This part of the website is for youth. You might need the help of a trusted adult to look at this or you might be able to look at it on your own.
Have you ever wondered why your body changes as you get older?
The changes are called puberty which means growing from a child to an adult. It usually starts at around 10 years old and most people are finished puberty by the time they are 17 or 18. Learning about puberty, how your body works e.g., having periods or erections and hygiene are all part of self-care.
Watch the video ‘Let’s Talk about Puberty’ and learn about the top ten signs of puberty and growing up
Taking care of yourself is part of growing up and this means understanding your body and learning hygiene skills to stay clean and healthy. Hygiene skills include brushing teeth, taking a shower and washing your hair. Puberty changes include body odour (sweating and smelling bad) and oily skin and hair. This can lead to pimples or zits. Looking good can make you feel good and many people like it when others look and smell nice.
These are the activities you should do to take care of yourself
Using a hygiene chart or checklist can help you stay on track. You may need to ask for help with some of the tasks e.g., cutting your nails. Asking for help is ok! Practicing these skills helps you build independence which can feel good.
As your body grows, the sexual and reproductive body parts and the way they work change too.
A period happens about every 4 weeks when a small amount of blood comes out of the vagina.
Your body is getting ready to maybe one day make a baby.
If you have a vulva and vagina, your body starts to release eggs.
Just before this happens, you may start to see some discharge in your underwear (it’s clear and looks a little bit like egg whites).
If it smells bad or changes colour, talk to an adult you trust. You will start to have periods, bleeding from your vagina, for about 4 or 5 days each month. You are not sick, this is a healthy part of growing up. Use pads, tampons or menstrual cups to catch the blood. It’s important to change them often. Be prepared by having supplies with you at school or work. It’s a good idea to shower or bathe every day to stay fresh.
Erections and wet dreams
If you have a penis and testicles, your body starts to make sperm. Sperm cells can come out of the penis in semen, a sticky white liquid. The penis gets big and hard (erect) before the semen comes out. This is totally expected and healthy. Erections can happen when you don’t expect them and might be embarrassing if it happens when you are around your friends and family. If this happens, sit down or place a sweater over your lap to cover the erection.
Sometimes semen comes out during sleep. This is called a wet dream and is the body practicing to make semen. Some people have them and some don’t. If this happens, clean up by changing your underwear or pajamas and the bedding. Wet dreams are private and you don’t need to tell anyone that they happen for you.
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