Deal with It!: A Whole New Approach to Your Body, Brain and Life as a gURL

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The creators of the award-winning, phenomenally popular interactive website, gURL.com, present a hip, no-nonsense resource book for girls--the "Our Bodies, Ourselves" for a new generation. Full color.
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Overview

The creators of the award-winning, phenomenally popular interactive website, gURL.com, present a hip, no-nonsense resource book for girls--the "Our Bodies, Ourselves" for a new generation. Full color.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

BUST Magazine
Ladies, step one in our mission to take over the world has been accomplished: Deal with It is now available to every girl on the planet....You need to get six or seven copies right now and give them to every punk rocker, girl scout, hippie chick and geekgirl you know.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Following a recent trend, Web gurus Drill, McDonald and Odes have translated their highly popular Web site, gURL.com, into print, taking a holistic approach to those perennial teen concerns: changing bodies, emotions, desires and lives. In a frank, nonjudgmental tone, they discuss topics and details that more conservative guides might skip: lesbianism and bisexuality receive respectful and thorough treatment that is remarkably well-integrated into the broader discussion of sex in this happily nonphallocentric book; the section on illegal drugs is evenhanded; and the discussion of treatments of eating disorders, other mental illnesses and suicide are honest and informative. Each section ends with a comprehensive list of topical resources: Web sites, hot lines, books and organizations. In addition to the authors' valuable commentary, a good deal of the text is made up of outtakes from girls' online dialogues culled from the site, revealing a thoughtful and supportive cybercommunity able to respond unflinchingly to the many issues covered. Young readers, liberal parents and educators will welcome the authors' openness and lack of boosterism . Full-color illustrations throughout. Agent, Julie Merberg, Roundtable Press, Inc.; 5-city author tour. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
This sumptuously colorful and solid puberty guide for girls gets high marks for comprehensiveness and attention to detail about physical development, sex, emotions, drugs, family, friends, relationships, school, spirituality, politics and activism, "being yourself," and money. The main messages concern accepting diversity in bodies and lifestyles, taking responsibility, and finding help when you need it. The diversity message is enhanced with numerous "we've been there" quotes posted to the gURL.com web site, while the "finding help" message is enhanced by many internal cross references and extensive referrals to books, organizations, and other web sites. Lesbian and bisexuality issues are well covered, and interesting sections address less common topics like how ideals of beauty have varied across history and how the "perfect look" in every fashion photo is carefully and artificially crafted by the full-time work of a dozen people. The authors founded and now run gURL.com, which has won several awards. Highly recommended for all public libraries.--Martha Cornog, Philadelphia Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kathryn Harrison
The most beguiling aspect of this book is that it is written in large part by its own audience, veering disarmingly from the trivial to the critical̶just like your best girlfriend. From deciding just how many hairs to pluck to confronting an unwanted pregnancy, girlhood can be treacherous. In three years my own daughter will be a teenager. Deal With It! is one lifeline I plan to throw her.

Talk

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780613237024
  • Publisher: Turtleback Books: A Division of Sanval
  • Publication date: 1/28/1999
  • Pages: 309
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.82 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

gURL.com, launched in 1996, is the leading website for teenage girls. It has been featured in Seventeen, YM, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, The New Yorker and the New York Times, among other publications.

The founders received the New York Magazine Award in 1997 for their work on gURL.com. The gURL website received a 1998 webby Award.

Heather McDonald is a full-time writer, performer, and story producer on E! Channel’s top rated show—Chelsea Lately, and stars in the show’s spin-off, After Lately. Heather has been married to Peter for twelve years, with whom she has two sons and a stepdaughter. They reside in the San Fernando Valley.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Boobs get a lot of attention. There's a certain amount of biological motivation for this — breasts are the first source of human nourishment — but that's only the beginning.

The stress on boobs in our society creates a lot of stress for girls who are growing them. You don't have much control over your breast development and the outcome can be unpredictable.

When boobs start popping up left and right, they can be hard to ignore. Whatever your specific situation, shape, or size, your boobs are bound to be an important part of your female identity.

Growing Them

Breasts start to grow in response to an increase in the hormone estrogen, which causes the growth of mammary glands (which produce milk) and also signals cushions of fat to grow and surround those glands. Much of the volume of the breast comes from these cushions of fat. Also inside the breast is a network of milk ducts connected to the milk-producing glands, which are ready to send milk out of the nipple when it comes time to nurse a baby.

