Teen Puberty – Explore the Changes

Explore the Changes

Explore all about your changing mind & body during Puberty. Here you can find reliable
information on what to expect and get tips on navigating all of the physical and mental
changes you’re experiencing and more! The changes won’t wait so let’s get exploring!

African american Teenager Boy With Acne Problem On,Color,Background
Got Acne?

Acne

Written by Jennifer Choi, M.D.

Acne are bumps formed on the top of the skin. These bumps are often referred to as pimples, zits, whiteheads, and blackheads and are usually caused when the pores of the skin are clogged by dead skin cells, bacteria, and sebum. Pimples (acne) can be found on any part of the body and are common on the faces of young people during puberty. Pimples can also occur during adulthood.

Some young people are more concerned about these bumps than others. Whether you are concerned or not, there are healthy habits a person can follow to help keep their skin healthy.

Tips for Healthy Skin
  • Wash your face upon waking up, after exercising and doing sports, and before going to bed. Some people choose to use a washcloth.
  • Try not to touch your face with your hands during the day.
  • Try not to pick or pop pimples, especially the ones that are deep in the skin.
  • Check out over-the-counter products found at a local drugstore. These are often applied to the surface of the skin after your face is washed (yet test any product overnight on your forearm first).
  • Talk with a medical professional or dermatologist if you want additional help.
  • Remember that truly healthy skin comes from within. Hydrate your body every day with at least 8 glasses of water per day.
  • Keep in mind that a healthy diet will also help you look and feel your best. A super-skin-saving diet minimizes saturated fats and high glycemic foods. Dairy and gluten can also trigger acne for some people. Avoid overeating dairy and sugar products- these can spike our hormones sometimes causing more oils.
  • Stay aware of how your body feels after consuming certain foods and make sure to get enough nutrient packed fruits and vegetables that your skin needs to repair and renew.

To learn more about acne and learn tips on how to manage it, visit the Skin Care & Acne page in BLOOM’s Healthy Body section.

 

Young friends on thrilling roller coaster ride
New Moods & Emotions

Managing your Emotions & Moods

Written by Lori Reichel, Ph.D.

  |  Reviewed by Hina J. Talib, MD

There are many feelings a young person may experience during puberty. They include happy, sad, nervous, angry, and excited, as well as romantic or sexual feelings. Mood swings, or quick changes in feelings, are also common because of the release of hormones that create these pubertal changes. Trying to do too much or not getting enough sleep can also increase this moodiness.

Managing feelings, including unpleasant ones, requires patience and “tools” that allow a person to understand their feelings, why they are having them, and how to best cope.

Tips for managing your feelings
  • Note your feelings. To do this, sit still for a moment to recognize the feelings you are having.
  • Remember all of us experience a range of feelings. Although we often want to feel those positive feelings, like happiness and excitement, or calmness and peace, other feelings will also be felt. This is part of living and experiencing the “ups and downs” of things.
  • Participate in an activity that brings you JOY! This can be reading a favorite book, playing or listening to music (including an instrument), writing in a journal, taking a fitness walk, playing sports, coloring, or another activity that usually reminds you of who you are.
  • Talk to a trusted person, especially when you are feeling sad or angry.
  • Attempt to use “I feel” statements to tell… or warn others if you are not feeling your usual self. For example: “I feel annoyed right now.”
  • If feeling down or depressed for more than a day or so, or having trouble sleeping (too much or too little), definitely talk with a trusted adult. A trusted adult can be a parent, guardian, teacher, guidance counselor, coach or another trusted person in your life.
  • Ask a trusted adult to check in with you regularly to ask how you are feeling.
  • Again, remember you are important! There is a reason you are on this planet– so try to recognize your feelings, find healthy ways to cope with unpleasant feelings, and love yourself!

For more information on navigating these emotional changes, visit BLOOM’s Exploring Emotions page.

 

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Crushes

Crushes & Attraction

Written by Lori Reichel, Ph.D.

  |  Reviewed by Hina J. Talib, MD

As a person gets older, they might notice that the person who used to annoy them when they were younger is now looking kind of cute. Some people consider this occurrence as becoming attracted to another person in a romantic and/or sexual manner. This can also be called having a “crush” on another person.

These romantic and/or sexual feelings for someone is another natural and normal part of getting older. Many people experience these feelings and, as they age, may choose to date or be in a relationship with a person they have these feelings for.

