Although it is widely believed that the start of the menstruation is the beginning of the puberty in females, it actually begins much earlier. There is no specific age when the puberty starts since it depends on many factors, such as genetics, environment and ethnicity, as well as nutrition and other social factors. Therefore, the actual female puberty age is not the same for every girl. However, it is considered that the average age at which puberty begins in females is between eight and fourteen years.
In females, the puberty begins once the pituitary gland starts to produce the hormone FSH, which has the role to stimulate the ovaries to secrete the hormone estrogen. This hormone along with progesterone is the most important hormone in the female body, since it regulates the development of female sex characteristics and development of the sex organs. In the beginning of the puberty, the changes usually happen within the body. Over a time, the changes become visible externally also.
Stages of female puberty
There are five stages in female puberty.
- The first stage in the female puberty begins at the age of 8 or 9 and finishes when a girl reaches 12 or 13 years. In the beginning, the changes are internal and at 11 or 12 years, the breasts start to develop. Since the breasts are not fully developed, they are called breast buds. The areolas around the nipples become darker and pubic hair starts to grow in this stage. The girls also start to gain in weight and height in this phase of puberty.
- When the girls turn 12 or 13 years of age, the second stage of the female puberty begins. The main symptom of this stage is the thicker growth of pubic hair. The hair starts to appear in the armpits and the arms and legs are covered with darker and ticker hair. The vagina increases also in this stage.
- The third stage of the female puberty is when the girls reach 13 or 14 years of age and when the first menstruation occurs. In this stage, ovulation may start although it takes time to become regular.
- In the fourth stage of the female puberty, the nipples and the areolas begin to protrude, while the hair everywhere becomes dense. The hair now starts to grow in the inner thighs.
- The fifth stage of the female puberty is between 15 and 17 years of age. In this stage, the female body is fully mature. In this period, the height of girls becomes stagnant, the breasts are formed and the menstruation and ovulation become regular. In this stage, the girls usually have to cope with acne, which occurs due to the hormones estrogen and progesterone.