Puberty signs

Puberty signs -puberty hormones

If you’re reading this, chances are your body is changing a lot right now, or will be soon as you enter puberty. So what is the P word?
Puberty is a name for the time when you start to change from a child to an adult. Puberty is normal – it happens to everyone. You may be looking forward to puberty or dreading it – or feel both ways! You'll go through a lot of changes, but you will still be YOU – with some important differences. Try to think of it as one of the great adventures of your life, because it is.

Puberty explained

Puberty is when your body begins to biologically mature, developing sexual characteristics such as breasts and growing pubic hair. When puberty is complete, you will physically be able to have a baby.
The physical and emotional changes of puberty don't always happen together. So you could begin to mature emotionally before any physical changes happen. In other words – you could feel older but still look like a kid. The reverse is also true – you could look older but still feel like a kid. Adolescence can be kind of crazy because you're no longer a child, but you're not yet an adult. The more aware you are of what's happening, the easier and less confusing it will be.

The science bit

Basically puberty is all about hormones. Hormones are substances produced by your body that control your body’s functions. As you approach puberty, a part of your brain called the pituitary gland begins releasing more and more specific hormones. These hormones stimulate your ovaries to produce oestrogen and another part of your body to produce other hormones called androgens. These hormones cause many of the physical changes that take place during puberty. You will probably notice changes in your breasts, first. You’ll also soon see hair growing under your arms and in the pubic area. Your body odour may change, and you may get acne. You will grow taller, gain weight, and your hips will get wider, too. You may notice that the long bones such as your arms and legs are lengthening, while your overall body size and internal organs (such as the heart, lungs and uterus) increase in size in response to these hormones, too.

When does puberty happen?

Puberty can start when you're 8 or not until you're 14, but can happen anytime in between. Generally, you can expect your first period about two years after the first signs of your breasts developing.
Take a look at these clues to help you figure out when you’re more likely to get your first period:

  • About two years after your breasts begin to develop
  • Within a year or so after you’ve developed pubic hair
  • After you start to notice some vaginal discharge (whitish or clear fluid that comes from your vagina).

If you develop earlier than most of your friends you can often feel 'weird' or self-conscious. That's normal. But if you develop later than most you can also feel strange – left out of the club. Remember, you’ll develop at your own pace and in your own time.

 

Sources

  • ACOG patient brochure 41: growing up. Always Changing Puberty education materials

  • Emans Laufer and Goldstein. Pediatric and Adolesent Gynecology. 4th edition.