There are roughly five stages of breast development. Everyone goes through them at her own rate. Some girls may go through the whole process in a couple of months and can actually seem to bypass whole stages; others can take almost 10 years to get from the beginning to the (relatively) final product.

Stage I The first stage usually starts between ages 8 and 11 (although it can come earlier or later). During this stage, there are no visible signs of development. Inside the body, though, puberty is beginning. The ovaries enlarge and estrogen begins to circulate.

Stage 2 The first visible thing that happens is the nipple and the areola (the skin around the nipple) get larger and maybe a bit darker. They may also feel tender or ache a little. It can hurt to sleep on your stomach or wear certain clothes.

Next, milk ducts and fat tissue form a little, round, dense, disklike mound under each nipple and areola, making them stick out. One disk might form before the other, even as much as a year earlier. These disks can often feel like lumps.

Stage 3 Fat deposits now start to fill out the area around the nipple and areola. At this stage, many girls' breasts appear pointy. The amount of fat and where it grows vary and will determine the size and shape of your breasts. This is the time when many girls think about wearing a bra.

Stage 4 Not everyone goes through Stage 4. If you do, you will observe that your nipple and areola begin to form a separate mound at the end of your breast and get bigger and more pronounced. Some women keep this characteristic permanently. The breasts continue to fill out and grow larger. (If you didn't get your period during stage 3, you probably will now.)

Stage 5 By the time you reach stage 5, what you see could be what you get. Breast size can change during a woman's adult life, however. Generally the causes of this are hormonal (birth control pills, pregnancy) or changes in body weight, although there are a significant number of women whose breasts continue to change throughout their twenties.

Shapes and Sizes

Breasts come in all shapes and sizes. There is no one normal boob profile. And nobody notices the idiosyncrasies of your boobs like you do. The timing of your boob development makes no difference in what they end up looking like. Breasts also go through cyclical changes with the menstrual cycle. They tendto get a little fuller and more sensitive leading up to the period and staypretty te der until the period is over. After the period they settle down to their less-full form.

Asymmetry

Your whole body (eyes, ears, etc.) is asymmetrical and chances are that there are some subtle differences between your two breasts, too. In some people it's enough to be noticeable, but almost never dramatically so. In rare instances, a right and left boob may vary a cup size or more. Very occasionally a girl will wear a prosthesis or even have surgery to even out a severe difference in size. Generally, though, it's one of those things that is a lot less noticeable to everyone else in the world than to the bearer of the boobs in question.

Nipples

Nipples also come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. Some nipples are particularly sensitive to outside stimuli.

Changing What You've Got

There's a long historical tradition of women making more or less of their bustlines than nature provides.

Breast enhancers

"Breast enhancers," which aren't that different from the actual implants inserted during surgery, are worn on the outside of the body and are available for purchase in the backs of magazines and at drugstores, promising every girl the silhouette she has always wanted. These products are obviously safer and cheaper than actual implants, but they don't change the way you look without a bra on.

Breast implants

First of all, no one NEEDS breast implants. Women may feel that their life enjoyment is being diminished by insufficient cup size. But that's kind of a limited way of thinking — do you really want to give that much power to two lumps of fat sitting on your chest?

The decision of whether to alter your body for a cosmetic reason is a serious and personal one. Some women have had terrible health problems as a result of getting breast implants, although scientifically the jury is still out on whether they are dangerous. In any event, it's a good idea to wait a while before taking such a drastic step. Most reputable plastic surgeons won't even consider breast implants on a woman younger than 18. The way people feel about their bodies changes over time, and making a big, unnatural, permanent change now might be something you could later regret. Besides, you might still be growing.

Having bigger boobs won't change the kind of person you are, and if it does make more boys notice you, it might not be for the reason you want them to.

Breast reduction

Some women are physically challenged by the large size of their breasts. These problems can include chronic neck and back pain; poor posture; rashes, pain, and discomfort during exercise; and bra straps that actually cut grooves in their shoulders. Some of these women opt for breast reduction surgery to have some of the breast tissue removed. Women who have had breast reduction are said to be about the happiest plastic surgery patients afterward. Reduction surgery can leave significant scarring, usually in an inverted T-shape from the nipple to the underside of the breast, and may affect breast feeding later.

