Puberty Blues… How do I handle it?
Compiled by: Samantha Feris
Puberty is often accompanied by horrifying or embarrassing stories. However, natural human processes occur and a rise in hormones can cause many changes in our bodies and emotions. In some cases, these emotions can be so overwhelming that it causes unexplained feelings of anger and depression (Muthoni, 2015).
Puberty is not a single, sudden event; it progresses as a teenager develops. Hormonal changes, physical height and weight and sexual maturation (enlargement of breasts and genital development) are all ways in which puberty presents itself. Hormones such as testosterone, estrogen and progesterone are predominantly responsible for many changes during adolescence.
Here are some ways you can deal with the symptoms of puberty:
• You will probably sweat more than before and grow hair on various parts of your body including the armpits and the pubic area. Take a bath or shower regularly and shaving your armpits and pubic area at this stage may be helpful.
• Acne may occur as your skin becomes oiler. Use facial products that work for your skin to improve the condition. If it becomes unbearable, see your doctor for referral to a dermatologist.
• The ‘perfect’ bra. A well-supporting bra will help you maintain good posture, and prevent your breasts from drooping. Take your mom along, or ask the lady in the bra department to help you choose the correct size. Sports bras could also make this process easier.
• Menstruation and cramps are naturally unpleasant. Prepare an ‘emergency kit’ with tampons and/or sanitary pads, clean panties and wet wipes; make sure you always have this nearby. Use a hot water bottle and keep warm or ask your doctor to prescribe anti-inflammatory pain medication (ibuprofen) for period pain – taking ibuprofen for a day or two before your period starts can prevent most of the cramping.
• Wet dreams (ejaculating while asleep) and unexpected erections in boys is a normal process of puberty. A heightened sense of sexual urges is more prevalent amongst youthful boys, to cope with it, remember that masturbation is a normal, healthy form of self-discovery.
• Mood swings are normal. If you notice that you are not getting along with your parents or teachers as well as you did, do not be too hard on yourself or them.
Talk to someone close to you, an older brother/sister, mom/dad or someone you trust.
Telling a close friend about your difficulties may help but remember they are probably going through similar changes and need guidance too.
If feelings of sadness and frustration are getting too much, rather seek help from a psychologist to assist you.
Understand that puberty is normal and that everyone goes through it, it may seem really tough at the moment, but you will survive it, as many have and you will grow stronger coping with it.