Puberty in Girls : Stages & Factors

10 min read

Puberty is a difficult stage of life for all of us. During this time our body changes rapidly and so do our emotions. Puberty in girls will be more difficult if you as a parent do not prepare them for it. You will have to talk to her, make her understand that it is completely normal to grow genital hair, or experience a bit of breast pain, or have periods as these are the first signs of puberty in girls.

But for doing that, you at first need to get all your facts right about puberty. It is better that you get a clear knowledge of what is puberty, when does it start for girls, or what are the stages of puberty in girls. It is only after doing this that you can guide her and answer all of her questions satisfactorily.

So this article is just for you. Clear all your doubts here regarding puberty age in girls, the changes during puberty, the stages of puberty in girls, early puberty, and delayed puberty.girl puberty

What are the First Signs of Puberty in a Girl?

For a girl child unfortunately puberty starts earlier than a boy. In general, we observe the early signs of puberty in girls when they are about 8 or 9 years old. But due to fast foods, less physical exercise, and irregular eating habits, this may occur even earlier.

In this time our brain starts sending signals to the body to prepare for changes. The hypothalamus, the part of our brain that controls the pituitary gland, begins to release gonadotropin hormone or GnRH. This GnRH then travels to the pituitary, a small gland in our brain that makes most of our body hormones and controls other glands of our body.

The pituitary then releases two hormones; luteinizing hormone (LH), and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). These two hormones reach the ovaries in girls and tell them to make sex hormones i.e. estrogens and progesterone and then you can notice the first signs of puberty in girls.

Now let’s talk about what are these early signs so that you can prepare your girl after noticing them.

  • The first symptoms of puberty in girls are the creation of buds of the breasts, and the emergence of little pubic hair on the lips of the vagina.
  • Girls with higher body mass will experience earlier growth of the breast than a slim girl. This will happen at around 9 to 11 years of age.
  • During the development of buds under the nipple, your daughter can complain her breasts itch or become tender or a bit painful. All of these are normal.
  • Breasts have different sizes and grow at different rates. Generally, the left breast is larger than the right one. So it is completely normal if one bud appears larger than the other.
  • You will also notice the darker area around her nipple called the areola is also expanding.

So if your girl is showing the above physical changes then she is in the early stages of puberty.

What are the Stages Of Puberty?

There are 5 stages in which puberty occurs. Or you can say doctors divide puberty into 5 stages for specific treatment.

Though the puberty timeline differs from person to person, yet these puberty stages provide us a standard guide to physical development. By analyzing this female puberty chart you can figure out whether your daughter is having delayed puberty or early puberty.

Here we will give you the stages of puberty in the girls’ chart so that you can keep them in mind easily.

Female Puberty Chart
The Starting Age (in years)
Changes During Puberty
Stage 1
Beginning of 8None
Stage 2
From 9 to 11Breast buds and initial pubic hair starts to grow
Stage 3
After 12Armpit hairs emerge, rapid growth in height, acne appears
Stage 4
Around 13The first period arrives
Stage 5
Around Age 15Genitals and reproductive organs are fully developed

What are the Factors that Determine the Stages of Puberty in Girls?

Puberty is caused primarily by hormonal changes in our body but there are other deciding factors too. Here are the factors that decide the rate or pace of puberty in girls:

  • General Health and Nutrition:

The puberty age for girls can vary based on the amount of nutritious food she is getting from childhood. Healthy food means a healthy body. And in a healthy body, all the natural physical processes will occur without any delay. In a country like the USA, the age of puberty is now 3 years earlier than what it used to be a century back. The reason behind this is the development of lifestyle, food, and overall living conditions.

  • Genetics:

Genetics plays its role in puberty. Puberty will occur early for your girl if you, her mother, had an early puberty. So remember the time when you first felt physical changes and prepare your daughter for it accordingly.

