Puberty means physical as well as emotional changes; it does transform a child into a teenager and hence it is an extremely important stage of a girl’s life. It is true that puberty is inevitable. However, it is also important to note the fact that every girl’s puberty experience is indeed unique and therefore one needs to handle the health issue accordingly. Puberty in girls involves hormonal changes. The hormones estrogen and progesterone are in fact responsible for many of the changes experienced during puberty.
Patterns of Puberty in Girls
Usually, an increase in the breasts size is the initial sign of puberty in girls, but everyone has their own pace and pattern of reaching puberty. Sexual development, although, is a mandatory sign of female puberty, some girls may develop breasts at a young age and have no other prominent signs of sexual development. In the same manner, some girls do develop hair across the pubic area and armpits but their sexual growth starts very late. This is also a very normal process, and a delay in any of the signs of puberty does not necessarily imply that there is some problem.
Sometimes, puberty in girls can be indeed be experienced at a very young age. Early puberty in girls is referred to precocious or premature puberty. Usually, premature puberty is a variation of what we do know as normal puberty. Parents need to consult the doctor if a young girl does get pubic hair before the age of 7-8.
Puberty in girls can get delayed on account of a medical reason or malnutrition. One must seek advice from a doctor if one’s daughter has not developed breast tissue by the age of 14 and the menstrual cycle has not started 5 years after the development of breast tissue.
Stages of Puberty in Girls
Girls do experience growth of feet and hands, and in 85% of them, the breast buds do develop afterward. Breast bud develops as a knot under the area referred to as areola. This nickel-sized bud may indeed be hard or tender and does develop at one side first and then the other side. This could take around 6 months’ time and is a sign of circulation of estrogen.
When breast bud does get developed, the girl does start having vaginal discharge that is caused by estrogen. This discharge does comprise of acidic pH and usually does occur as a cause of irritation around one’s vulvar skin. Girls are advised to make use of a mini pad or creams such as diaper rash ointment or zinc oxide to cure this irritation.
The growth of pubic hair happens to be the second stage of puberty in girls. About 15% of the girls will start having hair around their pubic area and as soon as this does happen the irritation will indeed fade away because the hair follicles will rather pull the discharge away.
Acne will indeed begin to sprout after growth of pubic hair and the girl will show signs of rapid physical growth, such as her height will increase rapidly as well as her facial features will also indeed begin to mature. Within six months of experiencing early signs of puberty, girls will grow around 2 to 3 inches in height. This is also when the menstrual cycle does begin.
After the commencement of menstruation cycle, the phase of reaching puberty is finished but the girl will keep on growing around the trunk area and legs will also strengthen. However, the growth spree will slow down as soon as the periods start. Over the next 2 years’ time, most girls grow around 1 to 2 inches while some may grow as much as 3-4 inches in height. It must be noted that breasts continue to develop until the age of 18.
Changes during Puberty in Girls
When puberty in girls does occur, the brain does undergo a lot of changes as well as it is rather busy in rearranging connections in order to establish new thinking patterns, thus getting ready for experiencing intense emotions as well as developing mature decision making along with reasoning skills. This does indicate that adolescence is really a critical phase in one’s given life as this is the time when impulse control, good habits as well as communication skills are established. These skills would no doubt require constant guidance and practice as they are not actually acquired naturally but are improved upon the course of one’s life.
As far as physical changes during puberty are concerned, these do start between 8 and 13 years and are indeed completed by 14 years for girls. For boys, puberty does commence from 10 and also ends by the age of 16. As mentioned above, breasts do start growing, which marks the initial physical change in a young girl.
Two years later, the menstrual cycle also begins and between this duration, other physical changes such as pubic hair, armpit hair growth, an increase in one’s height do occur. As soon as puberty does begin, girls also start growing taller and there is an improvement in height that ends with puberty.
Bodily changes could indeed be faster or slower than expected but it should be remembered that every girl is different and the rate of change is determined naturally. However, it would be a wise idea to contact a doctor if one’s daughter does start showing signs of puberty before 8 years or if puberty does not occur by the age of 14. Puberty-related changes do take a year and a half to be completed or may continue for 6 years.
The growth and development of one’s body do affect one’s self-esteem, so counseling at every step is important. Parents, especially mothers, need to inform their daughters that it is OK to experience changes and that every kind of change that takes place no matter how weird it may appear, it is normal. The girl needs some space during this time and also keep communicating with by discussing problems openly.