Puberty is a crazy time for everyone – here’s what girls, and people with female reproductive systems, might experience
Puberty is a strange and sweaty time for all of us. When we get to a certain age, our brains starts flooding our bodies with a special hormone, triggering all sorts of changes.
Going through such a sudden period of change can be stressful and even isolating for teenagers, who may feel too embarrassed to talk about what’s happening to them.
Luckily, today it’s easier than ever to find resources online! Our friends at young people’s sexual health and wellbeing charity Brook provide accurate and helpful information about what female, male, and transgender people can expect when they reach puberty.
To start off, here’s a basic 101 of some of the changes that girls and young women (and for this article we’ll use the term ‘girls’, but it’s worth noting that these experiences are also shared by people with female reproductive systems who don’t necessarily identify that way) will experience from roughly the ages of 9 to 16.
Many girls start to grow taller once they reach puberty, and might feel they tower above their friends. This is natural as puberty impacts everyone differently and at different rates.
Other girls may notice their breasts are swelling and becoming more prominent. Their figures may also become rounder as they develop broader hips.
These physical changes can cause stretch marks to appear on your skin as your body grows, but they are perfectly normal and nothing to be embarrassed about.
A defining aspect of puberty for all teens is increased hair growth and sweat gland activity. Girls will begin growing hair in new places like their legs, armpits, genitals, or upper lip area (and whether or not you want to remove this hair is your choice).
Around this time your sweat glands will also go into overdrive – you are going to perspire more so your hair will get greasier, making it important to bathe regularly to keep these areas clean and healthy.
Acne can be frustrating, but it’s another common struggle many young people face once they hit puberty. Due to hormonal changes and those overactive sweat glands, girls can experience a range of different types of acne.
Some acne can be treated with a simple skin care routine, while more stubborn acne may require a trip to a dermatologist or doctor for prescription care. It’s very common to feel embarrassed about your acne, but remember that you are no less beautiful because of it.
Let’s be honest, getting your period can be nerve-wracking. Suddenly you’re bleeding for a week (or sometimes more!) every single month, which can be messy, uncomfortable, and a lot to take in – but it’s nothing you need to be afraid of. Starting your menstrual cycle is a very natural part of going through puberty, signalling the transition into becoming a young woman.
There are lots of resources available to help you understand what exactly a period is, why it happens, and what steps you can take for managing it.
Even talking to your friends can help clear up some of the confusion and awkwardness, since a lot of them are probably going through the exact same thing. It’s worth remembering that people get their periods at lots of different times, so don’t stress if you haven’t experienced it yet!
Ultimately, puberty is an odd time in every young person’s life, but it’s a regular part of growing up that luckily doesn’t last forever.
If you’re feeling anxious or unsure about your experiences, read up as much as you can and be prepared to learn a lot from personal experience. Figuring it out may take patience, but before you know it you’ll have made it out the other side.