PUBERTY: WHAT’S HAPPENING                                                Usually starts between the ages of 9 and 14, andl...
You will also notice that your body grows into a more womanly shape. Don’t worry if yourfriends seem to be growing more qu...
As well as getting taller, your hips will get wider and your breast willget larger and fuller, so gaining some weight is n...
Don’t worry! Some of these don’t sound like a great deal of fun who wants body odor, oily hair and pimples. However, they ...
What are they?                                                     A period is when you lose some               fluid, inc...
Ways to ease period cramps:    ¤ Try a warm bath     ¤ Hold a heating pad or hot waterbottle over your clothes against you...
The word “Menstruation” means having                         periods.    It comes from the Latin word for                 ...
Girls and women have two almond-sized ovaries. Each ovarycontains thousands of eggs (ova). When you reach puberty, thehorm...
The whole menstrual cycle starts again! Yourperiod lasts for a few days as the body gets rid of part of thelining of the u...
Why do we all go through puberty?All the changes you experience during puberty are to prepareyour body to reproduce have a...
It’s probably a good idea to carry a pad and a clean pair ofunderwear in your bag just in case. However, if you don’t have...
Who can I talk to if I have some worries?     It is always good to talk to someone about yourworries. The best person to t...
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Puberty booklet

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Booklet is aimed to help young girls better understand the changes their bodies go through during the puberty process.

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Puberty booklet

  1. 1. PUBERTY: WHAT’S HAPPENING Usually starts between the ages of 9 and 14, andlasts for a few years. Everyone is different though, and it doesn’t matter when you start yourbody will decide when the time is right. These changes won’t suddenly happenovernight. You’ll notice that some happen quickly, but others take place slowly over a fewyears. Puberty starts when a gland just beneath the front ofyour brain the Pituitary Gland sends a signal for your body to start making a special chemical.This chemical or Hormone is called Estrogen, and it is responsible for most of the changes younotice about yourself. This is the primary female Hormone. Males have a different Hormone,Testosterone, which is responsible for most of their body changes.You know you are starting to go through puberty when you suddenly start to grow taller. 1
  2. 2. You will also notice that your body grows into a more womanly shape. Don’t worry if yourfriends seem to be growing more quickly than you. You’ll soon catch up.The main ones are:¤ Your body grows taller¤ Your body grows broader (your hips, in particular, grow wider).¤ Your breast begins to grow.¤ Your body may sweat more and you may develop body odor.¤ Your hair may become oily.¤ Your skin may become more oily and pimples may develop.¤ Hair starts to grow under your arms, on your legs and in thepubic area between yours legs.¤ Vaginal discharge begins¤ Periods start ”My mom kind of sat me down one day and gave me the general idea of what it was all about and what was going on with my body, so that kind of helped.” 2
  3. 3. As well as getting taller, your hips will get wider and your breast willget larger and fuller, so gaining some weight is normal. (An adult woman has more body fatthan a young girl does). As long as you eat a healthy diet and exercise, too, there shouldn’t beany need to worry about your weight. Your breast will develop gradually you probably won’t really notice it happening most of the time. Don’t worry if one breast is bigger than the other is. They’ll be about the same size once puberty is finished, although no one’s breasts are exactly alike. Sweat glands, foundmainly under your arms, start to work. These cause perspiration, which can lead tobody odor. 3
