Girls don’t become women over night. Between girlhood and adulthood, girls go through a stage of growth called puberty. Boys experience puberty too but in different ways (more on that here).
Puberty is caused by chemicals called hormones, which send signals around the body. These chemicals can change a lot of things – the way someone looks, feels – even the way they think! This might sound like a really big deal but as long as you have understanding of what you’re in for, you’ll be totally fine.
That depends. For some folks, puberty can start at 8 years old, and for others it might not happen until around 16 years of age. This wide variation is normal and nothing to worry about. If you or a mate is at all worried, visit your doctor or local sexual health clinic. They can answer any questions you have.
Even though your body has been preparing for puberty your whole life, the effects will only start to take place around 8-16 years of age. The first thing you’ll notice is body changes. This will happen gradually for around two years, then you will begin to have periods. Here’s a run down of the changes you can expect:
Sexual Health & Family Planning Australia has links to sexual health clinics around the country, which is really useful! If you want to talk to someone face to face about puberty or sex or health stuff, we highly recommend a sexual health clinic.