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Answers to Common Puberty Questions

Kundan Pandey Feb 27, 2020
When it comes to addressing the questions of puberty in boys and girls, some parents may be embarrassed in handling their queries. However, an unsolved query may lead to misconceptions and incorrect assumptions about sex related matters by the teenagers, that are mostly disastrous. This story tries to find out answers to some of these queries.
Puberty marks the onset of sexual maturity in boys and girls. In both the sexes, it is accompanied by a series of physical and hormonal changes in the body leading to the development of reproductive system and certain characteristics, like pubic hair and mustaches. The transition period from childhood to adulthood not only leads to physical changes in the personality, but also to physiological and emotional changes. Developing a sense of individuality and a new relationship with parents is evident during this phase.

Questions for Boys

When does puberty begin in boys?
The age when puberty begins in an individual varies from person to person. In boys, it generally occurs between 12 to 16 years. Various factors like environmental influences and deficiency of hormones in the body can affect the beginning of this phase.
What are the physical effects of puberty in boys?
Puberty marks its beginning in boys with the increase in size of their testicles. The enlargement of testicles begins at the age of 11 or 12 and lasts for around six months. As the testicles grow, there is an increase in the size of the penis.
The growth of pubic hair and hair in the armpits is also noticed. Along with these, the voice becomes rough and deep. The development of facial hair is the last step of this phase. Increase in height and weight are some other physical changes that occur in boys.
Why do some of the boys gain weight and height during puberty, whereas others are dissatisfied with their looks?
Puberty in boys leads to significant changes in the body. While many boys gain weight and appear older than their age, various others don't grow much or are unable to put on much weight. The growth process differs for every individual.
Besides, your nutrition also plays a vital role in your growth during this phase. Therefore, it is advised to consume a healthy diet, especially during growing ages. Every one responds differently to changes that occur during this phase, therefore, boys not gaining weight shouldn't worry much.
What are 'wet dreams'?
Wet dreams, or nocturnal emissions, is the discharge of semen through the penis while a boy is asleep. Generally, there is a lot of embarrassment and hesitation when it comes to discussing wet dreams. However, wet dreams are common during the age of puberty.
Wet dreams occur when the body starts making more testosterone (the male sex hormone), and there is an erection in the penis. Wet dreams are normal for all boys, and none should feel guilty of having a wet dream.

Questions for Girls

When does puberty begin in girls?
Girls reach puberty early than boys. In girls, it occurs roughly at the age of 11 years. However, there is no right time and age to predict its onset. Some girls have been reported to have reached puberty at the age of 9 years.
What are the physical changes of puberty in girls?
The development of breasts is the first sign of puberty in girls, followed by the growth of pubic hair. It is then followed by the growth of hair in the armpits. In some cases, the growth of armpit hair may occur prior to breast development. Menstruation, or what we normally call periods, occur after two and a half years of reaching the puberty stage.
What is menstruation?
Menstruation is one of the major signs that indicate that a girl has reached the stage of maturity. Women call it by different names like periods, menses, monthly cycle, few girls even use code words like chumps, Aunt Flo, or MC. Menstruation is a part of the natural cycle of the biological clock of women. It is the monthly vaginal bleeding that occurs in girls from the start of puberty till menopause.
All girls have two ovaries that contain thousands of eggs. Every month one egg travels down the fallopian tube towards the uterus. The egg is still in the developmental stage when it is released, and the uterus prepares to receive the fertilized embryo. It builds up the endometrial lining with extra blood vessels and tissues. If the egg is not fertilized by the male sperm, the egg will be flushed out of the uterus through the vagina.
Along with the egg, the extra blood vessels and tissue lining will also be shed. Thus, resulting in the monthly cycle of menstruation. A normal menstruation cycle is of about 28 days. Many girls have longer or shorter menstruation cycles. A normal period will last 2 or 3 days, but some may experience bleeding for 7 days. The amount of bleeding varies from girl to girl.
What are menstrual cramps?
Menstrual cramps are the most common signs of puberty before the start of menstruation cycle. Many girls experience menstrual cramps for the first few days of their periods. The cramps are due to the contraction of the uterus because of the release of a chemical called prostaglandin. Few girls often feel dull aches and menstrual cramps while some experience sharp and intense menstrual cramps. Many times, menstrual cramps may disappear with age.

Questions for Parents

Parents can play a significant role in educating their teenaged children about sexual health. However, many parents are so embarrassed of talking on topics related to puberty and sex with their children, that they avoid it as much as possible. Parents must ensure that they give their children right information at the right time so that they are not dependent on external sources for information. Some questions that may help parents are as follows:
What are the puberty questions that parents can answer?
Parents can talk about various issues related to puberty, like the role of hormonal changes in the body, especially the role of testosterone and estrogen. If you will explain things properly, it would help your child develop a good notion about sex and other related concepts.
What should parents talk to boys?
Parents should explain the role of testosterone, i.e., the male sex hormone, to boys. They can explain them that boys can experience mood swings and they will develop hair on private parts. Besides these, over a course of time their voice will become rough and harsh.
As parents, one should remind them that these are just bodily changes that occur in this age group. With time, they will be comfortable with these changes. Testicular growth, enlarged penis, wet dreams, etc., must be discussed with the child, so that, when he encounters these things, he does not develop the feeling of guilt, shame, or embarrassment.
What should parents talk to girls?
The relation of a mother and daughter assumes great significance during this phase. The mother can guide the daughter on issues related to menstruation and hygiene. She should explain her the various changes that the body will go through, especially, the breast size.
During the phase of puberty, attraction towards the opposite sex is perfectly normal. Therefore, parents should talk to their children about maintaining healthy friendship with the opposite sex.
Parents can be the best friends of their children, and provide appropriate guidance and support to them. Therefore, it is necessary that parents talk to their children about these issues.
Disclaimer: This story is meant for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.