Boobs in society

There are plenty of reasons people like breasts, and focus on them accordingly. Some trace it back to infant oral fixations. Others think it may be the round shapes that are pleasing to the senses. Breasts are the most visible sexual organs. While other sexual organs are developing at the same time, they are (generally) kept under wraps and are not able to be seen. Breasts, on the other hand, make themselves known. Boobs certainly get their fair share of media attention, and the recent explosion of public breast enlargements makes them more obvious than ever. Historically, though, a variety of sizes and shapes of breasts have been considered ideal. Not all cultures share the American fixation on boobs, either. Many European countries present a more integrated view of the female body, and women appear topless on public beaches and in advertisements. On a more personal level, different people are attracted to different breast attributes (just as some people may have a preference for a certain eye color).

But many people seem to think that breasts in general are pretty great, whatever the particulars may be.

Lumps and bumps

The vast majority of lumps and bumps in the breast, at any age, are harmless. Breast budding in the early stages of breast development can often feel like a lump. At certain times of the month, especially before their periods, some women develop cysts — small fluid-containing sacs. They are usually found near the armpits, can hurt a little, and disappear within a few days.

Show your doctor any lump that does not disappear within a few days; it is probably nothing to worry about. Breast cancer is obviously a scary and serious disease, which affects one in eight women over the course of a lifetime. But it is extremely, extremely rare in teenagers.

Fibrocystic breasts

Many girls and women develop lumpiness in their breasts due to hormonal changes during their menstrual cycle. Women with fibrocystic breasts have denser fibrous material in between the fatty deposits in their breasts, so it's more likely to become tangled up into knots. Fibrocystic lumps are not cancerous, although the first time you notice them, you may want to have them checked out.

All women experience some such cystic changes: lumpiness, tenderness, swelling. Eventually, you should get to know your own patterns of lumpiness.

Breast pain

Most girls experience some occasional breast pain — most often before a period or during the early stages of breast development. If the pain is really plaguing you, happens at irregular times not linked to your cycle, or is much more pronounced in one breast, it's worth mentioning to your doctor, who may suggest cutting down on caffeine or taking vitamin E supplements and primrose oil.

Discharge or bleeding

Some discharge from the nipple can be brought on by hormonal fluctuations, but both discharge and bleeding that lasts for more than a week should be checked out with a doctor.

Chafed nipples

Nipples stick out and can rub against your clothes and sometimes get irritated, dry and crack, and even bleed a bit. Wearing soft fabrics or natural fibers can help. It can also help to put ointment, lanolin preparations, or even flavor — free lip balm on irritated areas.

Inverted nipples

Some nipples do not stick out; instead, they appear to stick in (inverted nipples). This is not uncommon. Some nipples may go from "innies" to "outies" during the course of development. Once your breasts are fully developed, usually at age 18, any sudden changes should be reported to your doctor.

Hairy nipples

Some girls grow a few dark hairs around the areola, the area surrounding the nipple. You may be tempted to tweeze them, but that could lead to ingrown hairs and infection. They can be trimmed or zapped with electrolysis — or left hanging.

Stretch marks

When boobs, or any parts of the body, grow fast, the skin has to stretch to keep up. Sometimes the skin is not quite elastic enough to do that, and purplish lines, called stretch marks, may appear where the skin has been stretched. These are not uncommon, and they do fade with time, although not always entirely.

How to give a breast self-exam

Breast cancer, though not a big concern to teenagers, is a prospect that all adult women need to be aware of. There are all sorts of studies linking breast cancer with heredity, diet, hormonal imbalances, and lifestyle. New treatments and medical breakthroughs hold some promise in eventually defeating this disease, but nothing beats early detection. That's why your first line of defense against breast cancer is monthly self-examination. You can start as soon as your breasts are fully developed.

Breast self-exams should be done at the same time of the month every month, right after your period ends, when the breasts are neither tender nor swollen.

1. Lie down on your back; put your right arm over your head and a pillow under your right shoulder.

2. With the three middle fingers of your left hand, feel for lumps or thickened tissue in your right breast, using a firm circular motion radiating out from the nipple. Press hard enough to familiarize yourself with how your breast feels, but not so hard that it hurts.

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for your left breast.

4. Standing and looking in a mirror, check your breasts for any surface anomalies like puckering, dimpling, or swelling. Do this with your arms at your sides, with them stretched above your head, and with your hands on your hips while flexing your chest muscles.

Bras

Whether or when to wear a bra is an entirely personal decision. Some, especially larger-breasted women, find they are more comfortable with their boobs strapped in and supported, since there's less jiggling and bouncing that way. Many women also find it more comfortable to wear a bra when jogging or doing other kinds of exercise. Some women are more comfortable going braless.

