What Is Delayed Puberty in Girls?

Delayed puberty is when your daughter does not show the first signs of gonadal puberty by the time she is 13 years old.

What Is Normal Puberty in Girls?

Normal puberty is when children’s bodies start to grow and develop into young adult bodies. Girls usually start to go through puberty between the ages of 8-13 years. When your daughter starts to go through puberty, her gonads (ovaries) and adrenal glands(glands that sit on top of the kidneys) release hormones. These hormones cause the first signs of puberty, which are breast development, body odor, underarm hair, pubic hair and acne (pimples). Over time, girls will develop later signs of puberty, such as a growth spurt followed by starting their menstrual periods.

There are 2 types of puberty that make up the entire pubertal process. These are:

  • Adrenal puberty
    This is when the adrenal glands make hormones that cause the signs of puberty including body odor, pubic hair, underarm hair and acne.
  • Gonadal puberty
    This is when the pituitary gland (a small gland in the brain that controls other glands in the body) makes the hormones FSH and LH, which tell the gonads (ovaries) to make the hormones estrogen and progesterone. These hormones are responsible for breast and uterine development, starting a monthly period, and growing taller.

What Causes Delayed Puberty?

There are 2 types of delayed puberty, which are:

  • Primary hypogonadism
    This is when the ovaries do not respond to the hormones FSH and LH made by the pituitary gland.
  • Secondary hypogonadism
    This is when the pituitary gland does not make the hormones FSH and LH. This type of delayed puberty may happen very late, but is otherwise normal. It also tends to run in families.