What if you want to talk about stuff but you are TOO SHY?

Talking about puberty can sometimes feel awkward because you are mentioning body parts that are usually hidden, and seeing changes to your body that are new and sometimes unfamiliar. Plus, you don’t hear people talking about it in everyday conversations at the dinner table or the bus stop: “Hey - your puberty is really looking great!” However, there are three guarantees about puberty that might make things easier. First, everyone grows up, so you are not alone. Second, lots of people are also shy and uncertain about how to talk about everything to do with puberty, so you are not alone on this either. Third, a lot of people - your parents, teachers, friends, sisters, and grandparents - want the whole puberty experience to go well for you and would love to help you out.

What BODY PART does puberty start at?

The whole process of puberty starts in your brain in a small gland called the pituitary. The pituitary gland sends a message to your ovaries that signals your body to begin growing and changing. Wonder where your pituitary gland and ovaries are hanging out? Check out the picture below to see.

Your ovaries then send hormones (chemicals that travel around in your blood) to alert the rest of your body to start all of these changes. The primary hormone of puberty for girls is called estrogen, but progesterone and a small amount of testosterone also help out with all of the changes of puberty.

What will “GROWING UP” do to my future? Am I really ready to have all these changes in my life, at the age of 10?

“Growing up” is the work of becoming a grown-up. Your body and brain are changing to prepare you for doing all sorts of things in the future - like driving a car, having a baby, working at a job, buying groceries, being in love, reaching for the cookie jar … you get the idea! The word puberty describes how your body grows from a girl’s body to a woman’s body, and the word “adolescence” describes how your brain changes to make adult decisions and have adult relationships. Put together, growing up takes many years, so don’t worry - you’ve got some time before you are officially grown-up!

Will I still have puberty when I am 50?

Puberty is officially over when your body stops growing. So most girls finish puberty when they’re teenagers. However, our bodies continue to change in interesting ways our whole lives.

What is the POINT of puberty?

Puberty describes the process of your body changing from a girl’s into a woman’s. The entire transformation takes several years, and when it is finished, you pretty much look like a grown-up. The “point” of puberty is to make it possible for girls’ bodies to function like women’s, including the ability to be pregnant and feed a baby.

Do ALL GIRLS have puberty?

Yes—although each girl’s experience will be both similar and different from other girls. Some girls start puberty earlier, some finish later, but most girls experience the basics, including growing taller, gaining weight, growing breasts, getting pimples and body odor, growing hair in new and interesting places, and having periods. Believe it or not, even boys have puberty!

When will all this happen for me?

Although puberty for girls often starts with an increase in height and weight, lots of girls don’t notice that puberty has begun since they have been busy growing their whole lives! Many girls first notice they have started puberty when they begin to develop breasts—this is the first new body change of puberty for girls. Girls typically start puberty sometime between the ages of eight and eleven. It’s not uncommon for girls to begin puberty up to two years before boys!

The timing of puberty is greatly influenced by heredity. We tend to follow the growth patterns of other people who are genetically linked to us. In addition to our birth parents sharing genetic messages of eye and hair color, they also pass along how fast or slow puberty happens, the size of our breasts, our height and shape, and even how early our period starts.