Puberty is when your body changes and you develop from being a girl to a woman. Learn what changes to expect so that you feel more prepared.
Know that you are going through a growth spurt.
You haven’t grown this much since you were a baby. You might grow 2 to 4 inches in a year. When you are done going through puberty, you will be almost as tall as you will be when you are a grown up. Your feet may be the first to grow. They seem really big at first, but you will grow into them.
Expect to gain weight. This is normal and needed to have healthy menstrual cycles. You will notice that you get curvier, with bigger hips and breasts, than when you were a little girl.
Your body makes hormones to get puberty started. Here are some changes you will start seeing. You will:
Most girls go through puberty somewhere between being 8 to 15 years old. There’s a wide age range when puberty starts. That’s why some kids in 7th grade still look like young children and others look really grown up.
You may wonder when you will get your period. Usually girls get their period about 2 years after their breasts start to grow.
Each month, one of your ovaries releases an egg. The egg goes through the fallopian tube into the uterus.
Each month, the uterus creates a lining of blood and tissue. If the egg is fertilized by a sperm (this is what could happen with unprotected sex), the egg may plant itself into this uterus lining and result in a pregnancy. If the egg is not fertilized, it just passes through the uterus.
The uterus no longer needs the extra blood and tissue. The blood passes through the vagina as your period. The period usually lasts 2 to 7 days and happens about once a month.
Be prepared to get your period.
Talk to your health care provider about when you might start getting your period. Your health care provider may be able to tell you, from other changes in your body, when you should expect your period.
Keep supplies for your period in your backpack or purse. You will want some pads or pantiliners. Being prepared for when you get your period keeps you from being too worried.
Ask your mother, an older female relative, friend, or someone you trust to help you get supplies. Pads come in all different sizes. They have a sticky side so you can stick them on your underwear. Pantiliners are small, thin pads.
Once you have your period, you may want to learn how to use tampons. You insert a tampon into your vagina to catch the blood. The tampon has a string that you use to pull it out.
Have your mother or a trusted female friend teach you how to use tampons. Change tampons every 4 to 8 hours.
You can feel really moody right before you get your period. This is caused by hormones. You might feel:
Luckily, feeling moody should go away once you start your period.
Try to be comfortable with your body changing. If you are stressed about changes, talk to your parents or a health care provider that you trust. Avoid dieting to prevent normal weight gain during puberty. Dieting is really unhealthy when you are growing.
Talk to your health care provider if you have:
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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