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What is puberty like for people with a vagina?

A lot of changes happen to your body during puberty (all good changes that are totally normal!). 

When does it happen?

It’s different for everyone. Usually between the age of 9-13 years of age, you’ll start to notice some changes to your body. The first thing you’ll notice is things like your boobs growing and maybe hair appearing in new places. 

These changes will happen gradually for around two years. After that, you can expect to start having periods, also known as menstruation.

What kinds of changes take place during puberty for people with vaginas?
Growth Spurts

Anyone who goes through puberty will undergo some kind of growth spurt. They may notice increases in height and changes in their body shape as they develop.


One of the early signs of puberty for people with vaginas is the development of breast tissue. This typically begins with small breast buds forming under the nipples and gradually growing larger over time. One boob might grow faster than another – don’t worry if this happens, it’s pretty normal. Read more about boobs and growth here.


Hair will start to grow in different places, like in your armpits and pubic area (the space around your genitals) as a result of hormonal changes during puberty. Hair might also grow on arms and legs. Thinking about shaving? Read this first.

Hips change

Your hips will begin to widen. For people with uteruses, their hips will widen because it makes giving birth a lot safer. The amount your hips will widen depends on your genetics. There’s no right or wrong amount of growth.


A white coloured discharge might start appearing on your underwear. This is ok! It just means your vagina is healthy and getting ready for menstruation.

Hormonal changes: pimples, body odour, mood swings

Hormonal fluctuations during puberty can lead to mood swings, feeling more emotional, as well as pimples or a change in the way you smell. It can also affect energy levels. These hormonal changes are a natural part of puberty. If you’re worried about any of these changes, talk to your doctor.

Emotional and Psychological Changes

Puberty can also change the way you think and feel, as you navigate the transition from childhood to adulthood. This can impact your sense of self-identity, your relationships with friends or family members. You might even get an awareness of your sexuality.

Periods or menstruation

One significant aspect of puberty for people with ovaries is menstruation, commonly referred to as having a period. It usually begins between the ages of 9 and 15, although it can start earlier or later for some individuals.

Menstruation is a natural process where the lining of the uterus sheds approximately once a month for a few days. When you have your period, you expel blood from your vagina (not very much, don’t worry). This is part of a monthly cycle called the ‘menstrual cycle’.

This cycle is the reason people with uteruses are able to get pregnant. The human race would not exist without periods! Once your body is ready to start menstruating, having a regular monthly period is part of being healthy and strong.

Learn more
    • Wondering what it’s like to have a period? Read more about periods here or check out this post on getting your period for the first time.
    • Check out this video for more info about all these physical changes:

Where to get help
  • Family Planning Alliance Australia has links to sexual health clinics around the country. Visiting a sexual health clinic is really useful if you want to talk to someone face-to-face about puberty or ask any questions you have about sex.

Need someone to talk to? Free, confidential support is available.

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