Puberty is the time of hormone changes in both sexes. Puberty in females takes place between the ages of 8 to 14 years old. Puberty changes before the age of 8 (precocious puberty) or after the age of 16 (delayed puberty) should be evaluated by a medical provider.
Physical changes of puberty include:
- Breast budding (growth). This is usually the first sign of puberty and typically occurs around age 11. It is common for breast growth to be uneven between the right and left breasts and this is completely normal. Size difference between breasts usually disappears by the time full maturity is reached.
- Growth of hair and sweat glands in the pubic and underarm areas.
- Significant growth spurt and increase in weight.
- Widening of the pelvis, fat deposits on the hips, enlargement of the uterus.
- Onset of menstruation (menarche) occurs between ages 11 – 14.5 years in 95% of adolescents. It is common for menstrual cycles to be irregular for the first year after menarche. 95% of cycles will be regular within 3 years after menarche.
- Increased appetite, changes in sleep-wake cycle, temperament fluctuations.
Additional information on puberty is available from the American Academy of Pediatrics, Department of Publications. P.O. Box 927, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007. www.arnp.org
Our practice delivers expert gynecologic care to adolescents which includes counseling, education, evaluation and treatment of: dysmenorrhea (painful menses), irregular or heavy menses, birth control options, sexually transmitted diseases, premenstrual syndrome, hygiene, breast care, vaginitis, urinary complaints and pelvic pain.