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What is Puberty?
Puberty happens to be the process involving various physical changes through which a child's body attains maturity as an adult body that's capable of sexual reproduction to allow fertilization. Puberty gets initiated by the hormonal signals, sent from the brain to gonads; which in this case happen to be girls' ovaries, boys' testes.
Though both boys and girls experience this, but girls come up with considerable number of changes that bring in a noticeable change in their appearance. The changes in girls are triggered by the female hormone estrogen.
Changes that mark Puberty
Increased height and body weight: As a girl turns nine, she will gain around 17 to 18% of her adult height. At this stage, the limbs tend to grow first followed by the trunk. There will even be some weight gain at this point. More body fat would be noticed near upper arms, the thighs and upper back. The hips will grow wider as well as rounder while the waist turns narrower. And if weight gain is not under control, the body shape would distort.
Breast development: This is among the early signs of puberty in girls. This can happen at age nine, prior or even later; depending upon one's body structure and hormone levels. The breast would start growing and one might even experience a slight pain. At this stage, mothers must take care to see if there is a need of making the child wear a 'training bra'.
Increase in hair: For some girls, appearance of hair at different body parts also happen to be the first puberty signs instead of a growing breast. There will be an increase in hair on the arms, legs, in the armpits, and also around the pubic area.
Starting of menses: This is the major sign that marks puberty in girls. In some girls, periods commence soon after the development of the breasts. However, this can vary depending upon the hormonal level and body structure. Usually, the first menstrual cycle takes place when the girls are 12 or 13 years old. But as said, this can vary. Mothers must prepare their daughters and give them the needed knowledge about menstruation. They must be taught about the proper use of sanitary pads, and must even be guided on maintaining the needed hygiene.
How Periods Affect the Body?
Cramps & Pain: As girls attain their first menstrual cycle, cramps and body pain become a part of their life. The increased hormone production during the time of periods leads the uterus muscles to contract that results in slight to extreme pain in varied cases. Other than cramps, one can even note:
The pain is part of the menstrual cycle and if often indicative that the next period is nearing. Though there isn't a medication needed but those who find it hard to bear the pain, can take medicines after consulting a health expert.
Mood swings: The surge in hormones at time of puberty as well as menses, results in tremendous mood swings in the girls. Right before the period, girls undergo the premenstrual syndrome i.e. PMS or the premenstrual tension i.e. PMT. The mood swing in general can cause:
These PMS symptoms disappear as soon as the period starts. Girls must take care to stay relaxed during this time so that the stress and anxiety don't take a toll on their health.
Important Tips for Girls Attaining Puberty
Puberty is the time when the body undergoes various changes in order to prepare for the future developments. This is the time when girls must take care of their health so that there stands no trouble in the long run. To begin with, the girls attaining puberty must:
A Tips for the Parents
With your little girl attaining puberty, there will sure be a lot of changes surrounding her. She will need your help and guidance to understand this important change in her life. Mothers especially have a crucial role to play. They must not shy away from educating their daughters about the soon to happen changes. This will not only keep them aware of the phase but would prevent them from being subjected to any sort of embarrassment due to the lack of awareness.
It's her growing time, and you must take care that she is guided well.