If you are an adult, you probably remember the tumultuous time that was puberty. Changing hormones and changing bodies can seem scary when you don't know what's going on, but you can help your teenager through this process by tackling the fear of the unknown, that asks "What are the five stages of puberty?" Professor James M. Tanner was the first to identify them, which is why they are known as the Tanner Stages.
Tanner Stage 1: The Earliest Signs
The first stage of puberty occurs before any physical signs are noticeable! The brain is preparing for the upcoming changes releasing GnRH. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone works with the pituitary gland and other hormones. This typically occurs around the age of 8 in girls. One question you may hear is "Can you get your period before puberty?" Well, the answer is yes and no. Technically, if you have your period, you're in puberty. However, because puberty is thought of as a pre-teen and teenage issue, girls who are 8 or 9 years old when they begin menstruating may be told they got their period "before puberty."
Tanner Stage 2: The Start of Physical Development
Stage 2 is where the first noticeable steps of puberty begin to occur. Yay! In girls, this means developing "buds," which is the first sign of breasts and may feel tender or itchy. They may grow at different rates or appear to be different sizes, but this is totally normal. During stage 2, the uterus also begins to grow, and pubic hair will begin to develop. Around this time, you'll want to consider researching and purchasing organic pads for their first and future periods.
Tanner Stage 3: Obvious Physical Changes
During stage 3, physical changes become more obvious. For most girls, this stage begins around age 12. Changes may include the expansion of the breast buds, thicker pubic hair, the development of armpit hair, acne, larger hips, and growth spurts of about 3 inches per year.
Tanner Stage 4: Full Swing
By stage 4, puberty is in full swing! Girls may begin to see puberty discharge as their body prepares for their first period. Breasts become fuller, and pubic hair becomes thicker. Girls continue to grow taller at this stage, but typically only 2-3 more inches.
Tanner Stage 5: The Final Phase
The final stage of puberty, which is the end of maturation, usually occurs at about age 15 in girls. By this time, they usually have adult-sized breasts (although they can change through age 18), regular periods, and adult-sized reproductive organs and genitals. Pubic hair and underarm hair have grown in fully, and the hips, buttocks, and thighs have taken on their adult shape. By now, girls should have a full supply of all natural tampons or pads on hand to stay prepared. They may also consider seeing a gynecologist for the first time.
We hope this guide to puberty will make it easier to talk to your child about their bodies and their periods. When doing so, be sure to explain to them that organic menstruation products are not only healthier for their bodies but also for the environment! The lack of intrusive and harmful chemical ensure they are practicing the best care for their bodies as they navigate this new (and super exciting) stage in life!
*girl is not intended to exclusively refer to a specific gender but to people who get periods