone can use contraceptives safely. Learn more about the Contraceptive methods available to you.


No. Gender-based violence affects both men and women. However, is largely perpetrated against women, girls, and gender minorities. It is largely due to the subordinate status or particular vulnerability in a society of groups of women, gender minorities, and sometimes men.

Violence against women is a part of Gender-based violence. Violence against women and girls is defined as any act of gender-based violence that results in or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women and girls, including threats of such acts, coercion, or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life. Violence against women and girls encompasses, but is not limited to, physical, sexual, and psychological violence occurring in the family or within the general community, and perpetrated or condoned by the State.

Abuse is when someone intentionally harms or injures another person. There are many kinds of abuse encountered by adults, including:

  • Physical abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Rape
  • Sexual assault
  • Verbal abuse
  • Elder abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Spiritual abuse
  • Emotional abuse

If you are undergoing gender-based violence, kindly visit your nearest healthcare center or women’s social welfare department in your local government area to report it. You may also ask for the number or contact details of the gender focal person of your local government area from your service provider. You may also contact your nearest court for a protection order. You may also contact the police who can refer you to appropriate channels.

Yes, it doesn’t matter if you have only been abused once. You deserve to seek help if you feel violated.

If you think you are being abused, seek help. These tips provide guidance on how to find safety and support.

  • Try speaking with a trusted friend, family member, or neighbor.
  • Try to identify patterns in your partner’s use and level of violence. This can help you to predict when abuse may escalate.
  • You can talk with someone who has been trained to help by calling…

While there is no way to spot an abuser, most abusers share common characteristics.

It’s important to remember that domestic violence is first and foremost a pattern of power and control. Any one of these behaviors may not be indicative of abuse on its own, until it is considered as part of a pattern of behavior. Some subtle warning signs include:

  • They insist on moving quickly into a relationship.
  • They insist that you stop participating in your preferred leisure activities or spending time with family and friends.
  • They are extremely jealous or controlling.
  • They do not take responsibility for their actions and blame others for everything that goes wrong.
  • They criticize their partner’s appearance and make frequent put-downs.
  • Their words and actions don’t match.

Yes, disabled women are particularly vulnerable to abuse. Research has shown that disabled women experience abuse at least twice as often as non-disabled women. Abusers - including personal assistants and careers - may exploit a woman's particular condition or impairment. There are also additional barriers that a disabled woman must overcome when she seeks help.

Being violated in some way—either through rape, sexual assault, or sexual abuse—can leave you feeling shocked, scared, and uncertain of what to do next. Here are some things you can do right away to address the situation and begin the healing process.

  • If you can help it, leave your body as is. Don’t bathe, clean yourself or change your clothes until you have been examined, to preserve evidence. This doesn’t mean that you must file an official report immediately, it just means that the evidence is there for when/if you plan on pursuing the case.
  • For your health and safety, you should seek medical help immediately. Trained health professionals will attend to you and provide you with all the necessary help. In addition to collecting evidence, they will test for your STIs, provide you with post-exposure prophylactics for HIV prevention as well as administer emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy, if you need it.
  • It will be very helpful to speak with someone you trust; A friend, family member or trained professional. For some survivors, speaking to someone you trust provides comfort and safety.
  • Decide if you want to file a case with the police or relevant bodies (insert SARC link). You do not have to do this until you feel 100% ready to. It might also be very helpful to take a friend or relative with you when you file a report.
  • You can Consider therapy or speak to a psychotherapist. Traumatic experiences like rape and sexual assault come with a huge mental strain on the survivor such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Although healing looks different for everyone, many people find that therapy and support groups are helpful for their recovery.


Symptoms include the following:

Sad or crying always

Reduced interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed

Loss of sexual desire

Loss of interest in life generally

Loss of self-esteem

Irritated most times (agitation, restlessness,

Loss of appetite

Sleep pattern changes 9sleeping too much or too little)

Unintentional weight loss or weight gain

Difficulty in thinking, concentration, or making decisions

Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.

Physical changes, peer pressure, and other factors contribute to depression in adolescents. They may experience some of the following:

Withdrawal from friends and family

Difficulty concentrating on schoolwork

Feeling guilty. Helpless or worthless

Restlessness, such as an inability to sit still

The causes of depression are not fully understood. There are many possible causes and sometimes, various factors combine to trigger symptoms.

Factors that are likely to play a role include:

Genetic features

Changes in the brain's neurotransmitter levels

Psychological and social factors

Bipolar disorders

Depression is treatable, and managing symptoms usually involves three components:

Support- From family, friends, colleagues, and healthcare providers

Psychotherapy- such as one-one counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

Drug treatment- A doctor may prescribe antidepressants

Mental health problems in adolescents are due to biological and environmental factors. Biological factors include head injury, genetic diseases, and hormonal imbalances in the body while environmental causes include: exposure to lead, violence, sexual abuse, drug abuse, loss of a friend, family disruption, etc.

Most mentally ill people who receive treatment respond well and live productive lives. Many never have the problem again as long as they take their drugs, however, some may experience a return of the symptoms.