The jury is still out about whether wearing a bra in fact prevents eventual sagging. Some experts say it can help preserve some of the elasticity of the tissue and the ligaments that hold the breast up. But others say that over the long haul, gravity, wear and tear, motherhood, and changes in size brought on by weight gain and loss all take their toll, no matter how often a woman has worn a bra.

The shape of a nipple — which can stiffen if it's cold or aroused — is less visible underneath a bra, if that's something you care about.

Girls usually experiment to figure out which kind of bra suits them. Bras can make your boobs look bigger or smaller or otherwise different. There's a veritable smorgasbord of silhouette-altering brassieres at your disposal.

Resources

American Medical Women's Association (AMWA) provides information on all aspects of women's health, including maintaining healthy breasts. Address: 801 North Fairfax St., Suite 400, Alexandria, VA 22314. Phone: 703-838-0500. Website: http://www.amwa-doc.org.

Breast Cancer Information Clearinghouse (BCIC), NYSERNet, Inc., 200 Elwood Davis Rd., Suite 103, Liverpool, NY 13088. Phone: 315-453-2912, ext. 225.

National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations (NABCO) provides information to anyone with questions about breast cancer. Address: 9 East 37th St., 10th floor, New York, NY 10016. Phone: 800-719-9154. Website: http://www.nabco.org.

National Women's Health Network is a nonprofit organization that seeks to provide women with a greater voice in the health care system. Address: 514 Tenth St., NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20004. Phone: 202-347-1140 for information regarding legislation.

Society for the Study of Breast Disease, 3409 Worth, Suite 300, Sammons Tower, Dallas, TX 75246. Phone: 214-821-2962.

The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, the sponsor of Race for the Cure, seeks to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease by advocating research, screening, and education. Address: 5005 LBJ Freeway, Suite 370, Dallas, TX 74244. Phone: 972-855-1600 or 800-IMAWARE for the national breast care help line. Website: http://www.breastcancerinfo.com.

Y-Me National Breast Cancer Organization provides peer counseling, referrals, and written information for breast cancer survivors, patients, family, and friends. Address: 212 West Van Buren, Chicago, IL 60607. Phone: 800-221-2141 (English) or 800-986-9505 (Spanish). Website: http://www.y-me.org/index.html.

Association of Cancer Online Resources (ACOR) at http://wwww.acor.org provides cancer information and electronic support groups.

Virtual Kid Puberty 101 at http://www.virtualkid.com covers all the changes in your body, including the stages of breast development.

Breasts: Our Most Public Private Parts by Meema Spadola (Wildcat Canyon Press, 1998). Based on a documentary this book tells people's personal stories about breasts-from adolescents to older women.

Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book by Susan M. Love (Perseus Press, 1995). Comprehensive reference on all things relating to breasts, including screening, diagnosis, treatment, and research.

Copyright © 1999 by gURL and Roundtable Press

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Table of Contents

CONTENTS

Introduction

BODY

Chapter 1: Boobs
Growing Them
Shapes and Sizes
Changing What You've Got
Breast Concerns
Bras
Resources


Chapter 2: Whats Up Down There?
External Reproductive Organs
Internal Reproductive Organs
Ovulation, Menstruation, and the Monthly Cycle
Common Crotch Concerns
What to Expect from a Visit to the Gynecologist Resources


Chapter 3: Skin
Some common skin Conditions
Zit Remedies
Stretch Marks
Sun Protection
B.O.
Resources


Chapter 4: Hair
Body Hair
Hairy Strategies
Hair Removal Techniques


Chapter 5: Body Image
Body Image Issues
Beauty image
The Body As Expression
Resources


Special Section: Taking Care of Yourself
Nutrition Basics
Exercise
Dealing with Stress
Resources


SEXUALITY

Chapter 1: Sexual Feelings
Vague Feelings of Attraction
Masturbation
Sexual Arousal -- What's Going On
Orgasm
Resources


Chapter 2: What is Sex?
Sex is Communication
Communicating with Body Parts
Sex is Play
Attitudes Toward Sex
Resources


Chapter 3: To Do It or Not to Do It
To Lose It or Not to Lose It
The First Time
Resources


Chapter 4: Protection
Condoms
What is Safer Sex?
Understanding STDs
Birth Control
Resources


Chapter 5: Getting Pregnant
How You Get Pregnant
Deciding What to Do
Options
Resources


