Growing Up Female

2011/06/12 in Health

Starting at about the age of eight years of age and extending through the teen years, a girl’s body experiences many new and different changes. These body changes can be exciting, but difficult to understand.

 

We’re glad you stopped by to find out more about this important time in your life.

Its likely one of the most obvious changes is the way you’re growing. Most girls start growing taller and heavier at age 12. They continue to grow and fill out at a fast rate for about two years, and then slow down. Some girls think growing so quickly between the ages of 12 and 14 is a problem, because boys their age are usually smaller and lighter than they are during this time. Most boys don’t start growing in height and weight until they’re around 14, about two years after most girls start. However, once the boys start, they keep growing and pass up most of the girls.

When a girl starts to mature physically, the shape of her body begins to change. Her hips will become wider and curvier. Breasts will develop. A definite waistline will start to appear. Her arms and legs will fill out and become rounder looking. Some girls are especially concerned about the size of their breasts. They become self-conscious if they’re still flat-chested when other girls are filling out, or if they have breasts before their friends do. Try to remember that your rate of growth is different from anybody else’s. In most cases, you’ll either catch up with the others, or they’ll catch up with you.

Another sign that a girl’s body is starting to mature physically and sexually is the gradual appearance of pubic, facial, underarm and leg hair. If you’re embarrassed by this, remember it’s perfectly normal and natural sign your body is growing up. All of these changes don’t just happen by accident. They’re controlled by chemical substances your body produces called hormones. These hormones control the growth and changes in your body by telling it what to do, and when to do it.

A major concern to many teens is acne. Blackheads, whiteheads and pimples may be appearing on your skin, and your hair can get oily very quickly. These changes are also influenced by your hormones, as well as bacteria on your skin and other skin changes.

The onset of menstruation is another important change. Menstruation is your body’s way of letting you know you’re physically able to become pregnant if you have sexual intercourse. This is important so we’ll reemphasize it: from your first menstruation on, if you have sexual intercourse with a boy, you could become pregnant.

Let’s talk for a minute about why menstruation occurs. It occurs when a hormone produced by the pituitary gland at the base of your brain tells reproductive organs called ovaries to release an egg cell. It also tells the uterus or womb to prepare a lining of blood and other liquids in which this cell can grow to become a baby if it’s united with a male sperm cell during sexual intercourse. If the egg is not united with a sperm cell, there’s no need for the lining and it leaves the body through the vagina. When this blood and other liquids leave the body, it’s called menstrual flow, or a period. All of this usually happens about once a month.

Many young girls may be worried or frightened about what is happening to them when they start menstruating. Some worry because they’ve started earlier than their friends, or they haven’t started when it seems like everybody else has. Some girls start menstruating as early as nine and others as late as 18. The age at which a girl starts menstruating says absolutely nothing about her femininity or womanhood.

Some of the changes we’ve just talked about can be exciting but also worrisome. Try to remember that this maturing process is perfectly normal and natural, and nothing to be worried or ashamed about. Every girl goes through these changes on her way to becoming a woman.

It might also help if you talked about some of these changes with your parents or an adult you’re comfortable with. You could also have your parents call this message. It just might help you talk together about the changes you’re going through right now. Thanks for calling.

For additional support and resources please call our 24-hour Teen Hotline by dialing 2-1-1 or 954-567-8336 (TEEN.)

 

Teen Tapes is produced by the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

 

 

Growing Up Female: What’s Happening to My Body?

Starting at about the age of eight years of age and extending through the teen years, a girls body experiences many new and different changes. These body changes can be exciting, but difficult to understand. We’re glad you stopped by to find out more about this important time in your life.

Its likely one of the most obvious changes is the way you’re growing. Most girls start gorwing taller and heavier at age 12. They continue to grow and fill out at a fast rate for about two years, and then slow down. Some girls think growing so quickly between the ages of 12 and 14 is a problem, because boys their age are usually smaller and lighter than they are during this time. Most boys don’t start growing in height and weight until they’re around 14, about two years after most girls start. However, once the boys start, they keep growing and pass up most of the girls.

When a girl starts to mature physically, the shape of her body begins to change. Her hips will become wider and curvier. Breasts will develop. A definite waistline will start to appear. Her arms and legs will fill out and become rounder looking. Some girls are especially concerned about the size of their breasts. They become self-conscious if they’re still flat-chested when other girls are filling out, or if they have breasts before their friends do. Try to remember that your rate of growth is different from anybody else’s. In most cases, you’ll either catch up with the others, or they’ll catch up with you.

Another sign that a girl’s body is starting to mature physically and sexually is the gradual appearance of pubic, facial, underarm and leg hair. If you’re embarrassed by this, remember it’s perfectly normal and natural sign your body is growing up. All of these changes don’t just happen by accident. They’re controlled by chemical substances your body produces called hormones. These hormones control the growth and changes in your body by telling it what to do, and when to do it.

A major concern to many teens is acne. Blackheads, whiteheads and pimples may be appearing on your skin, and your hair can get oily very quickly. These changes are also influenced by your hormones, as well as bacteria on your skin and other skin changes.

The onset of menstruation is another important change. Menstruation is your body’s way of letting you know you’re physically able to become pregnant if you have sexual intercourse. This is important so we’ll reemphasize it: from your first menstruation on, if you have sexual intercourse with a boy, you could become pregnant.

Let’s talk for a minute about why menstruation occurs. It occurs when a hormone produced by the pituitary gland at the base of your brain tells reproductive organs called ovaries to release an egg cell. It also tells the uterus or womb to prepare a lining of blood and other liquids in which this cell can grow to become a baby if it’s united with a male sperm cell during sexual intercourse. If the egg is not united with a sperm cell, there’s no need for the lining and it leaves the body through the vagina. When this blood and other liquids leave the body, it’s called menstrual flow, or a period. All of this usually happens about once a month.

Many young girls may be worried or frightened about what is happening to them when they start menstruating. Some worry because they’ve started earlier than their friends, or they haven’t started when it seems like everybody else has. Some girls start menstruating as early as nine and others as late as 18. The age at which a girl starts menstruating says absolutely nothing about her femininity or womanhood.

Some of the changes we’ve just talked about can be exciting but also worrisome. Try to remember that this maturing process is perfectly normal and natural, and nothing to be worried or ashamed about. Every girl goes through these changes on her way to becoming a woman.

It might also help if you talked about some of these changes with your parents or an adult you’re comfortable with. You could also have your parents call this message. It just might help you talk together about the changes you’re going through right now. Thanks for calling.