Tips if you have a Crush
  • If you want to keep your feelings secret, attempt to act like your typical self if you talk with or spend time with the person.
  • If you want to keep your feelings secret, note your feelings by journaling or drawing about them in some way. You can also do this beforehand if you decide to tell the person about your feelings.
  • If you want to tell the person, tell them in a polite way. For example, you can say, “I have something to tell you and it is personal. I’m attracted to you.”
  • Talk to others you trust about your feelings. This can be a parent, caregiver, another trusted adult, or a trusted friend.
  • While it may be tempting to share, it’s best to keep these feelings off of social media.
  • Realize the other person may not feel the same way. If you find this out, understand this happens to most of us and you may still choose to be friends with the person.
  •  If allowed to, spend special time with the person.

For more information on crushes and types of attraction, explore BLOOM’s Relationships Page.

 

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What is Arousal?

Pleasant Feelings in your Body

Written by Lori Reichel, Ph.D.

  |  Reviewed by Hina J. Talib, MD

As part of genital growth, a person may feel pleasant feelings in different parts of their bodies, including their genital areas. Sometimes these feelings are considered arousal – this means the body is “excited” or “turned on”  in which a lot of bodily signs may be noted.

A person may notice they are aroused when: their genital area gets tingly and the penis/clitoris may swell and harden, their heart begins to speed up, they feel warm and sweaty, fluid appears on the tip of the penis or in the vulva area of the vagina, and/or their nipples harden.

Tips for feeling comfortable about arousal:
  • Realize most people, including yourself, may have these feelings. These feelings are part of you being a sexual being.
  • Feel free to note how your body feels when it is aroused. You might notice these feelings occurred because of something you were thinking or doing.
  • If you choose to explore self arousal or masturbation, allow yourself privacy, like alone time in your bedroom or bathroom. Also, before touching parts of your body, remember to clean your hands. To learn more about self-exploration and masturbation, explore BLOOM’s Healthy Body section.
  • If you have an emission from being aroused, including an ejaculation, clean up after yourself. This may include cleaning your clothing or the space around you of any bodily fluids.
  • Experiencing physical arousal or a sexual relationship with another person requires responsibility and maturity. This includes having effective communication skills, making smart decisions, making sure a person provides consent and is able to do so. Just because your genitals are maturing and becoming more adult-like, does not mean you need to use your body parts for sex. Many young people realize the responsibility behind this decision and decide to make sure they are more prepared when they reach a certain age. Talking with a trusted caregiver can help a person figure out what is best for them.
Body Odor
Body Odor

Body Odor

Written by Lori Reichel, Ph.D.

  |  Reviewed by Hina J. Talib, MD

During puberty, sweat glands, including those in the armpit area, become more active making a person sweat and possibly smell more. Although anyone can have strong body smells at times, the hormones released during puberty seem to wake up these smells, especially in the armpit, feet, and genital areas.

Tips for handling body odor
  • Remember that sweating is a natural part of being a person. Sweating helps regulate body temperature, especially when we exercise.
  • Wash your body parts regularly with soap and warm water, including your feet, armpit, and genital areas.
  • Consider washing your armpits or bathe more often, especially after exercise or playing sports.
  • Products that help minimize or mitigate armpit odor include deodorant, antiperspirant, or home remedies.
  • Deodorants are usually pleasant-smelling products that are made to cover up unpleasant smells.
    • Some deodorants contain antiperspirants, which contain chemicals to help a person stop sweating.
    • If you choose to use a product in your underarm area, test it on your forearm for 48 hours first. Doing this will make you sure that your body is okay with the product and you are not allergic to it.
    • Home remedies are natural products that include ingredients sometimes found in a person’s home, like lemon juice. To explore homemade deodorant recipes, check out Tree Hugger.

For more information on tips on managing body odor, visit BLOOM’s Healthy Body page.

 

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Voice Changes

Voice Changes

Written by Lori Reichel, Ph.D.

  |  Reviewed by Hina J. Talib, MD

Many young people experience voice changes during their adolescent years, although they may be more noticeable in some people than others.

Voice changes occur because, as a young person grows, the larynx or “voice box” grows larger. This growth includes the vocal cords stretching to create a different sound. During the time this growth is occurring, in which a young person’s larynx is growing into its adult-sized larynx, cracking of the voice may occur. This voice cracking can occur at any time, yet sometimes occurs unexpectedly and when under stress.

