General Puberty and Symptoms
Entering puberty is like opening a new door to life for both genders, it is also an alarming sign for parents because it is the time when proper guidance is needed to handle the physiological as well as psychological effects. Of course, puberty doesn’t need any treatment but there are many psychological effects associated with female and male puberty that need to be handled carefully. The puberty of girls starts between 8 and 13 years of age. Some also experience early puberty, which is segregated into two types Central precocious puberty and peripheral precocious puberty.
Central precocious puberty is a common type, which is not complicated, only that it happens early. In this type, girls develop breast, pubic hair, body odour, mood swings and other signs at a very early stage. There is no need to check up, but be aware of the development.
Peripheral precocious puberty is complicated when the brain and pituitary glands are not involved. The estrogen triggers early puberty in girls and they develop unusual maturation of ovaries, adrenal glands, underactive thyroid gland and other symptoms.
General Symptoms of Female Puberty
- The first sign is a painful lump or bud underneath the nipple. It is the characterization of the development of breasts. It takes 5 years to develop mature breasts, depending on the body structure, diet, sexual orientation, hormones and other factors.
- Hair appears in the crotch first and then underarm. Some girls also experience fine hairs on the body and face.
- The body shape generally tends to curve. It is normal to put some weight, especially on the hips and stomach.
- A little later vaginal discharge starts.
- A completely new feeling envelops the mind. Development of sexual thoughts and other emotions.
- Increase perspiration and body odour changes.
- Some experience pimples and acne on the face and back.
Psychological consequences of early pubertal timing in girls
Girls are more likely to be depressed than boys during adolescence time. It is because the pubertal transition in girls is itself a stressful event, also hormones associated with puberty lead to depressive symptoms. A typical reason for depression is a psychosocial relationship among their peer groups who haven’t developed at a similar pace. In early puberty menarche is sudden and development like the growth of hair in the pubis, breast development etc. creates a sense of shame and consequently fosters an emotional distance.
Other Internalizing Symptoms
In addition to various symptoms, some internalizing psychosomatic symptoms like abdominal pain, sleep disturbances, headache, upset stomach, tremor, heart palpitations etc. foster a sense of anxiety. It is found that panic attacks are more commonly found in seventh and eighth-grade girls. Internalizing symptoms are also a result of ambiguous social interactions.
Anxiety and depression also cause eating disorders in girls. Additionally, puberty can give curvature to their body and is likely to increase body mass, which makes them restrict eating following menarche.
Pubertal girls are prone to substance abuse because of two factors: fascination and depression. Early puberty is most often associated with the initiation of smoking and drinking. Some experimentation with cigarettes and alcohol is normal but it goes far to substance abuse than it is a concern.
Sexual activity such as sex with boys, masturbation, poor academic attendance, cigarettes and alcohol use are some externalizing behaviour but along with these, some delinquent behaviour like shoplifting, vandalism, weapon possession etc. are also sometimes associated with puberty.
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