Puberty is the time when girls and boys become sexually reproductive. For girls, puberty can happen earlier than parents might expect. Most girls will go through puberty between the ages of 8-13, and it is important to know what to expect so you can have a conversation with your daughter to make the transition as easy as possible. Conversations do not have to happen all at one time and can happen gradually so that your daughter feels comfortable. Below are some changes that your daughter can expect.
Breast development is typically the first sign of puberty. Most girls will develop a nickel-sized pump under their nipple, which is referred to as “buds.” It is completely normal for them to be itchy or tender. The buds may develop at different rates on each breast, and uneven breast development is not uncommon. This will typically correct itself over time.
Coarse body hair will begin to grow in the genital area, under the arms and on their legs. Occasionally, body hair will appear before breast development, but this is less common. Development for each girl is different, but if beast development and hair growth has not started by the age of 13, they may need an evaluation.
Girls can also expect to have growth spurt after their breast buds develop and a few months before they start their period. In addition to a height increase, they often experience other body changes including the widening of their hips and their waists may get smaller as well.
Girls may start to notice the development of acne on their face and back due to hormones. Acne is very common among teens, but if it becomes an issue or they would like more information on how to control it, set up an appointment with their pediatrician or gynecologist.
When do girls get their periods?
Vaginal discharge may start 6-12 month before their first period. This discharge may be clear or white and is the body’s normal response to the growing amount of estrogen.
Within two to three years after the development of breast buds, most girls will start their periods. Typically, girls can expect to get their first period between the ages of 10-15, but the timeline can vary. If there is breast development and pubic hair growth but no menstruation by age 15, then it is best to set up an adolescent gynecological appointment to discuss this further.
First periods can range from red-brown spotting to a heavier, bright-red flow. You can also expect her period to be irregular within the first few years. After a year or two, her periods should become a bit more regular and come around once a month, and they usually last for five days. Periods can happen unexpectantly, so it is important to talk with your daughter to ease some of her worries. Providing pads, panty liners or tampons in her bathroom, backpack or locker can help her feel comfortable and prepared in case it happens unexpectedly.
Girls should also be made aware of some of the symptoms that come along with periods, including cramping or pain. If menstrual cramps are causing significant pain, talk with her pediatrician or set up an adolescent gynecological appointment to discuss it further with a physician.