A biological process that marks the transition from childhood to adolescence is Puberty. “Puberty is a period of the life span marked by major psychological, endocrine and physical changes that contribute to the metamorphosis of children into reproductively mature adolescents.” Puberty is when your body develops and changes as you grow from childhood to adult stage. It involves chains of the development stages that leads to the sex characteristics. Developments affect the body in many different ways in terms of shape, internal body systems and structure. Puberty occurs in both females and males. It mostly occurs in girls much faster than boys, usually between 10 to 14 years in girls, while in boys, it occurs in about two years later, between the ages of 12 and 16. Timing of puberty is not understood by many, but it is most likely by a number of factors. Girls will grow taller and they are able to have children approximately 4 years after the first signs of physical changes in Puberty.
Changes that happen in both boys and girls have an often predictable sequence of events. In girls, the first sign that a girl notices that her body is changing is her breast development, which occurs at an early age approximately at 11 years old. “About 10 to 15 percent will develop pubic hair before the breasts begin to bud.” A breast bud is small bump behind the nipple, after the breast buds appear, the nipples and the circle of the skin around the nipple gets bigger and a little darker. Furthermore, the circle behind the breast and the nipple starts to grow into a breast. Some girls may like wearing sports bras and some may dread it, or some may have mixed feelings about it. If girls look confused or worried, the good news is that they may approach an older family member or ask her doctor for help, which are generally good sources of information. The second sign of puberty is the appearing of pubic hair.
At first, the hair may be straight and soft but soon as it starts to fill it in it may become darker, curlier and thicker. In the next few years, the pubic hair grows up the lower abdomen, which finally spreads to the inner thighs. Approximately two years after the onset of pubic hair, it finally starts to grow under the arms as well. Females may gain baby fat which may give them a rounded belly. Some girls may have anxiety when this stage kicks in. Some girls may take it harsh as there is such pressure in achieving a slim body, and she may compare herself to an unrealistically portioned barbie doll. The final step of puberty for girls may be Menstruation. Many girls have many misconceptions and fears about this topic. Menstruation, mostly called periods, happens because of the hormonal changes in the girl’s body.
It sends a message to the girl’s body which causes the lining of her uterus to build up, which gets the uterus ready for a sperm. If the woman does not get pregnant, the lining then breaks and bleeds down. A girl’s period happens once a month and it usually last about 5 days. There are a couple ways to deal with the monthly menstruation. Most girls use a pad, that may come in different shapes or sizes depending on the girl, and it is made out of cotton. They are attachable to the underwear by having sticky wings on them. Another way to deal with period is using tampons. Many athletic girls use tampons which is more comfortable for sports such as soccer or swimming.
A tampon is a plug that is cotton that a girl may put it in her vagina if she feels comfortable in doing so. Most tampons come with a guide which guides girls into how to put it in. A grand tip for girls who use tampons is not leave it in there for more than 8 hours because this can cause an infection which is called toxic shock syndrome. Finally, another item that many girls find useful is a menstrual cup. A girl inserts the cup in her vagina and the cup will hold the blood until she empties it out. Approximately about 6-12 months before your first period you may start to notice fluid on your underwear. This fluid is white and does not have a smell, it is normal meaning it is just your body produces more estrogen and healthy bacteria in your vagina are growing. It can be hard as your body changes over time, it may change at a slower or a faster rate than your friends, but your body might just be changing at its natural rate.
In boys, puberty usually starts around the age of 11. As they enter puberty, their scrotum will become redder and thinner, as the testicles will start to grow. Their voice box will get bigger and the voice will “crack” which will become deeper in the future. An early stage that many boys have discovered that puberty is coming is that pubic hair forms on the base of the penis. Changes in the body start around the age of 13 for boys. Some changes may be penis gets longer as testicles continue to grow bigger. They may also notice that some breast tissues may form under the nipples, but in a few years it goes away. Boys begin to have wet dreams also called ejaculation at night. Wet dreams are when semen is discharged from the penis during ejaculation when the boy is sleeping.
Usually this happens when the boy dreams have sexual images. Involuntary erections may happen, and it is part of growing up for boys. It happens without a stimulus, meaning without the penis being touched and without the boy having sexual thoughts or dreams. Their social-emotional life may change as well. The skin may become oilier and there will be more sweat coming off their body. Acne is very common in boys as it starts with the increase of the production of hormone. Male sex hormones also called testosterone, signals the body in making more oil in the glands, in other words it is called bacteria. Deodorant may be needed in order to prevent body odor caused by the breakdown of bacteria in armpits. Arms, legs, hands, and feet may grow much faster than other parts of the boy making the him awkward. In most boys, as muscle develops, total body fat will drop.
