Teenagers go through a lot of changes during puberty, which eventually comes to an end when the body has fully matured. Teenagers may find the various stages difficult or even perplexing, especially given that each person experiences these changes at a different pace. For any teenagers who are still unsure about their gender identity, puberty may be challenging. Let’s look at what happens before and after puberty and what signs and symptoms to expect during each stage.

Stage 1 

The stages of puberty begin for girls at the age of eight. Although this may sound young, physical puberty changes are starting to occur at younger and younger ages. Depending on genetics, you might even start to notice these changes around the age of seven. For girls, breast development, also known as breast budding, is the first indication of puberty. Your doctor could refer to this formally as thelarche. You should be sure to see your pediatrician or adolescent medicine physician for a checkup if you haven’t noticed breast budding by the age of 13.

Stage 2

The second stage is when physical development starts. Typically, puberty begins between the ages of 9 and 11. Visible changes include:

  • Under the nipple, the first symptoms of breasts, known as “buds,” begin to appear. One bud may be larger than the other, which is normal, or they may be painful or irritating.
  • The darker area (areola) surrounding the nipple will also enlarge.
  • The uterus starts to get bigger, and the vulva’s lips start to develop little amounts of pubic hair.

Stage 3

In stage 3, females start to exhibit more noticeable physical changes. Your teen’s hormones are hard at work, accelerating development from the previous stage along with a growth spurt in height. Physical changes in women typically begin after the age of 12. These modifications include:

  • Breast “buds” are still developing and enlarging.
  • Pubic hair thickens and becomes curlier.
  • The armpits begin to grow hair.
  • Acne symptoms may first appear on the face and back.
  • The period of greatest height growth begins (around 3.2 inches per year).
  • Your hips and thighs begin to get thicker.

Stage 4

During stage 4, puberty is in full swing. Females begin noticing numerous changes. Stage 4 usually begins around the age of 13 in females. Among the changes are:

  • Breasts become fuller after passing the bud stage.
  • Many females experience their first period between the ages of 12 and 14, but it can occur earlier.
  • Height growth will slow to approximately 2 to 3 inches per year.
  • Pubic hair thickens.

Stage 5

Stage 5 marks the culmination of your teen’s development. During this final stage, your teen will eventually reach full physical maturation, including their final adult height. Females typically reach stage 5 around the age of 15. Breasts reach adult size and shape, though breasts can continue to change until the age of 18.

  • After 6 months to 2 years, periods start to become regular.
  • Females reach adult height one to two years after their first period.
  • Pubic hair continues to grow.
  • Genitals and reproductive organs are fully formed.
  • Shaped hips, thighs, and buttocks.

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Puberty does not occur suddenly. Numerous physical and hormonal changes occur over the course of years, and they can all be difficult to go through. There are a lot of changes that happens before and after puberty, hence, never hesitate to contact your doctor if something seems very distressing or if you are worried about your growth.

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