What is puberty?
According to WHO adolescence is the period between 10 to 19 years of age when we cross through a transitional period of life and become an adult. Puberty is basically the physical changes during which a person passes through so that the person becomes sexually mature and attains reproductive maturity. During this, there is a growth spurt, in which sudden increase in height and development of sexual organs occurs.
At what time we should give sex education:
We must start educating our children from 10-11 years of age or when we feel that changes have started whichever is earlier. It must include telling them about sexual organs, their development, menstrual cycle, common complaints, how to use pads, maintain hygiene, sexual abuse and how to protect oneself from it.
Common problems related to puberty (urinary, menstrual): They must be told about irregularities about periods, pain, mothers must understand ready to listen about these. they must also understand signs of urinary tract infection. Actually, in females, UIT is more common because of the short urethra ( the tube through which urine passes) and common signs are the frequency of micturition (person going to urine much time more than normal), burning during urination and sometimes in severe cases fever also may be there along with these. Whenever these complains are there, you should consult with doctor. For preventing urine infection, it is very important to maintain hygiene and drink plenty of water.
Personal hygiene: As stated above maintaining personal hygiene is very important. For this first thing that person must take bath daily and while taking bath you should properly wash the private parts with soap and water. Apart from this after urination and defecation (passing stool) also they must thoroughly wash private parts with water and dry with a clean cotton cloth. Always cotton made panties must be used and they must be thoroughly washed with soap and water and dried under the sun.
The pad used during menses should also be of the cotton material and whether homemade or market purchased should be absolutely clean and dry. Synthetic materials are harmful.
Correction of anemia and diet: Regular intake of seasonal fruits and vegetables specially green vegetables is very necessary. In the case of anemia, you must give iron supplementation with the consultation of a doctor.
What is the normal age to start menstrual period: It is normal to start menstrual period from 10-18 years at any age. So you should not be worried. But keep the nutrition good and prevent anemia.
Do you check for bleeding of your daughter: You should also check for bleeding twice daily even in normal flow and more often if high bleeding is there. Also even if best quality pads are used it should be changed at least twice a day.
White discharge: Usually during normal cycles also some white thin discharge is there, which is normal but if it is irritating, causes the child to itch on private parts or bad smelling or if the discharge is too much so that the undergarments become socked and wet you must consult with doctor.
The importance of sex education: It is a myth that sex education should be given after marriage or after they grow enough. Because the first thing that they have sex desire as any other normal adolescent of their age, they have a menstrual cycle(girls) and also they are exposed to all the dangers of sexual abuse. Most of the time the nearby person, any relative or friend can be taking undue advantage and the child is not able to tell because of shame. You must understand that whenever a child shows repulsion from some particular person that person might be in any form having bad intentions. You should never force your child to be with such kind of persons. Sexual abuse can be in any form like touching private parts from above cloths or holding the child very tight and close, it is not always in extreme form i.e. rape. But that is also a possibility. In the case of physically challenged children people take even more advantage. So you should tell your child that anytime anyone touches you with bad intention at any objectionable part or even talk anything like that she or he must immediately tell you. The children must feel comfortable in telling about everything that they are going through.
If your child is anxious and irritable without any reason always ask her/him in a comfortable manner that why they are feeling so. Even normally also during periods or hormonal changes which they undergo during puberty may make them irritable, more so for a physically challenged child. So talking to your child and making her/him feel comfortable in telling you every kind of thing is the key. Whenever in any doubt don’t hesitate in consulting a gynecologist or family doctor.
Puberty in Boys
Puberty in Girls
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