  • Weight:

Puberty will occur late naturally in girls suffering from malnutrition or who are greatly underweight. On the other hand, overweight girls will get their puberty early on. This is also bad as they will not be mentally prepared for their physical changes.

How Many Stages of Puberty are there for Females?

As we mentioned above, there are 5 prominent stages of puberty in girls. Now here we will discuss in detail all these puberty stages and the signs of puberty in girls at each stage.stages of puberty in girls

  • Stage 1:

You cannot find any noticeable changes in your daughter at this stage. This is because during this stage, her body will first begin the process of puberty and it will happen internally. At the end of 7 or at the 8 years, this process will start in most of the girls. But it can start earlier if the girl child is suffering from obesity.

  • Stage 2:

The first signs of puberty in girls start showing between the ages of 9 and 11. In this stage, the first signs of breasts or buds start to form around the nipple. In this stage, the uterus begins to get larger and becomes mature. A small amount of pubic hair also starts emerging on the lips of the vagina.

  • Stage 3:

Stage 3 starts during the year 12 in most of the girls. Here the physical change becomes more obvious and noticeable. The inevitable changes of this stage are-

    1. The continuous growth of breast buds to form a complete breast
    2. Pubic hair gets thicker, denser, coarse, and curlier
    3. Hair starts forming in the armpits also
    4. The problems of acne and pimples may occur due to hormonal changes
    5. This is the peak time of the growth rate for the height of a girl.
    6. Thighs and hips get bigger and heavier.
  • Stage 4:

The symptoms of puberty in girls will be more prominent in stage 4. This stage starts around the age of 13. The changes include:

    1. The most vital symptom of this stage is having periods. In most of the girls, the period occurs roughly between 12 and 14 years. For some, it can happen early or get delayed.
    2. In this stage, the breasts take a fuller shape surpassing the bud stage.
    3. Pubic hair gets thicker
    4. Height growth slows down now to about 2 to 3 inches of growth per year.
  • Stage 5:

This is the last stage of your girl’s physical maturation. This stage occurs generally at the age of 15 in girls. The obvious changes are:

    1. Periods become regular and occur following the cycle. For some, initial periods may occur in intervals. However, if it is not regular after 1 year then you should consult a doctor. Lack of nutrition, being overweight, or cysts in the ovary can be some of the reasons
    2. In this stage, the breasts reach their adult and mature size & shape, though they can continue to change till 18
    3. Pubic hair now fills out to reach the inner thighs
    4. Hips, buttocks, and thighs become more feminine and capable to bear a child
    5. Reproductive organs and genitals become fully developed
    6. In this stage, girls reach their adult height

What is the Puberty Age in Girls?

So it is clear now that in girls the age of puberty starts in or around 8 years and continues up to 15 years. There can be exceptions for various reasons but in general, the age between 8 and 15 will be the puberty age for girls.

How to Talk with your Girl about Puberty?

Now that you have got all the necessary knowledge about puberty in girls, it is your time to discuss it with her. If your daughter is at the start of her girls’ puberty stages then talk to her and give her confidence to accept all the changes in her body. Here are some tips for you:puberty age

  • Use actual terms of the body parts to describe the specific part. To describe the genitals in girls use the term vulva. It is the whole genital area around the vagina. No more hiding or feeling ashamed to talk about intimate parts. Be bold and talk openly with her. Your confident attitude will make her confident about her body
  • Use the day to day situations to explain details related to puberty
  • Keep things short but simple with your girl
  • Don’t take your kid for granted. Today’s kids are well aware of a number of things, thanks to the media and gadgets. Also, they will get some knowledge about it from their schools. So, it won’t be all that difficult to make her understand puberty
  • Puberty is an extremely normal, vital, and inevitable part of growing up. So remind your girl that there is nothing wrong with the changes that her body is going through

How to Talk about Periods?