Tips for adjusting to a Changing Voice
  • Take a breath. Realizing voice changes are a natural and normal part of growing up.
  •  If your voice cracks as you are talking, pause, take a breath, then continue talking. This happens even to adults and, if you are okay with it, others will be okay with it too.
  •  If someone mistakes you for someone else or misgenders you when they hear you talking on the phone, simply correct the person by stating who you are.
  • Keep a positive attitude and sense of humor. Remember that all of us go through puberty and experience a variety of changes.
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Breast Buds

What are Breast Buds?

Written by Lori Reichel, Ph.D.

  |  Reviewed by Hina J. Talib, MD

Breast budding is when the breast tissue and milk glands begin to grow in a young person’s body. Usually, this growth begins with a hard nickel-sized lump forming underneath the nipples.

Breast budding is a sign that a young person’s breasts are beginning their development; this is typically a first sign that a person’s assigned female at birth are beginning to go through puberty. At times, the breast area may be sore and tender, yet these feelings usually go away over time. Soreness may also occur right before a period starts; sometimes this is referred to as a symptom of PMS (Premenstrual syndrome) and often goes away after the period is over.

Tips to help with breast budding
  • Realize you are going through puberty. This is a natural and normal experience for many young people.
  • To lessen soreness, attempt to eat nutritious food, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and practice relaxation exercises. These healthy habits help all of our bodies’ hormones be healthier.
  • Be aware that eating some foods may increase breast soreness, including foods or drinks with caffeine, a lot of sugar, or a lot of salt.
  • If you are concerned about soreness, talk to a trusted person, including asking to speak with a medical professional. This person can include your school’s nurse.
  • If you are interested, consider checking out bras. Bras can help to provide support for breasts and there are various types of bras to wear depending upon preferences.

For more information on how to care for and support your breasts and nipples, visit the Breast & Nipple Care section of BLOOM’s Healthy Body page.

 

Love Your Self
Body Image

What is Body Image?

Written by Lori Reichel, Ph.D.

  |  Reviewed by Hina J. Talib, MD

A young person’s body image deals with how they see their body as well as how they feel about their body. Appreciating and loving your body is important. Yes, sometimes a young person may feel awkward in or about their body, including during the adolescent years, but learning to LOVE one’s body and appreciate all that it does is a healthy habit that will help people for the rest of their lives!

Tips for Loving YOUR Body
  • Try to remember that everyone is their own person; comparing yourself to others is not helpful. As Theodore Roosevelt once said… “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
  • Move your body in whatever way you enjoy! That can mean dancing in your bedroom, going for a jog, playing a sport, doing yoga, or anything else that puts a smile in your heart.
  • If you feel unmotivated to move your body, give yourself 10 minutes to do something. Usually, we want to do more after 10 minutes, yet you can still feel better even after 10 minutes of movement.
  • Limit time on social media. Spending too much time on social media can increase comparing yourself to others.
  • Hang out with friends who are truly friends. Friends help you feel positive about yourself and like you for who you are. If you are spending time with people where you cannot be your true self or that compare themselves to you, consider joining an activity or club you are interested in to meet people you will have more in common with.
  • Learn to appreciate your strengths and acknowledge that everyone has weaknesses.
  • If you are still feeling uncomfortable about your body, there are a number of ways to improve your body image and self-esteem. You deserve to feel positive about who you are. If you need additional support, please reach out to a trusted adult for help and visit BLOOM’s Body Image/ Self Esteem page for more tools and strategies.
Surprised cool man
Erections

Erections

Written by Lori Reichel, Ph.D.

  |  Reviewed by Hina J. Talib, MD

An erection is a term used to describe the experience of certain genitals, like the penis or clitoris, becoming larger and firmer. What happens during an erection is the sponge-like tissue in the genital fills up with blood creating a firmness and enlargement to the penis or clitoris. Also, fluid might appear on the tip of the penis or in the vagina’s vulvar area noting the person is experiencing an erection.

During puberty, a person may experience erections in a way that they did not experience before. For those with a penis, the erection might occur as part of a wet dream as the person was sleeping. For people with a penis or vulva, the erection might occur because of seeing or thinking of someone they have a romantic and/or sexual crush on.

No matter why a person has an erection, it is important to know they are a natural and normal part of being a sexual being.

Tips to manage erections
  • If your penis is erect and you have to stand or walk somewhere, carry something like a sweatshirt or book bag over your groin area. Some people also tuck the erect penis into the waistband of their clothing (ex. pants) for a short period of time so long as it doesn’t cause irritation or discomfort.
  •  If you notice some fluid on the tip of your penis or vulva because of having an erection, stay calm. This fluid is a natural part of sexual arousal.
  • If you get an erection at an unwanted time, try to think of something uninteresting or boring. Sometimes thinking of something else helps you to relax, which in turn will slow your heart rate down and the erection will subside.
  • Remember that erections happen to almost everyone.

