Jun 13, 2019
Approaching puberty: What to expect
Puberty can be both an exciting and challenging time, bringing many changes. Not only are you undergoing physical and emotional changes, its a time of self-discovery and your first steps into adulthood.
Stages of Puberty
There are a few main stages of puberty, recognizable by their specific body changes and symptoms, and they include:
One of the earliest signs of puberty in girls is the development of the breasts. This stage generally occurs between the ages of 8-13 years with an average of around 11 years old and lasts a period of 2 to 4 years. It's normal for growing breasts to be sore, and for one breast to develop slightly before the other.
During this time, pubic hair may also begin to appear under your arms and in the pubic area, and you may start to sweat more, requiring you to shower more frequently.
Around one to three years into puberty, your first period may be approaching and you'll notice several changes such as:
- Growth spurts
- Pimples and acne
- Vaginal discharge
- Weight gain and/or changes to your body shape including fuller hips, thighs and breasts
- Corser pubic hair
As puberty comes to and end, your first period marks the end of puberty and the beginning of a new phase. This can be a great time to start tracking your cycle, so you can feel in control and learn more about your body.
Remember that your periods may be heavy and irregular for the first few years of having a cycle, and you may not ovulate for the first few years. With time, your periods should become more regular and less painful, but be sure to report any severe pain to an adult you can trust.
Your first period: our top tips and your questions answered.
The Psychological effects of puberty
Mood swings: Feeling intense emotions and severe changes in your mood is normal due to new and intense hormone production.
Sexual urges and new emotions: Hormone production can bring new sexual urges or feelings of romantic attachment.
Self-esteem challenges: As your body changes, you’ll begin to feel vulnerable and self-conscious and this can lead to lower self esteem. Remember that everyone is unique, and all bodies develop at different pace.
If you're feeling concerned about the changes your body is going through, there's always help available. Don’t be embarrassed about all the emotions that this phase can bring and remember that you can ask all your questions to your doctor, school nurse, or a grown up you can trust.