What you need to know

Puberty is the process of your body changing from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. Practically this means that girls develop breasts, and start their periods and boys voices drop and they begin to look more like men.

Puberty happens at different times for different young people, however it is thought that puberty usually begins at some point between 8-14 years.

There are lots of hormonal changes that happen when puberty begins so don't worry if you feel a little different. Here are some common signs that you may be starting or going through puberty:



Breasts begin to develop

Testicles and penis grow to be bigger

Leg and arm hair increases

Pubic hair becomes thicker

Pubic hair grows

Underarm hair grows

Periods begin

Voice breaks/drops

Underarm hair starts to grow

Might notice an increase in spots

Might notice an increase in spots

Wet dreams (involuntary ejaculations)

Growth spurt

Growth spurt

Body shape change

Facial hair grows

  • Puberty often begins later in boys that girls, don't worry!
  • Be sure to wash regular as you will sweat more
  • If you're concerned about your periods speak to a professional
  • An increase in vaginal discharge is a normal part of puberty
  • Good hygiene is really important when girls start periods
  • You can get pregnant if you have sex during your period
  • If your genital area is itchy or sore this may mean you have an infection, visit your GP or sexual health clinic
  • Be sure to change your period products (tampons/sanitary towels) regularly
  • Girls, get a supportive bra that fits well
  • If you're concerned about puberty discuss this with a professional e.g your school nurse, GP or sexual health clinic

There is loads to say about puberty for both boys and girls.

For more info see these resources: