Kimberly R Faucher, M.D.
Puberty
The transition from adolescence to maturity in women, puberty, can begin anytime from 8-13 years old, when one's body starts to undergo hormonal changes. Really, it's a special growth spurt that leads to the body developing into a mature, adult body that is able to reproduce. Besides growing taller and developing a more womanly, curvy body, the body changes in a few key ways:
  • Pubic and underarm hair
  • Girls will begin to grow hair in their pubic area and around the labia, and eventually it will grow darker and fuller
  • Hair will grow in the armpits and may become thicker on the legs
  • Body odor will become more prominent
  • Breasts
  • The nipples and areola may become darker and the breasts will become fuller
  • Developing breasts may be tender
  • Menstruation
  • A woman's first period will come during this time
  • Hormones will signal the ovaries to produce an egg and release it into the fallopian tube, where it travels to the uterus
  • The uterine lining thickens to prepare to house the egg
  • Without fertilization, which leads to pregnancy, the uterus sheds the egg and its lining through the vagina
  • Normally occurs monthly for around 3-7 days
  • Periods may be light, irregular, infrequent, or otherwise abnormal during puberty but should become regular after the body adjusts
Other occurrences during puberty include:
  • Acne
  • Acne is common during puberty
  • Overactive glands secretes an oil that clogs pores
  • Can be on any skin, but is usually found on the face, neck/chest, and back
  • Different girls have various severities of acneIt can be treated by keeping the skin clean and moisturized, and by using medicated creams/ointments/etc
  • Finding and sticking to a daily routine that works for one's skin type can help keep skin clearIn more extreme cases, a medication can be prescribed to regulate hormones which may help with acne
Click the link below for some acne and skin care solutions
  • ​Mood Swings
  • Stronger emotions and mood swings can also occur
  • Confusing, transitional time in life--rely on friends/family/your doctor for support
  • Sexuality
  • As the body prepares for reproduction, girls may experience sexual thoughts/urges/feelings, these are normal
  • May discover her sexual preference through sexual and romantic attractionIdentity is complicated, but accepting yourself and confiding in an adult you can trust can help you sort of your feelings and thoughts
  • Having Sex
  • Many teenagers are curious or want to explore and may decide to have sex
  • Make sure you know how to protect yourself before deciding to have sex
  • Understand what sex is and how to protect yourself from infection, unwanted pregnancy, and rape
  • Know what consent is and how to give it before any sexual intercourse or sexual touching--only "Yes" means "Yes"
  • Talk to your parents and/or gynecologist 
  • Sex is natural, but you should always be safe!
  • Visiting the Gynecologist
  • Girls should see her gynecologist if she has any questions or concerns about her health or is experiencing any issues
  • See your gynecologist if you have heavy, irregular, or no periods by the age of 15
  • Typically, a girl's first visit should be around the age of 13-15