Girls and puberty

Puberty is when a girl grows up into a young woman. Every girl goes through it, but it can be a tough time. Here are the changes to expect.

Watch a video on puberty

When will I start puberty?

Puberty usually starts between the ages of 8 and 14, but every girl is different. We all grow and change at different rates, and there's nothing you can do to make it happen sooner or later. Your body will change when it's ready.

Your breasts may grow quickly or slowly. You might have your first period, then not have another one for months. There's no such thing as "normal", so don't panic if your experience is different from other girls.

If you feel confused, you're not the only person. Try talking to someone you trust, such as your mum, dad, sister, friends, or a teacher.

What will happen to my body at puberty?

During puberty, it's normal to experience the following changes:

Growing taller

You'll get taller, and this might happen quite quickly.

Breasts and hips get bigger

Your breasts and hips get bigger. You might feel itchy or uncomfortable when this happens. This is normal.

Hair grows on your body

Hair grows under your arms and around your vagina. Some girls develop hair on other parts of their body, such as their top lip. This is normal.

Periods start

Your periods will start at some point during puberty. You might get period pains before or during your period. Find out more about periods.

Vaginal discharge begins

You may notice your vagina produces vaginal discharge (fluid). This is normal. It's your vagina's way of keeping clean and healthy. The discharge should be colourless or white, and shouldn't smell. If it looks green or yellow and smells, see a doctor as you might have an infection.

Spots and sweat appear

Hormones can make you sweaty or spotty, but as long as you have good personal hygiene, you can still look and feel healthy. Find out about acne.

Feelings go up and down

You might have mood swings and feel emotional, but your feelings will settle down eventually.

Find out more about girls' bodies, including breast size, dealing with periods, pregnancy and sex.   

Page last reviewed: 02/10/2015

Next review due: 02/10/2017


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