Puberty is an exciting time full of change. The more you know about what’s going on with your body, the more confident you’ll feel as your body (and mind!) mature.
What are the stages of puberty? Well, we’ve outlined the stages of puberty in girls for you here, so you know what stage of puberty you’re in and what to expect next. That way you can progress through puberty with poise and confidence.
Puberty starts for most girls around the age of 10. However, some girls start puberty earlier or later than this, and that’s perfectly okay. Most girls tend to start puberty around the same age as their mum did. So ask your mum when she went through these changes to get a good idea of when you can expect to go through them, too. Puberty typically ends by the age of 16 for most girls.
The stages of puberty in girls:
- Getting taller
That’s probably one of the most obvious change you’ll experience as you start puberty. Your brain produces hormones that send a message to your bones so they start growing.
- Growing breasts
The appearance of breast buds is the first stage of puberty in girls. Breast buds are small mounds of flesh that develop underneath your nipples. Sometimes one side will grow faster than the other. Don’t worry. That’s perfectly normal. Breast buds will continue developing into full-grown breasts. You may want to ask your mum or an adult you trust about starting to wear a bra. Bras can be a lot of fun! They come in lots of different colours and designs. It’s important to find one that fits your shape and size. Ask the shopkeeper at a bra store for some help. They often offer free fittings to figure out what size will work best for you.
- Growing pubic and underarm hair
You’ll start growing pubic hair – hair in the region between your lower abdomen and your upper thighs. It will start off fine and straight and will grow thick and curly with time. You will also start growing hair in your underarms. Whether or not you want to remove any of this hair is entirely up to you. Ask your mum or older sister for help in learning how to shave if this is the route you choose.
- Oil and sweat
You will also notice changes to your skin. Your pores will start producing more oil, which can cause breakouts. Adopting a good daily skin care routine will help. Your body will also start sweating more and you will develop your own unique body odour. Talk to your parents or an adult you trust about starting to use deodorant.
- Vaginal discharge
Before you get your period, you’ll start noticing a clear or milky white fluid in your knickers. This is vaginal discharge. It is caused by your body’s changing hormones and is your vagina’s way of staying healthy and protected. Think of it a little like your vagina’s own self-cleaning system, a little like how tears are for your eyes. When you start experiencing vaginal discharge, wearing a pantyliner like ALWAYS Dailies can help. They keep you dry, confident and comfortable with a daily boost of freshness, so you’ll hardly skip a beat even despite your discharge.
- Getting your period
Perhaps the highlight of the female puberty stages is getting your first period. Your period is what we call the few days a month when you shed blood and tissue (aka menstrual fluid) through your vagina. This will happen about once a month and last between 3 and 7 days. Don’t worry if your period is irregular at first and doesn’t come exactly once a month. This is normal. Your body will get on a regular schedule within a year or two. When you get your period, you’ll want to use a sanitary towel to protect your knickers. ALWAYS Ultra pads are a great choice because they have an absorbent core that turns your menstrual fluid into gel – and gel can’t leak - providing up to 100% leakage protection.
Puberty isn’t all physical. Lots of new emotional changes take place during puberty, too.
- New emotions - You may notice you start developing strong feelings for your peers.
- New independence – You’ll start being able to think for yourself and formulate complex thoughts and opinions.
- Growing more confident – Confidence is something you can practice. Take this time to try out new activities.
Now that you know what the stages of puberty are, you’ll know what to expect as your body changes. It’s a thrilling time, so don’t forget to enjoy it!