I have written you four times and with no response. I am a fourteen-year-old female and I am as flat as a board. I would appreciate it if you would tell me the average age for first periods and boob growth rate. Is there anything I can do to help with my small boob size and no period? I could live with that, but I want boobs. I am pretty, but as flat as a board.

Please respond this time. I beg you.


Dear Boobless,

While the movie "Grease" may have you busting a move to increase your cup size (re: "I must, I must, I must increase my bust!"), the fact of the matter is that patience is the only effective method here. Typically, rapid body growth of girls during puberty takes place between ages nine and fifteen years old, and the average age for a girl's first period is 12.8 years old. Your body may simply be taking its sweet time. Unless you reach sixteen or seventeen years of age without any signs of the onset of puberty (such as breast growth and menstruation), there isn't much cause for medical concern.

Have you spoken to any female family members about this "flat as a board" problem? Asking your mom, grandmother, or aunt about her own puberty experience may shed some light on your rate of development. Your health care provider may also be able to provide insight into your health, especially if she or he has your growth chart. In some cases, certain medical conditions can cause a delay in development. Your school nurse could be another helpful resource. It may even be helpful just to talk about your feelings about your body with someone you trust.

Here's some food for thought: for menstruation to begin, body fat needs to be about one-quarter of your total weight. If you are very athletic and muscular, it could take a while for your period to start. Moreover, female athletes may find that their breasts become smaller after intense periods of athletic training. Some even stop having a period until they regain some of the weight lost from such strenuous exercise.

Socially, it may be hard to see your friends' breasts begin to grow, hear them speak about wearing bras, and trade stories of their first periods. It is completely normal to see these changes happening to most of your friends, and subsequently, to wonder about your own body. Unfortunately, future butterfly, there isn't anything you can do to rush your natural growth. But have no fear — your metamorphosis will come!


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