Puberty can be an exciting time, but it can also be confusing for all girls. It's a stage where you grow up and you can start doing things you couldn't do as a kid. But, sometimes it can be difficult to know when this period is about to start or what to expect. In most cases, the brain begins to send signals of change to the body at age eight, but when the physical and emotional signs begin to show up varies from girl to girl. However, you can learn to recognize these signs so that you know when this new period in your life is about to begin.
Part 1 of 3: expecting to enter puberty
Step 1. Know what puberty is
Many girls associate it with the onset of their first period. But puberty, which is the transition from childhood to adulthood, begins long before this stage and can last for years. It usually starts with the development of hair growth and the following changes:
- body shape;
- breast development;
- the change of mentality.
Step 2. Start checking for signs
For the majority of girls, puberty begins between the ages of 8 and 16 and ends around the age of 17. The first sign is usually the development of breast buds, followed by hair growth. Most girls get their period 1 to 2 years after they start to develop their breasts.
- The hormone that triggers puberty is GnRH.
- These changes do not happen overnight. You may not even notice the physical and psychological changes at first.
- Keep in mind that it's okay to watch your body for signs of puberty. It can actually help you deal with the changes you are about to go through.
Step 3. Consider the effect of physical factors
The age range at which puberty begins in girls is very wide. Every girl's body is different and various physical factors like genetics or weight can influence the start of the process. Knowing these factors can help you better anticipate when you will experience each phase of puberty. Some of the factors that can affect when you enter this period of life include the following.
- Ethnicity: Girls of color often reach puberty earlier than white girls.
- Weight: If you weigh more, puberty is likely to start at an earlier age in your case.
- Social factors: the absence of an adult male figure, the mother-daughter relationship, the fact of living in a stressful family environment are all factors that can induce early physical development. Additionally, some people believe that media exposure to sexuality may contribute to precocious puberty.
- The age at which puberty began in family members. Most girls start this process around the same age as their mother, sister, grandmother or aunt.
Step 4. Talk to your doctor
If you are concerned about your development, make an appointment with your doctor who can examine you and determine if you are growing normally or when you can expect to see the physical signs of puberty.
Ask him all the questions you think are appropriate about your personal development or this stage of life. You don't have to feel embarrassed or ashamed to talk to her about your body
Part 2 of 3: identify physical signals
Step 1. Check for the presence of breast buds
It is the first physical sign of puberty for most girls. This process, also called thelarche, usually occurs around the age of 9 or 10. Look at your chest and gently feel it with your hands and fingers. Breast buds look like a small, firm, tender lump on your breast.
- If the lump in your chest is painful, hot, red, or has a discharge, tell your parents so they can take you to a doctor.
- Keep in mind that one breast can grow faster than the other. It is also a completely normal phenomenon.
- If they are sensitive, consider wearing a bra. It is not necessary at this stage of development, but it can be an exciting feeling.
Step 2. Check if you have pubic hair
The second sign that will make you realize that puberty has started is the growth of pubic hair on the vaginal lips, which is the fold of skin that surrounds the vagina. As you grow older they will get thicker, darker, coarser, and more curly.
- In some cases, pubic hair may appear before breast buds, but either is usually a clear way to know puberty has started.
- Remember that you are not doing anything wrong by exploring your vagina or your lips for pubic hair.
Step 3. Determine if there is a change in physical form
Entering puberty means gradually becoming a woman, in other words, you will begin to take the form of a woman. Besides the development of breast buds, you may also notice other changes. Look for changes in other parts of your body, which will usually be more rounded or slightly larger:
- the feet.
Step 4. Check your armpits for hair
About two years after pubic hair grows, you will notice hair in your armpits. Armpit hair follows the same growth pattern as pubic hair, in other words, at first it will be sparse and soft and gradually become thicker, darker and coarser.
- Consider shaving off your armpit hair, which can promote bacteria growth and body odor if you let it grow.
- You can also decide to use deodorant to avoid bad smells.
Step 5. Check for possible vaginal discharge
In the first two years after breast pimples develop, you will likely have your first period. However, about six months before this happens, you should notice an increase in clear vaginal discharge.
Check if your underwear is stained by these spills. Pay attention to the smell. If there is a strong odor or if you feel itchy in your private parts, ask your parents to take you to a doctor
Step 6. Check to see if you are having your first period
For many girls, this is the most anticipated stage of puberty and usually occurs between the ages of 9 and 16. As soon as you notice a vaginal discharge, you should expect to have your first period within 6 months.