Chapter 6: Sexual Preference
Sexual Preference Is a Continuum
Why Do Girls Like Girls?
Defining Yourself
Homophobia
Coming Out
Resources


Chapter 7: Sex When You Don't Want It
Sexual Harassment
Rape
Incest
Molestation
Resources


Special Section: Boys A Primer
Anatomy and Physiology
What Happens to Boys During Sex?
Male Masturbation
Emotional Responses and Issues
Resources


BRAIN

Chapter 1: Psychology
Those Sucky Emotions
Mood Swings
Surviving the Insanity
Resources


Chapter 2: Self-Destructive Behavior
Underachieving
Bating Disorders
Risky Behavior
Self-Mutilation
Teenage Suicide
Resources


Special Section: Altered States
What is a Drug?
Why People Take Drugs
Addiction
Common Drags
Up
Out
Down
Resources


LIFE

Chapter 1: Family
What is Family?
Parents
Sisters and Brothers
Dealing with Family Conflicts
Resources


Chapter 2: Friends
Making and Finding Friends
Best Friends
Complications and Conflict
Growing Apart


Chapter 3: Romance
Being Single
Attraction
Relationships
Resources


Chapter 4: School
Types of Schools
Transitions
Academics
The Social Landscape at School
After High School
Resources


Chapter 5: Beliefs
Religion
Spirituality
Politics
Resources


Chapter 6: Being Yourself
Expressing Yourself
Standing Out
Fitting in
Resources


Special Section: Money
Earning It
Saving It
Spending It
Resources


Index

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Chapter One

Boobs get a lot of attention. There's a certain amount of biological motivation for this -- breasts are the first source of human nourishment -- but that's only the beginning.

The stress on boobs in our society creates a lot of stress for girls who are growing them. You don't have much control over your breast development and the outcome can be unpredictable.

When boobs start popping up left and right, they can be hard to ignore. Whatever your specific situation, shape, or size, your boobs are bound to be an important part of your female identity.

Growing Them

Breasts start to grow in response to an increase in the hormone estrogen, which causes the growth of mammary glands (which produce milk) and also signals cushions of fat to grow and surround those glands. Much of the volume of the breast comes from these cushions of fat. Also inside the breast is a network of milk ducts connected to the milk-producing glands, which are ready to send milk out of the nipple when it comes time to nurse a baby.

There are roughly five stages of breast development. Everyone goes through them at her own rate. Some girls may go through the whole process in a couple of months and can actually seem to bypass whole stages; others can take almost 10 years to get from the beginning to the (relatively) final product.

Stage I The first stage usually starts between ages 8 and 11 (although it can come earlier or later). During this stage, there are no visible signs of development. Inside the body, though, puberty is beginning. The ovaries enlarge and estrogen begins to circulate.

Stage 2 The first visible thing that happens up looking like. Breasts also go through cyclical changes with the menstrual cycle. They tendto get a little fuller and more sensitive leading up to the period and staypretty te der until the period is over. After the period they settle down to their less-full form.

Asymmetry

Your whole body (eyes, ears, etc.) is asymmetrical and chances are that there are some subtle differences between your two breasts, too. In some people it's enough to be noticeable, but almost never dramatically so. In rare instances, a right and left boob may vary a cup size or more. Very occasionally a girl will wear a prosthesis or even have surgery to even out a severe difference in size. Generally, though, it's one of those things that is a lot less noticeable to everyone else in the world than to the bearer of the boobs in question.

Nipples

Nipples also come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. Some nipples are particularly sensitive to outside stimuli.

Changing What You've Got

There's a long historical tradition of women making more or less of their bustlines than nature provides.

Breast enhancers

"Breast enhancers," which aren't that different from the actual implants inserted during surgery, are worn on the outside of the body and are available for purchase in the backs of magazines and at drugstores, promising every girl the silhouette she has always wanted. These products are obviously safer and cheaper than actual implants, but they don't change the way you look without a bra on.

Breast implants

First of all, no one NEEDS breast implants. Women may feel that their life enjoyment is being diminished by insufficient cup size. But that's ki nd of a limited way of thinking -- do you really want to give that much power to two lumps of fat sitting on your chest?

The decision of whether to alter your body for a cosmetic reason is a serious and personal one. Some women have had terrible health problems as a result of getting breast implants, although scientifically the jury is still out on whether they are dangerous. In any event, it's a good idea to wait a while before taking such a drastic step. Most reputable plastic surgeons won't even consider breast implants on a woman younger than 18. The way people feel about their bodies changes over time, and making a big, unnatural, permanent change now might be something you could later regret. Besides, you might still be growing.

