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What’S Going On Down There

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  • 1. WHAT’S GOING ON DOWN THERE? A child’s guide to puberty. By: Thomas Cosgrove and Caitlin Widdicombe
  • 2. Table of Contents Introduction……………………………………………………………………….1 Hair Growth……………………………………………………………………….2 Growth Spurts………………………………...................................................3 Weight Gain……………………………………………………………………….4 Acne………………………………………………………………………………..5 Body Odor…………………………………………………………………………6 Body Development………………………………………………………………7-8 Menstruation………………………………………………………………….......9 Social Development……………………………………………………………..10 Conclusion………………………………………………………………………..11
  • 3. Introduction So, you may be wondering: what is puberty, and why is it happening to my body? Fortunately, these questions are normal to ask, and can be answered very simply. Puberty is a normal process of development that occurs when a child’s body is ready to become an adult. This is marked by menstruation, hair growth, growth spurts, acne, body odor, and breast and penis development. When you reach around the age of 11, your body starts preparing itself to turn into a big, mature adult. Why? Hormones, of course! Hormones are chemicals in your body that signal puberty to begin. In this book, we will look at the different (and completely normal) changes that occurs during puberty, and why it happens.
  • 4. Hair Growth When you enter into puberty, you may notice some changes happening to your body. One of them may be hair growth in odd places. In boys, hair starts growing under the arms, legs, and in the pubic area (between the legs). Chest hair may appear, and some may need to begin shaving. This is similar to hair growth in girls, but with some minor changes. Girls start growing hair under the arms, legs, and pubic area, but this is usually marked by breast development. Hair growth in these places may be embarrassing, but it is completely normal and a natural process.
  • 5. Growth Spurts As you enter puberty, your body is growing and it’s happening really fast! Growth spurts lasts for about 2 to 3 years, and you can grow up to 4 inches in one year. At the end of puberty, you’ll have reached your adult height. For girls, the average height is 5 feet 4 inches. For boys, the average height is 5 feet 9 inches. This, however, differs greatly among races, genders, and cultures. So, why does this growth spurt happen? Hormones! The same hormones that encourages hair growth and a girl’s first menarche causes your bone joints to open up and increase in density to prepare itself to grow.
  • 6. Weight Gain As your body becomes taller, you will also gain weight. Boy’s shoulders grow wider and muscular, while girl’s bodies become curvier. Girl’s hips become wider, her breasts more fuller, and overall more shapely. Weight gain starts at the beginning of your growth spurt, around age 10 for girls and age 12 for boys. You may feel awkward at first, but your body is trying to catch up. Unfortunately, weight gain leads to peer pressure, and peer pressure can cause some adolescents to have a negative body image, and this can develop into serious disorders. To prevent this, you need to eat healthy, exercise regularly, and stay active.
  • 7. Acne Some side effects of puberty, however, aren’t very pleasant. Acne, also known as pimples, is triggered by puberty hormones and starts around the beginning of puberty. They can show up on your face, back, shoulders, or upper chest. How do pimples form? Acne is caused by pores (small openings in the skin) that contain a hair and oil gland. These pores become clogged by dead skin cells and oil, and wah-lah! It becomes a pimple. Although pimples can be embarrassing, washing your face and seeing a dermatologist can decrease the amount of pimples you have. And the good news? By the end of adolescence, most pimples will have disappeared!
  • 8. Body Odor Another unfortunate side effect of puberty is body odor. As your body starts developing into a young adult, your sweat glands are working overtime. Growth spurts, new emotions, and physical activities increases the amount you sweat, and sweat can sometimes mean odor. Luckily, there’s a simple solution. Many drugstores have a wide variety of deodorants and anti-perspirants that can be applied to the underarm to reduce sweat and odor.
  • 9. Body Development One of the most important and drastic changes your body endures during puberty is the development of breasts in girls and testicle and penis development in boys. Body part development is triggered by puberty hormones, and can develop earlier or later than expected. They differ in size, shape, color, and thickness – all of which are perfectly normal. Boys In boys, the first body change is growth of your testicles. The skin of the scrotum becomes thinner and hangs lower, and this is the first signal that you have entered puberty. The penis also begins to grow bigger. As a boy’s pubic area develops, his vocal cords also develop. His voice will begin to get deeper and “crack” as it reaches it’s full maturity.
  • 10. Girls Breast development in girls occurs around the ages of 8 and 11. There are 5 stages of breast development, although it is normal to skip some. Some girls wear a training bra to offer a small amount of support, and to help while playing sports. Often one breast grows faster than the other, and this is completely normal as well. Breast growth also signals the arrival of a girl’s period, which is described in the next page.
  • 11. Menstruation When a girl reaches the age of 12, her body starts preparing itself for it’s first menarche, or first period. Menstruation is the releasing of eggs from the ovaries and the passing of blood and tissue from the uterus. When her body starts releasing high levels of estrogen, a female hormone, the uterus lining thickens and prepares itself to release an egg. If this egg is fertilized (which will grow into a baby), then no blood will shed. If it isn’t, then you have your period! The menstruation cycle usually takes 28 days, but can be shorter or longer. No periods are ever the same, and can differ in which age you start, how long they last for and how strong they are.
  • 12. Social Development During puberty, there are other changes that occur besides physical ones. Your brain becomes more adapt to it’s surroundings, and you start to view the world differently. These developments can occur at any time, however, and some teens progress faster than others. You may notice that you start to: 1. Develop the ability to think abstractly 2. Become concerned with philosophy, politics, and social issues 3. Think long-term 4. Set goals 5. Compare yourself with your peers Your mind is developing to think like an adult!
  • 13. All in all, puberty is a stressful and exciting time in a young adult’s life. It causes drastic changes in your appearance, such as hair growth, growth spurts, weight gain, and body development, and drastic hormonal changes, such as acne, body odor, and the start of menstruation. You may feel abnormal and different while going through these changes, and you’re not alone. Your peers may tell you that you’re a “freak” for already having breasts, or having a deep voice. Fortunately, you are completely normal and on your way on to becoming a mature, strong adult. If you have any questions or concerns, ask your parents. They went through the same exact thing. Puberty is a normal, natural bodily process, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of!