Category Archives: Puberty
Nightfall is generally a matter of concern in teenage but it can happen at any age. Spots on undergarments due to nightfall generally become a source of embarrassment. But it is not a big problem or something to be ashamed of as almost everybody experiences it once in their lifetime.
Nightfall is also termed as nocturnal emission. It is generally considered that only males get it but it is also very common in females. Yes, females do get nightfall or wet dreams. Nightfall is the emission of semen in males during sleep. And in case of females the clitoris is enlarged to ejaculate or we can say it is the lubrication of vagina in sleep. Males and females both may get erotic dreams during sleep and ejaculation of semen or wetness of the vagina is a usual outcome of sexual arousal. So, where is the problem? What makes nightfall a case of embarrassment? Answer lies in the fact that nightfall is normal and harmless till it doesn’t reoccur often, like some times in a month but it becomes a problem if the frequency is higher.
There are so many who indulge in the thoughts of lovemaking activities. Such thoughts can become one of the many reasons for nightfall. Habit of smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol not only damages body organs, but also weakens our nervous system. Sedentary lifestyle is one of the many nightfall causes. It is essential to give up such habits for timely treatment of nocturnal emissions.
But it also benefits the body in numerous ways, for men reproductive system ejaculates seminal fluid at night to prevent accumulation of seminal fluid in reproductive organ. This process helps in the formation of new healthy seminal fluid and in females it reduces the dryness of the vagina and maintains it at an adequate pH. By ejaculating fluids at night, the reproductive system improves efficiency of organs hence it improves our metabolism. But there is always a thin line between less to excess. Excessive nightfall is often a sign of decrease in the efficient functioning of organs, infertility, loss of libido, weakening of nerves and many more sexual health disorders.
If it is more frequent, then this problem should be discussed openly and if necessary approaching a doctor in cases where things have seemed to gone out of hands.
By Anurag Ray.
Emotional and Mental Changes Teen Age Boys and Girls Go Through Puberty: A Psychological Perspective
Adolescence begins with the biological changes accompanying puberty. More broadly speaking, however, puberty is used as a collective term to refer to all the physical changes that occur in the growing girl or boy as the individual passes from childhood into adulthood.
Biological changes usher in a phase of emotional transition during adolescence, particularly, changes in the way individuals view themselves and in their capacity to function independently. Following are the emotional changes adolescents experience through puberty:
- Mood Swings– Teenagers going through puberty often experience a shift in levels of hormones in their body resulting in mood swings between feeling confident and happy to feeling irritated and depressed in a short span of time. Thoughts, feelings, and actions vary between humility and conceit, goodness and temptation, and happiness and sadness. One moment, the adolescent may be nice and sweet with a friend, yet in the next moment can be extremely rude and hurtful.
- Identity Crisis– The identity crisis typically occurs during early to middle adolescence, and is twofold; the crisis of identity and identity confusion. On one hand, the individual struggles to find a balance between developing a unique, individual identity while on the other hand, still want to be accepted as part of a group and strives to “fit in.” This is also a time when one distances themselves from their parents and tries to associate more with their friends. Psychologically, because their friends are perceived to be in the similar phase. This creates an identity confusion of which group to belong.
- Change in Relationships and Peer Pressure– With the onset of puberty, there is a change in the relationship dynamics. Teenagers may start spending more time with peers than with parents. It may seem that friends appear to be more important than family. As a matter of fact, for an adolescent, both friends and family are important. They want the acceptance of their peers, along with the guidance and support of parents.
- Sexual Desire– The increase in sex hormones during puberty causes many changes in adolescents including having new sexual feelings. The three aspects of sexual desire during adolescence are: first when an individual becomes aware of why, when, where, and with who to have sexual intercourse, second, the perception of being desired by others, third, feelings, crushes and fantasies for others.
Compared to children, adolescents think in ways that are more advanced, more efficient, and generally more complex. Jean Piaget (Cognitive Theorist) describes this stage of cognitive development in adolescents when an individual can solve problems using trial and error method in a logical and methodical way. This can be seen in five aspects:
- Hypothetical Thinking– As children our thinking is oriented to the here and now—i.e., to the things and events that we observe directly. The transition to adolescence brings in the development of thought with regards to what is possible. The adolescents are able to hypothesize what can be, as against what is.