Having bigger boobs won't change the kind of person you are, and if it does make more boys notice you, it might not be for the reason you want them to.

Breast reduction

Some women are physically challenged by the large size of their breasts. These problems can include chronic neck and back pain; poor posture; rashes, pain, and discomfort during exercise; and bra straps that actually cut grooves in their shoulders. Some of these women opt for breast reduction surgery to have some of the breast tissue removed. Women who have had breast reduction are said to be about the happiest plastic surgery patients afterward. Reduction surgery can leave significant scarring, usually in an inverted T-shape from the nipple to the underside of the breast, and may affect breast feeding later.

Boobs in society

There are plenty of reasons people like breasts, and focus on them accordingly. Some trace it back to infant oral fixations. Others think it may be the ro und shapes that are pleasing to the senses. Breasts are the most visible sexual organs. While other sexual organs are developing at the same time, they are (generally) kept under wraps and are not able to be seen. Breasts, on the other hand, make themselves known. Boobs certainly get their fair share of media attention, and the recent explosion of public breast enlargements makes them more obvious than ever. Historically, though, a variety of sizes and shapes of breasts have been considered ideal. Not all cultures share the American fixation on boobs, either. Many European countries present a more integrated view of the female body, and women appear topless on public beaches and in advertisements. On a more personal level, different people are attracted to different breast attributes (just as some people may have a preference for a certain eye color).

But many people seem to think that breasts in general are pretty great, whatever the particulars may be.

Lumps and bumps

The vast majority of lumps and bumps in the breast, at any age, are harmless. Breast budding in the early stages of breast development can often feel like a lump. At certain times of the month, especially before their periods, some women develop cysts -- small fluid-containing sacs. They are usually found near the armpits, can hurt a little, and disappear within a few days.

Show your doctor any lump that does not disappear within a few days; it is probably nothing to worry about. Breast cancer is obviously a scary and serious disease, which affects one in eight women over the course of a lifetime. But it is extremely, extremely rare in teenagers.

Fibrocystic breasts

Many girls and women develop lumpiness in their breasts due to hormonal changes during their menstrual cycle. Women with fibrocystic breasts have denser fibrous material in between the fatty deposits in their breasts, so it's more likely to become tangled up into knots. Fibrocystic lumps are not cancerous, although the first time you notice them, you may want to have them checked out.

All women experience some such cystic changes: lumpiness, tenderness, swelling. Eventually, you should get to know your own patterns of lumpiness.

Breast pain

Most girls experience some occasional breast pain -- most often before a period or during the early stages of breast development. If the pain is really plaguing you, happens at irregular times not linked to your cycle, or is much more pronounced in one breast, it's worth mentioning to your doctor, who may suggest cutting down on caffeine or taking vitamin E supplements and primrose oil.

Discharge or bleeding

Some discharge from the nipple can be brought on by hormonal fluctuations, but both discharge and bleeding that lasts for more than a week should be checked out with a doctor.

Chafed nipples

Nipples stick out and can rub against your clothes and sometimes get irritated, dry and crack, and even bleed a bit. Wearing soft fabrics or natural fibers can help. It can also help to put ointment, lanolin preparations, or even flavor -- free lip balm on irritated areas.

Inverted nipples

Some nipples do not stick out; instead, they appear to stick in (inverted nipples). This is not uncommon. Some nipples may go from "innies" to "outies" during the course of development. Once your breasts are fully developed, usually at age 18, any sudden changes should be reported t o your doctor.

Hairy nipples

Some girls grow a few dark hairs around the areola, the area surrounding the nipple. You may be tempted to tweeze them, but that could lead to ingrown hairs and infection. They can be trimmed or zapped with electrolysis -- or left hanging.

Stretch marks

When boobs, or any parts of the body, grow fast, the skin has to stretch to keep up. Sometimes the skin is not quite elastic enough to do that, and purplish lines, called stretch marks, may appear where the skin has been stretched. These are not uncommon, and they do fade with time, although not always entirely.

How to give a breast self-exam

Breast cancer, though not a big concern to teenagers, is a prospect that all adult women need to be aware of. There are all sorts of studies linking breast cancer with heredity, diet, hormonal imbalances, and lifestyle. New treatments and medical breakthroughs hold some promise in eventually defeating this disease, but nothing beats early detection. That's why your first line of defense against breast cancer is monthly self-examination. You can start as soon as your breasts are fully developed.

