Puberty for girls

Puberty is something we all go through but it may affect you in different ways. Find out what the common things to expect during puberty are.

What happens when girls start puberty

Puberty is a series of changes that your body goes through during your teens. These changes help you develop into a young woman. You start to produce hormones which will change your body and can also affect your emotions.

For girls puberty usually happens between the ages of 10 and 16. Some girls can start puberty earlier and some later. Everyone is different.

For some girls going through puberty can take a couple of years. For other girls it will take longer and be more like 4 years. This is normal and doesn't mean there is anything wrong with you.

You'll go through lots of changes during puberty - some obvious to other people and some obvious only to you. You may find the changes strange and start to think negatively about yourself. But puberty is a natural part of growing up and you shouldn't feel less confident than you did before.

5 things you'll experience:

  • you'll start having periods
  • sexual thoughts and feelings
  • you might get spots
  • the hair on your legs might get darker and some girls grow hair on their upper lip too
  • you might start feeling odd and moody - this is because your hormones are developing.

What to expect during puberty

You'll go through lots of changes during puberty. Some changes are obvious to other people, like growing taller, and some only you will know about.

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Changes to your breasts

Breasts come in all shapes and sizes and they are all normal. They can keep developing until you're 18. It's also common for breasts to change in your adult years.

Facts about breasts:

  • having one breast which is bigger than the other is normal.
  • it's normal for breasts to feel sore or tender sometimes. This usually happens just before or during your period.
  • breasts can feel heavier or softer before a period.
  • nipples come in different shapes and sizes. They can be outwards or inwards. The area around the nipple is called the areola and it's normal for it to be a few shades darker than your breast. Sometimes nipples have bumps, pimples or small hairs.

You can start wearing a bra whenever you want to. If you feel that you would be more comfortable wearing one, then it's the right time for you. It's important to get fitted for a bra in a department store or specialist bra shop so that you make sure you are wearing the right size.

when to visit your doctor:

  • if you often feel sharp pains or an ache in your breast
  • if you notice a lump on your breast or anything that doesn't seem usual.

You can ask to see a female doctor or nurse and ask to have a family member or friend come to the appointment with you. Find out more about visiting your doctor.


Masturbation is when you touch your body and your genitals because it feels good or pleasurable. You can make yourself orgasm or 'come' by doing this.

Both girls and boys masturbate and it's completely normal. It's a way of discovering your body, how it makes you feel and what kind of things make you feel good during sex. Some people might say that it's wrong or that you shouldn't masturbate, but it's a normal part of life and not something to be ashamed of.

Hair removal

If you choose to remove some or all of your body hair, it's important to do it in a safe way. Things you could try include:

  • shaving with a clean razor and shaving foam or soap
  • waxing with hot, clean wax - this can be done at a beauty salon or at home using a waxing kit (these can be bought from pharmacies and some supermarkets)
  • applying hair removal cream and scraping it off with a special spatula - it can be dangerous to use hair removal cream on pubic hair or near your genital area.

Make sure you read the instruction leaflet carefully before using any type of removal cream or home waxing kit.

Whatever you choose to use, it is important to try it on a small section of skin first. This way you'll be able to see if you have an allergic reaction.

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