|Stage 1||Age range:
|There are no outside signs of development, but the ovaries are enlarging and hormone production is beginning.||
|Stage 2||Age range:
|The beginning of breast growth, including “breast buds.” A girl may also increase in height and weight. The first signs of pubic hair start out fine and straight, rather than curly.|
|Breast growth continues and pubic hair coarsens and becomes darker. Body is growing and vagina is enlarging. Vagina may produce a clear or whitish discharge, which is a normal self-cleaning process. Some girls begin their menstruation periods at this stage.|
|Stage 4||Age range:
|Pubic hair growth takes on the triangular shape of adulthood. Underarm hair is growing and menstruation begins (if it has not already started). Ovulation (release of egg cells) begins in some girls, but is not regular until Stage 5.|
|This is the final stage of development, when a girl is physically an adult. Breast and pubic hair growth are complete and full height is usually attained by now. Menstrual periods are well established and ovulation occurs monthly.|
The menstrual cycle can be confusing at first. Think of it divided into separate phases. The first phase is right when the girl’s period is over. During this phase, an ovary prepares to release an egg.
The second phase is when the mature egg is released into the fallopian tube. This is called ovulation. The uterus begins to build up the endometrium (lining)in case the egg become fertilized by a sperm cell. If fertilized, the egg would implant in the soft lining and a pregnancy would begin.
The third phase in the cycle is when the egg travels from the fallopian tube into the uterus. If the egg is not fertilized, the endometrium begins to disintegrate and shed. The shedding of the lining is the menstrual period and lasts three to five days. The whole cycle begins again after this phase.
Girls can get their first period anytime from 9-15. Most doctors say to expect a period two years after breast begin development. A typical cycle is every 28 days, but it varies from woman to woman. It is normal to miss a period when you first begin, and it can take the body up to two years to settle into a regular cycle. Cramps are a normal experience and you can take pain reliever is helpful to lighten the discomfort. Talk with your family doctor if you’re worried about not getting your period, or its development.
The pictures show the process as it occurs.
- One of the first signs of puberty in a girl is development of breasts. This usually occurs between age 8 and 13. A girl may notice swelling or growth around her nipples first. They are usually fully developed by 17 or 18 years old.
- Growing breasts may feel sensitive or itchy. This feeling goes away after a few months.
- Normal breast size ranges from small to very full. Breast size is determined by genetics and body weight. It is normal for one breast to develop before the other, and they even out by the end of development.
- When you notice your breast buds through a shirt, or feel uncomfortable while active, it’s a good time to start wearing a bra. Developing breast tissue is delicate and should be supported. Your mom or another trusted adult can help you find a bra that fits correctly, and a sports bra for activity.
- Bra sizes come in two parts: a number and a letter (ie. 36A or 36C). The number refers to the part which runs across your chest and around your back. The letter stands for the size of the two cups that hold your breasts. The best way to find your size is to get measured at a lingerie store or department store. The right bra size will be much more comfortable and supportive!
Puberty information for both genders!
Teeth and mouth: Brush your teeth twice a day in the morning and at night. Floss at least once, this is even more important if you have braces because food can get stuck in the brackets or under the wires. Remember that braces are very common among young people!
Body Hair: There is no medical reason to remove body hair, but it is common in many cultures. Shaving and waxing are two methods for removing hair. Ask an adult family member to show you how. Use a sharp razor and soap or shaving cream.
Genitals: Both males and females should wash their genitals with mild soap and water every day. Watch out for infections: if your genitals become itchy, swollen or irritated, go to the doctor for treatment. Wearing cotton underwear and keeping your genitals clean and dry can help prevent infection.
Hair: Hormones make the oil producing glands in your skin and scalp more active. You can keep your hair clean by washing it regularly. You only need to wash your hair once a day, using a gentle shampoo for your hair type. A conditioner may be used if your hair is prone to tangles. Avoid using too many styling products which can make the problem worse.
Skin: Pimples occur when a hair follicle or pore is clogged by dirt or too much oil on the skin. Wash your face with soap or a gentle cleanser twice a day. Don’t wash your face too often or scrub too hard. That can dry out or irritate skin, and sometimes produce more oil. Never pop pimples; they can become infected and cause scarring. Pimples can appear on your arms, back, chest and even buttocks so make sure to wash all over when you’re taking a bath or shower.
Body Odor: Sweat glands become more active during puberty. The extra sweat, combined with bacteria which lives on the skin, can make for a more noticeable body odor. Use deodorant or antiperspirant under your arms after showering. You may need to try several different ones to find one you like.
- Don’t be embarrassed! Puberty happens to everyone, and it is very normal.
- Ask questions! Parents and trusted adults will be able to answer questions, they went through puberty too. You can also get more information at the library or online.
- Stay healthy! Getting plenty of sleep and exercising will help you feel much better.
- Avoid alcohol, tobacco and drugs. These are bad for everyone but can especially harm a growing body.
- Don’t skip meals or diet unless the doctor says you need to. Growing bodies gain and lose weight many times before reaching your final size. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Go easy on the sugary snacks and sodas.
- If you are having a bad day, talk with someone! Everyone has moods of anger, sadness and confusion and the best way to handle them is through talking with someone you trust.
- Laugh a lot, puberty isn’t always funny, but if you can make jokes and smile it will become easier.