All about puberty – Yes, the word is a bit weird – but what is puberty? Puberty is the name given to the time when you start to develop and when your body goes through changes that turn you from a child into an adult.  During adolescence, your body grows faster than at any other time except when you were a baby. We’re talking about things like girls developing breasts and boys starting to look more like men.

It is essential to know the changes of puberty before they begin to occur. That way, you’ll know what to expect. It is also necessary to recall that we all go through these changes. It doesn’t matter where you live, whether you’re a boy or a girl, or whether you like vanilla or chocolate ice cream; you’re going to go through those changes. No two people are entirely alike, but what we do have in common is that we all go through puberty.

The moment of change

Youth usually instigates between the eons of eight and 13 in girls and between the ages of 9 and 15 in boys. Some start before or after those ages, and teens can start seeing puberty-related changes at any time during those years. This may help clarify why some of your friends still look like children while others seem more like adults.

One of the first signs of adolescence is hair growth; there was none before. Boys and girls notice that hair has begun to grow under their arms besides on their pubes (around the area of ​​the genitals). At first, the hair is light and sparse. Then, as they go through puberty, the hair is longer, thicker, curlier, and darker. Eventually, children begin to grow hair on their faces.

In girls, the hormones go to both of their ovaries. The ovaries contain eggs that girls have had in their bodies since birth. These hormones cause the ovaries to start making extra hormone called estrogen. Together, these hormones prepare a girl’s form to begin menstruation and to be able to become pregnant in the future.

A sudden growth!

Sometimes the body begins to increase. When you’re going through puberty, your shirts and pants get shorter daily. That’s because you’re going through a growth spurt. This time is usually two to three years long, and when it is at its peak, some children can grow four or more inches (10 or more centimetres) in a year. When this growth spurt is over, you will have reached your adult height or will be close to coming. But your stature isn’t the only thing that changes during puberty.

With this sudden growth, certain body portions, such as the feet, grow faster than the rest. Although this change is average, it can make you feel awkward or disproportionate. Eventually, the rest of your body changes shape, and you will feel less extreme.

The body is formed

During puberty, the body also develops and goes through changes. Children’s shoulders broaden, and their body becomes more muscular. If you notice a small growth on the nipples, you should not worry. This is normal and disappears in most children when they finish passing the time of puberty. The voice changes; sounds crack until it becomes deeper; the penis grows and widens, and the testicles enlarge. All these changes mean that the body develops as it should during puberty.

Girls wonder: When will I have my first period? That’s usually 18 months to two years after breasts start to develop. Menstruation (monthly cycle) is when blood comes out of the vagina. Although this sounds alarming, it is perfectly normal and means that the girl is growing and her body is preparing to have a baby in the future.

Facing the changes

During puberty, all those hormones in your body cause acne (pimples). These pimples usually appear during puberty, and you may have them during your teens. Spots can appear on the face, upper back, or upper chest. To control them, you must keep your skin clean. Your doctor can also give you proposals for clearing up acne. The good news is that acne usually clears up or gets much better by the end of adolescence.

And the smell?

That unpleasant smell is familiar to all people. Many teens notice a new smell under their arms and on other parts of their bodies when they start puberty – and it’s not a good smell!  When you enter puberty, hormones affect the glands in your skin, producing chemicals that smell bad. Teenagers also sweat more during puberty, and their skin becomes oily.

What can you do to avoid having a bad smell? The most important thing is to be clean. Take daily showers in the morning before going to school or at night before bed. It’s also a decent idea to take a shower after sports or exercise. Another way to control odour is by using deodorant. It is also good to use an antiperspirant deodorant.

Is there more?

Boys and girls start to notice other changes when they begin puberty. Sometimes girls see and feel colourless fluid coming out of their vaginas. That doesn’t mean a bad thing – it’s another sign of changes in the body and hormones.

Boys will begin to have erections (when the penis fills with blood and becomes hard). Sometimes erections happen when boys think about something sexual, or they can happen for no reason. Children can also have something called nocturnal emission (wet dreams). That occurs when the penis becomes erect while the teen sleeps and ejaculates. When you ejaculate, semen – fluid containing sperm – comes out of the penis. That’s why they’re called wet dreams—they happen while the teen is sleeping, and his underwear and bedding may be a bit wet when he wakes up. Wet dreams occur less frequently as adolescents go through puberty, eventually wholly disappearing.

Changes can make you feel strange.

In the same way that hormones change the outside of your body, they can change your inside. During puberty, you may feel confused or feel strong emotions that you have never felt before. You may notice that you find yourself overly sensitive or easily angered. Some teens often lose their temper and get angry with their friends and family. You may also feel anxious about changes in your body.

Sometimes it isn’t easy to control these new emotions. It is essential to know that at the same time that your body is adjusting to the new hormones, your mind is also changing. Remember that people are not trying to hurt your feelings or make you angry on purpose. It’s probably not your family or friends’ fault – it’s just that your mind is trying to adjust to puberty.

It’s easy to feel uncomfortable or nervous when talking about sex, but it is necessary to have the correct information. Some teens talk to their parents about sex, and they answer their questions. But if you don’t feel comfortable talking to them about sex, there are plenty of other people you can talk to; for instance, your doctor, the school nurse, a teacher, a school counsellor, or any adult with whom you feel comfortable talking.

Different ways to develop

We all differ from others; therefore, not all of us develop in the same way. Each of us goes through puberty at our own pace. Maybe some of your friends already have curves, and you don’t. It may be that your friend has already changed his voice, and you think yours still sounds childish. Or, you’re tired of hearing that you’re the tallest girl in your class or the only boy who needs a shave.

In some cases, adolescents who start developing too early or too late need to be tested or treated. If you’re concerned about this, talk to your parents or doctor about making an appointment to be examined.