Puberty Changes in Female

by Shaun Damon

Puberty is the process by which the body matures and becomes ready for reproduction. The preteen and early teenage years are usually the time when puberty occurs. In females, the onset of puberty is approximately between 8 to 13 years of age.

The transition that occurs during puberty is triggered by female hormones. The follicle stimulating hormone or FSH is secreted by the pituitary gland. This in turn causes the ovaries to produce estrogen, which is the hormone involved in the maturity and growth of the female body that eventually enables reproduction. Puberty in females takes place in stages and spans across several years. Each stage occurs at a particular age, and during each stage different parts of the body are affected. The first body part to change during puberty is the breasts. Between the ages of 11 to 12, this change begins to occur. It can also begin earlier at around 8 to 14 years of age. The nipple starts to develop, resulting in breast buds. Over the next few years, the tissues of the breasts develop and the breasts continue to grow until the ages of 15 or 16 years. Following this, growth of underarm and pubic hair takes place. The average age for this is 9 to 15 years. The first to appear is the pubic hair, followed by the underarm hair a couple of years after. The hair on the legs also grows thickly and many girls begin to shave or wax their legs at this stage.

The first menstrual period indicates the physical maturity of a female to reproduce. Menstruation takes place usually between 9 to 16 years of age, with the average onset being 12 years. In the beginning, menstruation may be irregular with two periods taking place in one month or skipped periods. The cycle becomes regular within the next two years. During puberty, girls also begin to gain weight around the areas of the breasts, buttocks, thighs and hips. This is in preparation for conception, pregnancy and delivery of a baby. Females also attain their adult height by this stage. Puberty also brings along with it certain changes of the skin and mood. This is due to the elevated production of estrogen and progesterone, the female hormones. As the monthly hormonal levels increase, the skin becomes oilier and prone to pimples. This will subside during the late teen years as the hormonal levels become balanced. Increase in progesterone that occurs in the latter stages of the menstrual cycle is known to result in mood changes.

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