Puberty Questions You’ve Always Wanted to Know but Were too Afraid to Ask
By: Anika In'T Hout
If you want your puberty questions answered but are not feeling too comfortable about going to your parents or friends for answers, we are here to help! We asked you on Instagram for your burning and awkward puberty questions, and here are your top 5:
When will I get breasts? And why do my friends have them and I don’t?
The truth is, when it comes to puberty, everyone is different. The average age for a girl to start developing breasts is 10 or 11 years old, but some girls start developing as early as seven or as late as thirteen. So if you have noticed that your chest is starting to look bigger or different, then it’s probably time to get your first bra. But if that’s not the case and your friend or younger sister is getting breasts and you’re not, just remember that puberty is not a race and you have nothing to worry about. Your time will come.
How long can the hair under my arms and in my pubic hair grow? Will it make me smell? How do I deal with it?
When you go through puberty, you will have hair growing in some new places like under your arms and around your vagina (aka pubic hair). Unlike head hair that grows a lot in between haircuts, body hair is a different type of hair so it grows much, much less.
Body hair, especially the hair under your arms can make you sweat more and give you body odour (aka BO), which can make you a little bit smelly. So while showering, wearing clean clothes and wearing deodorant are good ways to deal with the sweat and smell, you may also want to think about getting rid of your body hair. While you absolutely don’t have to as body hair is totally okay and natural, shaving your underarm and pubic hair with a razor may make you feel more comfortable. Here is your ultimate guide for shaving for the first time.
What is this white stuff in my underwear and why is it there?
As you go through puberty, you may notice a white, cream-coloured or yellow substance on your underwear. This is vaginal discharge and it usually shows up six months to a year before you get your first period and will stick around during puberty and on into adulthood. Vaginal discharge is just there to keep your vagina clean and healthy.
What is a period and why do I get one?
A period is when your body gets rid of all the stuff it no longer needs. This stuff includes tissue and fluids within your uterus, the place where a baby can develop in the female body. Every month, your uterus gets thicker to prepare for a fertilized egg if you are pregnant. But if the egg doesn’t get fertilized, that lining breaks down and leaks out of the body as blood through the vagina, which is why you get your period.
How much blood will I have on my period, how long will it last and how often will I get one?
Even though it seems like a lot of blood, the truth is, during your period, you will actually only lose a few tablespoons of blood. This means that you will have to change your pad or tampon multiple times a day, depending on the heaviness of your flow. Periods often last for about five days, but they can be longer or shorter. While every girl is different, most girls get their period once a month, but it can sometimes be a little longer or shorter than that. Within the first two to three years after getting your first period, you may be a little bit irregular, meaning your period won’t come at the exact time every month. This is totally okay as it will get more regular over time.
What do I do if my first period happens outside of my house?
While it would be great if your first period happened at home, the truth is, your first period can happen anywhere - in class, at your friend’s house, at the mall, at a sleepaway camp, etc. Sometimes this happens. Don’t panic - it can be both exciting and overwhelming to get your first period. For help, you can seek out a woman (i.e. camp counsellor, school nurse, teacher, friend’s mom, etc.) and see if they have a pad or tampon you can borrow. If that makes you feel too uncomfortable though, you can get a wad of toilet paper and line your underwear which will temporarily help until you find some supplies or go home. After having your first period, it’s a good idea to plan ahead and pack some tampons or pads in your backpack, purse, and/or locker so you’re ready for future periods.
Got more questions?
Even though puberty can be exciting at times, it can also be awkward and embarrassing too. But we’re here for you in all the awkwardness. So if you have more awkward questions but you don’t know who to ask, we’re here to help! Fill out our contact form or DM us on IG and we’ll give you our honest older sister advice on how to handle it.
About the Author
Meet Anika, our content creator and copywriter! In her final year at Western, she’s studying media and creative writing. Even though it’s been a while since she had to deal with the awkwardness of buying her first bra, she is excited to join the Apricotton team and make bra shopping a little bit easier for tween and teen girls. You can connect with her here.