Puberty is the biggest change our bodies will ever go through. It's a period of rapid growth and development, and the physical and emotional changes that we see and feel can be pretty scary. It occurs in the lifespan stage of adolescence, and is often referred to as the time in which children become young adults. 

What happens during puberty?

To put it simply, a lot happens during puberty. It typically begins during the ages of 8 and 13, and finishes by age 16. During this time, the following changes generally occur in females:

  • Growth spurt - you'll get taller, and it's most likely your hips will grow as well.

  • Breast growth - this will probably start with some nipple sensitivity, and they'll probably just look a bit swollen. As puberty progresses your breasts will start to develop. Talk to an adult you trust and ask them to help you get some training bras - these will provide you with support, and I know from my experience that even though I didn't need a bra, I felt much more comfortable with a training bra on. 

  • Hair growth - you'll grow pubic hair in the genital region and under your arms. It'll most likely be very fine, similar to baby hair, but it will grow thicker and curlier. Don't feel like you need to remove it, it's natural, but if you're struggling do some research with an adult that you trust. 

  • Skin changes - oily skin, dry skin, pimples; it's all a part of puberty. If you feel you're suffering particularly badly, consult a GP who will either be able to help you out, or send you off to see a skin specialist (dermatologist).

  • Sweat - you might feel you sweat more than you did before, and that's normal. Talk to an adult about finding a deoderant that's gentle on your skin. 

  • Emotional changes - you might find you're a bit more emotional than you used to. Things that never bothered you might start to have an impact. This is all a part of the emotional development you go through during puberty. Again, if you're having a rough time, talk to an adult you trust. Being young has it's ups and downs, but if you've got more downs than ups seeking some assistance is a really good idea. 

  • Reproductive organ growth - internally your uterus and ovaries will start to grow larger. This is your body responding to hormones that allows you to have a menstrual cycle. 

  • Vaginal discharge - don't be alarmed! The white, creamy, sticky stuff is normal. It's what naturally keeps your cervix and vagina clean. 

  • Menstruation - your first period - this will usually happen between 10 and 14 years of age. Don't be alarmed if it's a bit patchy to start with, that's normal. It also might catch you off guard - carry some pads and a spare pair of undies in your school bag, just in case! For more information on periods, click here.

(Department of Health, 2017)

What is adolescence?

Adolescence is the lifespan stage between childhood and adulthood. As mentioned earlier, it's the stage that includes puberty, but there's other things that happen that can influence the rest of our lives.


 This video explains adolescence really simply - give it a watch!

Page references:

Department of Health. (2017). Puberty for Girls. Retrieved 30 December 2018, from:

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