While puberty brings a lot of changes to your life and your body, you should know you’re not alone on this journey. All women — including your mom, female teachers and aunts — went through puberty. They can be a great resource for you as you have questions along the way.
As you prepare to grow into a beautiful, confident woman it can be exciting, but also scary. But don’t worry! It’s totally normal, and we’ll be here for you. Read below to find out more about puberty in girls and the exciting changes that await you and other girls like you.
1. Body Growth
One major change you may notice is growing faster than you did during childhood. This is known as a growth spurt. First, you may notice your feet and hands getting bigger. Next, the arm and leg bones grow, making you taller. You may gain some weight to match the increase in your bone size. This may be an awkward time until the rest of the body catches up, but once it does, your body will be more proportional.
2. Breast Development
At first you may notice what feel like little buds, or swellings, under your nipples. After that, your breasts will gradually get bigger and fuller and may become a little sore. Wearing a bra will be important so you can have the proper support for your breasts. Also, it’s important to remember that every girl is different. How large or small your breasts become depends on the physical genetic traits in your family. Full breast development typically takes 2-3years.
3. Body Hair
Soon you will find new hair growing in new places. Curly hair will start growing in the pubic area (the area that extends from your lower stomach to between your legs). In some girls, pubic hair may appear before breast development. At first, this hair is soft, and there's not much of it. Later, the hair grows longer and becomes a little curly. Although it starts growing between the legs, it eventually covers the entire pubic area and may include the upper, inner thighs. This usually takes 2-3 years. A few months after pubic hair begins to grow, hair will also grow under your arms.
4. Body Sweat
Your sweat glands will become larger and more active, causing you to sweat more. This may happen even before your breasts develop. Once this happens you will want to wear an antiperspirant/deodorant to help reduce sweating.
5. Skin and Hair Changes
During puberty, the pores in your skin produce more oil, especially on your face. This can cause acne. You may have to wash your hair and face more often now that you're going through puberty. It would be a good idea to create a daily skin care routine to meet the needs of your changing skin.
6. Genitals Develop
Your genitals, or private areas, 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. Inside your body, the vagina is getting longer and the uterus is getting bigger.
7. Discharge Occurs
Discharge is a clear or cloudy fluid produced by your body to moisten and cleanse the vagina. Before you start your period, you'll probably notice yellow or white stains inside your underwear. This is natural moisture from the vagina. It's perfectly normal, and it's a sign that menstruation will likely start in six to 18 months. Sometimes, vaginal discharge can become white, clumpy, thick or milky. In this case, you might have a yeast infection. Talk to your parents or doctor if you have any questions.
8. First Period Starts
All of these changes lead up to the start of your first period. You may not be sure what’s normal, but there’s no need to worry. When you first start menstruation, it can be unpredictable for the first two years. It typically takes 1-2 years for cycles to develop, so you may not be regular for a while.
Every girl develops differently and at her own pace, so don’t be discouraged. These changes usually happen in the order listed above, but this may not be the order that they happen to you — and that is totally OK! No matter what order all these changes happen, just know you’re on your way to becoming a woman — and that is an awesome thing!