Health Care Providers: Adolescent Medicine Specialists
What Is Adolescent Medicine?
Adolescent (ad-OH-leh-sent) medicine focuses on health concerns related to puberty and adolescence.
What Is an Adolescent Medicine Specialist?
An adolescent medicine specialist is a doctor who diagnoses and treats physical and emotional health concerns of kids and teens.
Why Would Someone Need One?
Adolescent medicine specialists provide routine medical care. They also can help kids and teens with issues such as:
- early puberty or delayed puberty
- eating disorders
- drug use
- vaginal anomalies (rare disorders in which the vagina formed abnormally or not at all before birth)
- menstrual cycle problems (irregular, absent, painful, or heavy periods)
- gender and sexuality concerns
- anxiety and depression
Adolescent medicine specialists do medical tests and provide:
- sexual health education
- birth control counseling and care
- IUDs for medical reasons other than birth control (such as heavy bleeding or cramps)
- vaccines, including the HPV vaccine
- gynecology exams
- pregnancy testing
- STD screening
What Is Their Training?
Adolescent medicine specialist training usually includes:
- 4 years of pre-medical education at a college or university
- 4 years of medical school — a medical degree (MD) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) degree
- 3–4 years of training in a pediatric, internal medicine, or med-peds (combined pediatric and internal medicine) residency program
They get special training on caring for adolescents during residency. They may also do a 2- to 3-year adolescent medicine fellowship after completing medical school and residency.
Good to Know
Adolescent medicine specialists also can act as a transition health care provider as teens move from a pediatrician to an adult doctor.