What’s Happening to Me?
Do you know what happens to your body during puberty? For some of you, these changes may already be taking place.
Puberty is the phase we go through when we physically change from kids to adults. Also called “adolescence,” and it's different for everyone.
Do you know which changes happen to girls and which changes happen to boys, and which happen to both?
Changes that happen in both boys and girls: - Body sweats more - Skin and hair become more oily - Body has sudden growth spurts - Body gains weight and gets taller - Hair begins to grow around genitals, under the arms
- Hair on the legs becomes coarse and darker - Body produces more sex hormones - Pimples (acne) may appear
Click further to see the changes that happen in girls!
Changes that happen in girls: - Hips grow wider - Breast and nipples grow larger - Menstruation begins - Vagina may start to produce whitish fluid - Ovaries grow larger and start to release eggs monthly
Click on to see the changes that happen in boys!
Changes that happen in boys: - Testicles and penis grow larger - Shoulders and chest grow bigger - Muscles develop - Hair begins to grow on face and chest - Voice box grows bigger, causing voice to crack and get deeper - Adam’s apple gets larger and becomes more noticeable - Sperm production begins
Now these don’t all happen at once.
Thank goodness! But when do they start, and do they happen in any particular order?
There are some patterns, but no rules. Usually, puberty starts between the ages of 9 and 13 for girls, and between 12 and 14 for boys. But some people start earlier, and some start later.
Why do some people start puberty later than others?
For the most part, it’s just natural differences. Sometimes when you start puberty is genetic: if your parents started changing late, you might too. Sometimes it depends on your own personal hormone level. Sometimes it has more to do with your environment.
How can your environment affect when you start changing?
A lot of different ways, actually. Maybe it’s your nutrition: if you’re not eating well, your body wont have the fuel it needs to change. When your body is growing and changing, it’s more important than ever to eat a healthy, balanced diet.
Eat fruits and healthy vegetables as often as you can!
Hygiene and keeping clean are really important for puberty too. Simple things like washing our hands before eating or after using the toilet, or making sure that the water we drink is clean, can go a long way to keeping us and everyone around us healthy.
Also, keeping our living spaces clean and washing regularly can help, right? And, because our skin produces more oil in puberty, we have to bathe regularly to keep from smelling bad, and wash our faces every day to help prevent pimples.
That’s right. With all that going on, no wonder puberty is a tough time for everyone.
And that’s not all, either. The hormones that make you bodies change also affect the way we feel and think. Particularly at certain times of the month!
What happens then?
I’m talking about menstruation. You know, our monthly period?
Yuck! I don’t want to hear about that!
Well, you should, it will affect your life too. Menstruation isn’t gross, it’s a natural part of the human life cycle. It’s what makes it possible for a woman to have children. And since a lot of men want children too, they need to know how the process works.
Menstruation (also called menses) is a monthly cycle in a woman’s body. Every month, the uterus (or womb) inside a woman’s body builds up a lining of blood and tissue that, if she gets pregnant, will help transform the egg and sperm into a baby. Also, every month, the ovaries release one egg into the womb to be fertilized. If it isn’t, than at the end of the month the unfertilized egg and the blood and tissue lining will flow out of the woman, which we call our monthly “period.”
And the hormones in a woman’s body fluctuate according to this cycle as well!
The monthly cycle is usually about 28 days long, but during adolescence it can vary a lot. The length of the period itself is also different but about 2 and 8 days. For a lot of women, their monthly period is a time of: - Cramps and belly aches - Backaches - Tenderness in the breasts - Tiredness - Irritability
And on top of all of that you’re bleeding? What do you do about that?
We use sanitary products like cotton pads to catch the blood. We have to change them frequently, but other than that we can keep doing all the things we normally do!
Wow, that’s a lot of hassle. I’m glad I don’t have a hormonal cycle.
You may not menstruate, boys, but you do have a hormonal cycle. Men’s hormone levels rise and fall during the month too, and it can affect their moods and emotions too.
And, on top of our hormones, we’ve got a lot of social and emotional changes happening.
Like what?
Social: - Struggle for acceptance with friends - Increased desire to be independent from parents - Increased desire to spend more time with friends - Increased desire for privacy
Emotions, happy!
Emotional: - Self-consciousness - Development of sexual/romantic feelings - Feeling uncomfortable in your own body, because of how it’s changing - Fear of rejection/isolation - Inquisitiveness
Generally, boys and girls pass through quite a lot of changes during adolescence. These changes are due to genetic and hormonal factors, and are a completely normal part of growing up!
Enjoy! and bye for now
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