26 Nov What is puberty?
Just what is puberty? A little definition first….
Huh? What does that say? Glands? Functional? Secondary? (Houston, we need a break down please!)
Puberty is a time in life when your body and brain undergo significant changes in response to hormones. It is a time that transitions your body from child to adult. One of the main systems involved in that process is the endocrine system, so let’s start this breakdown there.
The endocrine system is one of your many important body systems. It is made up of hormone-producing glands that control basic body functions, including sexual development. One gland that secretes (meaning, to leak) hormones into your bloodstream is called your pituitary gland (located at the base of your brain). (Other glands include the ovaries and testes. Remember, we are trying to keep this simple-pimple! Ha ha, pun intended!)
Hormones are chemicals that tell organs to do their specific jobs during puberty.
During puberty, the pituitary gland begins to secrete hormones that promote the growth of secondary sex characteristics. What are those?
Let’s back up. At birth you have your primary sex characteristic—that is how the doctor (or nurse or panicked parent) was able to pronounce you a girl or a boy: If you have a vagina you are a female, if you have a penis and testicles you are a male. So, quick, YOUR primary sex characteristic/s on your particular body is/are _________________________.
However, your secondary sex characteristics develop during puberty and further create your physical male-being or female-being. For example, girls develop breasts while boys become more muscular. Both boys and girls will develop pubic hair and experience a growth spurt. These examples are secondary sex characteristics of puberty.
So that was basically a review of health class 101 when you may have been too busy doodling on your notes, giggling at the naked people in the diagrams, or turning red because you had a secret crush on the person sitting next to you. So, basically, the primary sex characteristics are present at birth and your secondary sex characteristics are the main gist of puberty.
Now, the next sub-post is going to cover the details of what girls go through, the following one gives the details on male puberty. Reading both, no matter your gender, is a good idea. Knowledge about what’s coming down the path will help you to be ready for anything—for yourself or to help you support your friend of the opposite gender!
Have your parents had this talk with you yet? If so, how old were you? And how did it make you feel?