Girls’ and Boys’ Puberty Q&As

Last updated on May 22nd, 2015 at 01:24 pm

Girls and boys puberty QsPuberty can be a confusing time because your body and your feelings are changing as you grow up.

Understanding what’s happening will help you cope.

Here are answers to some of the questions that boys and girls often ask about their bodies.

Puberty for boys:

  • When will I start puberty?
    If puberty hasn’t started yet, don’t worry. Most boys begin when they’re around 13 or 14 years old, but some start earlier and some later.

    • We all grow and change at different rates, and there’s nothing you can do to make it happen sooner or later. Your body will change when it’s ready.
    • It’s normal to feel confused or worried sometimes. It can help to talk to someone you trust, such as your dad, mum, brother, or a trusted teacher.
  • What will happen to my body?
    There are plenty of signs that puberty has started. Every boy is different, but here are some of the most common changes to look out for:
  • Getting taller: your body grows, and it may become more muscular.
  • Bigger penis and balls: your testicles and penis grow, and they may feel itchy or uncomfortable.
  • Unexpected erections: your body produces more sex hormones, so you might get erections when you least expect them and you’re not thinking about anything sexy. At other times, you might think about sex a lot.
  • Spots and sweat: hormones can make you sweaty and spotty, but as long as you have good personal hygiene you can still look and feel healthy. Find out about acne.
  • Sperm: you start producing sperm and you may have wet dreams in which you ejaculate (come) while you’re asleep. This is normal.
  • Hair: areas of your body become more hairy, including your armpits, legs, arms, face, chest and around your penis.
  • Deeper voice: you might sound croaky for a while, or you might have a high voice one minute and a low voice the next. It will settle down eventually.
  • On the inside: you may have mood swings and feel emotional, but your feelings will settle down in time.

Puberty for girls:

  • When will I start puberty?
    Puberty usually happens between 10 and 14 years old, but every girl is different.

    • We all grow and change at different rates and there’s nothing you can do to make it happen sooner or later. Your body will change when it’s ready.
    • Your breasts may grow quickly or slowly. You might have your first period, then not have another one for months. There’s no such thing as ‘normal’, so don’t panic if your experience is different from other girls.
    • If you feel confused, you’re not the only person. Try talking to someone you trust, such as your mum, dad, sister, friends or a teacher you trust.
  • What will happen to my body?
    During puberty, it’s normal to experience the following changes:
  • Growing: you’ll get taller, and this might happen quite quickly.
  • Breasts and hips: your breasts and hips get bigger. You might feel itchy or uncomfortable when this happens. This is normal.
  • Hair: hair grows under your arms and around your vagina. Some girls develop hair in other parts of their body, such as their top lip. This is normal.
  • Periods: your periods will start at some point during puberty. You might get period pains before or during your period.  Read more about starting periods.
  • Vaginal discharge: your vagina may produce discharge (fluid). This is normal. It’s your vagina’s way of keeping clean and healthy. The discharge should be colourless or white, and shouldn’t smell. If it looks green or yellow and smells, see a doctor because you might have an infection, such as thrush (this is common and easily treated).
  • Spots and sweat: hormones can make you sweaty or spotty, but as long as you have good personal hygiene, you can still look and feel healthy.
  • On the inside: you might have mood swings and feel emotional, but your feelings will settle down eventually.

Photo credit: Cavale DoomCC license

About the Author

NHS Choices (www.nhs.uk) is the UK’s biggest health website. It provides a comprehensive health information service to help put you in control of your healthcare.

Comments

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!