Changes during puberty can come as a surprise to every young girl, but remember that everyone goes through puberty at different rates and in different orders, so don’t worry if you haven’t experienced all the signs of girls’ puberty yet. Here are all the details so you’re ready when it happens!
Growing Really Fast
AND all the sudden your jeans are too short. Where’d that come from? It’s known as a “growth spurt” and it’s one of the first signs that puberty has begun.
First, you may notice your feet and hands getting bigger. Next, your arm and leg bones grow so you’re taller. You may also gain some weight to match the boost in your bone size.
This is sometimes called “the awkward time” because you feel like your body is not quite proportional. But don’t worry! Your body knows what it’s doing and soon enough, it will even itself out.
Your boobs develop in stages. At first you may notice what feel like little “buds,” or swellings, under your nipples. After that your breasts will get bigger and fuller, and may feel more than a little sore at times.
Remember, every girl is different. How large or small your breasts will be depends on the physical, genetic traits in your family. Wondering how big your boobs will get? It takes two to three years to reach their permanent size.
You’ll notice hair growing in your pubic area, that section of your middle that a bikini bottom covers. At first, this hair is soft and there's not much of it. Later, it grows longer and becomes a little curly.
Around this time, hair will grow under your arms too. This is a good time to ask mom if you can try shaving.
Hello, curves! As your pelvis (the large bone across your hips) begins to grow, your hips get wider, your breasts develop and your waist gets smaller. In other words, your body gets some “shape.”
Some girls gain weight quickly during this time. Exercise and eat well, but don’t get worried. Weight gain is absolutely a natural part of puberty!
Is it hot in here? It may just be you sweating more! It’s because your sweat glands are becoming larger and more active. This is probably a good time to try out deodorants with help from your mom.
Oily Skin and Hair
Pimples, zits and grease – oh my! During puberty, the pores in your skin produce more oil, especially on your face. Enter acne. It’s probably time to get in a new routine of washing your hair and face more often. Just don’t freak out too much. Everyone has zits pop up!
Changes in Your Genitals
Your genitals also grow and change during puberty. Your outside parts (the vulva) are enclosed by two sets of “lips.” The larger lips have hair; the inner, smaller lips don't. These increase in size a little bit.
You can’t see it, but inside your body, your vagina is getting longer and your uterus is getting bigger.
Have your underwear been getting a little wet sometimes? Have you noticed yellow or white stains in your undies at the end of the day?
This is discharge, the fluid that's produced by your body to naturally moisten and cleanse your vagina. It's perfectly normal and means that you’ll probably start having periods very soon.
A big red sign that you’re well on your way through puberty! For the first two years, your periods can be very unpredictable. You could have one period and then wait as long as six months for the next one. One period may last a day, another, ten days. You may experience spotting between periods.
It takes one or two years for your periods to even out. Eventually, your cycle will settle into a regular pattern that’s unique to your body.
- Emans, Laufer, Goldstein's Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, fourth edition, by S. Jean Emans and Marc R. Laufer