Questions About Signs of Puberty in Girls

girl trying on jewelry in mirror
Froemel Kapitza/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Puberty is a time of rapid physical development, during which your teen's body becomes able to reproduce. For both boys and girls, there are somewhat predictable patterns of development. But both the timing and the outward appearance of puberty can vary for girls. This means that parents and girls may feel confused about some of these common issues. Here are some of the frequently asked questions about puberty for girls.

Questions About Puberty and Body Hair

My 7-year-old daughter has dark leg hair and underarm hair. Is she hitting puberty early?

Maybe, maybe not. If your teen has dark hair, it might just be that the hair is starting to get even darker. African-American, Hispanic, and Indian girls, as well as girls from certain European ethnic backgrounds, can sometimes have dark underarm or leg hair without going through puberty.

If your child has dark leg and underarm hair and breast development, however, that may be a different story. Any female with pubic hair or breast development before the age of 8 may have precocious puberty or puberty that is happening too early. If you are afraid that your daughter is going through puberty too early, contact your pediatrician or family care provider for an appointment to discuss your concerns.

My teen daughter is getting body hair, even pubic hair, but no breast development yet. Is this normal?

It can be. Fifteen percent of girls develop pubic hair before breast development. This is probably normal and not a cause for concern. If breasts don't start to develop in the next six months to a year, consult your pediatrician.

Questions About Breasts and the Menstrual Cycle

My 8-year-old daughter has what looks like breasts. Isn't that too early?

If your child is overweight, it may look like she is developing breasts. Her breasts may not be made up of real breast tissue yet, but of adipose tissue (fat). Nevertheless, if what looks like breasts begin to develop anytime from birth to the age of 7 or 8, contact your pediatrician. This can sometimes be a benign condition, but early breasts can also indicate a problem. Only a healthcare provider can tell you for sure.

How does a girl's physical development relate to her period?

Once a girl starts to develop breast “buds” (the earliest breast tissue that appears under the nipple), you can start expecting a girl's period to begin. Menstruation usually begins two to two and a half years after the appearance of breasts.

All of my teen's friends have gotten their periods but her. Is there something wrong?

If your teen is 15 or younger and has other signs of puberty (such as breast development and pubic hair), then she just may be a “late bloomer.” If she doesn't have the outward signs of puberty, and she is older than 15, it's important to ask the help of your pediatrician. Your teen will need blood work and other lab tests to make sure that she is developing on schedule.

A Word From Verywell

Puberty is both an exciting and frightening time for teens and parents alike. So many things are changing so quickly and it can be confusing. For the vast majority of teen girls, puberty happens exactly as it is supposed to happen. Ask your family health care provider if anything doesn't seem right.

4 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. KidsHealth. Precocious Puberty.

  2. American Academy of Pediatrics. Physical Development in Girls: What to Expect During Puberty.

  3. Rosenfield RL, Lipton RB, Drum ML. Thelarche, pubarche, and menarche attainment in children with normal and elevated body mass index. Pediatrics. 2009;123(1):84-8. doi:10.1542/peds.2008-0146

  4. KidsHealth. Delayed Puberty.

By Barbara Poncelet
 Barbara Poncelet, CRNP, is a certified pediatric nurse practitioner specializing in teen health.