Girls and Puberty

It doesn't happen overnight, but there are a lot of changes that happen during puberty, boobs, periods and crushes on people we may or may not even like are just a part of it.

Puberty is the bridge between being a girl and becoming a woman. It is a time filled with physical and emotional growth and changes to prepare the body to potentially have a baby. Puberty starts with the release and production of different sex hormones in your body. For girls, this hormone is called oestrogen.


For girls, puberty usually starts between around the ages of eight and thirteen. Every girl's body develops at a different rate, so some girls may start puberty earlier or later than this.

Physical Changes: 

  • Growth Spurt: For two or three years, girls may suddenly start growing several inches a year.

  • Curvier Bodies: Girls begin to gain weight on their hips, and their breasts begin to develop. It's normal for girls going through puberty to gain some weight, and is unhealthy for girls to diet. If you're concerned about your weight, talk to your GP about what is a healthy weight for you.

  • Vaginal Discharge: A clear or white mucus-like fluid may be discharged from the vagina.

  • Menstrual Periods: As a woman’s body releases an egg every month, the lining of the uterus grows thicker ready for possible pregnancy. This is where an egg that gets fertilized by a man’s sperm will attach and grow. If the egg is not fertilized, the egg and lining are not needed and will leave the body through the vagina in the form of a monthly period, lasting  2-7 days. Unless a woman is pregnant this cycle will happen naturally every month until the menopause.

  • Hair Growth: Hair begins to grow in new places: under the arms and in the pubic area (on and around the genitals). Also, hair on the arms and legs may grow longer, darker, and thicker.

  • Body Odour: Some girls may find that, with puberty, their underarms emit an unpleasant smell. This smell can be controlled by washing often and using deodorant - If you also find a lot of sweat make sure you use an anti-perspirant deodorant to control the wetness.

  • Acne, or pimples: Acne is triggered by puberty hormones, and usually appears on the face, but can also appear on the upper chest and upper back. Acne can usually be kept under control by simply keeping clean, but a GP can help with particularly bad cases of acne. The one good thing about acne is that it usually clears up by the end of adolescence.

Emotional Changes

Along with all these physical changes, a girl also changes a lot internally and emotionally. A young girl can become anxious or insecure about the way she looks because her appearance has changed drastically in a very short amount of time. A girl going through puberty is also dealing with identity and what it means to be an individual person, distinct from everyone else. All of these emotional changes can cause a young girl to be very sensitive and easily upset over little things.

It is important for young people to remember that each person is unique and develops physically and emotionally in their own way and in their own time. Because of this, young people should not get down on themselves or tease others for developing ‘too fast’ or ‘too slowly’.

Puberty can be a hard time for many young people, but the most important things to remember is that there is no right or wrong way to look or develop - the most important thing is to feel comfortable in your own skin.

For more information on puberty or to ask any questions that you have, visit our Ask a Question page. All questions will be treated anonymously.

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