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Puberty is the stage of life when the human body changes from a child into an adult because of chemicals called hormones.

Puberty can change the way you look, the way you feel and the way you behave. These changes may take months or years.

Most people through puberty some time between 8 and 18 years of age. For some people, puberty starts earlier or later than that. It is different for everyone and that’s OK.

Body changes

It is important to remember that everyone goes through puberty sometime. We all experience these changes, just not always at the same time as other people.

Changes that every person will notice are:

  • Growth spurts
  • Muscles
  • Body Hair
  • Acne/pimples
  • Body Odour

For females, or people with a uterus, they might also experience:

  • Body shape changes
  • Breast growth
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Periods/menstruation

Males, or people with testes may notice the following changes:

  • Body shape
  • Erections
  • Wet dreams
  • Voice changes

Changes to feelings and emotions

Adolescence is the word used to talk about changes to feelings that happen to everyone during puberty. Like the changes in our bodies, these are caused by hormones. 

You may notice the following changes:

  • Mood swings
  • A need for independence and privacy
  • Sexual feelings and attraction

All of these changes are a normal part of puberty and adolescence.

Rights and responsibilities

Remember, whether you have been through puberty or not, you always have the right to:

  • feel safe at all times
  • privacy
  • say NO to attention or touching that you don’t like or want
  • talk with a person you trust
  • ask for help and support 
  • keep asking until someone hears and helps you, and
  • make choices about your body.

With rights come responsibilities. You have the responsibility to allow other people to have these rights too.

You can find more information about rights, responsibilities, consent and the law here.

We have an excellent fact sheet at the bottom of this page. It goes into much more detail about puberty and other sexual and reproductive health issues for young people.

Our Advice and Information section of the website also has some helpful posts.

Useful information

Click the link below to download the document:

Youth Health and Relationships Guide

This content is provided for general information and education purposes only and does not take into account individual circumstances. It is not to be relied on in substitution for specific advice from a medical professional and Family Planning Tasmania does not accept responsibility for such use. Family Planning Tasmania has taken every effort to ensure that the information is up to date and accurate, however information and knowledge is subject to change. Family Planning Tasmania advises that you always consult a medical professional for individual advice.

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