What is Puberty?

Puberty is the period of time when children begin to mature biologically, psychologically, socially and cognitively. The changes do not occur on a strict timeline; instead the changes occur at different times according to your own unique internal calendar.

During puberty, your body grows faster than at any other time in your life (except for when you were an infant!) because of hormones.

What is a hormone ?

Hormones are chemical substances your brain releases when you reach a certain age.
They are responsible for the onset of puberty. Depending on whether you’re a boy or a girl, these hormones go to work on different parts of your body. You may now be referred to as becoming jawan.

How will I know it’s started ?

Puberty feels different for everyone and is a gradual process. The first changes usually aren’t seen with your eyes as they involve your hormones. There is no exact age when everyone goes through puberty – it differs from person to person as we have our own biological schedule. This is one of the reasons why some of your friends might still look the same while others have a more full physique.

Girls tend to hit puberty between the ages of 8 and 17. Boys can expect it to land between the ages of 10 and 18. But one thing everyone has in common is that we all go through it!

Click here to check out some common signs in both boys and girls that puberty is starting.

Girls & Boys changes

  • Girls: You produce Oestrogen which stimulates the ovaries to produce eggs.Boys: You produce the hormone Testosterone and produce Sperms.
  • Girls: Your bodies usually become curvier.Boys: Your shoulders grow wider, bodies become more muscular.
  • Girls: You may gain weight on you hips – this is normal, you don’t need to diet. Instead develop healthy eating habits like having milk everyday, cut down on your helpings of greasy, fatty food like parathas, halwas and food prepared in a lot of ghee or deep fried; add fruits and vegetables to your diet.Boys: Your Voice ‘breaks’, ‘cracks’ or becomes croaky. Eventually it gets deeper. We also call it awaaz phat rahi hai.
  • Girls: Your breasts begin to develop starting with just a little swelling under the nipple. Sometimes one breast might develop more quickly than the other, but most of the time they will even out.Boys: Some of you may notice some fat around the nipple area, but this goes away by the end of puberty.
  • Girls: You might see and feel a white, mucous-like discharge from the vagina. No worries here – just another sign of your changing body and hormones.Boys: The penis lengthens and widens. The testes enlarge. You sometimes get Erections. Erections happen when boys think about sexual things or sometimes for no reason at all.

Girls: YEAST INFECTION symptoms like itching, whitish plaque around the vagina and redness in the folds of the thighs and the pubic areas, especially in the summer months, should alert you to type of infection –called a yeast infection. This is a fungus that grows in moist areas. You can use an antifungal topical cream like Canesten or Nilstat. To prevent this from occurring, avoid wearing tight underwear and keep the pubic area and the area around the thighs dry and clean.

Boys: You sometimes experience nocturnal emissions (or wet dreams). This is when a guy ejaculates while asleep. That’s why they’re called wet dreams and are perfectly normal. Wet dreams become less frequent as one progresses through puberty, and they eventually stop.

Common Boy and Girl changes

  • Facial and Pubic Hair: hair grows where it didn’t before – under the arms and in the pubic areas (on and around the genitals). It starts out looking light and sparse and then it becomes longer, thicker and darker. Eventually, boys also start to grow hair on their face, what we call the mooch and daarhi, and they may start to shave.
  • Height: This is also the time when boys and girls will achieve their maximum height, some growing four or more inches in a year.
  • Acne: Puberty hormones trigger acne/pimples/zits. These may appear on the face, upper back, or upper chest. Keeping the skin clean helps prevent acne. If acne persists, ask a doctor for some suggestions. The good news about acne is that it usually gets better by the end of adolescence.
  • Body Odour: Puberty hormones affect glands in your skin which make chemicals that smell unpleasant. This smell is known as Body Odour (BO) a lot of you are affected by it which is quite normal.

So what can you do to feel less unpleasant?

  1. Stay Clean. Shower every day (better to shower twice in summers).
  2. Use good antibacterial soaps.
  3. Use a good quality deodorant.
  4. Change your clothes frequently.
  5. Wear cotton or natural fabrics, avoid synthetic/nylon garments.


Some words about Moods and emotions

During puberty, as your body is adjusting to all the new hormones you may feel confused or have strong emotions that you’ve never had before. You can also feel uneasy about your body and the way you look and feel and its very normal to have these feelings. It’s also okay to get upset easily and feel very sensitive. You’re growing up! Let your emotions come out sometimes.

It can help to talk to someone — a friend, a parent, perhaps an older sibling, or another adult, anyone who you feel you can be comfortable with and open up to. Talking helps!

Puberty for Care Givers Download PDF

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