Adolescence is that time of life when a child reaches reproductive maturity. This is indicated by a number of changes occurring in the body. The process of these changes is known as puberty. It begins at the age of around 10 and lasts until the age of 19. The period of adolescence is known as the teenage.
Changes at Puberty
Increase in Height
There is a sudden increase in height when one reaches puberty. Long bones grow rapidly which results in the increase in height. The maximum height is attained by 18 years of age.
Change in Body Shape
Boys become muscular. Their shoulders widen and the waist becomes narrow. The girls widen below the waist and narrow at the shoulders.
Change in Voice
The boys develop a deep and hoarse voice. This happens because the voice box becomes larger. The voice of the girls is usually high pitched.
Increased Activity of Sweat and Sebaceous Gland
The secretions from the sweat and sebaceous glands increase at this time due to which many teenagers suffer from acne.
Development of Sex Organs
In boys, the testes and penis enlarge and the production of sperms begin. In girls, the ovaries enlarge and start releasing matured eggs.
Secondary Sexual Characters
These characters help to distinguish between a male and a female. These include:
In Boys: Hair on the face and chest, hair under armpits and pubic region, deep voice.
In Girls: Breast enlargement, high-pitched voice, hair under armpits and pubic region.
Hormones are the chemical substances that are secreted by the endocrine glands for the proper functioning of various organs. The changes during the adolescence are controlled by the hormones.
In males, testosterone starts getting released by the testes. This results in the growth of facial hair, hair in the pubic region, hair on the chest, deep voice, etc.
In females, the hormone estrogen is released by the ovaries which result in the enlargement of breasts. The mammary glands also start developing on attaining puberty.
Reproductive Phase in Humans
- At puberty, the thickened uterine lining sheds off along with the egg in the form of bleeding known as menstruation.
- The first menstrual flow is known as menarche.
- The menstrual cycle stops by the age of 50 and is known as menopause.
- The menstrual cycle occurs in every 28 to 30 days.
- A teenager should take in a balanced diet which includes carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
- Girls should eat a lot of iron-rich food for the formation of RBCs.
- Due to the increased activity of sweat and sebaceous glands, proper hygiene needs to be maintained, else teenagers might end up having various skin ailments.
- Girls should maintain special hygiene during menstruation.
- Physical exercise is important to stay fit and strong.
- One should avoid drugs during this age because this is the age when one easily falls prey to such negative stimulations.
- Prevention is better than cure. HIV is caused by sexual contact or contaminated needles and there is no cure to this disease till date.
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