Puberty is a word used to describe both the physical and emotional changes that adolescents experience as they grow up.
WHAT IS IT?
The purpose of puberty and maturation is to prepare the body for reproduction. As boys and girls enter into their early teen years, a gland in the brain called the pituitary sends out messages to different parts of the body that signal the beginning of the maturation process. This tells the reproductive organs in the body that it is time to become functional.
WHEN DOES PUBERTY START?
Generally, girls begin to notice changes associated with puberty slightly earlier than boys, with changes starting anywhere between the ages of 10-14, although some girls do see changes earlier. Boys typically begin to notice changes between the ages of 11-15. It is important to note that puberty begins at different times for everyone and no two people will experience puberty the same way, not even identical twins.
WHAT PHYSICAL CHANGES WILL I NOTICE?
Changes that happen to both boys and girls include:
o Increase in height
o Weight gain
o Growth of hair underneath the arms, on the legs, and in the pubic area
o Increased production of sweat
o Increased production of oil on the face which could lead to pimples
Changes the happen to boys only include:
o Growth of hair on the chest and face
o Voice becomes deeper
o Shoulders become more broad and body becomes more muscular
Changes that happen to girls only include:
o Breast development
o Menstruation (or period) begins
o Rounding of figure, growth of hips
WHAT EMOTIONAL CHANGES WILL I NOTICE?
Boys and girls might notice mood swings, need for privacy, conflict with parents, and an increased need for independence. Boys and girls might also notice an increase sexual feelings.
HOW LONG DOES PUBERTY LAST?
Puberty lasts a different amount of time for everyone, but generally it takes around five or six years from start to finish.