Breast self-exams should be done at the same time of the month every month, right after your period ends, when the breasts are neither tender nor swollen.

1. Lie down on your back; put your right arm over your head and a pillow under your right shoulder.

2. With the three middle fingers of your left hand, feel for lumps or thickened tissue in your right breast, using a firm circular motion radiating out from the nipple. Press hard enough to familiarize yourself with how your breast feels, but not so hard that it hurts.

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for your l eft breast.

4. Standing and looking in a mirror, check your breasts for any surface anomalies like puckering, dimpling, or swelling. Do this with your arms at your sides, with them stretched above your head, and with your hands on your hips while flexing your chest muscles.

Bras

Whether or when to wear a bra is an entirely personal decision. Some, especially larger-breasted women, find they are more comfortable with their boobs strapped in and supported, since there's less jiggling and bouncing that way. Many women also find it more comfortable to wear a bra when jogging or doing other kinds of exercise. Some women are more comfortable going braless.

The jury is still out about whether wearing a bra in fact prevents eventual sagging. Some experts say it can help preserve some of the elasticity of the tissue and the ligaments that hold the breast up. But others say that over the long haul, gravity, wear and tear, motherhood, and changes in size brought on by weight gain and loss all take their toll, no matter how often a woman has worn a bra.

The shape of a nipple -- which can stiffen if it's cold or aroused -- is less visible underneath a bra, if that's something you care about.

Girls usually experiment to figure out which kind of bra suits them. Bras can make your boobs look bigger or smaller or otherwise different. There's a veritable smorgasbord of silhouette-altering brassieres at your disposal.

Resources

American Medical Women's Association (AMWA) provides information on all aspects of women's health, including maintaining healthy breasts. Address: 801 North Fairfax St., Suite 400, Alexandria, VA 22314. Phone: 70 3-838-0500. Website: http://www.amwa-doc.org.

Breast Cancer Information Clearinghouse (BCIC), NYSERNet, Inc., 200 Elwood Davis Rd., Suite 103, Liverpool, NY 13088. Phone: 315-453-2912, ext. 225.

National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations (NABCO) provides information to anyone with questions about breast cancer. Address: 9 East 37th St., 10th floor, New York, NY 10016. Phone: 800-719-9154. Website: http://www.nabco.org.

National Women's Health Network is a nonprofit organization that seeks to provide women with a greater voice in the health care system. Address: 514 Tenth St., NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20004. Phone: 202-347-1140 for information regarding legislation.

Society for the Study of Breast Disease, 3409 Worth, Suite 300, Sammons Tower, Dallas, TX 75246. Phone: 214-821-2962.

The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, the sponsor of Race for the Cure, seeks to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease by advocating research, screening, and education. Address: 5005 LBJ Freeway, Suite 370, Dallas, TX 74244. Phone: 972-855-1600 or 800-IMAWARE for the national breast care help line. Website: http://www.breastcancerinfo.com.

Y-Me National Breast Cancer Organization provides peer counseling, referrals, and written information for breast cancer survivors, patients, family, and friends. Address: 212 West Van Buren, Chicago, IL 60607. Phone: 800-221-2141 (English) or 800-986-9505 (Spanish). Website: http://www.y-me.org/index.html.

Association of Cancer Online Resources (ACOR) at http://wwww.acor.org provides cancer information and electronic support groups.

Virtual Kid Puberty 101 at http://www.virtualkid.com cover s all the changes in your body, including the stages of breast development.

Breasts: Our Most Public Private Parts by Meema Spadola (Wildcat Canyon Press, 1998). Based on a documentary this book tells people's personal stories about breasts-from adolescents to older women.

Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book by Susan M. Love (Perseus Press, 1995). Comprehensive reference on all things relating to breasts, including screening, diagnosis, treatment, and research.

Copyright © 1999 by gURL and Roundtable Press

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2001

    Not for me

    While others may get use from this book, I really didn't find anything in it for me. I have no idea why my mom gave it to me and encouraged me to read it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2009

    Great book

    I bought this book back in 1997 abit after it came out and I loved it back then and I love it now. I passed it down to my little sister and niece when they were 11 and 10 since they started developing so early. This book helped me have the great and open relationship I have with them now. I talk to them about anything. This book taught them to feel comfortable with themselves. it is a great book for any and every girl out there. I am now a parent to a boy and even though this book doesnt have many things for a boy. After all its called GURL.. I will be showing him this book. It is very educational. I wish they would come up with another more updated version since many things have changed since 1996. Buy this book as a gift or to keep around its worth every penny.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2007

    most informative book I've ever read!

