Maturity from girlhood to womanhood is an existing and challenging phase of life. Some key issues for a woman during this time of life include getting your first period, having your first period, having your first pelvic exam, avoiding sexually transmitted diseases, developing healthy eating habits, avoiding risky behaviours that involve alcohol, tobacco and other drugs and learning to feel good about yourself.
Your breasts begin to grow, you develop body hair and you notice that you seem to be taller than you were yesterday. These are all signs of puberty. You are starting to mature. A girl’s first period is a major event and it typically happens around the age 13, but can happen when you are nine or 17.
Your period, or menstruation, is the monthly shedding of the lining of your uterus when no pregnancy has occurred. The average period lasts four to six days. Hormonal changes before and during can make you feel uncomfortable.
When symptoms are severe and recure with each menstrual period, they are classified as Premenstrual syndrome. Some of the most common physical and emotional PMS symptoms include-irritability that is anxiety or depression, weight gains, bloating and water weight gain, food cravings, headaches, joint, muscle or back aches.
Your first pelvic exam is an important step in taking charge of your health. Obstetricians or Gynecologists are usually the type of health care professional you would see, but a family doctor, nurse practitioners, general internists, and other specialists also perform these examinations.
A pap test, which is used to detect abnormalities in your cervix that may be cancerous, may or may not be part of your first pelvic exam. Cervical cancer can develop whether you are sexually active or not.
A breast exam may also be part of this visit. Your health care professional will look and feel your breasts for anything abnormal and show you how to a breast self-exam at home. During puberty period, women should add more calcium and vitamin D to their diet by consuming more low-fat dairy products or by taking a calcium supplement daily.
Good sources of dietary calcium and dairy products, broccoli, dark green like turnip greens, cooked collards, salmon and sardines tofu and other soy products. Women should eat more complex carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, grains and beans.