Is my daughter going through puberty?

Here are the signs

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.

“The age ranges in this graphic are average and every girl is different,” said Maggie Abraham, M.D., pediatric and adolescent gynecologist with Norton Children’s Hospital Gynecology Specialists. “African-American girls may have hair growth before breast buds.”

Some factors that can contribute to early puberty, including being overweight or obese, chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system, and stress or dysfunction in the child’s home.

Make an appointment

Schedule an appointment with a pediatric gynecologist.

Children with some neurological disorders may also develop earlier or later. If your child has cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus, seizures or other neurological conditions, ask your doctor what you can expect.

When to be concerned about the pace of puberty:
  • Pubic hair growth before age 7
  • Breast development before age 8
  • Excessive hair or acne by age 8
  • No breast development by age 13
  • Period has not started by age 15
  • Rapid onset of all of these signs (within a year)

“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.

See more about preparing your daughter for these changes.

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