Just like in girls, boys will have mood and emotions changes. This mostly changes because of the increased hormones level in the body, in most cases, boys and girls are hard to come to terms with all the changes that are taking place. Both boys and girls will need support during these changes. Many researchers have stated that puberty is starting much earlier than before. Many studies have shown that girls have entered puberty by the age of 7-8 years old. Typically, this happens, when there is a combination of environment, genetics and sometimes even weight. Late puberty or delayed puberty is when a teen goes through these changes much later than the usual age range. By doing a blood test, it can reveal any hormonal problems. By doing an MRI or Ultrasound scan can show if the glands are working properly inside the body.
Diabetes, kidney disease or asthma may be the reason to late puberty and conditions that are genetic such as androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS). AIS is when a person who is genetically male, who is resistant to male hormones, which as a result, the person may have some or all of the physical traits of a woman but genetically it is male. According to the Genetics Home Reference, “People with this form of the condition have the external sex characteristics of females, but do not have a uterus and therefore do not menstruate and are unable to conceive a child.” This form of syndrome happens in 1 in 20,000 births. Complete AIS may be treated with a replacement therapy after puberty, in where corrective surgery is performed and to match gender identity. Another genetic condition that may cause troubles to young girls and boys during puberty is called Central Precocious Puberty, which causes a very early sexual development in girls and boys.
Although, the typical age for puberty starts for girls is 10 to 14 years old and for boys is 12 to 16 years, this condition starts to begin to show signs of puberty before the age of 8, for boys the disorder may start before the age of 9. The results of this, children may be taller than their peers, nevertheless, they may stop growing early, since their growth spurt has started before the average age. As stating in the Genetics Home Reference, “Central Precocious puberty is estimated to affect 1 in 5,000 to 10,000 girls. The condition is less common in boys.” The cause of this disease in boys and girls is unknown, but the probable cause is a mutation in a gene. This gene called MKRN3 plays a major role in directing the beginning of puberty. Researchers have stated that MKRN3 holds back the release of GnRH from the hypothalamus, in other words stimulates the onset of puberty much earlier than normal.
“Either sons or daughters can have central precocious puberty, although researchers suspect that girls are more severely affected than boys, because the onset of puberty is even earlier than normal in girls than in boys.” according to Genetics Home Reference. Treatment for Central Precocious Puberty (CPP) is seeing your child’s pediatrician if you think your child is showing puberty too soon. A medication called “Luprondepot-ped” can help slow down growth until the appropriate time for the child’s life. Most of these genetic conditions that may get in the way of puberty, may go away if it is treated properly. Since boys and girls are growing as they start puberty, they will need sleep, food and exercise more than ever. The changing body will need a lot of sleep. Puberty will take up a lot of energy from one’s body. Most adolescents will need minimum 9 hours of sleep each night. Some teenagers will need more.
Luteinizing hormone is a hormone which is released from the pituitary gland that will stimulate female ovulation and the androgen in males. Many experts believed that luteinizing hormone (LH) connects only when deep sleep is occurring. LH plays an important role of reproduction. It is very important when children are in the process of puberty, it is important to try to keep adolescents on a regular sleeping pattern. When teens do not get the necessary sleep patterns over a couple of days, it may affect the biological clocks and may hurt their quality of their sleep. Eating a balanced diet that includes all food groups such as carbohydrates, protein, dairy products, fruits and vegetables and fats and sugar. Many adolescents do not exercise, due to the lack of time, lack of energy, or even lack of motivation.
Two ways to encourage at least sixty minutes of daily exercise for your children, is exercising with them or involving them in a sport. Sports involve moving the body and it is very good for overall health. Physical activity will combat health conditions, it will also help control weight and tests have shown that sports will improve mood, boost energy and will definitely provide better sleep. Some kids worry a lot about their weight, that they may try unhealthy and dangerous things to change their image physically. Being in a technology era, most girls and boys are affected by being in “perfect” body. A girl may want to look like a barbie with medium breasts and wide hips and perfect legs.
A boy may want to look like a muscular man that all girls may want to fall in love with. Disconnecting the devices will help children be in a less stressed environment, healthier, and a happier family. Being active and spending less time on screens will benefit the family in the future. The brain in complete physical development is a major part in the youth. Puberty happens to everyone and it is an ongoing process in life. Children will need space and privacy if needed, to express their individuality and make independent decision as they grow older into a responsible adult. Young people make important decisions on their way to adulthood. Puberty is one fascinating transition that many professionals have wonder throughout its lifespan and as years will pass, there will be more reasons on why puberty will be crucial to one.
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