Body changes during puberty

Physical Changes During Puberty

The physical changes you experience during puberty are intense — you seem to grow taller overnight, your body changes all at once and your emotions flip faster than a rollercoaster! This transition can be overwhelming. But learning about it can help you embrace your changing body with more confidence.

How does it all start?

It all starts with hormones. Hormones are chemical messengers that tell your body what to do. When puberty starts, your brain produces a special hormone that tells your reproductive organs (ovaries) it’s time to mature! So the ovaries start producing the female hormone (estrogen), which is responsible for all the changes in your body, mood and emotions.

What changes should I expect?

There’s a lot to expect, but not at once! Puberty spans over several years and unfolds differently for every girl, depending on hormones. You’ll be able to tell if it’s happening from the following physical signs:

  • You start developing breasts

This is usually the first sign of puberty. Breasts grow in stages and, at the same time, milk ducts develop inside them to prepare you for nursing. Breasts start as little buds. In a couple of years, they grow fuller and bigger. You may notice that one is growing more than the other. Don’t worry. They'll even out eventually. The end result? It all depends on your family history. The most important thing is to be confident in your own skin!

  • You experience growth spurts

During puberty, you will grow several centimeters at once. First, your feet and hands get bigger. Then, you will increase in height. You will also gain body fat in some areas. Don’t try to lose this fat: it’s essential for your healthy development.

  • You grow hair in new places

During puberty, the hair on your legs and arms becomes darker and thicker. Also, hair starts growing in your armpits and pubic area (around your genitals). Gradually, pubic hair becomes curlier and thicker, forming an upside-down triangle over your pubic bone and your inner thighs. Remember: the patterns and thickness of body hair vary from one girl to another.

  • You develop acne or spot breakouts

Under the direction of hormones, your skin produces more oil than usual. This oil can block your pores and you end up with pimples and blackheads! If it happens, don’t worry. Breakouts usually disappear around the age of 18. However, if you have severe acne and feel self-conscious about it, don’t hesitate to see a dermatologist.

  • You produce vaginal discharge

Inside your body, everything changes too! Estrogen stimulates the development of your uterus, vagina, and vulva. It is this hormone that causes your first vaginal discharge. Vaginal discharges are normal and essential to your reproductive health. They will be present all your life!

  • You start to menstruate

Getting your period is the most significant sign of womanhood and will last most of your adult life. Unpredictable at first, your period becomes regular within two years.


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