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Puberty is inevitable. It’s one of those things that we ALL go through. It can be awkward and uncomfortable, but it’s an important time in a girl’s life as she grows and develops into a woman. It’s very common to feel anxious while being excited and confused, but knowing what to expect and how it affects your daughter’s body, can make it less stressful - for her… and you!
Here’s a little refresher for the basics of what puberty means and how these changes can affect a girl’s body. We have compiled questions and answers about puberty to make your daughter's experience smoother. Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of puberty!
What is puberty?
Puberty is the process of when your body changes from a girl to a woman. It doesn’t happen all at once, but in stages and takes many years. Interested in a quick science lesson about puberty? Well, here we go:
Puberty is controlled by hormones. The pituitary gland releases hormones that make the body grow. When girls reach a certain age, the gland then begins to release different hormones to mature the body. These hormones cause the sexual organs in the body, the ovaries in girls, to begin to produce other hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, which cause the visible signs of puberty, hair growth and genital development, to occur.
It’s important for girls to know that each experience is different and unique. It is not a one size fits all situation. There is no right or wrong to puberty, which can be frustrating for your daughter if her friends are developing first, or if she is the first to go through puberty...which happened to me when I was younger.
When does puberty start and is it starting earlier than usual?
Like we said, puberty is different for every single girl. There isn’t an exact age, but its common for a girl to start puberty between the ages of 8 and 13. This explains why some develop earlier than others, and vice versa. Once puberty starts your daughter will grow pubic hair and develop breast buds, her period should come 1 to 2 years after that.
Studies have shown that puberty is starting earlier and earlier. There are many factors to this, but obesity, environmental factors and stress can affect your period. For more info read our post on what age girls usually get their period.
Early Puberty in Girls
It can be really tough when a girl goes through puberty early. When none of your friends are developing and then all of a sudden you have breast buds and wearing bras at 9 years old...I get it. I went through puberty before any of my friends. I was also in competitive sports at the time, which made it tough to hide my bra that I was soooo embarrassed about. And thought it was the end of the world that I had to carry pads in my bag too.
My advice to girls who go through puberty early is, everyone will catch up with you. I remember always trying to hide my little training bra, but before you know it, all the girls in your class or on your team will be wearing bras with you and carrying pads. I would always talk to my mom or older sisters about what was going on, which helped me a lot! It’s so important for a young girl to have someone to talk to and get support while going through these life changing experiences.
The signs of puberty
Some signs of puberty happen overnight, while other stages take longer. We have broken it down between physical changes and emotional ones. Here they are:
- Growth spurt - Your daughter will all of a sudden get inches taller and her feet will grow as well. She might become one of the tallest in the class and tower over the boys.
Breast buds - Her breasts will start to grow small, tender lumps under her nipple. The Mo’ne Bra is a great bra to start your daughter off with, as it has removable pads and sports bra style. Your daughter most likely will get her period 1-2 years after this. More info on buying your daughter her first bra.
- Skin changes - While going through puberty, you produce more oil, especially on your face...which can cause acne. Washing your face and hair becomes very necessary at this stage.
- Body odor - The sweat glands become more active, which causes you to sweat more. And that equals B.O! It would be a good idea to introduce deodorant.
- Hair growth - Your daughter will start to grow pubic and armpit hair.
- Vaginal discharge - Vaginal discharge (white or yellowish in color) means her period is on its way! It will most likely start in a few months.
- Period - Menstruation begins! To calm the nerves of your daughter (and yours too), we suggest putting a period emergency kit together. All you need are pads or tampons and period underwear, like our ‘Oh-No’ Proof Underwear! They even come in a pouch, which can be used for the emergency kit. For more info read our post on how to survive your first period.
**The order of these physical stages might be different for you. Like we said, everyone develops differently.
- Mood swings - Get ready for these fun, emotional mood swings. She might be happy one second, and reacting the next. Alwaysss fluctuating!
- Separating - Your daughter might start separating herself and trying to become more independent and gain responsibility.
- Romantic interest - Your daughter might start showing interest in other people romantically.
How long does puberty last for girls?
Puberty for girls usually lasts about three to five years. After your daughter gets her period, her growth will slow down, but she might have one more growth spurt. She might grow 1-3 inches over the next few years. Her breasts are usually fully developed around 17 to 18 years old.
There you have it, that is puberty in girls broken down for you. Don’t forget, be as open as possible and talk to your daughter. These times can be hard, but if she can talk to someone, her puberty years will be easier. And always promote positive body image! It all starts in these years.
**We are not health practitioners, if you have more questions or have concerns, please talk to your doctor**