Puberty: A Time of Change
There are obvious differences between the adult body and the body of a child, and this transformation is one that is bridged by puberty. While each person's journey into their mature body is different, there are many common experiences encountered during the phases of puberty.
The stages of puberty are normally experienced in girls at an earlier age than boys. Around the age of 10 to 13, small changes begin to occur. Breast development normally begins at this time as well as the beginning of menstrual cycles and pubic hair begins to grow. Boys typically begin displaying the telltale signs of puberty such as a deeper voice, facial hair and stronger muscles between the ages of 11 and 15.
A small percentage of pre-teens begin enter the beginning stages of puberty prematurely. In some cases, this is caused by the pituitary gland producing hormones at a younger age and typically does not cause any problem. An even smaller percentage who enter premature puberty do so as a result of the hormones triggering the reaction. In this case, the brain and pituitary gland are playing no part in the pubescent signs that are manifesting.
Some teens experience the opposite problem; they don't begin to show any signs of puberty until they are in their mid to late teens, and this can be embarrassing. In most cases, the transformation eventually progresses normally and the teen will transition appropriately when the body feels the time is right. However, there are cases where an underlying cause is the root of the delay. For example, inflammatory bowel disease and chronic renal failure are known to hinder puberty. Certain eating disorder such as anorexia can also disrupt puberty.
While many associate puberty simply with external manifestations, it is important to understand that there is a large chemical change occurring within the body. As a result, it is normal for someone going through puberty to experience emotions they cannot understand as hormones naturally have this effect.
Puberty: Nothing to be Scared Of
Change is scary for everyone, and those approaching puberty are no different. The changes that are undergone can be uncomfortable, embarrassing and simply no fun. However, when the process is over, the result is a fully mature adult ready to begin the more cultivated part of their life, making all of the puberty stages worth it.