dictionary

Acne


Zits, pimples, spots, whiteheads, blackheads, cysts - there are lots of different ways to describe it, but it’s all acne and most teens get it! Acne happens when your pores get clogged, and usually looks like red dots on your face or body.




Adolescence


Adolescence is another word for being a teenager- the period between childhood and adulthood. This is when puberty takes place.




Cramps


A cramp is a pain or ache around your lower belly, which many girls get during their period. For some girls, cramps are just a bit uncomfortable, but for others they can be very painful. The good news is there are many things you can do to feel better, like using a heatpad or doing mild exercise.




Discharge


Discharge is a fluid that comes out of your vagina throughout the month. It can be expected to start during puberty and continue throughout adulthood. Some girls get a lot of discharge and other don't - this is all normal. You will probably notice that the amount, color, and texture of your vaginal discharge varies. Sometimes, it will be clear and colorless, other times it will be a creamy or milky color. Sometimes, it will feel like liquid, other times, it will be sticky or stringy. Sometimes, you'll feel damp between your legs, other times you won't notice it at all.




Genitals


Your genitals, sometimes referred to as your "private parts", are the external (outside) organs responsible for reproduction (making a baby). Genitalia on male bodies includes the penis and testicles, and the vulva on females.




Gynecologist


A gynecologist is doctor who specializes in womens reproductive health. They are a great person to talk to if you have any questions or concerns regarding puberty and your period. It is a good idea to see a gynecologist when you start having sex, or if you are thinking about doing so.




Menopause


Menopause is the time in a womans life when her period stops due to changing hormone levels. This usually occurs after age 45, but it can begin earlier too.

Menopause, like puberty, is a big transition and takes some getting used to! As hormone levels decline, women experience a lot of changes. Similar to puberty, some women will be more effected by these hormonal shifts than others.

Emotional symptoms of menopause can include irritability, forgetfulness, and feeling depressed. Physical symptoms of menopause can include hot flashes (sudden feeling of being really hot inside), night sweats, sleeplessness and headaches. Again like puberty, these symptoms will improve over time and there are things women can do to help themselves feel better.

So, if your mom is in her 40s and 50s and is experiencing symptoms of menopause, cut her some slack! Chances are, she’s having some challenges trying to adjust to this change in her life. You know how it feels, adjusting to puberty isn’t a piece of cake either!




Menstrual cup


A menstrual cup is small ‘cup’ made of rubber or silicone, which you can put inside your vagina during your period to catch the blood. They are reusable and safe, but can be a bit tricky if it's your first time using them. With some practice, a menstrual cup can be a great alternative to pads or tampons.




Menstrual cycle


Your menstrual cycle is the time between one period and the next one. Most women will have a cycle that lasts between 25-35 days (28 days on average). However, when you first start your period, your menstrual cycle will probably not be regular. You may have your first period and then not have another one for a few months. This is completely normal - your menstrual cycle will become more regular and predictable over time. If you have any concerns regarding the length of your cycle, talk to your doctor!




Menstruation


Menstruation refers to having your period.




Mood swings


Mood swings are when you're feeling happy one minute, sad the next, then angry and upset, and back to happy again! Experiencing more intense and constantly changing emotions during puberty is common and will likely ease as you get older. However, if you are feeling severely down over an extended period of time, it is important to get help. Tell a trusted adult (a parent, teacher, or doctor) what you are feeling, especially if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or urges. For immediate help, call suicide hotline 1(800)-273-8255.




Ovaries


You have two ovaries, which are found inside you on either side of your uterus. They produce female hormones (estrogen and progesterone) that are needed for puberty, and "eggs," otherwise known as ovum, which can becomes a baby if fertilized by a male sperm cell.




Panty liners


Panty liners are thin, absorbent pads that stick to the inside of your underwear to absorb any fluid that leaks from your vagina. You can choose to wear panty liners on an everyday basis to absorb any vaginal discharge you might have. You can also use them during your period when the blood flow is lightest (usually the first or the last few days of your period). When your period blood flow is heavier, you will probably need more protection. You should use products like period pads, period underwear, tampons, or menstrual cups during this time.




Period


Having your period (aka menstruation) refers to the time when blood from your uterus exits your body through your vagina. This happens approximately once a month and lasts anywhere from 2 - 7 days. There is no right age to get your period, but it is expected around the ages of 8-16. It will come when your body is ready, and this time will be different for everyone. Your periods might not come every month at first, but this is normal. As you get older, your cycle will be more regular. Always talk to someone if you have any concerns about your period. A parent, older sister, school nurse, doctor, or any trusted adult can give great advice. It may seem embarrassing at first, but it will help put your mind at rest.




Period pad (sanitary pad)


Period pads are soft, cotton pads that stick to the inside of your underwear to absorb the blood released during your period. Some pads have sticky side flaps (“wings”) that fold over the edges of your underwear to hold the pad in place. There is a wide selection of different sizes and thicknesses of pads. This can be overwhelming, but don’t worry, you will find your favorite brand over time! Our best advice is to go for the teen or tween size pads at first, as they are made to fit a young girls’ body. If you can’t find a teen size, try the "thin" pads, which are less bulky and more managable for the lighter flows you experience at the beginning of puberty. You should change your pad every 4 - 8 hours to protect you from leaks and prevent prominent odor. When you are ready to change your pad, just take it out of your underwear, roll it up so the bloody side is covered (you can roll it up inside toilet paper or an empty pad wrapper if you want). Then, throw the pad away in the trash. Don’t flush the pad down the toilet, as this can cause a blockage.




Period Poverty


Period Poverty occurs when women and girls do not have access to what they need for their period. This includes: * a scarcity of clean period products such as pads and tampons * inadequate washing facilities to keep clean * a lack of access to safe and hygienic private spaces * the restrictions or shame many women and girls experience when they have their period (for example, in some regions, women may be forced to isolate during their period, or may not be allowed to attend school) *inaccurate or inadequate education surrounding periods and menstrual health You might be surprised to learn that Period Poverty affects millions of women in countries all around the world, including in the United States. Period Poverty is a huge issue for many women and girls that affects their entire lives, including their education, work, confidence, and wellbeing Click here to learn more




Perspiration (sweating)


Perspiration, or sweating, becomes more prominent during puberty! Sweat glands in your armpits, feet and between your legs become more active. This causes you to sweat a lot more, which can be smelly! To avoid body odour (B.O.) caused by intense sweating, take regular showers, use deodorant, and wear clean clothes daily!




Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)


A few days before your period, you may notice some changes in your mood and body. These changes could be symptoms of PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome). Like many other side-effects of puberty, some girls will be more affected by PMS than others. Symptoms of PMS: *moodiness (mood swings) *sadness or feeling down *anger *anxiety (worrying about things more than usual) *exhaustion *food cravings *zits *bloating *backaches *sore breasts *headaches *constipation or diarrhea




Puberty


Puberty is the period of time when your body matures. It's a part of growing up that everybody will go through. For girls, puberty will usually start between the ages of 8 - 13, whereas boys begin a little later, between the ages of 9-14.




Pubic hair


Your pubic region is your lower torso and between your legs - basically the area around your ‘private parts’. During childhood, this area is either hairless or has very light, fine hair that you can’t really see. As puberty starts, pubic hair will start to grow here. Pubic hair will be darker, longer, and curlier than you might expect.




Stretch marks


As your body grows quickly during puberty, your skin will stretch and some people may get stretch marks. Stretch marks start as fine, red or purplish lines on your stomach, buttocks, hips, breasts, arms, or legs. These marks are often a different texture to your usual skin. Stretch marks will fade over time and will become a light, silvery color and not very noticeable.