Adolescence is also called teen years ( 13-18 years ) wherein girls experience physical and emotional changes in their bodies and they also start menstruating.
There is a great amount of variations in the rate of changes that occurs and some teens may experience these changes earlier than others.
Following physical changes start from age of 8 – 13 years.
- Breast development
- Pubic and auxiliary hair growth and development after breast changes begin.
- Menstruation may start anywhere between 11 – 16 years with average age being 13 years.
- Changes in height, weight and muscle mass also called the growth spurl.
- Cognitive advances causing increase in knowledge, ability to think abstractly and reasoning more effectively.
- Sexual maturation leading to increased self consciousness , sexual rages and increased curiosity to understand self.
Most girls may go through this physiological changes without complications if they are emotionally cared for, educated about what they are about to experience and provided with menstrual and sexual education.
Some may experience symptoms requiring more detailed assessment, counseling and treatments.
Commonly experienced complaints/symptoms are as below:
- Menstrual Irregularities
Typically seen in the first few years from menstrual with complaints like
- Irregular bleeding
- Heavy bleeding
- Severe abdominal pain associated with bleeding
- Intermittent spotting
- Repeated vaginal and urinary tract infections as a consequences of poor menstrual hygiene.
- Body image issue
Secondary to slow/fast development of secondary sexual characters. If not addressed properly may lead to more severe problems like Bulimia, Anorexia and nervosa etc.
- Primary Amenorrhea
Where a girl does not get her menstrual even after crossing 18 years of age.
- Absent secondary sexual characters
If they do not developed by the age of 16, it is imperative to bring to notice of your doctor who can run tests and help with the diagnosis and treatment.
- Emotional disturbances
Specially seen in girls who have not counseled and prepared for the changes that they are going to experience.
Role of counseling:
All teens should be counseled regarding
- Menstrual hygiene
- Physiology and menstruation
- Sex education
- Emotional maturity
- Contraception and safe sex
Helping adolescence understand their bodies is the key to successful transition through this phase in life.