If you’re desperately wondering “when does puberty end?!” you’ve totally come to the right place.
When we’re about talking puberty, what do we mean exactly? Puberty is the transition from childhood to the final stage of maturation that allows reproduction. All sorts of things happen to your mood and your body when you go through it. You’ll begin to develop breasts — thelarche. You’ll get your period — menarche. You’ll grow hair in new places — pubarche. You’ll have pimples. Puberty even changes how you smell! But don’t worry, it’s a part of life.
All of these changes are thanks to new hormones that your body releases from your pituitary gland; a tiny pea-shaped gland under your brain. Everyone has a pituitary gland, producing the same puberty hormones. But depending on your biological sex, the hormones will travel to different areas in the body; either the testicles or the ovaries to cause different changes.
Puberty for most females can start anytime between the ages of 8 and 14, and last for several years after. Your body changes in phases, so don’t worry about going to bed one night with a flat chest and then waking up with big boobs the next day. Here are some of those stages.
1. Developing breasts
One of the first signs of female puberty is developing breasts. A small bump will grow under your nipple around the age of 10, which will gradually enlarge in all directions over a few years. Your breasts may itch or ache as they get bigger. This is to be expected and, if you want, wearing a bra might make you feel more comfortable.
2. Growing hair in new places
A common part of developing is growing coarse hair where it hasn't been, including your underarms and your pubic area. This will most likely start happening around the age of 11. The hair on your legs might also become darker and thicker.
3. Changing body shape
In addition to things growing ON you, you yourself will grow, too. Over the next few years, you will probably get taller. You might go through a fast growth spurt, and then gradually keep growing for the next 5–7 years. You may thicken around your hips, thighs, and bottom. Fatty tissue encircles this area of your body in preparation for reproduction. Look at it as being on your way to a healthier, more mature version of yourself.
4. Getting your period
A couple of years after the onset of puberty, you’ll begin menstruating. Average age to begin menstruating is 12 years. Your period might be irregular the first couple of years, but generally, you’ll get it once a month for 3–7 days. Your body is shedding the bloody lining of your uterus, so you’ll learn to wear pads on your underwear, or use tampons to help with internal absorption. Menstrual cups are also a great option in order to collect the blood and fluids. As your cycle regulates, you’ll also learn how to navigate these methods and cramping.
5. Feeling emotional
Puberty is an emotional roller coaster. You might feel frustrated by your changing body, self-conscious around your peers, or annoyed by your parents. If you feel up to it, talk to your loved ones about how you’re feeling. You may also develop acne. Your body odor from sweat might change. You may feel sexual attraction towards some of your peers and be curious about losing your virginity. The way you are feeling at any given moment is valid and everyone goes through puberty, so don’t forget to ask for help if you need it!
Okay, now you know what you’re dealing with when it comes to puberty. So, at what age does puberty end!?
So, when does puberty end for girls? Well, the exact timing is different for every individual because so many factors can affect how long puberty lasts. On average, it ends by age 16, but you shouldn’t worry if you’re still in the middle of it by then.
Factors that could affect the duration of puberty include:
- Your genetics and family history
- Your overall health and lifestyle (including stress, diet, and exercise)
- Your hormones
- Your environment
Remember, puberty lasts several years, so don’t feel like you need to get through it any quicker than that! Keep your body healthy by staying active, eating nutritious fresh foods, taking care of your mental health, and giving your body all the time it needs to develop.
Even though puberty usually ends by age 18, you might be wondering: “when does puberty end for late bloomers?” If you started a little later than your peers, then you may be a little older when than them when it ends. Everyone is wonderfully unique. You will get through it.
And at what age does puberty end for females, compared to males? They typically start developing later, between the ages 11–15, so you might finish before they do. But it isn’t a race!
Puberty is a part of being human. It’s natural for you to feel some discomfort or slight pain as your body changes. In addition to your regular check-ups, you should see a doctor if you:
- Have extreme physical pain or discomfort during your period (migraines or vomiting)
- Feel depressed, overly anxious, or like you want to hurt yourself or other people
- Haven’t gotten your period after age 16
- Have severe acne
As a teenager, you may have the option to see your doctor privately, in case you’re not comfortable discussing your symptoms with your parents or guardians.
Remember, everyone matures at different rates and ages. All of this is a completely natural process in your growth and development into adulthood. Feeling a little lost is totally fine. Be patient with yourself and trust that the end of puberty is in sight! It might not be your favorite few years, but everything happening to you is normal. And wonderful. We are so proud of you. You are doing great!
More questions about your changing body? Check out Flo for more articles on life as a teen.