Are you between the ages of 8 and 13?
Have you noticed that the clothes you bought just a few weeks ago don’t fit you anymore?
Are you concerned about how your body parts are changing?
Do you find yourself extremely moody these days?
Do you find a guy from your school very cute and you are getting attracted to him?
Then congratulations sweetie!
You’re probably starting a roller coaster phase of your life called puberty.
I am sure you must be having numerous questions to ask which you are too embarrassed or afraid to ask anybody else.
Well, that is the reason I am writing this article.
Let’s begin and see what are the first signs of puberty in girls.
What is puberty?
To put it simply puberty is a process in which your body grows and matures into an adult.
You might have seen your body looks different from older teenage girls or young girls in their 20s.
All those difference you see is due to hormones that start releasing at the time and during puberty.
When the puberty phase ends, you can say that your body is fully grown and now you’re body is capable of giving birth to a new life. Now don’t freak out this doesn’t mean you’re meant to have kids at that age. Your body is just gearing up to be ready for when the time comes.
What happens during puberty?
When a girl hits the puberty phase, her brain will start to produce gonadotropin which is a hormone that is then sent to the pituitary gland in the brain.
The pituitary gland will then stimulate the production of two more hormones called the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH).
Initially, your body will release very low levels of gonadotrophin in childhood but as puberty approaches the production of this hormone increases which in turn triggers the physiological changes associated with puberty.
So what are hormones and what do they do?
Hormones are important chemicals than are produced inside our bodies to aid in our body’s development function and growth.
During female puberty, the ovaries which are the female’s primary reproductive organs will increase in size and start to produce two hormones oestrogen and progesterone. Oestrogen is the hormone responsible for developing the vagina, fallopian tubes and uterus as well as breast development.
Oestrogen will spark a young girl’s growth spurt making them grow taller and changing the way fat is stored on the body. It also increases the size and definition of their hips, waist and buttocks. The not so fun part of increasing hormone production throughout puberty is that it will also heavily impact your emotions.
It is common to experience sudden mood changes as well as an involuntary increase in sexual fantasies and feelings.
At what age does puberty in girls starts?
Puberty for girls can start as early as the age of 8 or as late as the age of 14. Usually, puberty lasts for about 4 years but this isn’t set in stone. Puberty for you may take longer or even shorter than four years.
I do want to mention that we have a habit of comparing ourselves with our friends but please don’t do all this comparison because you know each one of us has different body types and that’s why everyone will have their own experiences while puberty. Some girls will start seeing changes early while some may see them after a couple of years. And that is completely fine.
I remember when I was of this age we used to discuss the secret changes within our group of friends and sometimes we would freak out listening to their stories because some of us had not experienced those changes yet and we used to think maybe there is something wrong with our body but there was nothing like that.
We all mature at our own pace so comparing your body to others is the last thing you should be doing during puberty.
What are the first signs of puberty in girls? | Puberty symptoms in girls
- Breast starts developing
You may notice these changes in your breast.
- The size of your breast starts increasing.
- The nipples also start growing and the colour darkens.
- Your breast may seem uneven in size i.e one may appear bigger than the other.
- You may feel itchy in that area.
- Hair may also appear on the breast.
- Your breast is really tender and it may even hurt while touching.
So if you notice all these changes, don’t worry everything is completely fine and normal.
- Hair starts growing in unusual places
You may notice hair growing on your several body parts like
- Arms, legs
- Under armpits
- On your genitals, these are known as pubic hair
- Some girls may even see hair on their back and stomach
So this hair growth is also very normal during this phase. You don’t need to feel bad or embarrassed about the hair on your body because certainly, it is there because it has its own purpose. So according to me, it should not bother you. However if in any case, you wish to remove hair, consider talking to your mom or your elder sister.
Please don’t think that you can get rid of that hair just by using the razor of your father or your elder brother. Shaving your body parts will cause you more harm than good. If not done properly you may even cut yourself.
There are various brands of razors that are designed especially for women and you can surely take the help of the elder members of your family in choosing the best one for you.
Having said that, I want to again remind your body hair is not unhygienic, it is not bad, not gross, it is very normal and it is there because of a reason.
- Vaginal discharge
During puberty, the vagina begins producing fluids that keep everything healthy. Sometimes a small amount of this cloudy white fluid is discharged and can leave a white or yellow stain on your undies, this is perfectly normal.
However, if you see the colour of the discharge is greenish or yellowish along with the strong bad odour, then it’s time you should let the elder member of your family know the problem and take you to the doctor. Do not ignore and overlook this because it may indicate yeast infections.
- A sudden increase in height and weight
“Oh! you have grown so big in the last few months”
“Oh! You are growing so fast”
You must have heard this all the time from people you don’t meet often. This is because you are growing very fast during this phase.
Girls go through a growth spurt – from the time their periods start, girls grow 5 to 7.5 cm (2 to 3 inches) annually over the next year or two, then reach their adult height.