- Abstract Thinking – Adolescents find it easier than children to comprehend the higher-order, abstract logic inherent in puns, proverbs, metaphors, and analogies. This improved function of abstract thinking also enables the application of advanced reasoning and logical processes to social and ideological matters. This is evident in the adolescent’s increased interest in thinking about interpersonal relationships, politics, philosophy, religion, and morality, fairness, and honesty.
- Metacognition- Increased introspection and self-consciousness are one of the hallmarks of adolescent behavior. This also highlights the increase in process of metacognition, causing not only intellectual advancements but also at times a perception of continuously being watched or monitored by peers/others.
- Multidimensional cognition of self/others- The adolescent’s vocabulary describing events or people contain complex terms and multiple perspectives. They begin to understand that situations can have more than one interpretations and point of views. This is in contrast to a child’s thinking where each aspect is processed separately and one at a time. This is a building block for creation of sophisticated and complex relationships with other individuals.
- Relative vs absolute terms- Children always see things in absolute terms—in either black or white. Adolescents start to perceive things as relative. They start questioning the basis of things told to them. Refusal to accept things which were previously ‘absolute truths’ can at times lead to stressful moments in the household, and is one of the causes of argumentative behaviours in the teenagers.
Growth spurts at the time of puberty imply that all of a sudden there is an altered body for the child to manage. This causes a problem of self-consciousness and initiates the adolescents onto a path of sex role definition. This is the time of continuous self-appraisal and comparison of their self -image with their peer group. Eventually, the purpose of this change along with the emotional and cognitive transitions taking place in the psyche is to enable a young adult to not only become socially and emotionally independent, but also to establish her own beliefs, values and her place in life.
– Fariha Farooqui
Holds a PhD in Psychology. and currently is a counsellor-in-training at Parivarthan
Puberty is the period during which the capability of sexual reproduction is attained. Puberty includes rapid growth of bones and muscles, changes in body shape and size, and development of the sexual organs. This usually happens between ages 10 and 14 for girls and ages 12 and 16 for boys.
Precocious puberty is development of the following characteristics before age 8 year in girls and before age 9 year in boys.
Signs and symptoms in girls include:
- Growth of breasts.
- First period (menarche)
Signs and symptoms in boys include:
- Enlarged testicles and penis
- Facial hair (usually grows first on the upper lip)
- Deepening of voice
Signs and symptoms that can occur in boys and girls include:
- Pubic or underarm hair
- Rapid growth
Precocious puberty is classified as central and peripheral.
In central, gonadotrophin dependent, when it results primarily from early hypothalamic-pituitary maturation. Central Precocious Puberty represents 80% of cases of Precocious Puberty and occurs more commonly in girls, with a female to male ratio of at least 3:1.
In peripheral, gonadotrophin-independent puberty, the primary event is increased secretion of adrenal or gonadal sex steroids or exposure to exogenous steroids. Some forms of peripheral Precocious Puberty occur in boys, such as chorionic gonadotrophin secreting tumors and familial gonadotrophin-independent peripheral Precocious Puberty resulting in constitutive activation of the LH receptor and hence testosterone production. [Symposium on Growth and Its Disorders-II, Growth in Precocious Puberty. Justin J. Brown and Garry L. Warne ]
Possible complications of precocious puberty include:
- Short height –Children with precocious puberty may grow quickly at first and be tall, compared with their peers. But, because their bones mature more quickly than normal, they often stop growing earlier than usual. This can cause them to be shorter than average in the long run.
- Social and emotional problems –Girls and boys who begin puberty long before their peers may be extremely self-conscious about the changes occurring in their bodies. This may affect self-esteem, increased stress and increase the risk of depression.
- Early menstruation can be very disturbing for girls who are of age 8 or younger who are not able to take care of themselves in those days. Parents can help by educating their child about what physical changes are occurring to them, how to take self care.
- Decreased concentration, poor scholastic performance, bullying, teasing at school. Child may refuse to go to school.
- Parents may have trouble dealing with child’s early development or worry regarding kids sexual interests but there’s no strong evidence that kids with early puberty are likelier to be sexually active at a younger age
Make an appointment with your child’s doctor if your child has any of the signs or symptoms of precocious puberty. Treatment of this is available. If you, your child are having difficulty coping, seek counseling. Psychological counseling can help your family better understand and handle the emotions, issues and challenges that accompany precocious puberty.