A period is the most important part of the girls’ puberty stages. You will have to talk to your daughter when she reaches the age of 13. Address this issue in advance, as this will have her mentally prepared. Here is how you can talk to her about periods:

  • The period is extremely normal. All girls bleed. And there is nothing to be afraid of. Keep repeating this to get it into her head, loud and clear.
  • The time when it starts can vary for each girl. So there is no reason to worry if all her friends get their periods and she does not or vice versa.
  • Talk about your own experiences and explain how it feels to be on periods. Say that it may come without any warning and what to do in such a situation.
  • Teach her how to use menstruation products. It is better to start with sanitary napkins. Thus if she by any chance gets her first period during school hours then she can manage it. There are sanitary napkin vending machines in every standard school now so just teach her how to use them.
  • Advice her to talk to you whenever she feels the onset of her periods. Also, tell her to feel free to talk to her teacher if she experiences any period-related issue at school.
  • If her period is a painful one then soothe her. Teach her how to manage cramps.

What are the Difficulties of Puberty in Girls?

Here are some of the issues faced by girls during puberty:

1. Acne:

Most of the girls suffer from having acne and pimple on their faces and other parts of their bodies during puberty. These can leave temporary or even permanent marks on their skin. Thus your daughter may become stressed about her appearance. She can even get insecure about it.

The hormonal changes in her body will cause oils to build upon the skin surface. This will clog the pores. Acne thus can occur not only on her face but also on her back and chest. If you have a family history of acne then hereditarily this may also pass to your girl.

How to Cure her Acne?

In general, you can treat a bit of acne by washing the affected area regularly gently with a mild soap. You can also buy over-the-counter (OTC) creams and ointment to help her control the acne. You can even apply some home remedies too.

But for more severe acne you will have to take the consultation of your child’s pediatrician or go to a dermatologist. The doctor will give prescribed medicines to reduce the problem.symptoms of puberty in girls

2. Body Odor:

Another troubling issue of puberty is body odor. This happens because larger sweat glands develop during puberty. Your daughter may get conscious or reluctant to come close to you or her friends due to the fear of being mocked for body odor.

How to Help her Cure Body Odor?

As a parent, it is easier for you to notice both physical and emotional changes in your child. If you notice her behavior is changing and she is conscious about body odor, try to help her with it. Introduce her to mild deodorants and advise her to shower daily, especially after intense physical activity. She will slowly understand more about her body,  learn about the various products, and finally will be able to handle the odor issue on her own. Your guidance is very essential in the initial days.

What are the Signs and Causes of Early Puberty in Girls?

Now that you know the stages of puberty in a girl’s chart, you can analyze if your girl is having unusual development or not, on your own. If her body starts showing the symptoms of puberty way before its normal time, then it is a problem. This means she will be a child mentally but her body will be maturing faster than her mind. As a result, she might feel different and distant from her same-age friends.

Early puberty means early growth, but this also means an early end to the puberty stages. That is, her puberty stage will end earlier than usual. So she will get taller than her fellow classmates but soon stop growing when the others may continue to grow.

So it is better to notice the signs of early puberty and seek help from your doctor. Here are some of the signs and causes of early puberty:

  • Showing signs of puberty before 8th birthday
  • If body changes occur out of order. For instance, if the period starts before developing breast buds
  • The pituitary gland may switch on the hormones before time. This can be due to some head injury
  • There may be a tumor developing on the adrenal gland
  • Your girl may have been exposed to estrogens unknowingly through various products that use estrogens in them

What Causes Delayed Puberty?

If your daughter is not growing the way she should in her age of puberty, then it is advisable to talk to your doctor. She may be a late bloomer, especially if her mother was one. The doctor will tell you if she is getting enough nutrition or not. The doctor can even prescribe some medicines to encourage the hormones to work.

Puberty is a difficult stage for both the child and the parents. Your daughter will require your support both physically and mentally. She may get moody and behave out of character, but you will have to handle it with patience and understanding. Do not let her feel insecure and secluded. Become a friend of your child and parenting will get easier for you.

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