Thursday, May 1, 2014

10 Major Physical Changes Seen in Kids During Puberty

10 Major Physical Changes Seen in Kids During Puberty

We usually associate the first signs of puberty as the budding of a girl’s breasts, or the breaking of a boy’s voice before it becomes deeper.  The fact, however, is puberty begins much earlier than these “first signs” indicate – the hormonal changes begin a year or two before the visible, physical changes. 

They take place in girls usually after they turn eight,  and in boys after they turn nine or 10.
The hypothalamus of the brain releases the gonadotropin-releasing hormone that travels to the pituitary gland and releases other puberty hormones.  These puberty hormones trigger the production of sperm and testosterone in boys, and the maturation and release of eggs and the production of estrogen in girls.  You will begin to see the changes in your children’s bodies a couple of years later.

Knowing what bodily changes will take place during this phase can help allay any confusion or anxiety your kids may experience.   As a parent, you have not only a front-row seat to this amazing gradual change, but also the opportunity to support and affirm the persons your kids are evolving into.

Here are 10 of the most common physical changes you can expect to see in your young lady or young gentleman’s body:

1) Breast development in girls.  The breasts begin to bud, usually beginning as a swelling under the aureoles.  The swelling and softening of both breasts then become more pronounced within the next several months.  The areolae enlarge.

2) Enlargement and changes in the female sexual organs.  Within the next two years from the budding of a girl’s breasts, her uterus and ovaries become larger.  Due to increasing levels of estrogen, the inner lining of the vagina becomes thicker and changes color (from a bright red to a duller pink).  Your daughter may observe whitish secretions-these secretions are called leucorrhea and are a normal effect of estrogen.

3) Enlargement of the penis and testes in boys.  The rising levels of testosterone in a boy’s body promote the growth of his testes, penis, and scrotum.  The enlargement of the testicles is the initial manifestation of puberty.  The testes continue to enlarge throughout puberty.
The penis continues to grow until a boy is about 18 years old.  Erections and orgasm occur more frequently at this stage, and ejaculation becomes possible in the early stages of puberty.  Similar to the anovulatory nature of a girl’s early menses, a boy’s seminal fluid may contain few active sperm one to two years after his first ejaculation.

4) Development of pubic hair.  Usually, a girl develops pubic hair as soon as her breasts develop.  It first grows along her labia, then extending to the pubic mound, until the hair densely fill what is referred to as the “pubic triangle.”  Meanwhile, a boy’s first pubic hair emerge at the base of the penis.  In six to 12 months, the hair become too numerous to count. As in girls, the pubic hair in boys eventually becomes dense enough to fill the “pubic triangle.”  Hair also spreads towards the thighs and upward towards the navel.

5) Development of facial and body hair.  Generally the growth of body hair in a girl corresponds to that of a boy, except that hair growth in males is more pronounced.  The body parts where hair commonly grows are the underarms, the upper lip, in front of the ears (sideburns), on the nipples, around the anus, and in girls along the linea nigra, which is the line from the pubic triangle to the bellybutton.  Hair on a boy’s arms, legs, chest, and back develop gradually.

6) Rounding of hips, build-up of body fat in girls.  The lower half of a girl’s pelvis widens during puberty, in order for her to have a wider birth canal. Fat tissue increases, particularly in the breasts, hips, buttocks, thighs, upper arms, and pubis.  Girls develop more fat tissue than boys; by the end of puberty, girls have, on the average, almost 50-percent more body fat than boys.

7) Change in musculature and body shape in boys.  During puberty, a boy’s shoulders grow wider, making his hips look narrower.  His jaws develop.  His limbs lengthen.  At the end of puberty, boys have heavier bones, almost twice as much skeletal muscle, and 150-percent more lean muscle than girls do.

8) Voice change.  While the voice box or larynx grows in both girls and boys during puberty, this development is far more noticeable in boys. Boys’ voice drop about one octave during puberty.

9) Menarche and ovulation in girls.  “Menarche” refers to the first bleeding of a girl, and usually happens about two years after her breasts begin to bud.  Menstrual periods may not occur regularly or monthly for the first two years after menarche.  Also, ovulation may not occur during the early menses (called anovulatory periods).  After the first two to three years of menses, most girls will have begun ovulating.

10) Gynecomastia (temporary breast development) in boys.  Some boys may experience breast enlargement.  This substantial growth of boys’ breasts, gynecomastia, is a response to rising levels of estradiol, a hormone produced form testosterone.  Breast growth is temporary, and subsides between six months and two years after it first occurs.  It may be more pronounced if a boy is overweight.

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