Puberty is the process or a series of events which transforms a child into an adult. It is a period of significant changes, physical, emotional as well as psychological. There is nothing to be afraid about puberty as it is a natural and healthy process. The changes that an individual goes through during puberty are signs of moving from childhood to adulthood.
Parents can help children prepare for puberty, but in most cases when puberty hits, it will be a surprise for both children and the parents. This is partly because parents want to see their kids as kids forever. It will take some time to adjust to the fact that your cute little child is turning into a self-sufficient adult.
Even if you are prepared, you cannot know in advance when puberty will start. But, there are some common puberty symptoms that can help you predict the surprise and welcome it with preparation. Some of the symptoms of puberty can be invisible and it all happens slowly and gradually. Let us take a look at some visible common puberty symptoms and the changes associated with them.
The first visible sign of puberty in girls is a breast bud. The breasts begin to develop with the growth of a small amount of tissue, in the size of a coin, under the nipple. When the breasts start growing, two things can occur and there is nothing to be worried about. First, the breast buds can be very tender or sore. This is very normal. Second, both breasts may not start developing at the same time. It is normal for the left and right breasts to develop at different speeds. This can be uncomfortable, but is extremely normal.
Nipples will also undergo some changes during puberty. They may change color or some hair growth can be noticed. And this too is normal. Breast growth is one of the first common puberty symptoms. They will continue to grow and the difficulties will go away with time. This phase can be very stressful and uncomfortable for girls as the visible changes attract attention and comments. There is also a chance of comparing with friends and celebrities.
For some girls, growth of pubic hair can be the first puberty symptom, even before breasts buds. It starts as soft and light, and can become long and thick as girls progress further into puberty. Hair growth can be observed on legs, arms, armpits and sometimes upper lip too. These are all completely normal and there is nothing to be worried about or ashamed of. As a result of hair growth, girls start to sweat and it grows as the hair starts thickening. Even though there is no medical reason, some girls prefer to shave their legs and armpits and it should be done carefully and hygienically.
Periods and Vaginal Discharge
The first period usually happens around 2 years after puberty hits. It is better to explain to the kids what to expect right after the common puberty symptoms like breast buds or pubic hair starts showing up. Since it can happen unexpectedly, some girls can have anxiety about how to handle it. Periods should be considered as a normal part of growing up and girls should be made comfortable to talk about it and ask questions.
Small amount of white or clear vaginal discharge can be observed in some girls six months to one year prior to their first period. This is the result of the increased production of estrogen in the body. Premenstrual syndrome, popularly known as PMS, a group of symptoms including mood swings, depression, food cravings, fatigue and tender breasts that happen between ovulation and period is also commonly observed in 3 out of 4 menstruating women.
Breasts are the first to develop when you hit puberty, but that’s not all. Overall body grows. Some parts like the head, hands and feet may grow faster. As the body shape changes, it is common to gain weight. Hips will widen and the waist gets narrower. It is important for parents to understand and make kids understand that all bodies develop differently. There is no perfect shape even though the commercials and media paint a different picture. i.e. no need to be insecure about how the body develops.
Girls usually have this growth spurt before boys of the same age. The rate of this growth will be maximum between the time when the breast buds start to form and the first period. The rate slows down after the period.
With more sweat, enters Acne. Even though it can happen at any age, there can be a considerable increase when you reach puberty, as the changing hormones cause you to sweat more. Increased sweating under the armpits and elevated body odor are common during this time. Try not to touch them as it can worsen them. Understand that this too is a natural process, an inevitable step in growing up. Changes in skin and appearance of pimples will make girls to shower more often and keep their body clean.
Along with these common puberty symptoms, there are also the emotional and psychological changes. Even though most of these can be effectively handled using a basic knowledge of the condition and some emotional support, sometimes the problems can worsen and a doctor’s help might be useful.
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Puberty can be physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging. Each one will have to go through it in their own way. There is no ‘normal’ way and there is obviously no shortcut. With a clear understanding of the process, good emotional quotient and a bunch of close friends and trusted adults to talk to when needed, puberty can be easily navigated. Carmesi will always be with you on this journey, committed to make it comfortable and positive.
How did you stay positive when puberty hit you? What do you do to make the periods and PMS less uncomfortable? Share with us and help everyone else out here.