Puberty is the time when you experience a growth spurt; but it happens in stages. One fine morning, you realise that you have grown taller and rounder; your breasts bigger, hair at places you never had and finally onset of menstrual cycles. It is a time when your confidence as well as sensitivity rises at the same time. Girls attain puberty and sexual maturity earlier than boys.
- Your body is changing: Your body undergoes transformation from a child to an adult, preparing you for reproduction under the influence of hormones. Some other changes observed are increase in height and weight, and appearance of first period (menarche). Body fat increases more in upper arms, upper back, thighs and hips.
- Breast development begins : (Thelarche) This may be the first sign of puberty in girls as early as 9 years.
- Increase in hair growth: This appears on your arms and legs, armpits and pubic area, which maybe thicker and darker. You might sweat more and it might be smelly too.
- Your First Menstrual Period (menarche): This happens soon after breast development between 11 to 13 years. It can be irregular to start with and also you might observe pain and discomfort in the lower abdomen (cramps or period pain) along with backache, bloating, nausea, fatigue and loose motions.
- Be prepared for premenstrual syndrome : Due to hormone surges, there might be mood swings just prior to menstruation (premenstrual syndrome PMS) associated with difficulty in sleep, irritability, fluid retention, anxiety and diet cravings. You can cope up with these symptoms by maintaining hydration and doing regular exercise.
Consult a doctor – A Gynaecologist at the earliest:
You should consult your Gynecologist if there are no signs of puberty till 14 years of age and no menstruation till 16 years of age. To cope up with your bodily changes, it is advisable to have a healthy balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and to maintain a healthy weight.
Your fluctuation in mood and emotions is a part of growing up; so don’t worry and be open to discuss your problems with any adult in your family as they have gone through the same changes. Feel good about yourself and welcome the changes of puberty.