  4. 4. Don’t worry! Some of these don’t sound like a great deal of fun who wants body odor, oily hair and pimples. However, they are all normal, and they can be managed with good hygiene habits.Pimples almost everyone gets pimples on their face at some time during puberty. This is becauseyour skin can start to get oily. Glands in your skin become more active and start to producemore of a special kind of oil, sebum. Your hair may also becomeoilier and may need to be washed more often. Body hair will start to grow in thepubic area the v-shaped area between your legs where your legs meet your body.Hair will also grow under your armpits and on your legs. A small amount of clear or whitish fluid will start coming out ofyour Vagina, the passage that leads from your Uterus to the outside of your body.You will notice it because it will leave a slight mark in your panties. All womenhave vaginal discharge the amount varies through the Menstrual Cycle. The start of periods is probably the biggest change that takes placefor a girl during puberty. Periods are nothing to be worried about they are a naturalpart of every woman’s life. They are a sigh that your body is healthy and workingproperly. It may still come, as a surprise when you get your first period thishappens to lots of girls so don’t worry. 4
  5. 5. What are they? A period is when you lose some fluid, including blood, from your vagina (an opening between your legs). This is a sign of a normal and healthy body and is nothing to worry about. It happens to most women each month. Most girls start having periods between the agesof 10 and 16. There is no “right” time: your period will start when your body isready.A PERIOD LASTS FOR A FEW DAYS~ USUALLY SOMEWHEREBETWEEN 3 AND 7 DAYS. Most women have a period each month. The average time between the first day of oneperiod and the first day of the next period is about 28 days, but for some women it can be lessand for some it can be more. Anywhere between 21 and 35 days is normal. When you first start to have periods, they may not be regular. After the first period, thenext one might be 2 or 3 months later, and it might last 1 day or 10. Your body will take a whileto settle down into a regular cycle this might take 2 years or more. Relax this is normal.As a rough guide, your periods will probably start:¤ About 2 years after your breast start to develop.¤ Soon after you grow pubic hair¤ After you start to notice some vaginal discharge. 5
  6. 6. Ways to ease period cramps: ¤ Try a warm bath ¤ Hold a heating pad or hot waterbottle over your clothes against your lowerabdomen. ¤ Exercise ¤ If cramps continue to be a problemfor you, make sure you check with an adultbefore taking any kind of medication. Period cramps are nothing to worryabout they are a normal part of having aperiod. However, if you regularly have alot of discomfort, you should talk to anadult about it or see your doctor for help.Definitely check with an adult before takingany kind of medication. You might feel abit tired, low or irritable just before yourperiod begins, then feel better againafterwards. It’s those hormones again! 6
  7. 7. The word “Menstruation” means having periods. It comes from the Latin word for month (mens). Only women have periods not men. A period is part ofthe natural cycle called the menstrual cycle that the body goes through to enablewomen to have a baby. A woman’s menstrual cycle lasts from the first day of one period to the beginning of the next. The female reproductive system is where themenstrual cycle takes place. 7
  8. 8. Girls and women have two almond-sized ovaries. Each ovarycontains thousands of eggs (ova). When you reach puberty, thehormone estrogen tells an ovary to release one egg every month.(The ovaries take turns releasing an egg. Usually they releaseonly one egg at a time, but on rare occasions two or more arereleased).This release of an egg is called Ovulation. It happens abouttwo weeks before you have your period.The egg travels along the fallopian tube (oviduct) towards theuterus (also called the womb). The uterus is about the size ofa clenched fist. If a man’s sperm (the male reproductive cell)meets the egg, the egg might get fertilized and could grow intoa baby. So, whatdoes having a period have to do with babies?Every time an ovary releases an egg, your body gets ready justin case a baby is made. Even if the egg doesn’t meet a malesperm, your body still gets itself ready to look after a baby.Most of the time the egg is not fertilized and dissolves. Whenthis happens, the lining of the uterus isn’t needed, so itleaves your body through the vagina as a reddish fluidcontaining blood. This is your period. 8
  9. 9. The whole menstrual cycle starts again! Yourperiod lasts for a few days as the body gets rid of part of thelining of the uterus. Then, about when your period stops, oneof your ovaries starts to get ready to release another egg.Then this happens, the uterus starts to develop a thick liningagain. The egg is released and travels along the fallopian tubetowards the uterus…and you know the rest. The average woman has approximately 500 periods in her lifetime. They stop when a woman is about 50 years old. This is called the menopause. When a baby girl is born, she has approximately 200,000 eggs in each of her ovaries.A hormone (a chemical messenger) called progesterone makes asoft spongy lining of blood and tissue thicken inside theuterus. (This lining is called the Endometrium). If the egggets fertilized by a male sperm, it will settle in this lining,where it will be nourished and looked after as it develops intoa baby.Only adults should have babies! 9
