There are several phases in every girl’s life, from menstruating to hitting menopause, but what’s most imperative in this journey is to understand the changes you are going through and you will go through. Today, we shall talk about why it’s important for an adolescent girl to concentrate on her own health and make her body her top priority.

SOME TAKEAWAYS:

  • As per a survey, teenagers reported worrying mostly about chronic conditions such as acne, menstrual disorders, emotional problems, dental problems and being overweight.
  • To live a better and an open life, girls and guys should realise that girls bleeding every month is normal, and that there is nothing wrong about it.
  • According to UNICEF, adolescence represents a period of vulnerability for mental health, with many mental health disorders having their onset in adolescence.
  • WHO believes that at least 10-20% of adolescents have mental disorders.
  • India is reportedly home to 254 million adolescents. These young girls and boys have the potential to transform India, but they don’t get the right advice at the right time.

Along with physical changes, a teenage girl may go through several mood swings due to hormonal changes. Not acknowledging these changes in a women’s body can lead to identity crisis too.

An adolescent girl goes through several bodily changes, from the growth of pubic hair, to menstruating every month. Along with physical changes, a teenage girl may go through several mood swings due to hormonal changes. Not acknowledging these changes in a women’s body can lead to identity crisis too. As per a survey, Health concerns and health-related behaviours of adolescents, teenagers reported worrying mostly about chronic conditions such as acne, menstrual disorders, emotional problems, dental problems and being overweight. Some of these conditions can be treated if care is sought. The psychosocial problems that were important to the adolescents were related to school and family problems.

Menstruation

People in today’s society consider it a taboo to talk about periods, girls feel ashamed and guys flinch. In several societies, a menstruating woman is not allowed to perform normal tasks, like cooking or visiting the temple. People refuse to discuss these changes in ones body, due to others belief, and the stereotype. Luckily, my family and friends are very open. When I first got my periods, my peers, teachers and parents were very supportive. It was in school, I got nervous, but as my school had discussed menstruation since we were in the sixth grade (Our class girls would talk to our teachers about these changes), and my parents had already spoken to me about the changes I would go through during puberty, I was ready to take my period in my stride to move on.

To live a better and an open life, girls and guys should realise that girls bleeding every month is normal, and that there is nothing wrong about it. The newer generation of guys should actually help the girls.

To live a better and an open life, girls and guys should realise that girls bleeding every month is normal, and that there is nothing wrong about it. The newer generation of guys should actually help the girls. Very recently, I was on a trip with my class to Kutch. I was menstruating and had very bad cramps. My class boys were really mature, when they offered to pick up my bag, during the long walk with our entire luggage. They continuously asked my friend and I if we were fine and needed anything. This openness is imperative, without which society will be kept from progressing.

MP talks period Scottish House
Sanitary pads (Pic by STP)

Puberty

Menstruating is one physical change, girls may also widen their hips, put on weight, their height may shoot, their breasts will develop and they will grow hair all around their body. They need to realise that change is the only constant, and embracing change will help them grow in every way. Knowing about changes during puberty helps prepare for them.

Apart from these, girls will want to be socially accepted. If this may not happen, it can lead to anxiety or in a later stage, depression. Therefore talking to people you trust is important.

Emotional Changes

Apart from these, girls will want to be socially accepted. If this may not happen, it can lead to anxiety or in a later stage, depression. Therefore talking to people you trust is important. Girls want to be independent; to do everything, which can make them, look ‘cool.’ Trying to look cool can take a toll on one’s health; therefore focusing on yourself is imperative. I would like to quote Nikita Gill – “If all girls were taught how to love each other fiercely instead of how to compete with each other and hate their own bodies, what a different and beautiful world we would live in”

Adolescence, along with a lot of hormones kicking in, is the time when a person discovers themselves. This is why a safe environment is a must. If not given, the mental health will surely deteriorate.

 Mental Health

According to UNICEF, adolescence represents also a period of vulnerability for mental health, with many mental health disorders having their onset in adolescence. WHO believes that at least 10-20% of adolescents have mental disorders. Adolescents on a whole have a bad mental health condition, as these are the formative years for them. They face most of the drama and personality stigma during this time period. Such as — discovering sexuality, identity crisis, being excluded, peer pressure, alcoholism, suicidal thoughts etc. Researchers believe that more the risk taking factor in a teenager, the more potential harm it can do to his/her mental condition. Identifying that you need help and are not feeling up the mark is what most teens feel, but rarely they get the help they need. Adolescence, along with a lot of hormones kicking in, is the time when a person discovers themselves. This is why a safe environment is a must. If not given, the mental health will surely deteriorate.

Growing Community

India is reportedly home to 254 million adolescents. These young girls and boys have the potential to transform India, but they don’t get the right advice at the right time. Gender roles tend to expand and solidify during adolescence. This leads, in many places around the world, to restrictions on girls’ movement, agency, access to information and services, and decision-making ability for their future.  It is imperative to recognise this gap and improve their access to information, advice, and facilities and create an atmosphere to break deep rooted socio-cultural norms.

Solutions

  • Firstly, acknowledge that there is a disparity between the genders.
  • Discuss this gap with your friends and family, to make sure that people whom you trust are with you.
  • Confront people who tend to discriminate, or don’t take you seriously because you are a girl
  • If you are a boy and sense discrimination, don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe. India needs guys who respect girls.
  • Every movement in history has started with a few people, not changing the world but only their lives. Change your story, others will follow suit.
  • If you need help, ask for it. Don’t be shy. There will always be people who will want to help you. But there also always be people who will try to put you down.
  • Lastly, continue getting inspired. Here’s a quote by Marilyn Monroe: “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”

Kavya Shah is an intern at SheThePeople.TV

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