An intense period of transition to adulthood
What’s puberty like for girls?
Puberty is a period of physical and psychological transformation, when you move from childhood to adulthood. During puberty, your body changes and gradually prepares for reproduction: you become able to bear children.
Here are some of the changes that happen during puberty:
- acne (some people have hardly any pimples, while other people have more)
- appearance of hair in your armpits, on your legs, and sometimes on your upper lip
- spreading of your hips
- appearance of pubic hair
- first menstruation, also called your period 🔴
- growth of your breasts, which may be slightly painful 🍒
- increase or decrease in your self-confidence (or it may stay the same)
- changes in your relationships with other people, since your tastes, interests, and needs change
These physical and psychological changes are totally normal.
All kids go through this phase: it’s a transition to adult life. You might start going through puberty after your friends. If you feel as if you’re “late,” remember that puberty isn’t a race! One day, it’ll be your turn. Still, if something is embarrassing you or worrying you, talk about it to an adult you trust or contact us!
The shape, size, and colour of the areola and nipple vary from one woman to the next. The left and right breasts may be different sizes. And your other body parts aren’t perfectly symmetrical either! The size of your breasts may change if you take birth control pills, are pregnant, or gain or lose weight. There are no perfect breasts, so it’s best to accept yours the way they are!
Every vulva is unique. The colour, size, and shape of the labia minora and labia majora differ from one woman to another. The labia minora often stick out beyond the labia majora after puberty, and they’re not always perfectly symmetrical. As with breasts, there’s no such thing as a perfect vulva. If you’re worried about how your vulva looks, talk to a professional or another adult you trust.
Preventing vaginal infections
Good hygiene is the key to preventing vaginal infections and irritation. You also need to use a condom to prevent transmission of an infection. Consult your doctor or a health care professional if you feel itching or irritation around your vulva, pain during sex, a burning feeling when you urinate, or changes in your vaginal secretions or the way they smell.
Vaginal secretions appear in your underwear starting at puberty. They’re a bit sticky, transparent, and whitish. Their appearance varies based on your menstrual cycle: more liquid or thicker, whitish or yellowish. This kind of secretion is normal, but if it’s uncomfortable, you can change your panties, use a panty-liner, or freshen up with a damp washcloth. But don’t use tampons or vaginal douches for this purpose.
You might be wondering about the odours your vagina gives off. These odours vary from one woman to another. They also change during your menstrual cycle and depending on how often you wash. The best way to control odour is to wash once a day with water and mild soap. Never put perfume on your vaginal area to mask odours! Scent can cause an irritation or infection.
Nowadays, we often see hairless bodies, completely depilated. It’s the fashion, but in reality, bodies are much more varied. Remember that this is a decision you have to make for yourself, not for other people. Cutting, shaving, depilating… Every method has advantages and disadvantages. If you have questions, ask for help and information from your parents or qualified people: a cosmetician, beautician, or nurse.
Gynecological examination 😷
During a gynecological examination, your doctor will examine your genitals to make sure you don’t have an infection or a disease. You need to have this kind of examination within 6 months of the first time you have sex. You should also have one if you have pain, itching, or discharge with an abnormal colour or odour, if you’re pregnant, or if you’ve been sexually assaulted. If you’re embarrassed, talk to your doctor. He/she will be able to reassure you!
Answers to frequently asked questions
Menstruation starts sometime between age 9 and age 18. After that, it comes back each menstrual cycle, once every 23 to 35 days. Every woman’s menstrual cycle is different: it can be regular (about 28 days) or irregular, especially in adolescence. The start of menstruation also means you can get pregnant, so remember to use protection during sex! It’s normal for you to feel anxious about the idea of having your first period and using a sanitary napkin or tampon for the first time. Don’t hesitate to text us or call us to talk about it. Our counsellors are there to make things easier for you!
Yes! These vaginal secretions are perfectly normal. You’ll see them in your underwear starting at puberty. They’re a bit sticky, transparent, and whitish. Their appearance varies based on your menstrual cycle: more liquid or thicker, more whitish or more yellowish.
If you feel uncomfortable, you can change your panties, use a panty-liner, or freshen up with a damp washcloth. But avoid using tampons. Since vaginal secretions aren’t very heavy, a tampon could dry out your vagina and cause irritation. Also avoid vaginal douches. They’re unnecessary and increase the risk of infection.
Vaginal secretions are different from lubrication, which is produced when you’re aroused. They don’t usually smell. If you have more frequent discharge or it smells bad, see a doctor quickly. You might have a vaginal infection.
Yes, you’re perfectly normal! The size of the labia minora varies from one woman to another. It’s true that in magazines and porn films, you mostly see labia minora that are hidden inside the labia majora. But in reality, not many girls are made like that!
Remember there’s no such thing as an ideal vulva: each one is unique! Their appearance and colour vary. As much as possible, try to accept yourself the way you are. Avoid judging yourself, hiding, or comparing yourself to other people. And don’t forget that you’re still going through puberty and your body may still change: give yourself a chance to finish growing!