There are natural chemicals released in our bodies that let us know that we are hungry or full, happy or sad, tired or full of energy. They even control how our body develops, as we grow older.
These natural chemicals are called Hormones.
You may hear a lot about hormones but not really know what they do or how important they are. The control centre for hormones is a place called the hypothalamus gland, located in the brain.
The hyphothalamus gland is so sensitive that it can cause difficulty in getting to sleep when feeling excited or stressed. And, like a small pebble dropping into a pond, the effects of hormones in the body are like ripples spreading out across the water. They are so special that, between the ages of 9 and 17, they begin the process of Puberty. This is the part of growing up when changes inside and outside of our bodies mean that we are passing from being children to becoming adults.
Some changes during puberty are fairly easy to deal with and some are more difficult. You may experience very strong feelings in response to these changes – both good and bad. Everyone goes through these changes.
One of the first stages of puberty is a growth spurt. First you will start to grow much quicker than before. This is called a growth spurt. Your arms and legs grow quicker than your body to start with, so you might feel a bit awkward or clumsy until your body catches up about a year later. You may also experience growing pains. This growth spurt also signals that your period (menstrual cycle) may begin in 6 months to a year.
At the same time that the growth spurt begins, you will also start growing some pubic hair. Underarm hair usually appears about two years after pubic hair first grows.
Your breasts will start to develop (and will continue to do so for a few years). It’s common for one breast to grow a little quicker than the other; so do not worry about it if your experiencing the same. Feeling a little shy about your breasts is also quite normal. But please remember there’s no reason to feel any shyness or shame – breasts are a natural part of your body.
After about two years from when your breasts started to develop, your first period will begin. Your first period is called Menarche (men-ar-key). And when your first period starts, your growth spurt ends.
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