Puberty 101

What is puberty?

Puberty is the name for the time when your body begins to change and develop. It is also a sign that you are on the road to becoming a woman. It's good to know about the changes that will happen and to remember that every girl out there goes through them.

When will I go through puberty?

You can start to go through puberty as early as nine or as late as 17, but most girls will start to see changes in their body around the age of 10. Each girl is a little different, so you will all go through puberty on your own unique schedule.

How do I know if I'm going through puberty?

Here are some symptoms you may experience and changes you may start to see when you begin puberty:

  • A growth spurt - Most girls will have a "growth spurt" around the time puberty begins. "Spurt" means that something happens in a hurry. And that is just what is happening to your body, it is growing really fast. You may notice that your feet and hands are getting bigger and that your arms and legs are getting longer. Your body may also become curvier—your hips will become fuller and more round, while your waist becomes smaller.
  • Changes in your breasts - You will notice that you begin to develop breasts. As first you might feel lumps under your nipples. Sometimes these are called "buds." As your breasts continue to grow, you might see that one becomes larger than the other. Don't worry, this is very normal. By the time your breasts are fully developed, usually in two to three years, they will likely even out. Some adults have different sized breasts, but it's usually barely noticeable.
  • Growing body hair - Hair will start to grow in places it never grew before. You will start to see hair in your pubic area (the area above your vagina) and your underarms. The hair in your pubic area may start off soft, straight and there might not be much of it, but eventually it will become darker, curlier, and will cover a wider area. You will also begin to grow fine hair on your arms and legs.
  • Sweating - You might notice that you begin sweating more in your underarms and elsewhere. Your sweat may smell different too—this is called body odor and happens to everyone as they go through puberty. Many girls will start using deodorant (or an antiperspirant) to help with the sweat and smell from their underarms. Showering every day can help with the odors elsewhere.
  • Changes in your skin - When you are going through puberty your skin produces more oil, so many girls will develop acne or pimples. The best way to deal with this change is to keep your skin clean and maybe even use a special face or body wash.
  • Vaginal discharge - Girls often notice a yellow or white substance on their underwear. It is perfectly normal. The fluid, called a discharge, helps moisten and cleanse your vagina before you start your period.


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