Meaning of puberty
Puberty is a period in which the body of growing boys and girls begins to develop and change as they become an adult. Girls develop breasts and start menstruation, and boys develop a deeper voice and start to look like men. The average age for girls to begin puberty is 11, while for boys the average age is 12.
When does puberty occur?
The onset of puberty varies among individuals. Puberty usually occurs in girls between the ages of 9 and 14, while in boys it generally occurs between the ages of 12 and 15.
Physical changes for girls at puberty
The physical changes that happen for girls around puberty include:
- Menstruation – Also referred to as period, menstruation is the process in which women discharge blood and other materials from the lining of the uterus at intervals of about one month from puberty until menopause, except during pregnancy. menstrual periods will start, where they bleed from the vagina each month. Periods are part of a monthly cycle where the body gets ready for pregnancy.
- Height – There is rapid increase in height during puberty
- Curves develop – Girls hips widen and their body get curvier
- Breasts start to form – the first stage is called ‘budding’. Sometimes, the breasts are of different sizes. This is completely normal.
- Hair growth – hair starts to grow around the pubic area and under the arms, and hair on the legs and arms will darken
- Vaginal discharge – Girls may start to get a clear or whitish discharge from the vagina. This is a natural self-cleaning process and is completely normal
Physical Changes for Boys at Puberty
The physical changes that happen for boys around puberty include:
- Broadening of chest and shoulders.
- Deepening of voice and appearance of facial hair.
- Appearance of body hair and pubic hair. ...
- Increase in size of genitals. Testicles and penis become bigger
- Ability to ejaculate - An ejaculation is the discharge of semen that happens when a man has an orgasm. Orgasm is a climax of sexual excitement, characterized by feelings of pleasure centered in the genitals and (in men) experienced as an accompaniment to ejaculation.
- Increase in Height and muscle
- Wet dreams – Boys may start having wet dreams, where they ejaculate in their sleep. This is a completely normal part of growing up
- Erections– sometimes erections happen when boys in puberty get nervous or excited, or for no reason at all, which can make them feel embarrassed.
- Breast changes – they might get some breast growth and tenderness. This is a normal response to the changing hormones in their body and will eventually go away.
Menstruation, or period, is normal vaginal bleeding that occurs as part of a woman's monthly cycle. Every month, your body prepares for pregnancy. If no pregnancy occurs, the uterus, or womb, sheds its lining. The menstrual blood is partly blood and partly tissue from inside the uterus.
Menstruation It is a major stage of puberty in girls; it’s one of the many physical signs that a girl is turning into a woman. The first occurrence of menstruation is known as menarche. Menarche doesn’t happen until all the parts of a girl’s reproductive system have matured and are working together. Menstrual Cycles can range anywhere from 21 to 35 days in adults and from 21 to 45 days in young teens. The average menstrual cycle is 28 days long.
Body image is the way you feel about your physical appearance. People have differences in their physical appearances like: Size or shape of the body, Height, Colour of the skin, eyes and hair, etc. Some of these differences may be valued, while others may not. For instance, being tall may give a male more prestige among his peers. A short man may then feel bad about his body. A person with lighter skin colour may be assumed to be more beautiful than someone with darker skin.
Having a positive body image means that, most of the time, you see yourself accurately, you feel comfortable in your body, and you feel good about the way you look.
Positive Body Image
- A clear, true perception of your shape--you see the various parts of your body as they really are.
- You celebrate and appreciate your natural body shape and you understand that a person’s physical appearance says very little about their character and value as a person.
- You feel proud and accepting of your unique body and refuse to spend an unreasonable amount of time worrying about food, weight, and calories.
- You feel comfortable and confident in your body.
Negative Body Image
- A distorted perception of your shape--you perceive parts of your body unlike they really are.
- You are convinced that only other people are attractive and that your body size or shape is a sign of personal failure.
- You feel ashamed, self-conscious, and anxious about your body.
- You feel uncomfortable and awkward in your body.
It is common to struggle with body image. However, it is important to have a positive body image. Severe negative body image can lead to serious eating and exercise disorders.
Emotional Changes for Girls and Boys at Puberty
A lot of emotional changes happen around puberty for both boys and girls. They include:
- Coping with a changing body – young adults have to deal with sudden physical changes. They now have a new body shape and may start to feel self-conscious about how they look. They may feel embarrassed if they think they are different from their friends. Other people may start to treat them differently.
- Frustration because they feel different – it can be difficult coping with early physical changes.
- Mood swings – the sudden release of hormones into a young person’s body can bring about extreme emotions and mood swings, but this is only temporary and will settle after a while.
- Energy changes – the physical growth and other changes can make a young person feel full of energy one minute and tired the next.
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