An unprecedented survey by the Brazilian Society of Urology showed that there was a deterioration in the health of adolescents during the pandemic. According to the first data presented by the entity, 76% showed a withdrawal from living with friends and 67.65% of participants had an increase in anxiety, mood swings and irritability.
Another worrying data raised by the organization was in relation to sedentary lifestyle. In the survey, 60.29% of the participants stated that there was a reduction in physical activities.
For Daniel Suslik Zylbersztejn, coordinator of the Campaign #VemProUro, of the Brazilian Society of Urology (SBU), these numbers express long-term consequences. “Obesity, a direct consequence of sedentary lifestyle and eating high-calorie foods (characteristic of junk food), is considered the great evil of the 21st century, which directly causes diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia (increased cholesterol)”, he says.
The specialist also points out that due to these changes, other diseases usually appear, such as stroke (stroke), acute myocardial infarction and also kidney diseases. In adolescents in particular, obesity also brings psychosocial problems, such as distortion of self-image, loss of self-confidence and even bullying.
Sex is still taboo
SBU also addressed issues such as sexuality and the results were worrisome: only 30% of respondents frequently talk about the subject with parents and family. 50% of them said that the school is also an uncomfortable environment to talk about the topic.
Zylbersztejn reinforces that sex as a taboo further removes teenagers from reality, increasing the risks of excessive use of social networks and consequently increasing pornography. “It is a fact that adolescents are more exposed to pornography due to the presence of the internet and that the pandemic may have exacerbated this behavior of virtual consumption”, he reinforces.
“This exaggerated exposure to pornography also brings misconceptions about sexuality, in which young people are used to seeing women with physical attributes of actresses (or modernly successful camgirlls) and, in a way, change expectations about the appearance of girls with those who have real contact. “
Another worrying fact that drew the attention of the research authors was that 15% of the adolescents said they had already had sexual intercourse, but 44% of them did not use condoms the first time. “The rates of HIV contamination in our country among adolescents aged 15 to 19 years increased 3 times over 2004 to 2015, showing that we may be experiencing what we modernly call ‘condom fatigue’,” says the urologist.
For him, the most effective treatment of HIV infections and the purchase of the morning-after pill to prevent pregnancy are factors that have somehow not contributed to the increase in condom use in recent years. The other STIs, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis are also very present.
The most important thing, according to the doctor, is to have a new means of connection and communication with adolescents to show the importance of condom use and, perhaps, communication with parents is also not being the most effective.
Boys don’t go to the urologist
The research showed that adolescents only go to the professional specialized in cases of urgency and emergency. In addition, about 30% of young people do not go to the doctor regularly, and the most sought after specialties are: general practitioner and pediatrics.
The data also show that only 1% of male adolescents have ever been to the urologist and 34% of the girls visit the gynecologist annually.
* With collaboration from Nathalie Ayres