You may notice fat depositing on your hips, upper arms, upper back and thighs. You may also notice that your hips are becoming rounder and wider.
- Increased body odour
Have you noticed that after a games period when your classmates return to the class the whole classroom smells like a fish market?
I am sure it bothers everyone.
The sweat glands are very active during puberty and due to excessive sweating bacterias get a good chance to breed which results in this bad odour from our body.
Body odour is a common issue among young girls and boys but yes that’s the hard part you will have to deal with.
You may apply soft deodorants and roll-ons to control the sweat.
Also do not skip bathing, in fact in summers make it a habit of bathing two times a day. Do not replace bathing with deodorants.
[Suggested reading: Hygiene tips for teenagers]
- Pimples and acne starts showing up
During the puberty phase, the oil glands of the body are also in an active state due to which pimples and acne may appear from time to time on your face. Some girls even face acne problems on their back and neck. Whitehead and blackheads are also very common to appear.
Do not touch or squeeze the pimples and acne.
Here’s what you can do to manage this-
- Wash your face after coming from outside. Sweat and dirt aggravate the condition.
- Use mild soap and face wash.
- Do not apply multiple beauty products on your skin.
- Use moisturiser according to your skin type.
- Avoid eating oily, deep-fried and junk food.
- Drink lots of water, eat healthy….it will show up on your skin.
Few pimples here and there is normal but if you feel the acne problem is bothering you and it is not looking normal then feel free to ask your parents to take you to the dermatologist.
[Suggested Reading– Skin routine to cure acne and pimple]
- Onset of menstruation
Well, the most frightening sign of puberty has to be menstruation for sure.
Especially when you are not well informed and you see blood in your pants.
Girls usually get their periods about two to three years after the breasts first start growing, around the ages of 12 to 15 but again it differs for everyone. You don’t have to panic if your friends have started menstruating earlier than you or you have started menstruating earlier than your friends. Either way, it is absolutely right.
Now you must be wondering why menstruation occurs?
So here is the answer!
Your body has two ovaries that contain thousands of immature eggs. When puberty hits one of the ovaries starts releasing an egg every month. This egg when comes in contact with the sperm results in the formation of a baby.
So the uterus prepares itself every month for this hypothetical baby. The uterus is a part inside the body where a baby grows when a woman is pregnant.
So since the baby has to grow and live here for 9 months the lining of the uterus fills itself with blood and mucus every month to give a cushion-like structure to the baby and provide all the nutrients. But when the egg and the sperm don’t get fertilised all this preparation of the uterus is of no use and so the blood and the mucus is expelled outside the body through the vagina.
This process repeats itself every month.
Along with the onset of the menstrual cycle, your body will go through different changes altogether.
You may experience uterine cramps, Premenstrual syndrome, mood swings etc.
And managing periods at school is a big-big task.
I have written a detailed article on every topic you need to know related to periods. All the links are provided below. Do give it a read. I am sure you will get answers to all of your questions.
- First period- things to expect
- How to manage periods in school?
- Fast ways to get relief from period cramps
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Best period product
- Best sanitary pads for teenagers
Puberty in girls- Explained in stages
Puberty happens in 5 stages
Look at the table to see what changes happen in which stage.
|Stages in girls||Starting age||Physical changes seen|
|Stage -1||After the 8 years of age||None|
|Stage -2||From age 9–11||Breast “buds” start to form, pubic hair starts to form|
|Stage -3||After age 12||Acne first appears, armpit hair forms, height increases at its fastest rate|
|Stage -4||Around age 13||The first period arrives|
|Stage -5||Around age 15||Reproductive organs and genitals are fully developed|
Along with physical changes, you will go through a lot of emotional changes as well.
You may go through
- Unexplained and sudden mood swings
- Low self-esteem
- Getting angry over small things
It is ok to feel all these emotions but at the same time, you should also learn how to cope with them.
Here are some of the ways through which you can relax
- Listen to your favourite music and go for a run, walk.
- Try to play some outdoor games.
- Along with studies make some out for your hobbies as well. This will keep you busy and you’ll feel happy too.
- Share your feelings with anybody you rely on.
- When feeling overwhelmed, try some stress management techniques.
- Try meditation, it’s perfectly ok to not be able to concentrate but there’s nothing harm in trying…isn’t it.
Puberty is indeed a roller coaster ride for you but nonetheless, it is a beautiful phase. Also, I want to say that please do not compare yourself with others, do not get bothered with body hair and acne. If you feel it’s still bothering you, then talk to your parents or anybody you feel is close to you. Do not hesitate. Sometimes you will be insecure, underconfident, you will feel everybody is doing good except you…this is all going to happen but remember it will all be okay.
You can do it :):)
If you are still on this article I am sure this has helped you in understanding puberty better.
So consider sharing this piece among all your girl gangs and let them help in their roller coaster ride as well.
Wish you a happy and healthy life ahead.