For more information on taking care of your maturing genitals, visit BLOOM’s Healthy Body page.

 

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Why Sleep Rules

Sleep - the essential life skill!

Written by Lori Reichel, Ph.D.

  |  Reviewed by Hina J. Talib, MD

Sleep is a time for your body and brain to grow and restore. In your early teens, it is recommended that you get at least 9-10 hours of sleep, with older teens getting at least 8-10 hours. If your school days begin at 7:30, you may aim to go to bed at about 9:30 so you have time to get ready and travel to school in the morning. You may experience changes in your sleep patterns due to growing hormones, or emotional changes. Know that this is common!

If you find you are sleeping more than before, it might be because you are growing or maybe you are stressed. Try to stick to a regular routine though and go to bed a little earlier. A shower and a healthy breakfast and drinking plenty of water in the morning can help you wake up.  If you are sleeping more than 12 hours/day for more than two weeks or if you are not feeling well physically or emotionally, you may want to talk to a trusted adult or your doctor.

If you are having trouble sleeping or consistently averaging less than 8-9 hours/night, you may find that you are run down, irritable, and even have increased muscle and joint pains. Sleep disturbances can impact your mood, learning, and social engagement but there are lots of things you can do to get back on a healthy sleep schedule.

Having trouble falling or staying asleep?
  • Try to establish a routine of going to bed at about the same time, taking a shower or bath, and doing an activity like meditation, reading a book, journaling about your worries, coloring, snuggling a pet, talking to a family member or friend, that calms you.
  • Some people like using a weighted lap pad or blanket before bed, as deep pressure input can be calming.
  • Keep your weekday and weekend sleep schedule within an hour of each other, if possible.
  • Reduce lights and stop looking at screens at least 90 minutes before bedtime.  The stimulation of screens can be a big sleep disruptor. If you must look at a screen you can use blue-light-blocking glasses.
  • When the lights are out, listen to calming music or try a sleep app or white noise like a fan.
  • If you can, reduce the temperature in your room a little to help you fall asleep.  If the room is warm, you can put an ice pack in a pillowcase and put it in bed to help make your bed cooler.
  • Limit daytime naps to 30 minutes so that you are tired enough for restorative nighttime sleep.
  • Caffeine can be found in coffee, tea, sodas, energy drinks, and even chocolate.  Some people enjoy caffeine to help stay awake, but this can also cause problems with sleep.  Caffeine not only keeps us up and makes sleep lighter, it can also cause people to be fidgety when trying to sleep, worsening conditions such as restless leg syndrome, a condition where the limbs feel the need to move around in the evening, which can prevent falling asleep or causing waking up during the night.  Caffeine tends to stay in our bodies for a lot longer than realized, with it taking about 5-7 hours for half of the caffeine we drink to get out of our system.  Generally, this means that for good sleep caffeine should be stopped by the early afternoon at the latest.
  • If you continue to struggle with falling or staying asleep, talk to a trusted adult or your medical provider.

To learn more about the importance of sleep and tools to develop healthy sleeping habits, check out the sleep section of BLOOM’s Healthy Body page.

 

Anxiety Depression
Anxiety & Depression

Anxiety & Depression

Written by Lori Reichel, Ph.D.

  |  Reviewed by Hina J. Talib, MD

Feeling anxious and depressed happens to everyone. Anxiety is a natural response that occurs when worried or upset. Actually, anxiety is like an alarm system in people’s bodies, the fight or flight response, occurring when feeling threatened or in danger. Depression is a feeling of sadness, discouragement, or irritation. And it is normal for everyone, young and old, to have these feelings at times.

Yet, anxiety or depression that lasts for longer than a few days and negatively impacts a person’s everyday life is unhealthy.  Consistent and persistent anxiety and/or depression are signs that support is needed. This support includes asking for help from a trusted adult, including a parent, teacher, school counselor, or coach. To learn more visit BLOOM’s Mental Health information here.

