Puberty is the change from childhood to adulthood. It can be a scary time when your body starts to change and develop into an adults body.  The best way to cope with these changes is to know what and why this is happening.  Why not talk to your parent/carer or another adult if you are confused?

When does puberty happen?
Why does puberty happen?
What changes can you expect?
Why do girls have periods?



When does puberty happen?

Puberty usually starts between the ages of ten and thirteen. Everyone is different so it may happen sooner or later than ten or thirteen. If it feels like you are the only one who is changing or that all your friends are changing but you aren't don't worry everyone matures into womanhood.

Why does puberty happen? (the technical bit!)

It is getting the body ready to reproduce (have a baby).  The changes your body experiences are all thanks to hormones, mainly oestrogen and progesterone that kick start you on the road to developing into a woman.

What changes can you expect?

  •  You may get taller.
  •  You may get wider and more curvy hips, this is normal, as the body develops a more womanly figure.
  •  Your breasts may get biger and your nipples will get darker and larger, this is when you might want to wear a bra.
  •  You will start to get hair under your arms and your leg hair will grow darker and more visible.
  •  Skin and hair can become oily and spots can develop.
  •  Sweat glands will develop, you may need to wash more or wear an antiperspirant or deodorant.
  •  Pubic hair starts to grow that covers your vagina.
  •  The vagina produces a sticky, whitish liquid which comes from glands inside the walls of the vagina. It lubricates the vagina and helps to keep it healthy. It may smell slightly but shouldn't smell bad.
  •  The most dramatic part of puberty is starting your first period - it usually occurs some months after you have experienced the vaginal discharge. At first it can be embarrassing and you can feel nervous but as you learn to cope and deal with your period it will become part of growing up.  

Why do girls have periods? (getting a bit technical again...)

Every girl is born with hundreds of thousands of eggs inside her ovaries.  As puberty begins these eggs start to mature, when the egg is ready it pushes out of the ovary and into the nearest fallopian tube. The egg travels along the fallopian tube until it reaches the uterus or womb.

As this is happening, the womb is getting ready for its arrival. A thick lining (made up of lots of tiny blood vessels) grows on the inside wall of the womb, to protect and feed the egg as it grows BUT the egg will only grow (to become a baby) if it has been fertilised by a sperm first.

If the egg is not fertilised, it along with the lining breaks up. Mixed with blood, the lining comes out of the womb and into the vagina and then out of the vagina opening as your period.

How long and how often will I have my period?

Roughly the menstrual cycle happens every 28 days. Though to start with your period may not follow any pattern or monthly cycle.  It usually lasts between three to eight days mostly about five days. Sometimes your period can be light, other times it can be heavy.

What to do when you have your period? Wear sanitary towels or tampons when you have your period, they will come with instructions on how to use them.

PMT - (Pre-menstrual Tension)

Unfortunately having your period can bring some uncomfortable side effects such as stomach cramps, feeling bloated, sore breasts, and feeling grumpy and miserable.  These calm down once your period has started. Light exercise can help and there are painkillers that can reduce some of the symptoms.

Remember: Once your periods start you can now get pregnant.

Dealing with emotions

You may find that you get mood and generally fed up but don't understand why. It is because you and your body are changing. When you feel like this, try talking to someone you trust. Getting out and keeping active is a good way to de-stress and keep your mind off the mixed emotions you are feeling.

Just Remember: It is all part of growing up and becoming a woman!



Why does puberty happen?
What changes can you expect?
The making of sperm
The journey of sperm
Getting an erection


Boys usually start puberty between the ages of 11 and 14 but some will start earlier or later. Boys often start puberty later then girls, which may explain why suddenly some girls are much taller then you but this will change as you catch up.

Why does puberty happen? (the technical stuff)

The main reason for puberty starting is hormones, they kick start the changes that happen to your body. The main hormone in boys is testosterone which is produced in the testicles. This hormone starts off the production of sperm. Sperm is needed to reproduce/make babies.  

What changes can you expect?

  • Height and weight increases, your shoulders and chest get bigger
  • The body sweats more, you might want to use deodorant or anti-perspirent
  • Facial hair grows
  • Hair grows under the arms
  • Hair on arms, legs and chest grows darker and thicker
  • The voice 'breaks' and becomes deeper
  • The 'Adam's apple' in the throat gets larger
  • Hair and skin can become oily and spotty
  • Pubic hair grows around the genitals
  • Penis gets larger and longer
  • Scrotum (loose sack of skin containing the testicles) gets bigger and baggier and turns a darker colour
  • Testicles get larger, fuller and start producing sperm
  • Experience erections and the penis ejaculates sperm (or cums).

The making of sperm

The body makes sperm so it can reproduce. Sperm is used to fertilise an egg (produced in a woman.) When the sperm and egg meet through sexual intercourse then a baby can develop.

Remember: It takes just one sperm to make a baby.

The journey of sperm: (getting technical again...!)

Sperm travels from the testicles, down a long tube called the epididymis. Sperm waits in the epididymis until ejaculation occurs,  when the body wants to ejaculate the muscles at the base of your penis contract sending the sperm out of the epididymis into a shorter, thicker tube called the vas deferens, the sperm mixes with other fluids to create a sticky, whitish mixture called semen. The semen goes down the urethra and through the penis to an opening at the tip. If the sperm is not ejaculated it is absorbed back into the body.

Getting an erection:

Before you ejaculate you need to have an erection - when blood rushes to your penis and the muscles around your penis tighten so it gets stiffer and thicker. You may get some pre-ejaculation or pre-cum before the main event, this contains sperm and can a girl pregnant.

As you go through puberty, erections may seem like they happen at anytime. It can be embarrassing when you find yourself having an erection at the strangest times but don't worry because it is all normal and part of becoming a man.




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