    This book was more than helpful, it helped me n my friends lead better lives we got the answers we needed to the questions we couldn't ask our parents!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2007

    Why not see the penis?

    For the person who wrote why should there be pictures of a man's penis, that is just being ignorant. Girls should know what it is and what to expect. They can't go around only knowing about themselves. Its good for them to know about the other sex as well and unless planning on being a virgin the rest of your life is what you want, you need to be comfortable seeing and talking about the penis. I'm sorry to be so matter-of fact about the situation but penises aren't bad. Girls should know what they are.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2005

    teenage boy loves book

    my name is timmy and i got this book as a christmas present from my grandmother. it is a hard subject to talk about with parents and peers and the book answered all of my questions. it helped me to become a responsible teen and understand my body better. i hope you get this for your son too.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2005

    excellent

    Very straightforward,unedited,and easy to read. I gave this book to my daughter when she was 12,right after she got her period. This book has done nothing but open the lines of communication for herself and I. I would recommend this book. Today she is a healthy active 15 year old with more knowledge and positive information then I ever had. If only my devout catholic mother could have given me this book!!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2004

    BEST IMFORMATIVE BOOK FOR GIRLS!

    I first got this book because it was pink. And of course because it gave information on growing girls, as I was. I purchased this book when I was 16 years old and I read the book front to back. It's such a well informative book that believe it or not, at the age of 21, I still go back and read it when I need to know certain things. That's how good this book is. Thanx

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2004

    This is a great book

    When i first i thought it was going to be a dumb book about girly girls but it wasn't i started to read it and it was a great book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2003

    good book

    this book is good way to show girl teens how to live life with girls and yes, boys. loved it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2003

    GREAT BOOK

    This book is perfect for the growing teen/woman. I have never read anything so informative. It tells you about stuff that every teen should know and more. Yes it is alittle graphic and very specific BUT i think that adds something that you cant or havent been able to find anywhere else. I absolutley love this book and i would recomend it to any teen going through life. GET IT!! 5 stars!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2002

    A real book for todays young woman

    'Deal with it' is the best adolesence information book on the market today. It is informative, truthfull, and entertaining. It is most appropriate for girls ages 14 to 18 and is well worth the small invesment.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2001

    It Rules

    Deal With It was such a good book rich in detail and information on what a girl needs to know.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2001

    Its the best book I've read

    This is a great book for teenage girls like me.(I'll be turning 15 in less than a month.) This book answers all the imbarrasing questions u were afraid to ask. I think every gurl should own one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2001

    It's Great!

    I think this book was excellent! It has everything you need to know about being a girl and how to deal with it! It has detailed information so it won't leave you hanging if you still didn't uinderstand the anser that it gave you!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2001

    WONDERFUL BOOK!

    This book is the best book to get for a teenager! It helps them feel more aware of some of the issues they have to deal with or will have to deal with! It also gives you a place to read this stuff, because no teenager would to a parent to find out this kind of stuff. It makes you feel more secure with your body and yourself. A great book, every teenager should own one!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2001

    the BEST book i have ever read!

    this book gives great details about things a teen could never ask her parents. it helped me alot!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2000

    This book Rox!!

    Deal With It! was the best book I have read in a long time! With fun and informative information presented in a colorful format, this book was great! I learned more about friends, romance, family and body then I would have ever learned in my health class!! As a teen, I thought this book was perfect because it had answers to all those questions I was afraid to ask! A great buy for any teen or young teen wanting to learn!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2000

    good book to read?

    this book is to graphic. they show pics of a penis in it. not good. a book for girls about the women body shouldnt have the male genitaila in it!!! I dont understand why a book about the women talks about a mans penis. If someone could give me one good reason for why a women need to know about a man penis please tell me. Why does she need to know about that? also i do not see a need for all the grahic pictures. Other then that the book is good. It explains all things a girl my want or need to know.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2000

    A Book For All Gurls

    This book told me everything from what a Yeast infection is to why people have sex at a young age. After reading this I thought more about myself and I understood myself better. This book is one not to be thought little of. READ IT!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2000

    Awesome Book

    Deal With It was a great book that anwsered a lot of questions that I would be embarrassed to ask others. It helps you without making you feel stupid. I especially like how they have comments in it from other teenagers. Its very inspirational! Be sure and get it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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