Tips for managing Anxiety & Depression
  • Learn relaxation techniques that work for you and your body. These techniques can include deep breathing and mindfulness exercises, which can be found on BLOOM’s Healthy Mind Practices page and on other reliable apps such as: Insight Timer, Calm, and Headspace. A school counselor or health teacher can also help you learn these techniques.
  • Make sure you spend time with family members and friends. Connecting with people we care about and who care about us helps us to feel happier.
  • Practice other healthy habits like exercising regularly, sleeping enough, and eating nutritious foods.
  • Try using a weighted blanket or put a heavy item on your lap like a pet, heavy book, or bag. Research shows that deep pressure input is often calming.
  • Be sure you are getting enough quality nighttime sleep.
  • Get outside. Research has shown that being around natural environments, like parks and lakes, helps our bodies naturally relax.
  • Try to think of positive thoughts, including the accomplishments you have. Some young people keep a journal for recording these thoughts on a regular basis.
  • Reach out to a trusted person if you realize your feelings of anxiety and/or depression are lasting longer than a few days or are getting in the way of your regular activities.
Body Changes
Body Changes & Growth

Can I speed this up?

Written by Lori Reichel, Ph.D.

  |  Reviewed by Hina J. Talib, MD

The changes that occur during puberty usually take two to five years. For most young people, puberty starts at age 11 or 12, but it can begin anytime from ages 8 to 14. Puberty usually ends by the time a person reaches their late teens.

Some young people may want to grow faster, yet everyone has to be patient because their body grows at the speed it is meant to grow. Hormones will be released when they are meant to be released to help start and continue physical changes. During this time, young people gain weight because their bodies are growing bigger and some might feel chubby because of the release of hormones making changes in their bodies.

Tips for accepting your Body Changes & Growth
  • Move your body in whatever way you enjoy! That can mean dancing in your bedroom, going for a jog, playing a sport, doing yoga, or anything else that puts a smile in your heart.
  • If you feel unmotivated to move your body, give yourself 10 minutes to do something. Usually, we want to continue after 10 minutes, yet, even if you stop, you can still feel better after 10 minutes of movement.
  • Realize that certain body activities, like hanging from a “monkey bar” or doing chest presses, will not speed up your growth. Instead, these activities may stretch and strengthen your body parts.
  • Realize your muscles will grow and form at the speed they are meant to grow and form.
  • Refuse to put anything into your body that is advertised as something that will help speed up your growth. There is no magic “pill” that will help you healthily grow faster.
  • If growing pains are making you uncomfortable, try taking a shower or warm bath or putting a hot or cold pack on the joints or muscles that are sore. Moving your body more when awake and getting good sleep at night often helps too.

Check out more information about the basics of puberty, as well as what to expect during the stages of growth, here.

 

teenager relaxing on bed in his room
Wet Dreams

Wet Dreams

Written by Lori Reichel, Ph.D.

  |  Reviewed by Hina J. Talib, MD

The technical phrase for ‘wet dreams’ is nocturnal emissions. A wet dream is a discharge or emission from the penis that occurs during the night as the person is sleeping.

Sometimes during the preteen and teen years, people with a penis will experience a wet dream as the body’s way of practicing releasing semen. During a wet dream, a person will be sleeping and their penis will harden due to blood rushing into the spongy tissues of the penis. Semen, the combination of sperm and other seminal fluids, is eventually released (ejaculated) from the erect penis as the person continues to sleep. The person may wake up or continue sleeping. When they do wake up, they will discover semen in/on their underwear, pajamas, and/or bed sheets.

Some people with a penis will experience wet dreams during their preteen and teen years, and others will not. Either is natural and normal!

Tips if you have a wet dream
  • Remove your underwear and pajamas if you wake up and have semen on them. These can be put into the laundry and you can put on clean clothing.
  • Remove your bed sheets if semen got onto them and clean them in a washing machine (if available).
  • Realize you cannot plan a wet dream. These happen naturally as you sleep.
  • Decide if you want to share that you experienced a wet dream with a family member. Most family members who realize you are going through puberty will probably expect this to occur and understand these are a natural part of growing up for most people who have a penis.



 

Genital Maturation
Genital Growth

Genital Growth & Maturation

Written by Lori Reichel, Ph.D.

  |  Reviewed by Hina J. Talib, MD

As a young person gets taller and wider, their genitals also grow and mature. Genitals are internal (inside) and external (outside) parts of a person. These parts can include vulvas, vaginas, clitorises, fallopian tubes, ovaries, testicles, the duct systems, accessory glands, and penises.

Typically, a young person’s genitals grow proportionately to their other body parts. How these genitals function depends upon what parts a person has. Many of these parts help a person with reproduction, in which a baby is created. Sometimes these parts can experience pleasurable feelings when they are touched in a certain way, or when a person thinks of a person they have a crush on or is attracted to.