- Keep in mind that it's normal for your period to be quite irregular in the first two years. Note your period on a calendar to understand your personal cadence.
- Get the supplies you will need to manage them. These are panty liners or sanitary napkins. When you get older you might want to consider using tampons.
- Know that you may feel uncomfortable before and during your period. It can be cramps, headache or back pain, bloating. In this case, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers to relieve the discomfort.
Step 7. Examine your skin
The majority of tweens and teens (both girls and boys) begin to develop pimples or even acne breakouts. This is the consequence of the increased production of sebum that occurs during puberty.
- Wash your face with a mild cleanser or soap to remove excess sebum and reduce rashes.
- Ask a doctor to prescribe medication or recommend one that you can buy without a prescription if your rash is severe.
Step 8. Expect to grow taller quickly
At some point in puberty, a phase of rapid growth begins that lasts two or three years. During this period, you could even be more than 10 cm in a year!
You may also start to gain weight and notice other changes in your body shape, for example, a more graceful figure and wider hips
Part 3 of 3: Recognize Emotional Signals
Step 1. Remember that you will have emotional changes
Puberty causes the release of several hormones that can affect the brain and change thoughts and emotions. If you notice that your feelings, emotions and thoughts are changing, it is a good sign that indicates the onset of puberty. More specifically, if you experience extreme mood swings, anxiety, or depression, talk to your parents or doctor. Some of the main emotional changes you may experience include:
- increased sensitivity to bodily changes or other things, such as teasing and criticism;
- much more intense emotions, for example being very jealous of another girl when you would not have been before;
- more frequent mood changes, suddenly changing from normal to sadness;
- problems with your body image;
- less confidence in you;
- anxiety or even depression.
Step 2. Pay attention to new thought patterns
In addition to emotions, the brain matures and stimulates the development of new thought patterns. The following examples may indicate the onset of puberty.
- Begin to understand more complex topics or questions, such as the consequences of not doing homework.
- Making your moral decisions, for example, you know it's right to stand up for someone who is being bullied.
- You have a better perception of what you like and what you don't like.
Step 3. Develop your personality
Entering puberty means that you become an adult and in this case, you may find that you have a better sense of yourself and who you are. Keep in mind that these are perfectly normal changes, but they can cause confusion or anxiety. Give yourself the chance to live new experiences to see how they fit into your identity.
- Try to gain independence by asking parents to stay late or go to the movies on their own to see a movie with friends. It can help you manage puberty and grow taller.
- Keep in mind that your friends can also change as you find out who you are.
- Make your own decisions as far as your parents allow. For example, you can start choosing your everyday clothes.
- Know that conflicts you may have with family members or friends are part of the process. Use this as a chance to learn how to handle arguments.
Step 4. Be curious about your body
You may notice that you will develop a certain curiosity for your body and sexuality when puberty starts and throughout the process. You might want to explore your body and start masturbating. These are very normal and common behaviors that you shouldn't be ashamed of.
- Don't believe the myths about masturbation. It won't make you grow hairs on your hands, make you blind, or make you sterile.
- Ask a friend, family member, or healthcare professional to talk to you about your body or about masturbation. You may feel embarrassed, but remember that these are very normal feelings.
Step 5. See if you start to feel attraction to other people
The ultimate reason we enter puberty is to prepare our body for procreation and as this is a consequence of sex, it is normal to have a sexual attraction for a person.
- You can date people you are attracted to, but know that your feelings for them can change overnight.
- Talk to your parents, friends, family, or a healthcare professional if you have concerns about being attracted to someone, wanting to date someone, kissing, or even having sex. sexual.
- If you are considering having sex, first talk to your parents, doctor, or another adult you trust so they can help you decide and give you advice on how to do it. avoid pregnancy or illness.
- If you have questions about puberty, talk to your mom or an adult woman you trust. Remember that all women go through puberty and you don't have to be ashamed or uncomfortable.
- If you are experiencing symptoms of a potential problem or something unusual that you are not sure about, see your doctor or ask someone. For example, an itchy or smelly vaginal discharge may be a sign of an infection that needs medical attention.
- Make sure you pack a kit if you are worried or suspect your period is coming. Don't hesitate to ask for help from an adult woman you trust. There is nothing to be ashamed of, because all women go through this.