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Side Effects of Hormonal Changes in Teens

by Karen Hellesvig-Gaskell

Hormonal changes -- sometimes referred to as "raging hormones" -- occur during puberty, signalling sexual maturation in teens. Some kids enter puberty much sooner than others. Girls are typically one step ahead of boys, with the average onset ranging from age 10 to 14. Hormonal changes in boys generally begin between age 12 to 16, says MedlinePlus, a website published by the National Institutes of Health. Puberty can be an exciting time in an adolescent's life, as it represents the transition from childhood to adulthood, but it can also bring on a number of unpleasant side effects.

Significance

In girls, breast development is typically the first indication puberty has arrived. Menstruation follows shortly thereafter. Boys generally first notice an enlargement of their testicles and penis. A deepening of the voice, muscle growth and the need to shave also occurs in pubescent boys. Both sexes experience hair growth under the arms and in the pubic region and grow taller at a rapid pace.

Sweat and Body Odor

Sweat glands -- as the name implies -- are responsible for producing sweat. Since the sweat glands work overtime during puberty, an adolescent may discover -- much to her dismay-- that she's sweating during exercise, when tense or at other times when perspiration hadn't been an issue. Body odor can go hand-in-hand with sweating, points out GirlsHealth.gov, a website published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Puberty hormones, such as testosterone and estrogen, can signal the sweat glands to produce foul-smelling chemicals. Sweating and body odor can easily be remedied with an antiperspirant deodorant. A daily shower can also help hold off body odor.

Blemishes

Increased oil production during puberty can set the stage for pimples, blackheads and whiteheads on the face, neck, upper chest, upper back and possibly the arms. Talk to your doctor or a dermatologist if your teen is bothered by his blemishes or has a severe case of acne. More than 40 percent of teens in the 15-to-16-year-old age range have acne or acne scarring, which requires professional treatment, reports the American Academy of Dermatology. Acne can be a problem throughout the teen years then disappear as quickly as it came once adolescence draws to a close. Encourage your teen not to pick at, pop or squeeze acne so he doesn't run the risk of leaving scars behind.

Emotional Effects

How a teen feels on the inside can be just as significant and mind boggling as how her changing body looks on the outside. Puberty hormones can set off intense emotions that an adolescent was unaware she was capable of feeling. A teen may develop an uncharacteristically short fuse and feel confused about life in general. Once girls start menstruating, they may have to deal with premenstrual syndrome, or PMS. PMS generally begins a week or so before a period begins and subsides shortly after it begins. Irritability, mood swings, trouble sleeping and acne flare-ups are among the possible symptoms of PMS.

About the Author

Karen Hellesvig-Gaskell is a broadcast journalist who began writing professionally in 1980. Her writing focuses on parenting and health, and has appeared in “Spirituality & Health Magazine" and “Essential Wellness.” Hellesvig-Gaskell has worked with autistic children at the Fraser School in Minneapolis and as a child care assistant for toddlers and preschoolers at the International School of Minnesota, Eden Prairie.

Photo Credits

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