In adolescence, which begins around age 11, children begin developing distinct health concerns. As puberty arrives and social pressures increase, teens want to start making their own choices, sometimes placing them at greater risk for harmful behaviors that can have long-term effects on their health and well-being. Teenagers may resist preventive care because they feel they have “outgrown” their pediatricians or are uncomfortable discussing their changing bodies and complex emotions with them.
For these pre-teens and teens, an adolescent medicine specialist may be the answer. Doctors in this specialty serve as primary care experts for teenagers. They are medical doctors who have first trained in pediatrics, family medicine or internal medicine, and then completed additional training focusing on the physical, psychological, social and sexual development of children, adolescents and young adults.
When to see an adolescent medicine specialist
Although your pediatrician can handle all your child’s health needs, there may be situations where additional support from an adolescent medicine program can help. In addition to providing routine preventive care, they can also address more concerning issues teens often face. Consider adolescent medicine if you observe:
- Abnormal eating patterns, significant weight loss or gain, eating disorders
- Delayed or early puberty, or any kind of developmental or growth delays
- Erratic mood swings or unusual or uncontrolled behavior
- Delayed (later than age 16), unpredictable, or heavy menstrual cycles
- Signs of depression or anxiety
- High-risk behaviors, including sexual activity or drug use
- Problems at home or school
- Destructive or abusive relationships
Adolescent medicine specialists are skilled in putting teens at ease and providing health care in a nurturing and respectful manner. They empathize with teens in their struggle to cope with adult situations while they are still maturing. They seek to communicate in ways teens can connect with and listen to.
The Adolescent Medicine Program at Children’s of Mississippi
The adolescent medicine team at Children’s of Mississippi offers specialized services for children between the ages of 12 and 22. We provide routine preventive care as well as treatment for:
- Male and female reproductive health issues, such as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), vaginitis and contraception
- Menstrual concerns
- Breast abnormalities
- Urinary symptoms
- Mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, panic attacks, insomnia and ADD
- Acne and other skin conditions
- Male genital conditions
- Substance abuse
Some of our services include:
- Nexplanon® insertion and removal
- IUD removal
- Pelvic exams
- Medication management for mental health concerns
- Emergency contraception
Meet our team
Steven Matson, MD, has practiced adolescent medicine for more than 30 years. Board certified in pediatrics, adolescent medicine and addiction medicine, Dr. Matson is keenly interested in the concerns of kids and young adults.
Amy Smith, PNP, has practiced as a pediatric nurse practitioner for more than 13 years. Prior to that, she worked as a registered nurse for 12 years, primarily in pediatrics.
Linda Pendleton, PhD, MSW, LCSW, has thirty years of experience in social work focused on adolescents, teens and young adults. Her specialty areas include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, anxiety, suicide ideations/attempts, anger management, family conflict, deaths, sexual and emotional abuse, and lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) concerns. She also provides individual, group and family psychotherapy.
The Adolescent Medicine program is conveniently located at University Physicians – Grants Ferry in Flowood.
Make an appointment
To schedule an appointment, call (601) 815-2005. Telehealth appointments, a great match for teens, are also available.