Overview What Is It? Teenage girls encounter many physical, emotional and personal changes, which are sometimes confusing, but all normal parts of growing up into women.
Puberty — How Your Body Changes Your body is changing; your moods may be unpredictable and sometimes hard to explain. These changes are normal. Our guide to teen health is designed to help you understand the common physical and emotional changes you are going through, and deal responsibly with new personal and social situations you may encounter.
These changes are called puberty. Puberty lasts for several years and marks the life stage when your body is changing from a child to an adult. Hormones help trigger and guide this process. Hormones are natural chemicals in your body that produce gradual physical changes during this time and may also cause emotional changes that can sometimes seem uncontrollable.
These changes are common during puberty, and they happen to everyone. Although it may seem that these changes and feelings are out of your control, don't worry—you're still you, just the "growing up" version. Common Physical Changes in Girls Girls going through puberty often notice physical changes, such as larger breasts, hair growth in new places, acne and changes in the shape of your hips, waste, bottom and thighs.
Below are some of the common physical changes you may experience. It's important to remember that this is natural and something that makes being a woman special. Once your breasts start growing, you will most likely want to buy a bra. Selecting a Bra Hair Growth Hair will start to grow under your arms, on your legs and on your pubic area.
Shaving your underarms and legs is a personal choice, but talk about it with one of your parents first. Shaving Acne This aggravating condition may be mild blackheads and whiteheads , moderate larger inflamed-looking blemishes or severe large cysts or nodules. Acne is caused by a build-up of oil, microorganisms and dead skin cells in the hair follicles under the skin.
Acne Common Social and Emotional Issues Today's young women face many emotional and social challenges during puberty. Below are some of the common tough issues you may find, and tips for handling them. Your feelings about yourself will change as you grow. From getting pregnant to becoming infected with an STD, make sure you understand the risks.
Mental health, which includes your thoughts and feelings, is just as important as physical health. Mental Health Eating Disorders With a more prevalent preoccupation with appearance and weight in today's society, girls may be at risk to develop eating disorders.
Eating Disorders Substance Abuse During your teenage years, it is a good idea to take some risks, like trying new activities or sports. However, some risk-taking behaviors, such as drinking alcohol, smoking and using drugs have negative effects. Substance Abuse Visiting Your Doctor Before the onset of puberty, discuss your questions and concerns with your health care professional. It is also a time for you to gather printed material on a variety of health issues, including your menstrual cycle, contraception and sexually transmitted diseases STDs.
Reproductive Health Appointments Share on: Facts to Know Puberty lasts for several years. It is the stage of your life when your body is changing from the body of a child to the body of an adult. Hormones, which are natural chemicals in your body, orchestrate these alterations in your body.
During puberty, one breast might grow larger than the other. Once your breasts start growing, the differences will most likely be slight. And your breasts will even out before they are finished developing. It might take a while, perhaps even a year, for your periods to become regular.
During the first year, your cycle from the start of one period to the start of the next may be as short as three weeks or as long as six weeks. Even after your period becomes regular, exercise, stress or a change in diet could throw it off track.
Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for persons between 10 and 14 years of age and the third leading cause of death for those aged 15 to 24 years. Actions or talk of suicide are cries for help.
Today, an increasing number of teenagers express dissatisfaction with their bodies Media portrayals of idealized body images that are unrealistic for most people are partially to blame for the increase in teenagers' dissatisfaction with their bodies.
Eating disorders are not just a preoccupation with food, dieting and weight, however; they are serious mental disorders that can have serious consequences. Two common eating disorders are bulimia and anorexia nervosa. About 53 percent of all teenage school girls are not having sex, according to a study by the U. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in , 39 percent of eighth-graders, 62 percent of 10th-graders, and 72 percent of 12th-graders reported having tried alcohol.
It is the drug most often used by to year-olds. The Harvard College Alcohol Study found a sharp rise from 5. Questions to Ask Review the following Questions to Ask about teen health so you're prepared to discuss this important health issue with your health care professional. What is going to happen during puberty? I get horrible cramps with my period.
Is there anything I can do? One of my breasts is larger than the other. What is going on? Will they stay this way? I am thinking of becoming sexually active, and I want to know the safest form of birth control.
Will you tell my parents what we talk about? How can I tell if I am pregnant? What is the best way for me to get rid of my acne?
My friend tells me she sometimes thinks about killing herself. Is there anything I can do to help her? My boyfriend is pressuring me to have sex with him. What should I do? Young women usually start menstruating between the ages of nine and A period lasts from three to seven days each month. Don't count on your period being regular during the first year or so.
Dieting can alter regularity, as can stress and the amount of exercise you get. When is a menstrual cycle considered abnormal? You should call your health care professional immediately if you are sexually active and skip a period you experience severe pain or excessive bleeding your bleeding lasts more than ten days you have bleeding or spotting between periods you have not had a period for the last six months What is an STD?
Sexually transmitted diseases STDs are infections most commonly spread through sexual intercourse or genital contact. According to the CDC, 3. If you are sexually active, a latex condom is your best protection against getting an STD.
It is important to know how to use a condom properly. Do I have to have a Pap test? You should have a Pap test about three years after you become sexually active; if you're not having sex, you should have a Pap test by age A Pap test will be done in the health care professional's exam room and only takes a minute or two. The health care professional will insert a speculum into your vagina and lightly swab your cervix.
A lab technician will analyze the results, looking for anything abnormal. Abnormalities could be signs of cervical cancer or viral infections such as human papillomavirus HPV. I have been dating the same boy for more than two months and he is asking me when we are going to have sex. When do I have to have sex with him? You never have to have sex with someone. There are no rules regarding when to have sex and when not to.
This decision is a personal one and should not be forced by anyone. My boyfriend broke up with me three weeks ago and I just can't get over it. Ending relationships can be painful at any age. Learning how to work through your feelings during and after a break-up is important now and for relationships you will have in the future. If you can't shake your blues by spending time with friends or concentrating on activities you enjoy, talk to your parents, a counselor or mental health professional.
You may be having trouble adjusting. You may also be experiencing depression, especially if you answer yes to several of the following questions: Do you cry more now than you used to? Do you think your life is hopeless or meaningless?
Do you have a hard time sleeping, either sleeping too much or falling asleep at night? Do you spend more time alone than you used to? Do you ever think of hurting yourself? Do you often feel worn out? Have you gained or lost weight in the last month or two?
Have you noticed significant changes in your appetite? Are you more irritable than usual?