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Do I Have A Growing Disorder?

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,
Everyone says I'm normal, but I think something is seriously wrong with me. At 14 I don't have a period, hardly any breasts, and a large shoe size. I hardly weigh anything but do not have an eating disorder. I eat well from the food pyramid. Sometimes I want everything perfect and I repeat stupid things like hand washing or shampooing. Is my body not wanting to grow up? How can I be normal? I don't even like boys. Sometimes I think I'm a worthless (not even a real teenager) person. Why is my body not growing? My parents aren't like me. They are tall and average. I have bigger feet than my mom. I look like I'm 8 years old in a bathing suit (believe me, it's hardly an exaggeration). My sister has more of a womanly figure than I do. She's almost eleven. She weighs more than me as well. Could I have a growing disorder? I'm scared. Are my family's genetics just screwed up? Does having English, Irish, Scottish, German, and Welch backgrounds make me this way? Why am I such a little freak?
Signed: Do I Have A Growing Disorder?

Dear Do I Have A Growing Disorder?,


TeenHealthFX is interested in talking about your physical development, but we are most concerned with some of the language you used to describe yourself. The changes typically associated with female puberty, including breast growth and menstruation, do not follow a rigid timeline at all. The fact that you have not experienced either of these changes at 14 is perfectly normal. Also, some of the early changes in puberty are hard to notice, and so you may be further along than you think. The important thing to remember is that different people develop at different rates, and the rate at which you develop should have nothing to do with your own self-image. FX does hope that will begin to develop a sense of self-worth based upon who you are, not on the rate at which you develop. Also, there is no timeline for developing feelings about the opposite sex. You will develop romantic interests whenever you are ready.

In response to your question about genetics, your ethnic background has very little to do with the development process or how you end up. However, the genes you got from your parents may have a role in the age at which you enter puberty. It may be helpful to talk to your mother about when she, or other women in your family, went through puberty.


You mention an occasional desire for things to be perfect, and how you sometimes repeat some activities over and over. While it is impossible for us to diagnose any sort of problem over the Internet, because you have some concerns about this (and what you think may be a "growing disorder"), it would probably be helpful to speak with a doctor. If you live in Northern New Jersey, you can contact the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-6475 for more information.

Before your appointment, make a list of the questions you have. Many doctors will ask parents to leave the exam room, so they can speak to you privately. If your doctor does not, and you would feel more comfortable asking your questions privately, just mention this to your parents or your doctor.


Finally, we are glad to hear that you follow a health-conscious diet. The Food Pyramid is a good guide to use as you decide what, and how, to eat.

Signed: TeenHealthFX