  10. 10. Why do we all go through puberty?All the changes you experience during puberty are to prepareyour body to reproduce have a baby one day, when you are readyto accept the responsibilities of parenthood, if you want to.What is a period?A period is when you lose some fluid, including blood, from yourvagina (an opening between your legs). Each month a soft liningthickens inside your uterus (womb). If you become pregnant,this lining is needed to look after and nourish the growingbaby. If you don’t become pregnant, this lining is not needed,and most of it leaves your body through your vagina. This isyour period. It is a sign of a normal and healthy body.How long does a period lasts?It lasts for a few days usually somewhere between 3 and 7 days.How often will I have a period?Most women have a period each month. The average time isbetween periods is about 28 days, but for some women it can beless, and for some it can be more. Anywhere between 21 and 35days.When will I start having periods?Most girls start having periods between the ages of 20 and 16.There is no “right” time your periods will start when your bodyis ready. It might be reassuring to talk to your doctor if youhave not experienced any of the changes of puberty by the age of14; or if your breast and pubic hair have started to grow, butyour periods haven’t started by the age of 16.Will it hurt when I have a period?Usually not, it’s not like losing blood from a cut or a wound.Some girls or women hardly notice any discomfort during aperiod. Others might have what are called “period cramps.”These are usually aches or cramps in the lower abdomen.Alternatively, sometimes you might have an ache in your back oralong your inner thighs. Period cramps are nothing to worryabout they are a normal part of having periods. Some ways toease period cramps: Try a warm bath; hold a heating pad or hotwater bottle on your lower abdomen, exercise.If cramps continue to be a problem for you, make sure you checkwith an adult before taking any kind of medication.What if I have my first period when I’m at school?Virtually all girls are taken by surprise when they get theirfirst period even if they are well informed so don’t worry. 10
  11. 11. It’s probably a good idea to carry a pad and a clean pair ofunderwear in your bag just in case. However, if you don’t havea pad, it’s fine to use some toilet paper or tissue if you needto. Ask a friend, a school nurse or a teacher to help you noone will mind. Most schools keep some spare pads for times justlike this. (In addition, any stains in your underwear will soonwash out with cold water and some soap). Remember, it’ssomething that every adult knows about, and no one will mindhelping you. Will I always have periods? Most women have periods from puberty until they are about 50 years old. At around this age, women’s bodies go through another change called menopause. At this time, the ovaries stop releasing eggs and the menstrual cycle comes to a stop. The only other time you will not have periods is if you become pregnant. Then, instead of leaving your body through the vagina, the lining of the uterus stays where it id and grows to nourish the baby as it develops. Is it okay to have a bath or shower when I have my period? Definitely. During your period is the most important time to keep yourself fresh and clean. Will I lose much blood during my period? The amount of blood in the menstrual fluid varies from woman to woman, and from day to day, during the period. A period usually ends lightly, with most menstrual fluids lost in the first few days. Even then, it doesn’t come out very quickly. You lose about 16-18 teaspoons of menstrual fluid during your period, but only about 7 teaspoons of it is blood although some women do lose a bit more. It might look like a lot but it’s not as much as you think. 11
  12. 12. Who can I talk to if I have some worries? It is always good to talk to someone about yourworries. The best person to talk to is probably yourmom or perhaps your dad. Nevertheless, if you don’tfeel comfortable talking to them, sometimes anotherolder person such as coach, teacher, school nurse,aunt or a friend’s mom can help a lot. Older sisterscan be very helpful, as can friends at schoolespecially if they have already started pubertythemselves. 12

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