Problems tackled: 43,481

DocSpot: Puberty in females

Dear Dr Margaret
I am 12 and my breasts are not growing. Do I still have time for them to grow?

Yes, you do have plenty of time for your breasts to grow. Breasts start to grow some time between the age of 8 ½ and 13 ½, so it is quite normal for nothing to have happened by age 12. The average time is about age 10 ½. The first sign is the whole breast area becoming slightly pointy in shape; doctors call this ‘budding’. At the same time, the pink area around the nipple (the ‘areola’ ) starts to enlarge but remains fairly flat.
After the ‘budding’ stage, your breasts will gradually enlarge. After about 2 ½ more years, the areola and nipple form a small mound, which projects above the surface of the breast. This happens at some time between age 11 and 15 (average age 13).
Over the next year or two the breast enlarges more, but the areola flattens so that only the nipple is projecting. This is the shape of the adult female breast.
Pubic hair starts to develop about a year after the breasts start budding. At first, the pubic hair is straight and fair, and there is not much of it. Later it becomes darker, coarser and more curly.
Many people think that periods (menstruation) are the first sign of puberty, but this is not true. They are almost the last thing that happens. You can expect your periods to start within 2 years of the first budding of your breasts. It is perfectly normal for periods to start at any time between the ages of 9 ½ and 14 ½. The average time is about age 12 ½.
Here is a very important piece of information for you - of your entire growth, about a quarter occurs between the time when your breasts start to grow and the time when your periods start. By the time your periods start, most of your growth has already occurred. So from the time your breasts start to ‘bud’, you must take care to eat plenty of really good food, especially protein (meat, fish, eggs, cheese, beans), so that your body shapes up well. Drink plenty of milk to make your bones strong. Try to cut down on junk food and especially cola drinks, because there is some evidence that they weaken bones (maybe because acid in the cola drink dissolves bone).

Last updated; Sunday, August 30th 2020

Tell us your thoughts

Did you find what you were looking for?

Add a comment

Please note we cannot answer your questions directly. If you are concerned, please talk to your doctor.

Share your stories, tips and solutions here to help others tackle it, move on. As all comments are moderated, there will be a delay before your comment appears.

Discussion content reflects the view of individual participants only. Health Press Limited bear no responsibility for accuracy of participant comments and will bear no legal liability for discussion results. Comments will be moderated before posting and Health Press Limited reserves the right to delete any material. See About our site for our moderation policy


View what people have said about DocSpot: Puberty in females

Latest updates

Dr Phil's latest video
20th September

Anal itching (itchy bottom);
1st August

Nail biting;
23rd April

Nail problems;
23rd April

Varicose veins;
19th April

29th January

embarrassing problems