Female Body Development During Puberty
As a female enters puberty, her body starts releasing estrogen, progesterone and small amounts of testosterone. These hormones bring about a number of changes to the way a female looks and feels, as well as to her reproductive system. As your teen goes through puberty she begins menstruating, which makes it possible for her to get pregnant. She will also get taller and you may begin to notice other physical changes on her body.
A physical change that occurs, and usually makes a teenage girl feel like she is becoming a woman, is the development of breasts. According to Palo Alto Medical Foundation, breasts can start to grow as early as age 7 or they may not start to develop until age 13. Nipple enlargement is the first sign of breast development. Gradually, more and more breast tissue develops beneath the nipple and chest. At the end of development, each nipple no longer looks swollen and the breasts have grown.
Height and Weight
In the beginning of puberty, a growth spurt starts, and around age 14, it begins to slow down. The Palo Alto Medical Center says during the growth spurt, a female can gain about 3.5 inches per year. This is why girls normally get much taller than their male peers, who don’t start growing until a few years later. Although the idea of gaining weight never sounds good, it is healthy for weight gain to occur during this time. The female body needs extra weight for growth and breast development.
Before puberty, a female lacks hair on her armpits and vagina. The first pubic hair develops a few inches below the belly button, spreads lower and may even spread to the inner thighs. Over time the hair becomes darker, thicker and coarser. Underarm hair grows about two years after the first sign of pubic hair.
Menarche, or the first period, can come at any time, and there may be little to no warning signs. According to BodyTeen.com, when you turn 11 and weight about 100 lbs., you can start to expect your first period. Some girls may get their first period sooner than this and other girls may not have their first period until they are closer to 16 years old. The first few periods tend to be very light compared to the amount of flow during an adult period. The first year of menstruation may be irregular and hard to track, but this is normal for a developing female body. If you miss your period for more than six months, experience an abnormally heavy flow or have extreme pain, consult your doctor.
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