Is my daughter going through puberty?

Every girl goes through puberty at her own pace, but it usually happens slowly over several years. It’s often hard to tell exactly when it begins or when to expect changes to happen. However, there are some outward signs you can watch for.

You’ll see many average age ranges for when puberty begins. It’s important to remember that every girl is different, according to Maggie Abraham, M.D., pediatric and adolescent gynecologist with Norton Children’s Hospital Gynecology. For instance, she said African-American girls may have hair growth before breast buds.

Factors that can contribute to early puberty include being overweight, chemicals that disrupt hormones and dysfunction at home.

Some neurological disorders may also speed or slow development. If your child has cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus, seizures or other conditions, ask your doctor what you can expect.

Make an appointment

Schedule an appointment with a pediatric gynecologist.

When to be concerned about the pace of puberty

  • Pubic hair growth before age 7
  • Breast development before 8
  • Excessive hair or acne by 8
  • No breast development by 13
  • Period has not started by 15
  • Onset of all of these signs within a year

Read more: Preparing your daughter for puberty

“It’s helpful if your daughter also is aware of the signs so that you can have conversations about concerns as they happen,” Dr. Abraham said.

If you have any of these concerns, your child should see a pediatrician or pediatric/adolescent gynecologist.


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