Puberty

Puberty can be so confusing! Here’s some info on what to expect and when:

  • Puberty usually starts between the ages of 8 and 13 and ends by around 14.
  • One of the first signs of puberty usually is their breasts starting to grow.
  • Getting your period (menstruation) usually happens later, around two years after breast growth starts.
  • In between, you’ll probably start to see more hair in places like under your arms and in your pubic area.
  • Puberty involves big changes to your shape, including getting taller (which stops when puberty ends).

Of course, it can be hard to have your body change at a slower or faster rate than your friends’ bodies. If how fast or slow your body is changing is upsetting you, talk to an adult you trust.

If you’re developing slower or faster than you think you should, your body may just be changing at its own natural rate. It’s a good idea to let your doctor know if you start puberty before age 8.

Also let your doctor know if you don’t have any signs of puberty by the time you’re 14. Your doctor can check whether a medical problem is involved.

If you do not have easy access to healthcare facilities, but have some concerns which you wish to discuss, please use our online chat service where someone will be able to help and advise you.

Anatomy

The vagina is an elastic, muscular canal with a soft, flexible lining that provides lubrication and sensation. The vagina connects the uterus to the outside world. The vulva and labia form the entrance, and the cervix of the uterus protrudes into the vagina, forming the interior end.

The vagina receives the penis during sexual intercourse and also serves as a conduit for menstrual flow from the uterus. During childbirth, the baby passes through the vagina (birth canal).

The hymen is a thin membrane of tissue that surrounds and narrows the vaginal opening. It may be torn or ruptured by sexual activity or by exercise.

Menstrual Cycle

Your menstrual cycle phases occur each month when your reproductive system repeats a regular pattern of events, all controlled by hormones. There are four parts, or phases, that repeat. Here’s what you need to know about each.

1) The Menstrual Phase (3-7 Days)
The menstrual phase is the part commonly referred to as “your period.” The official start of your cycle is the first day of your menstrual phase – the first day of your period. Menstrual blood is shed from the lining of your uterus. It goes from your uterus through your cervix, vagina and out through your vaginal opening.

2) The Follicular Phase (14 Days)
This phase is all about your body preparing for pregnancy each month. It starts with your estrogen hormone telling the lining of your uterus to thicken and develop to prepare for a fertilized egg. Your estrogen levels rise dramatically during the days before ovulation and peak about one day before the next phase starts.

3) The Ovulation Phase (11-16 Days)
Ovulation is what it’s called when one of the ovaries releases a mature egg. The egg travels out of the ovary, into the nearest fallopian tube and into your uterus. As the egg moves down the fallopian tube over several days, the lining of the uterus continues to grow thicker and thicker. It takes about three to four days for the egg to travel toward the uterus. From there, an egg waits for about 24 hours in hopes of being fertilized before it starts degenerating.

4) The Luteal Phase (10 – 16  Days)
After ovulation, the luteal phase begins. The empty follicle turns into a corpus luteum. The cells of the corpus luteum produce estrogen and large amounts of progesterone. Progesterone stimulates your uterine lining to prepare for a fertilized egg. Here’s where two things can happen. If you become pregnant, the egg moves into your uterus and attaches to the lining. If you are not pregnant, the lining of the uterus is shed through the vaginal opening. Your period starts and a new menstrual cycle begins.

Menstrual Hygiene Managament

Menstrual hygiene is a much-neglected topic. Your periods are a very important part of your womanhood. Below are certain tips that can help you manage those days quite easily:

1) Change your preferred method of sanitation regularly
Every sanitary pad must be changed in every 6 hour. Failing to do this will spread infections ad rashes and lead to Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), even on days when you don’t bleed much, change your pads since your body sweat and vaginal organisms can breed microorganisms.

2) Wash your vagina every time you visit the toilet
The vaginal anatomy is quite complicated. The outer skin has folds in which blood can accumulate and lead to a bad odour. In case, you have reservations about getting your hands into the area on your periods, tissues can be handy too!

3) Avoid using soaps or cleaning products
The vagina has a very efficient mechanism of cleaning itself. These will only destroy the pH balance. Just water is enough to get it clean.

4) Dispose off the product with care
Try discarding the product in a close bin or rubbish put. Wrap it properly else it will give away bad odour. Do not flushing into toilets in order to avoid clogging.

Please images & infographics below for more information

 

Menopause

Menopause officially marks the end of female reproduction. Although this life stage is well-known, there are actually different stages within menopause that are important to recognize and understand. Menopause itself officially occurs when you stop menstruating.

Most of the symptoms happen during the perimenopause stage. Some women go through menopause without any complications or unpleasant symptoms. But others find menopausal symptoms tiring, beginning even during perimenopause and lasting for years.

The symptoms that women experience are primarily related to a lowered production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Symptoms vary widely because of the many effects that these hormones have on the female body:

  • Irregular periods
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Hot flush
  • Night sweats
  • Sleep problems
  • Mood changes
  • Thinning hair & dry skin
  • Loss of breast fullness
  • Weight gain & slow metabolism

Although both part of the same overall life transition, perimenopause and menopause have differences in terms of symptoms and treatment options. Any abnormal symptoms or concerns should be discussed with a Doctor.

Images & Infographics

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