Puberty is a normal part of life. Puberty is the process of becoming an adult and is caused by hormones produced in your body.
Allow yourself time to adjust to what you are experiencing and try to get support from others, especially from your family. If they understand what you are going through it will help them know how they can best support you.
For girls, during puberty your body starts preparing every month for a baby. Your ovaries start releasing eggs and your body starts to make the female hormones oestrogen and progestogen. These hormones are responsible for physical changes such as breast development, hair growth in your pubic area and armpit, height spurt, vaginal discharge and acne. After about 2 years, your periods start.
For boys, your body starts producing the hormone testosterone. This leads to your testicles and penis growing, hair growth around your testicles and penis and facial hair developing. Your shoulders and chest will broaden and you may notice a slight temporary swelling in your breast area. Eventually, your voice becomes lower and you start growing taller. You may get wet dreams (ejaculations when asleep) and start to sweat more. The increase in testosterone also stimulates the production of sperm.
Due to the hormonal and physical changes that happen in your body during puberty, you may feel more emotional. You may notice changes in your thinking and care more about what others think. Looking after yourself can help you feel better. This includes keeping active and eating a healthy balanced diet. Read more about healthy living topics for teenagers.
An increase in sexual feelings is normal as part of puberty. You may be more curious about sex. It is important to understand what sex is and when sex is appropriate. Safer sex is also important to avoid diseases and unwanted pregnancy. Read more about sex(external link), safer sex(external link) and contraception.
Puberty can also be a stressful time as you may also have to make life decisions while coping with the changes brought about by puberty. Some stress is good for you and helps you to perform at your best. But when you are under too much stress for too long, your performance decreases and your overall health and wellbeing is affected. Read more about stress. For some people, this may lead to anxiety and depression.
Some people choose to drink alcohol or take drugs when they are feeling stressed. Alcohol and drugs may feel as though they improve your mood, but the price for a temporary boost to your feelings is usually a longer period of low mood and an increased risk to your mental health over time. Read more about alcohol and mental health, and find out about how much a standard drink is, the effects of alcohol on your body and where to get help if your drinking is becoming a problem here.