PUBERTY AND THE GIRL CHILD
Puberty can be defined as the changes that occur in the body of a child when a child reaches a certain age to show that the child is becoming mature. Puberty happens to both genders- male and female. It is evident that a child is approaching adulthood.
It is quite ironical that when puberty occurs, it makes a child not be able to engage in certain activities that He/she would normally- very contrary to the effect it heralds; vibrance and vigour. Activities like running around naked, bathing outside and playing in a certain way with the opposite sex; this is because self-consciousness sets in. Puberty doesn’t just affect the child’s physique but affects the mental and social life as well.
This article focuses on puberty as it concerns the girl child.
Puberty in Girls Begins from the ages of 10/11 years. The main hormones responsible for puberty are estrogen and progesterone; the secretion of these two hormones causes certain changes to happen in the body of the girl child.
CATEGORIES OF CHANGES IN A FEMALE CHILD
The changes that occur in the life of a girl child during puberty can be grouped into the following:
1. Physical changes
2. Emotional Changes
3. Mental changes
4. Social changes.
PHYSICAL CHANGES THAT TAKES PLACE IN A GIRL CHILD
The physical changes are the first and visible changes to hint on the presence of puberty and they are as follows;
A. Breast Development
B. Hair Development
D. Vaginal Discharge
F. Increase in Height
G. Wider Hips
I. Development of the vagina, uterus, and fallopian tube
Breast development is the first visible sign in a girl child that shows puberty has started and this begin from the age of 8 and 13 years. The breast budding takes place 2-3 years before the first period.
The appearance of coarser hair textures in the pubic, armpit and sometimes the leg regions begin to take place and these fibre growths provide the need to shave. The hormone responsible for causing darker hairs is known as ANDROGEN
HOW TO SHAVE THE HAIRS OF THE LEGS, PUBIC AND ARM-PIT REGION
- Choose which razor would be safe, effective and easy to use. There are two types of razor the electric or manual.
- If you use the electric razor you will not need to get a shaving cream as some electric razors come with moisturizers, but if you choose to use the manual razor you will need to buy a shaving cream or gel to lubricate the skin to avoid cuts.
- Shave in warm water. Warm water helps to soften the skin and prevent a nick
- Wet the area you want to shave with warm water, then apply the shaving cream or gel to lubricate the area very well.
- Follow the growth pattern of the hair growth and begin from up to down in order not to make a cut.
- Do not rush, move the blade on the surface of the skin in the area gently.
- Avoid exerting pressure on the razor while shaving.
- Use extra caution when shaving around the knees and ankles because it is easier to make a cut in these areas
- Apply antiseptic in water and clean any area where you make a cut as you shave
- When you are done shaving wash the area with soap and water and apply moisturizers or lotion to help keep the skin from drying out.
- Dispose off the razor after use, do not use for a second time, because the blades are already weak and to prevent contacting infection.
Note: Shaving of the hairs at the arm-pit, pubic region or legs does not make it grow thicker, it only helps to remove the hairs and make these areas of the body neat and prevent inconvenience.
Other ways of shaving include the use of chemical hair remover(cannot be used for the pubic region), waxing, electrolysis and laser hair remover.
INCREASED SWEAT PRODUCTION:
Sweat production is increased during puberty because the hormones responsible for puberty in the girl Child causes the sweat glands to open thereby producing more sweat. Sweating in puberty begins a year after puberty starts. There are two types of sweat glands responsible for sweat production they are;
a) Apocrine gland
b) Eccrine gland
Apocrine gland: This gland produces sweat when a person is under an emotional condition which could be tension or a stressful situation example; fear, nervousness also when a person is excited too, it produces sweat.
Eccrine gland: this gland produces sweat to regulate body temperature.
WHAT CAN TRIGGER SWEATING IN PUBERTY?
1. When the girl Child is under tension, this could trigger the production of excess sweat that could leave wet marks, coloured patches and stains in clothes.
2. When the temperature is hot and the body wants to regulate the temperature
3. During menstruation
HOW TO DEAL WITH SWEATING DURING PUBERTY
- Take a bath regularly
- Where you cannot bath immediately, carry a change of clothing
- Make use of strong antiperspirant; strong antiperspirant contains a higher level of aluminium than a normal antiperspirant
- Make use of deodorant, to control offensive odour produced by the sweat.
- You can make use of organic spices and remedies too to combat the sweat.
Note: Antiperspirant is different from deodorant
Difference Between Antiperspirant and Deodorant
- Antiperspirant contains aluminium and is used to block sweat production, most of it lacks good fragrance While, deodorant is used to control offensive odour caused by sweat
- Antiperspirant creates hardness in the area it is applied, while deodorant keeps the area it is applied fresh and normal.
Similarities between Antiperspirant and Deodorant
- Both antiperspirant and Deodorants are used because of sweat
- Both are applied under the arm-pit.
