Puberty, relationships and JIA

As your body develops, so will your mind. As you get older, you will make more complicated decisions for yourself. Some of these will be very important decisions. To help you manage this time in your life, it is important to ask questions and be as informed as possible. Take some time to read through the next section. If you have any questions about this information, you can always talk to your health-care team.

Puberty and JIA

The physical changes that you go through during adolescence are called puberty. These changes prepare your body to one day have children. Everyone experiences these changes differently. Some teenagers may notice the changes earlier, some later. Remember that puberty is natural and that the rate of your changes will be different from some of your friends. If you are very sick with JIA, it might delay these changes.

Relationships and JIA

Establishing and maintaining relationships are an important part of life. Being in a relationship sometimes involves being sexually active with your partner. This should be your choice and not something that you do because you feel you have to. Try to be open and honest with your partner about JIA and its effects on your body. You may want to talk with your doctor, nurse, or physiotherapist about relationships and sex. But if you’d rather talk with someone who isn’t providing your JIA care, ask for a referral to an adolescent health specialist. Some medications for JIA affect your immunity so it is important to protect yourself from diseases that are contagious, such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Some of these infections can be cured while others may stay in your body for a long period of time.

If you are considering having sex, talk to your doctor about how to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.

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Welcome to the Taking Charge: Managing JIA Online Program! In this section you will learn what to expect in the program, how to get started and how to set goals to better manage JIA.

JIA stands for juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Find out what causes JIA, the different types of JIA and how it will affect you now and in the future.

Diagnosing JIA may be difficult as joint pain and swelling may be a part of many different illnesses. Diagnosis of JIA typically includes a physical exam, blood tests and imaging studies.

Pain, stiffness, and tiredness or fatigue, are common symptoms of JIA. These symptoms can lead to difficulties with participating in school and sports activities, and enjoying time with your friends. Learn about pain, fatigue, and stiffness, how to manage symptoms and how these symptoms can cause stress.

There are several strategies you can use to help you cope with pain, stress, and sleep problems. These include relaxation, distraction, and managing your thoughts. In this section, learn more about how each of these strategies work.

When you know about your medications, you can talk to your doctor about them and make good choices for yourself. Find out about the different types of JIA medications, how they work, common side effects, and the importance of talking to your doctor about your medication plan.

Did you know that there are many other therapies that you can use to manage JIA symptoms? They can help to prevent complications so that you can do all the things you want to do. In this section, learn more about physical, occupational, and psychological therapies; maintaining healthy nutrition; surgical options for JIA, and more.

Your role in making decisions about your treatment plan is very important. Your health-care team and other members of your support system are available to help you make these decisions. In turn, they can help you to manage your JIA.

Whether you have JIA or not, you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Find out how to stay healthy and active, learn about puberty and relationships, healthy body image, and making healthy lifestyle choices.

Sometime between the ages of 18 to 22, you most likely will transition from your pediatric rheumatologist to the adult health care setting. At that time, there are a number of things you, your family, and your health-care team can do to help make this change go smoothly.