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What is Puberty?

Puberty is a very important phase marking the transition from child to young adult. This article will help you understand what puberty is and what changes it brings.

Simple Meaning of Puberty

  • Puberty is a transition phase where boys and girls undergo adult-like changes.
  • During this, hormonal changes in the body cause several physical and mental developments.
  • It can begin anywhere between 11-16 years depending on the age.
  • After puberty, a person’s body progresses from child to adult. So it’s a normal process.

How Does Puberty Occur in Girls?

  • In girls it starts between ages 10-11 years and lasts until 13-14 years.
  • The first sign is start of periods. Ovulation also begins around this time.
  • Breast development happens, weight increases, hips get wider.
  • Hair grows in private parts and underarms. Acne on skin is also common.
  • Height increases, body shape and appearance changes as well.
  • Mood swings and emotional changes also occur.

How Does Puberty Occur in Boys?

  • In boys, puberty usually begins between 11-12 years of age.
  • Testosterone release causes the changes. Muscles and strength increase, shoulders broaden.
  • Height and weight also increase. Voice becomes deeper.
  • Growth of testicles, penis and scrotum occurs. Hair grows underarms and in pubic area.
  • Mood swings, aggression also common in boys during this age.

Usual Age of Puberty Onset

  • Girls: 8-13 years
  • Boys: 9-14 years

This is the average range but some children may start a bit early or late which is still considered normal.

Different Phases of Puberty

puberty-stages
source: Youtube

Puberty lasts anywhere from 2 to 4 years. During this, children go through these 5 phases:

1. Prepubescent Phase

  • When hormonal changes begin but no physical changes yet visible.
  • Lasts until about 8-9 years of age. Emotional and mental changes occur.

2. Breast and Testicular Changes

  • Breast development in girls and testicle/scrotum growth in boys becomes prominent.
  • Hair growth also starts in this phase.

3. Growth Spurt Phase

  • Height increases rapidly leading to relative growth changes. Teens look visibly different in this phase.
  • Weight also increases. Muscular and bone changes occur.

4. Menstruation and Voice Changes

  • Menstruation and ovulation begins now.
  • Boys experience voice deepening. Pubic and underarm hair develops.

5. Physical Maturity

  • Full growth has happened now. Hip shape and breast development complete in girls.
  • Boys gain muscle strength and reproductive features are developed.

These are the five main phases of puberty.

Changes Occurring During Puberty

The changes in the teens can be confusing to cope with. This information will help understand them.

Physical Changes

  • Changes in height and weight
  • Body shape and fat distribution
  • Hair growth in private areas
  • Genital growth and development
  • Skin changes like acne
  • Breast development (girls)
  • Increased muscles and strength (boys)
  • Onset of periods (girls)
  • Voice cracking (boys)

Mental and Emotional Changes

  • Frequent mood swings
  • Problems like depression, anxiety
  • Low self-esteem and confidence
  • Increased stress and tension
  • Aggression, irritation
  • Lack of concentration and focus
  • Intense emotional reactions
  • Feelings of isolation

There are many such changes requiring time to adjust. Proper guidance and support is needed.

What If Puberty Is Delayed?

Sometimes puberty can be slightly delayed in some children. This is called delayed puberty.

What Is Delayed Puberty?

  • If no changes occur even after 16 years of age, it is delayed puberty.
  • In girls, if periods don’t start until 15 years it is considered delayed puberty.
  • If boys have no genital growth or voice change even at 14 years, then delayed puberty.

Causes of Delayed Puberty:

  • Hormonal problems like pituitary or thyroid issues
  • Genetic conditions
  • Chronic illnesses
  • Weight loss or anorexia
  • Excessive exercise
  • High stress
  • Environmental toxins

Treatment:

  • Underlying cause should be treated
  • Doctor can prescribe hormonal therapy or steroids to induce puberty
  • Ensuring proper nutrition
  • Avoiding stress and over-exercising

What is Precocious Puberty?

When puberty starts much earlier than normal age in children, it is called precocious puberty.

How Does Precocious Puberty Occur?

  • In girls, changes starting before 8 years of age
  • In boys, changes before 9 years of age
  • Early onset of periods, breast growth etc

When Can It Be Problematic?

  • Physical and emotional growth is imbalanced
  • Can cause short height as bones close early
  • Social and emotional problems may occur

Ways To Manage It:

  • Medications like hormone blockers need to be taken
  • MRI tests done to check for underlying causes
  • Sometimes surgery may be required
  • Providing emotional support is critical

So any early puberty should be urgently discussed with a doctor.

Caring for Kids During Puberty

Parents need to provide complete care for the child during puberty phase. Follow these caring tips:

  • Provide healthy diet with plenty of protein
  • Promote physical activity but avoid over-exercise
  • Explain the changes to child so they don’t feel scared
  • Maintain proper hygiene like bathing, cleanliness etc
  • Emotional support to child is critical, talk to them
  • Get regular health checkups done
  • Allow peer interaction and participation in school activities
  • Ensure good sleep routine
  • Supervise internet activity

This way parents can help children adjust smoothly.

Tips To Stay Healthy During Puberty

Taking care of yourself is also essential during puberty. Some tips:

  • Have healthy and nutritious meals everyday
  • Exercise regularly but in moderation
  • Learn yoga for relaxation
  • Follow a proper sleeping routine
  • Spend time with friends and family
  • Take extra care during periods
  • Stretching provides relief for growing pains
  • Follow a hair and skin care routine
  • Keep your mind positive and have fun!

These tips will help you stay fit and fine during puberty!

Some Common Puberty Questions And Answers

At what age do periods start in girls?

Periods start in girls anytime between 8-13 years. Breast growth also happens around this age.

How to prevent pimples during puberty?

Keep face clean regularly. Control oiliness. Eat fresh fruits and greens. Don’t touch pimples as it can cause infection.

How long does puberty last?

It can take 2 to 4 years from onset of puberty signs to complete development. Timeline varies individually.

Are there side effects of masturbation during puberty?

No, masturbation has no side effects. It’s normal exploration during puberty. But avoid addiction.

How to handle mood swings during puberty?

Maintain proper sleep and diet. Exercise. Meditate to relax. Share feelings with someone. Be patient as this phase shall pass.

Remedies for period cramps during puberty?

Hot water bags, heating pads help relieve cramps. Drink water through the day. Do light exercise. Take anti-cramp medication.

There are many more doubts during the teenage years. Discuss with parents openly to get the right guidance.

Puberty – A Normal Transition

Puberty is a normal transition period with changes in body and mind. Embrace these positively and sail through smoothly. With care and support it can be made an easy phase. Stay healthy and keep negativity away! You are on the way to becoming a great adult!

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