the ages of 10 and 16, your body is transformed. Your breasts
and hips become rounded, you develop pubic hair and underarm
hair and at around the age of 11 and 15, you start to have
periods. Thus it is important for every girl to understand
what is happening to her body and what are the changes that
are going through internally coz the more you understand
about your body the better it will be to cope up with puberty.
Changes that take place in your body
Your body has a primary sexual organ and a secondary sexual
organ. Your primary sexual organs are your ovaries, your
fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix and your vagina. These are
your organs that are responsible in producing babies. With
the advance of your adolescence your ovaries begin to produce
eggs, which thus makes you fertile capable of having babies.
During puberty, the female hormones produced by the ovaries
change the shape of a girl from child to woman. In this
phase your nipples start to bud, your pubic and underarm
hair start to appear. Your breasts begin to develop rapidly
with the areola becoming swollen and the nipples projecting
out. More fat start depositing on your hips, breasts and
things. In contrast to broadening hips and breasts, your
waist begins to look slender and distinct. Thus these changes
are broadly grouped into secondary sexual organs.
The age at which menstruation begins can not be anticipated,
but it is often hereditary. However today the average age
of starting your periods is 11 years. The menstrual cycle
lasts on average of 28 days, but anything between 28 to
33 days is considered normal. Every month your ovaries produce
eggs and on the 14th day of your cycle (the first day of
any cycle is counted as the day when you start to menstruate),
the sac in the ovary containing the egg ruptures and the
egg is released. The egg travels from here into the fallopian
tubes. If the eggs are not fertilised by sperm, which meet
the egg there, the egg dies and your ovaries stop producing
female hormones, oestrogen and progesterone.
Progesterone causes the lining of the uterus to become thicker
in preparation to receive the fertilised egg. If fertilisation
and conception do not occur, your egg dies and the ovaries
stop producing female hormones which results in breakdown
of the lining of the uterus, which have been thickened to
receive the fertilised egg. Both the lining and the egg
are flushed out of the body that is why you experience bleeding.
This usually lasts for 3 to 7 days.
During this period progesterone also makes the beasts swell
and prepares the glands to produce milk in case fertilisation
occurs. That is why before periods your breasts may feel
heavy and sore and your nipples may tingle. Progesterone
also affects the skin and as a result of which many girls
have pimples in the week before menstruation. At the same
time progesterone has an effect on vaginal discharge. In
the first half of the monthly cycle it is clear, thin and
elastic while later on due to progesterone it becomes thick,
sticky and opaque, with a different colour. All these changes
are normal and if it develops a bad odour please consult
Your first periods
When you have periods for the first time, they are not usually
bright red and thick as you might think. It is rather scanty,
brown in colour and your periods will be hardly regular.
So don't worry if you have irregular periods. It will normally
take a year or more to get regular periods. As a sanitary
protection you can use pads which are available in the market.
It is generally said that unmarried girls should not use
tampons which is a myth. There is no reason why you shouldn't
use a tampons if you wish to. If you have any problems with
your menstruation please refer our section on Menstruation