Dr. Aprateem Mukherjee
What is puberty?
Puberty is the process of physical changes through which a child’s body matures into an adult body capable of sexual reproduction. It is initiated by hormonal signals from the brain to the gonads: the ovaries in a girl, the testes in a boy. (Wikipedia) The process lasts for around 4 years, and starts as early as 8 in girls and as early as 10 in boys. Puberty is one aspect of sex education that students generally learn in schools; hence parents don’t invest their time in telling their kids about puberty. However, the absence of sex education classes in India has left this task on the able shoulders of ‘that’mate.
What happens during puberty?
Both girls and boys go through a series of physical and emotional changes during this process. Many kids think whether the changes happening to them are normal. The onset of puberty varies among individuals. It could be dependent on both genetic and environmental factors are likely involved in the timing of puberty. The onset of the puberty also depends on the body fat or body composition of the individual. Some individuals go through an early onset of puberty which is termed as precocious puberty, it occurs both in boys and girls.
What are the physical stages of puberty in girls and boys?
In girls the first sign of puberty is usually the growth of their breasts. Pubic hair and hair on legs and arms start to grow too. Around 18-20 months later girls usually have their first period. A few of girls have hair on the upper part of the lip and under arms. Many girls get acne . They also have a white vaginal discharge. This is completely normal.
Most girls gain weight, they stop growing tall after around 4 years of puberty. Girls develop body fat along most of their body parts like their upper arms, thighs and upper back. Their hips grow rounder and waist gets narrower.
Menstruation is one of the major stages of puberty in girls. It’s the onset of womanhood in girls. It prepares a girl’s body so that she can bear a child. Many girls don’t completely understand the reason behind menstruation. They even don’t understand a women’s reproductive system completely. That can make the process seem even more mysterious and confusing for both girls and guys.
What is menstruation?
Menstruation is a woman’s monthly bleeding. In menstruation body sheds the lining of the uterus (womb). Menstrual blood flows from the uterus through the small opening in the cervix and passes out of the body through the vagina. Menstrual periods last from 3 to 5 days. The average menstrual cycle is approximately 28 days long. Women undergo rise and fall of levels of hormones during the menstrual cycle.
What happens during the menstrual cycle?
Estrogen helps the lining of the uterus to grow and to thicken. This lining of helps nourish the embryo if a pregnancy occurs. At the same time the lining of the womb is growing, an egg, or ovum, in one of the ovaries starts to mature. At about day 14 of an average 28-day cycle ovulation occurs, the egg leaves the ovary.
The egg then travels through the fallopian tube to the uterus. Hormone levels change and thus preparing the lining for pregnancy. During these 3 days a woman is most likely to get pregnant if the egg is fertilized by a man’s sperm. If the egg is not fertilized, it will break apart. The hormonal level drops, and the thickened lining of the uterus is shed during the menstrual period.
In boys the first sign of puberty is that their testicles get bigger and the scrotum begins to thin and redden. Pubic hair also starts to appear at the base of the penis. Their voice breaks, they get wet dreams (involuntary ejaculation at night), they have hair growth at different body parts like under arms and pubic hair.
Mood changes in puberty
Puberty may be an excruciating experience for some kids. They deal with a lot of physical changes like change in body odor, acne and weight issues. They may even go through depression, low self-esteem, aggression or unexplained mood swings
How to inform kids about puberty and the changes they are going through?
It never too early to start talking to your kids about puberty. It’s better to prepare children about the physical and emotional changes they will go through after the onset of puberty. Kids will have all sort of questions, however don’t wait for your child to come to you with questions, they may never come, because they don’t know its OK talk to you about this sensitive topic.
These days, kids are exposed to so much information about sex either from TV or from Internet, that they generally know things forehand. Yet, talking about the issues of puberty remains an important job for parents because everything on the Internet is not reliable.
You can start talking to your kids as early as they are 3 years old. You can inform them about good touch and bad touch. You can ask your kids following questions and then try answering them if they struggle:
Why are the differences between a girls’ and a boys’ body?
What do we call the different parts of girls’ and boys’ bodies?
Where do babies come from?
How are your friends similar or different to you?
Which parts of my body are private?
What is a safe zone?
Who all are in the safe zone?
Whom to tell when somebody touches your private parts?
How can I say ‘no’ if someone wants to touch me?
Whom should I tell if someone touches or wants to touch my private parts?