Reminders about genital growth & maturation
  • Remember that your body will grow, including your genitals, to the size they are meant to grow.
  • Understand that the size of your genitals will allow each part to function as they are meant to function.
  • Remember that no size of a body part is better than another. All sizes are beautiful!
  • Talk with a trusted adult or your doctor if you are concerned about any part of your body, including your genitals. For example, if you feel a new or strange lump under the skin of a genital that was not there before or that hurts.
  • Allow yourself privacy if you choose to look at your genitals or touch them for pleasure.

For more information on taking care of your maturing genitals, visit BLOOM’s Healthy Body page.

 

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Who Am I?

Discovering who YOU are

Written by Lori Reichel, Ph.D.

  |  Reviewed by Hina J. Talib, MD

As hormones begin and continue to be released, many young people learn more about who they are and wish to become. This includes discovering how you choose to express yourself and who you are. Most people continue this discovery throughout their whole lives. By doing this, you can make sure you live the life that feels best for you and aligns with your personal values.

Tips for discovering who you are
  • Explore the BLOOM Teen Hub! The purpose of our Hub is to provide valid and reliable information that helps you learn about yourself, how to take care of your mind and body, and uncover how to celebrate what makes you unique!
  • Use BLOOM’s self discovery Journal. Writing down your thoughts, dreams, and feelings is a healthy and beneficial practice for overall wellness.
  • Demonstrate respect to everyone, including peers who may be different from you.
  • Report inappropriate behaviors, including bullying or harassing that you experience or witness to a trusted person. Many schools and workplaces have a variety of trusted people to talk with, as well as rules and consequences about inappropriate behaviors.
  • Talk with a trusted person if you feel awkward about who you are. Some awkwardness is natural and normal. Yet feeling upset or depressed about who you are requires support. So, take care of yourself, be brave, and seek help. You are not alone!

 

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Getting your Period

Menstruation

Written by Lori Reichel, Ph.D.

  |  Reviewed by Hina J. Talib, MD

Menstruation (pronounced-Men-Stray-Shun) also known as a menstrual period, period, menses, or flow is a release of blood from the uterus, out through the vagina, that happens approximately every 28 days as part of your monthly cycle. Every month your body prepares for a potential pregnancy. If no pregnancy occurs, the uterus lining is not needed and shed out of your vagina as your period. Your first period is a sign that you are getting close to the end of puberty. For everyone who has a uterus, periods are a natural, healthy part of growing up.

Tips for managing a menstrual cycle
  • Realize this is a natural and normal occurrence for most people with a uterus.
  • Be sure to store menstrual products, like pads, tampons, or menstrual cups, in your locker, backpack, or other personal spaces.
  • If you experience discomfort before or during your period, talk with a trusted adult about solutions. Most people with a vulva have different ways to manage discomfort, including using a heating pad, staying hydrated, and/or doing gentle stretches.
  • If you know you are about to get your period or you have your period, consider doing something for yourself to honor this experience.

BLOOM’s Menstruation section, a safe space to answer all your questions about menstruation, aka your period. Watch videos, learn all about period products & how to use them, what the signs of your cycle are & what they mean, how to navigate PMS symptoms, start tracking your period, and much more! To learn more click here.

Hair Growth

Hair Growth

Written by Lori Reichel, Ph.D.

  |  Reviewed by Hina J. Talib, MD

New hair growth occurs in a variety of places during puberty, including the armpit and genital areas, and, for some people, on the face, chest, stomach, and/or back. Hair on the arms and legs may also become darker and thicker. Hair on the head may also become oilier.

How much hair growth a person experiences depends upon the individual. A young person can ask family members about their experiences with hair growth to see if their growth might be similar.

Pubic hair protects the skin around the genitals from friction. Pubic hair also keeps germs away from the genital openings, keeps the genital area warm, and it is believed to hold natural body chemicals called pheromones. A pheromone is a chemical substance produced and released by the body that triggers a social response in members of the same species. Pheromones are chemicals capable of acting like hormones outside the body of the secreting individual, to impact the behavior of the receiving individuals.

Tips for dealing with new hair growth
  • Remember that choosing to remove any body hair is a personal choice. Certain cultures are supportive of certain body hair being removed, while other cultures are not.
  • If you choose to remove any body hair, speak with a trusted adult who can help you learn the proper techniques for removing hair. This may include using a razor or shaver, which requires patience – you will need to be careful as to not hurt yourself. You can also visit BLOOM’s Healthy Body section for more information about safe shaving techniques.
  • If you are curious about how much hair you may grow, ask a family member about their experiences with body hair growth.

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