Physical changes during puberty for females

Puberty is a natural part of human development. This is associated with numerous changes in the mental sphere and physical changes during puberty for females. Puberty causes the girl to transform into a woman who may become a mother in the future - body changes during puberty.

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What is puberty?

The process of puberty in girls is characterized by intense biological and emotional changes. At the very beginning, the silhouette of the body changes and the first menstruation appears. There are changes in appearance - for example, acne.

What happens during puberty for a girl? During puberty, oestrogens increase in girls, as well as a small amount of testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone. However, these hormonal changes that happen during puberty are less rapid than in boys. In girls, there is a faster emotional development than sexual development.

Before entering puberty, girls experience a pubertal leap, or sudden growth spurt. This occurs in girls between the ages of 8 and 13. It is characterised by the fact that the hips become rounder and the breasts start to grow and change shape. The most important of the symptoms of puberty in girls is the appearance of the first menstrual period, during which time pubic hair also appears.

When does puberty begin?

Between the ages of 8 and 14 (there’s no exact age, as this varies from person to person), girls will notice that their bodies are changing and starting to grow. This stage in your life is called puberty and this is when you start to leave your childhood behind and physically become an adult.

It’s important to bear in mind that these changes don’t all happen at the same time, they don’t always happen in the same order, or by a certain age, as the whole process can be very different from one person to the next.

A ‘growth spurt’ is what we call a rapid increase in growth, especially in height, which is particularly noticeable during puberty. The fastest growth spurt in girls tends to coincide with their first period, and from then on growth slows down. However, physical changes (growth in the breasts, growth of body hair, body growth) go on for a few more years.

When your breasts start to develop, you’ll notice a firmness underneath the areola, or the outer part of the nipple (on one or both breasts). This can feel a bit uncomfortable and is called the ‘breast bud’. In the following months, at the same time as changes are happening to the nipple and the areola, this bud starts to grow in size, until it forms a mound that you can actually see, and this will continue to develop until it becomes an adult breast. This breast development usually takes between five and nine years.

Physical changes during puberty in girls

Puberty happens because of a series of hormonal changes that activate and increase the production of what we call ‘sex hormones’: oestrogen in girls and testosterone in boys. These are responsible for the physical changes during puberty. You may hardly notice the first few months of puberty as the changes in your body are only slight until the production of oestrogen (or testosterone for boys) reaches a higher level.

Generally speaking, the first physical changes during puberty in girls are breast development and body growth. Other physical changes during puberty in girls outlined below.

Growth of underarm hair

During puberty you will start to grow armpit hair. It will be up to the girl to decide whether she wants to remove it or leave it.

Growth of pubic hair

At some point, pubic hair will also start to grow in the intimate areas. At first, they will be fine and straight, but later they will become thicker and curlier.

Increase in the thickness and length of body hair

During puberty, the hair on the arms and legs also becomes longer and thicker.


During puberty, changes to the skin - especially the face - are also noticeable. Pores will start to produce more sebum, which can cause pimples. It is then worth introducing appropriate care.

Widening of the hips

During puberty, changes are also seen in the hip area. This is due to the fact that the width of the hips increases and there are changes in the structure of the pelvis.

Increase in the fullness of the labia majora and minora, the hymen and the clitoris

During puberty, the intimate parts of the body also change. The outer labia enlarge and cover the inner labia. The skin around the vulva becomes darker and the hymen thinner. Changes also occur inside the vagina, which lengthens and reaches 10-15 cm in length. It becomes more elastic and its walls are thicker. During this time it is also worth paying attention to proper hygiene.

Change in the sound of the voice

A change in the sound of the voice is part of puberty, triggered by a surge of hormones. However, voice mutation in girls is less noticeable than in boys. The voice becomes more 'adult' i.e. lower in particular.

Increase in weight

The increase in body fat in girls, is a side effect of puberty. This is when rapid growth occurs and the activity of the female hormones manifests itself as an additional layer of fat tissue.

Nipple changes during puberty

As your breasts develop during puberty, you may notice some changes to your nipples. Don’t worry – this is completely normal! Just like breasts, nipples come in all shapes and sizes: some girls have “outie” nipples that stick out when they’re cold, and others have “innie” nipples that stick inwards. Having inverted nipples is totally normal and nothing to worry about. You may also notice some dark hair beginning to grow around your areola – this is also nothing to worry about, and all part of the process of puberty.

Your period

At some point, hormonal changes during puberty will cause the ovaries to start releasing the eggs that they’ve been storing since you were born. This will trigger the monthly menstrual cycle, and your period is just one part of this. The fancy word for the arrival of your first period is ‘menarche’. This normally takes quite a while – there is generally a gap of two to three years, but at least one year, between the first signs of breast development and the arrival of your first period. So, the average age for starting your period is between 10 and 16.

Once puberty is in its advanced stages, you enter adolescence, which is a time of psychosocial and cultural changes, where we all start searching for our own identity and become adults psychologically (in our minds), as well as our bodies. As a rule, it can be said that we undergo physical changes during puberty and psychological changes during adolescence.

As with any period of change, it’s normal to feel confused, uncomfortable, or generally a bit out of sorts during puberty and adolescence. But it can also be a very interesting time for experimenting – and for exploring and getting used to your body.

Finally, to complete puberty, the biggest change is the arrival of your first period.

Emotional changes during puberty

The body also goes through emotional changes during puberty. The way you think changes and you’ll notice you can express yourself better. You may also feel more self-conscious and unsure of yourself – but try not to worry. This is a time of physical and emotional change, so everyone else your age is feeling the same way. You will also feel more emotional in general, thanks to your hormones. Your fluctuating hormones are what cause mood swings during puberty, and you may notice that you feel like crying a lot more or are more easily upset.

And what’s it like for boys?

Boys normally start to change one or two years later than girls. They also experience physical changes during puberty:

  • Body growth and growth in the size of their sex organs
  • Their muscles become more developed
  • They suffer from acne and facial and body hair starts to grow
  • They start to ejaculate and so are able to fertilise eggs and make girls pregnant.

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