When Does Puberty Start?

Dr Julia ThomsonDr Julia Thomson

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Dr Julia Thomson, Consultant Paediatrician

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When Does Puberty Start?Wondering emoji

So you’re waiting, but nothing’s happening. When is it going to hit? You know, puberty? When does puberty start? Puberty can start when you're 8 or not until you're 13, but it usually starts when you're around 11.

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Here are some clues that will help determine when you will start your periods and begin puberty:

The process can take anywhere between 1½–4 years. Starting puberty earlier than 8 or later than 13 should be discussed with you doctor. Generally, girls can expect their first period about 2 years after the first signs of breast development but note that process can vary depending to an extent on when you start it.

  • Heredity: Ask your mum or other female relative how old she was when she had her first period. You'll probably have yours at around the same age.
  • Race: Girls of different races show signs of puberty at different times.
  • Weight: Very thin girls begin to menstruate a bit later; heavier girls may begin earlier. Girls who develop earlier than most of their friends often feel "weird" or self-conscious. That's normal. But girls who develop later than most also feel strange, sort of left out of the club. Remember, eventually all girls become young women. You might ask “when does puberty start?” but it will start when it is – and you are – ready to.

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