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Puberty is when a child’s body begins to develop and change into an adult. During puberty, girls will experience a major growth spurt, develop breasts, and start their period, among other physical and emotional changes. These changes typically take place over a 2- to 3-year period.
Patients can be seen by Texas Children's experts in Adolescent Medicine and Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology.
Causes & Risk FactorsPuberty is caused by hormones released by the ovaries at a certain age. These hormones trigger changes that take place in the way a girl’s body looks on the outside and how she feels on the inside.
What changes will I go through during puberty?
Changes you can expect during puberty include:
- Breast development – oftenone of the first signs of puberty
- Body hair – including pubic hair, hair on the legs, and under the arms; the hair starts out light and sparse and becomes darker, longer and thicker throughout puberty
- Menstrual period starts – generally 2 to 2½ years after breast development begins
- Oily skin and acne – on the face, upper chest and upper back
- Body grows taller – at the end of puberty, you will likely be at your adult height; the feet, arms, legs and hands may grow faster than other areas
- Curvier body shape – includingwider hips, a smaller waist, and increased body fat in the legs, stomach and buttocks
- Weight gain
- Increased perspiration/body odor
- Vaginal discharge
- Emotional and social changes – including stronger emotions than normal, a desire for more independence, more emphasis on peer acceptance, and more interest in male relationships
Jennifer Kurkowski, WHNP