Puberty is the process of growing from a girl into a woman that every girl will go through sometime between the ages of 9 to 16. Your body changes at its own pace, which is largely determined by your genes. Ask your mom at what age she started puberty. Some girls begin puberty earlier or later than their friends. Puberty usually starts earlier for girls than boys. For a few years, you may be bigger and seem more mature than boys your age.
WILL I LOOK DIFFERENT?
Physically your body will begin to look more like an adult woman. Sometime between the ages of 9 to 16 special glands in your brain send a signal to your ovaries. This signal tells them to increase production of the female sex hormones. This causes big changes in your body that can last from two to six years. During this time you’ll start your menstrual cycle or period and you’ll have the ability to get pregnant. During puberty, your ovaries begin releasing eggs for the first time. If the egg isn’t fertilized by a male’s sperm, the uterine lining isn’t needed. It flows out through the cervix and vagina in a process called menstruation or more commonly referred to as your period.
Your body will change in other ways too:
Puberty can be a very emotional time. You’ll begin to have more intense feelings of love and joy, and also of loneliness and sadness. As you get older you’ll also have more responsibilities at home and at school. You’ll begin to decide what’s important to you, what kinds of friends you want to have and the kind of person you want to be. You’ll probably want some independence from your parents, yet still find comfort in the security they provide. Your parents are proud that you’re maturing into a young adult, yet they may get their feelings hurt because you’d rather spend time with your friends than with them. You also may argue with them over the fairness of house rules, family obligations, chores, etc. Try sharing your feelings with your parents and coming up with solutions that all of you can accept.
The teenage years also can make you feel insecure. Being popular and belonging to a group may be very important to you; having friends can help you feel secure. If you aren’t accepted by a particular group, try and seek out friends elsewhere. Remember, you are a valuable and important person and you shouldn’t have to change or do things you don’t want to do just to be accepted as someone’s friend. If you feel pressure from your friends to do something you don’t want to, ask yourself whether what they want you to do could hurt you or help you.
WHEN SHOULD I SEE A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL?
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
When you feel good, you look good. During puberty it’s extra important to take care of your body by eating a healthy diet consisting of a variety of foods from the five basic food groups. Get enough rest and exercise. Both will help increase your energy and reduce your stress levels. Bathe and shower regularly to help prevent body odor and acne breakouts. If you have questions about the changes your body is going through, find an adult you trust. Remember, she went through puberty, too!
(8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.)
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.