Puberty in girls, the passage to adulthood

Puberty in girls is the transition stage between childhood and adulthood. The average age of puberty is between 8 and 13, slightly earlier than for boys. The word puberty comes from the Latin word “pubere” which means “to grow hair”.

How to recognize puberty in girls?

During puberty, a number of changes take place. These include:

  • The development of hair
  • Metabolic changes
  • Hormonal changes

These changes are due to the maturation of the central nervous system and the disappearance of the brake inhibiting the anterior hypothalamus. Hormones (estrogens) are then released and create a multitude of changes in the girl.

Physically, hair grows on the labia majora and the mount of Venus, then gradually extends to the groin. Axillary hair (especially on the armpits) usually appears after pubic hair.
This development is often followed by the development of sebaceous glands, which cause sebum secretion and thus acne.

The breasts begin to develop during this period but will not take their final (adult) shape until age 18 or 19. The girl’s pelvis also widens and fatty tissue covers her hips and thighs.
Finally, her vulva changes a few years before her first period: the labia majora are more prominent, the labia minora and the clitoris develop. The uterine body grows until it reaches its adult size, about 4 to 5 years after the first period.

Note that each girl follows her own development and that there is no set order. Growth, hair growth, menstruation and breast development are random and depend on many parameters beyond each girl’s control.

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