Breasts come in different shapes and sizes and sometimes one breast is bigger than the other. In the middle of the breast is the nipple, which can stick out all the time, stick out if the girl is cold or aroused, or turn inward all the time. If the nipple sticks out it can be short or long. The areola surrounds the nipple and might be big or small, light or dark. It can also be bumpy and have hairs around it.
Breasts develop at different ages for different girls, so don’t worry if your breasts develop before or after someone else’s.
As breasts develop they can be tender and the nipples can be sensitive. Breasts can also become tender when a girl has her period, or a few days before her period is due.
Bras and crop tops
Some girls are comfortable without a bra or crop top, but some girls choose to wear a bra or a crop top to support their breasts. Bras and crop tops come in many different sizes, shapes, and styles, so it’s a good idea to try a few on to find one that fits well.
Arousal is the tingly feeling that happens when something is sexy. Lots of body parts are involved, but can you guess the main one? The brain! If a girl thinks something is sexy, the brain sends signals making the heart beat faster, the clitoris swell up, and the skin all over the body become sensitive. This might start to happen during puberty.
Sometimes if someone is aroused they might choose to masturbate. This means massaging their genitals because it feels good. It’s OK to masturbate as long as it’s done in a private place. It’s also OK if a person doesn’t want to masturbate.
Find more information about masturbation here.
The menstrual cycle
The menstrual cycle is how a girl’s body prepares for a possible pregnancy. A full menstrual cycle usually lasts about a month, but this can vary. If no pregnancy occurs she will have a menstrual period.
During the menstrual cycle:
- hormones cause an egg to develop in the ovary and the lining of the uterus to thicken
- the egg is released from the ovary and travels down the fallopian tube toward the uterus
- if sperm are not present for fertilisation, the egg and the lining of the uterus break down
- blood from the uterus then flows out through the vagina as a menstrual period – this is also called menstruation
- a menstrual period, or menstruation, lasts between three and seven days – this is different for everyone
- the whole cycle then starts again
Girls can do anything they would normally do when they have their period.
Pads & tampons
To soak up period blood girls can use pads or tampons. These are bought at the supermarket and come with instructions for use.
Be prepared by keeping some pads and tampons with you. You can put them in a pencil case or bag to keep them private!
Just before or during a period, some girls might have cramps, bloating, tiredness, or a headache. Sometimes girls won’t have any pains.
Things that might help:
- Mild exercise
- Heat packs
- Painkillers or anti-cramping medication
- Talking to a doctor
Find more information about menstruation and how to manage periods here.