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Puberty for Girls

Girls will start puberty between the ages of 8 and 13. The first change you will notice is that you will get taller very quickly.  After this your breasts will begin to grow a little and you will start growing hair in your pubic area, fine at first but it will become coarser. At this stage you might get acne on your face and back caused by your hormones. Then you will get your first period, the average age is 12 and a half but each girl is different.  At first your periods will be irregular, but your cycle should settle down in a few months or a year. It’s a good idea to note the first day of your period down in your diary so that you can get sanitary towels or tampons in advance. Good information sources about your periods can be found on Teenage Health Freak or NHS Choices. It is now possible for you to become pregnant. If you are having sex (and you are probably far too young at this stage) you will need to consider your contraception options. You will also start to grow hair under your arms and to sweat more so you will need to make sure you wash under your arms thoroughly and frequently. You might need to wear deodorant. Gradually you will begin to look more adult and less child like, your hips get wider, you gradually get a more curvy, womanly figure and your face shape will change, it will start to fill out.

A little bit about some things you might worry about but didn’t want to ask…

Eek! My boobs are different sizes!

Don’t worry everyone’s are – even if only slightly, like your hands and feet your breasts are individual and will be different sizes. They might look quite different during puberty as they grow at different rates but for most people they will end up looking the same. You also might have one slightly higher than the other, but again this is perfectly normal. Occasionally a woman will have breasts that are noticeably different in size, in which case they can be evened up with surgery if she chooses.

My boobs are two small / too big

Don’t forget your breasts will grow all the way through puberty so you may well end up with bigger ones. Also, if you put on weight your breasts will get bigger and if you lose weight they will shrink a little. It’s best to learn to love what you’ve got. If your breasts are really big and causing you backache it is worth talking to a doctor about it, as it is possible to have a breast reduction.

There’s lots of really good advice about breasts at Teenage Health Freak

I get really bad cramps when I get my period what can I do?

Unfortunately most girls get period pains. For most people they are mild cramps around your stomach and back. Taking over the counter painkillers such as paracetomol, ibuprofen and aspirin will help, although girls under 16 shouldn’t take aspirin. A hot water bottle held over your tummy can help too as will doing more excercise. Taking the contraceptive pill also helps as it thins the uterus lining, although this on its own isn’t a good reason to start taking the pill. If you have really heavy periods or the pain is severe come and see us to talk about it or go and see your own GP.

There’s lots of really good advice about breasts at Teenage Health Freak

I’ve got stretch marks, what can I do?

Stretch marks are thin lines on the skin that often start of as red or purple but fade to a silvery skin colour. You get stretch marks when you grow rapidly, so you can get them during puberty, pregnancy or if you put on weight. They are usually found across your breasts, stomach, bottom and thighs. There are a lot of creams you can buy that claim to minimise or get rid of stretch marks but unfortunately they don’t really work. The only effective treatment is laser therapy but it is very expensive and isn’t suitable for all shades of skin, lasers works better on pale skin. Don’t worry if your stretch marks look drastic at the moment they will fade in time and become almost unnoticeable, about 50% of women have stretch marks by the time they finish puberty, so you’re not alone.

If you want to know more check out the section on Teenage Health Freak by Dr Ann



Related Questions

  • Age: 16
    Gender: Female


    I get Really bad period pains i was told by a friend that the pill can make periods lighter and make the pains less intense is this true?


    It is true some contraceptive can ease periods and make them less painful, however I would advise you to either come along to one for the CHYPS PLUS Drop-in sessions to speak to a Healthcare Professional or attend your local GP or Family planning service to discuss this further.

  • Age: 15
    Gender: Female


    About 2 years ago I developed like a hard lump in both of my boobs I was told it was breast bubs or something like that in the past few months I've take notice that they have diapered soft but my bra size has shrunk from a 34DD to a 34C ?? just a bit confused


    Hi there,

    Many Thanks for your questions.

    During puberty and throughout your life your breasts can change size and shape. Breasts generally get larger when you gain weight, during certain periods of your menstrual cycle, during pregnancy or if you start a hormonal method of contraception. However breasts can also become a little smaller if you loose weight or stop a hormonal method of contraception.

    I hope this helps please pop into CHYPS Plus or see your GP if you have any further concerns.

  • Age: 11
    Gender: Female


    Why is it that girls have to have periods and not boys?


    Thanks for your question.

    Periods happen when the lining of the womb sheds after the eggs were not fertilised. Since boys don't have a womb, they can't get pregnant, therefore cannot have a menstrual cycle.

    Girls have periods because they have a womb and the womb sheds it's lining monthly if you don't get pregnant. Then it starts building up the lining again, you ovulate, the egg comes down, if the egg doesn't get fertilised then the womb sheds its lining again to prepare for the next menstrual cycle.

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