The Facts... without the Lecture

Fertility & Health

What does fertility mean?

Fertility is the ability to have children.  Teenage boys and girls become fertile – physically capable of having a baby – when they go through puberty. Being physically capable of having a baby does not mean that a person is emotionally ready to cope with this happening.  For more information on fertility visit the Boys and Girls sections.

What is the HPV vaccine?

The HPV vaccine is a vaccine against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Certain strains of this virus are linked to the development of cervical cancer later in life. The vaccine protects against the two strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer in over 70% of women. It does not protect against any other sexually transmitted infections or against pregnancy.  The vaccine is given to young teenage girls before they become sexually active. It is given as three injections given at intervals.

How can dieting affect the development of my body?

Dieting as a teenager is certainly not recommended. It can cause problems with your hormones and sometimes cause your periods to stop altogether. It also leads to osteoporosis in later life. Strangely, people who diet as teenagers tend to have more problems with weight gain in adult life than those who do not. 

How can I protect myself from Testicular cancer?

Getting into the habit of examining the testicles once a month is a good idea. This involves holding the testicle between the thumb and the index and middle finger and rolling gently to feel for lumps. By doing this regularly you will get used to what your testicles feel like. If you do feel a lump which you feel is different it is important to go to your doctor for advice.

How can body building and protein supplements affect the development of my body?

There are a wide range of “body building” supplements and it is not possible to give an answer to cover all different supplements. What is true is that supplements do nothing which a good diet and a proper exercise programme cannot do. However several supplements particularly if they contain steroids can cause harm – they can interfere for instance with the level of hormones in the body, decreasing testosterone- the male hormone and in extreme cases this can cause impotence and loss of sex drive. Certain additives can be dangerous to body organs such as the kidney.

How do I know that my penis size is normal?

Like all parts of our body penises come in different shapes and sizes. Penis size varies much much more when the penis if floppy then when it is erect. Erect penises are generally around the same length whereas there is a wide variety in the size of non erect penises.

These questions were asked by teenagers during the consultation.  The answers are provided by Dr. David Gibney, GP.