Emotional changes during puberty: all about your puberty feels
Puberty is a transformative time that paves the way for some incredible changes within the body. Some changes are easy to spot, while others aren't so obvious. Hair sprouts, limbs grow and hormones shift, but while your body is doing the cha-cha-cha of change, your emotions are having a dance-off, too.
Puberty typically begins around age 10 for girls and age 11 for boys but can show up earlier or later for a bunch of reasons. As your body moves through the stages of puberty, you might notice a shift in how you feel about your body, other people and the world around you.
Emotional changes during puberty are powered by rapid growth in your brain — and feeling different is very normal. Unsure about what's ahead? We've put together this guide to help you navigate the puberty journey with confidence.
What are the first signs of PCOS?
Tips for managing emotional changes during puberty
Here are some of the ways you can manage the big and exciting feelings that come with puberty:
- Tune into your feelings: Don't push your feelings away – let yourself feel them and explore them, especially during your first cycle. Reach out for help if low feelings don't pass.
- Try meditation and mindfulness: Learning how to breathe and meditate can calm your mind and reduce anxiety. Journalling can help to process your feelings, too.
- Remember self-care: Do what makes you feel happy. Pump the music, get outdoors or lay in the bath until your feet and hands are wrinkled. The choice is yours!
- Move your body: Exercise is a great way to blow off steam and frustration and doesn't have to be full on. A short walk, bike ride or swim can do wonders for your state of mind.
- Ride the wave: Try to remind yourself that some days are good and some days suck, but your body is doing incredible things right now.
- Ask for space: Tell the people around you if you need space or downtime to process your feelings.
- Get enough sleep: Switch off your devices at least an hour before bedtime and practice good sleep hygiene to help nourish your body and mind.
- Eat healthy foods: Eating a well-balanced diet will support your body to grow, heal and function.
Dr Ashwin says if you feel really tired but you're eating and sleeping well, it's a good idea to ask a parent to take you for a blood test. Sometimes, puberty can mess with your iron levels.
And always remember — navigating the emotional rollercoaster of puberty is a team effort. Your parents and other trusted adults have been through it, too, so they understand what you're going through. "It's important to talk about family values to help deal with emotional issues," she adds. That way, you can work as a team to set boundaries and get support around peer pressure and relationship issues.
Why does PCOS make your period come late or irregular?
The cause of PCOS is complex and multifactorial. Environmental influences, genetic factors and intrauterine variation can predispose a person to having PCOS. Essentially, at the peak of your reproductive life, the body creates several eggs each month called primordial follicles.
They go through various stages of selection and atresia (die-off) due to sensitive hormone control until only one (or occasionally more) dominant follicle is released (ovulation).
In PCOS, the eggs get stuck at the ‘recruitment and selection’ stage and none become ‘dominant’ which means either irregular or no ovulation, and the diversion of steroidogenesis (hormone creation) towards testosterone pre-dominant. Hence lots of little follicles on the ultrasound, and the associated ‘androgen’ features of excessive hair growth and acne.
How is PCOS diagnosed?
In general, if you have menstrual cycles less than 21 days or more than 35 days, it is worth getting investigated.
Your doctor will usually perform a blood test looking at your androgen levels (free and total testosterone), your follicle reserve (Anti-Müllerian hormone, AMH) and other things like an oral glucose tolerance test (for diabetes) and order an ultrasound scan. This is best using a transvaginal ultrasound probe but can be done with a transabdominal scan if a vaginal scan is not appropriate.
Can you get pregnant with PCOS?
Dr Jana: “We were very open about my body, but it helped that he was my personal coach. I can imagine in a team environment, it might be a little harder. In this case, hopefully, you can tell your mates if you need a change that day.
The more we normalise it, the more likely that one day a coach will say, ‘Right, does anyone need a change today due to your period?’ at the start of a session.
In terms of uniforms, as a Modibodi ambassador, I am happy that the PUMA x Modibodi period activewear range means we now have a solution that means the colour of our sports uniform is less problematic. But if it still bothers you, have a voice. Be brave and compete anyway but let your coach know you feel uncomfortable.”
Does PCOS affect your skin?
Acne is a real concern for many women with PCOS. As described above, the complex interplay of endocrine control means the androgen levels predispose women to skin breakouts.
Here are some ways you can talk to your doctor about to help reduce acne caused by PCOS:
- Diabetes medication like metformin
- Changing your diet
- Increasing exercise to regulate insulin levels
- Using birth control
Can PCOS make you feel depressed or affect your mood?
Mood symptoms have been recognised as a concern for many women with PCOS. There is a particularly high prevalence of moderate to severe depression and anxiety disorders.
The cause of mood disturbances is thought to be associated with the pro-inflammatory state, insulin resistance, and elevated cortisol levels. There is also the consideration of body image around higher BMI, acne and hair growth that can cause some women psychological discomfort.
Are there any other important considerations with PCOS?
There are a few other things to think about when you have PCOS. One complication can be a higher risk of endometrial hyperplasia and cancer, especially if you also have a higher BMI.
The overall risk remains low, so routine screening is not recommended but it's important to keep in mind, so you can consider preventative management like cycle regulation and progesterone therapy.
Interestingly, people with PCOS have higher rates of obstructive sleep apnoea compared to those without, independent of their BMI. All PCOS-sufferers need to be assessed for cardiovascular disease too as there has been an association with an increased risk for women with PCOS of hypertension, heart disease and stroke.
Now, I know this all sounds a little intense.
The key message here is that PCOS is more than just irregular periods and infertility. Awareness is key and many of these things are preventable, when you’re armed with the right advice.
- Teede HJ, Tay CT, Laven JJE, Dokras A, Moran LJ, Piltonen TT, Costello MF, Boivin J, Redman LM, Boyle JA, Norman RJ, Mousa A, Joham AE; International PCOS Network. Recommendations From the 2023 International Evidence-based Guideline for the Assessment and Management of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2023 Aug 15:dgad463. doi: 10.1210/clinem/dgad463. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37580314.
- Sadeeqa S, Mustafa T, Latif S. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome-Related Depression in Adolescent Girls: A Review. J Pharm Bioallied Sci. 2018 Apr-Jun;10(2):55-59. doi: 10.4103/JPBS.JPBS_1_18. PMID: 29962792; PMCID: PMC5998697.