Puberty in Girls

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An interactive Flash diagram of puberty in girls, a child’s physical transition to sexual maturity. This transition may last for several years, during which the gonads (ovaries) grow, develop, and (along with the pituitary and adrenal glands) release hormones that cause other physical changes—usually starting between ages 8 and 13 in girls. A girl undergoes numerous physical changes during puberty, including growth of the ovaries, breasts, uterus, vagina, and genitals, change of body size and shape, growth of body hair, and the start of her menstrual periods as her ovaries start to release eggs. The Tanner scale is often used to assess a child’s sexual development, having five stages each associated with a cluster of physical characteristics—click through the slides to learn about how the female body develops at each stage.