Vaginal Discharge is a thin clear transparent or whitish fluid noticed in the underwear of a girl child this discharge happens as the vagina develops a new community of healthy bacteria. It makes the inside of the vagina acidic to be able to fight bad bacteria that want to infect the reproductive tract. This vaginal discharge occurs in a period of six months to a year. It varies in colour as the time gets closer for the period to start, some may appear stretchy.
Increase in Height and wider Hips:
The hips of the girl child become wide and the waist gets well rounded and defined. Also, an increase in height is noticed six months to a year before the start of the period, it could happen simultaneously with the start of the first period.
Development of the Vagina, Uterus and fallopian tubes:
The vagina, uterus and fallopian tubes grow in size during puberty. Also the feel and looks of the vulva changes; the outer and inner lips of the vulva look bigger and different, the clitoris too also grows in size as well.
The appearance of Acne:
During puberty, the level of sweating is increased and this could cause acne to appear on the face of the girl child. Acne is a sign before the period occurs. It appears sometimes as a result of the hormones produced in the body.
Menstruation is a normal monthly process where female under-going puberty, goes through as their bodies prepare them for potential pregnancy, it is regular cycling of hormones that occurs in the reproductive systems of females. Menstruation starts from 11- 15 years. It is also known as PERIOD or MENSES.
Menstruation can also be defined as the monthly shedding of blood and the lining of the uterus from the vagina. The first period a girl sees is known as MENARCH
The menstrual cycle is the time interval between the start of one period to another, there are different Menstrual cycles; 28days, 30 days and 35 days are its variants. The 28 days cycle lasts 3 days, that of 30 days lasts 5 days and the 35days cycle lasts 7 days.
Note: period starts two weeks after ovulation
The Menstrual cycle
During puberty, the reproductive organs of the girl child begin to develop. Every female is born with ovaries and eggs but at puberty, these eggs begin to mature and as they do, one egg from the ovary would travel through the fallopian tube towards the uterus or womb every month, this process is known as OVULATION.
At this time the lining of the womb is already preparing itself by being thick and soft with blood tissues just in case the mature egg gets fertilized. If the egg or ova is not fertilized, then this ova breaks and flows out as blood along with the lining of the uterus that was not used from the vagina, this is what is called MENSTRUATION, PERIOD or MENSES.
Symptoms experienced before the commencement of period
- Abdominal cramps
- Abdominal swelling or bloating
- Constipation before your period
- Diarrhea before and during period
- Acne/ rough face
- Back pain
- Sore breast
- Weakness of the body
- Food cravings
- Loss of appetite
- Increase of body temperature
- Feeling of vomiting.
Visit your doctor if you notice these signs about your Menstruation
See a doctor if;
- You have not started menstruating at the age of 15
- You are yet to menstruate 3 yrs after breast development
- Your breasts are yet to develop at age of 13
- You are yet to see your period for 90 days
- your regular period suddenly becomes irregular
- your period days exceed the number of days expected of your cycle
- Your bleeding exceeds a week
- You bleed more than usual or use more than 1 pad in a space of 2 hours
- You bleed between periods
- You experience severe menstrual cramps
- You suddenly fall sick or catch a fever after using tampons.
- Toxic shock syndrome:
- This is a situation caused by the lack of changing of pad/tampon after it becomes soaked with blood. It can cause scanty menstrual flow or excessive bleeding if experienced it is advisable to go see a doctor.
Pre-menstrual symptoms are the signs that give a female a clue a week or two before the commencement of her period it is different from pre- Menstrual dysphoric disorder (PDD) and starts from late 20s o mid-40s; PDD is a severe case of PMS that can cause one disrupt in work and personal relationship.
What is the cause of PMS?
PMS (pre-menstrual symptoms) is said to be caused by a drop in the level of Osterogen and progesterone a week before commencement of period, it can also be caused by a change in the chemical composition if the brain and difference in certain vitamins and minerals.
Things that can help you when dealing with PMS includes;
- Food rich in vitamin B
- Food rich in fibre
- Quality Rest and relaxation
Things To Avoid that could lead to PMS or worsen it
- Avoid too much salt, it would increase bloating
- Avoid caffeine it could cause irritation
- Avoid sugar it causes too much food craving
- Avoid alcohol it affects the mood.
SOCIAL CHANGES CAUSED BY PUBERTY
- Need for independence
- Feeling of responsibility
- Wanting to experience new things
- Having a sense of value
- Having and being an influence
- Sexual identity
- Wanting to be part of a media platform
- Having more attention
- Having a relationship with the opposite sex
EMOTIONAL CHANGES CAUSED BY PUBERTY
- Feeling of fear
- Feeling of anger
- Feeling self-conscious
- Looking for identity
- Feeling uncertain
- Having sexual feelings
- Having conflicting thoughts
- Overly sensitive.
FACTORS THAT AFFECTS PUBERTY IN A GIRL CHILD
- The kind of nutrition taken by the girl child
- The general health of the child
- The weight of the child
- The genetic composition of the child
- The ethnic group or race of the child.