Girls usually stop growing by around age 15. They reach their adult height when puberty comes to an end; this process happens earlier in girls (children assigned female at birth) than in boys.
When your child was a baby or toddler, growth spurts were kind of a big deal. Not only they did make your baby unusually grumpy or fussy, they also probably caused them to become hungrier and to sleep poorly.
As they got older, though, growth spurts happened more gradually. You might not have even noticed how much your child was growing. All you knew was that sometimes they needed a new pair of jeans because theirs keep getting too short.
But once your child begins puberty, the rapid changes start all over again. They could easily shoot up four inches in one year. So when does this stage end? The age at which girls stop making the leaps and bounds associated with puberty growth varies, but there are some benchmarks to keep an eye on.
When Do You Stop Growing?
For both girls and boys, growth typically stops when puberty ends. For girls, who begin puberty earlier than boys, that is around age 15 or 16. For boys, growth can continue until around age 18.
When to Expect Growth Spurts
Most girls have a major puberty-related growth spurt around the age of 11, although the exact age can be pretty variable. Hitting puberty before the age of 8 is out of the ordinary, as is not experiencing any puberty changes by age 15 or 16.
The sweet spot is right there in the middle around age 11. Girls typically start puberty a year or two before they get their first period, and the average age for a girl in the U.S. to get her first period is 12.
Here's what typically happens in this first growth spurt:
- Height skyrockets. Girls may grow between two and three inches per year until menstruation occurs, which marks the end of this rapid height growth.
- Breasts start to develop. This can be a slow process, beginning with small breast buds and darkened areolas, and advancing, eventually, to larger breast growth and protruding nipples.
- Pubic and underarm hair begins to grow. This hair may be light, fine, or sparse at first, but will slowly grow in more and darken as your daughter ages.
- Reproductive organs grow. Your daughter’s vulva and labia will increase in size and her internal organs—like the vagina and uterus—will grow, too.
- Acne, sweating, and body odors increase. Changing hormones, like estrogen and progesterone, can cause the skin to become oilier or more easily clogged. This can lead to their first acne breakouts, plus an increased amount of sweating, and body odor.
- Irritability or mood swings show up. Again, changing hormones can make girls prone to intense emotions that change at the drop of a hat. Just like when you’re pregnant or premenstrual, these hormonal shifts are normal—and there’s not much you can do, as a parent, except ride them out. There are also usually social pressures at this age that are stressful, and your daughter may be seeking some real independence from you that can cause emotional friction.
- Foot size changes. This is actually one of the early signs of puberty in girls—two studies, one from 2009 and one from 2011, suggest that feet may be one of the first body parts to experience a puberty-related growth spurt. While your daughter’s shoe size may begin increasing as early as 8 or 9, they may be close to adult size by around 12 years old.
After this initial growth spurt, a second smaller one usually happens after girls start menstruating. They may grow another one to three inches, but that typically signals the end of their physical growth (i.e., they’ve usually reached their adult height by this point).
Breasts can stop growing at this point, too. Or they may continue growing slightly for another few years.
By age 16, the average height of girls in the U.S. is about five and a half feet.
Factors That Can Affect Growth
Hormones aren’t the only factor that affects puberty. Everything from family genetics to diet to illness can expedite or delay puberty.
Nutrition and Weight
What we eat plays a part in how well our bodies grow, so if your child doesn’t get adequate nutrients or is otherwise malnourished, they may not grow along the same curve as peers.
Being overweight or having above-average body fat can cause a girl to go through puberty earlier. On the flip side, being underweight or having too little body fat (a common occurrence for very active children or young athletes) can delay puberty.
Kids inherit some of their height from their parents, so no matter how healthy your child is, they may not be able to outgrow their genes. If you and/or your partner are shorter or taller than average, this can determine the overall curve of your kids' growth, too.
And there are some genetic conditions—such as Down syndrome and Marfan syndrome—which commonly cause a shorter or taller stature.
What Height and Weight Percentiles Mean
Both the thyroid and pituitary glands are responsible for regulating hormones associated with the onset of puberty. If your child's thyroid levels are low or the pituitary gland isn’t functioning correctly, they may not release the hormones needed to start puberty (or may not generate enough of them to cause significant growth spurts).
A few chronic illnesses, like juvenile arthritis, cystic fibrosis, and diabetes, are also known to slow growth in pubescent kids. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can also affect growth for a multitude of reasons.
How to Know When a Child Is Done Growing
There isn’t a magical test you can give your kid to determine whether or not they are done growing, but there are some typical signs.Your child may have reached their adult height if:
- Growth has slowed considerably over the last one to two years.
- They have started menstruating within the last one to two years.
- Their pubic and underarm hair has grown in fully.
- They look more adult-like, as opposed to having a child-like stature;. Breasts and hips are fuller and rounder, genitals are fully developed, and they may have lost some of the more “babyish” features, like a round face.
If Your Child Isn't Growing
All children develop on their own timeline, but if your daughter hasn’t gotten their period or shown any other signs of hormonal development by age 15, make an appointment with a pediatrician or family doctor. The delay could be a sign of a medical condition, hormone imbalance, or malnutrition.
Before age 15, though, try to be patient, as there is a wide range of “normal” when it comes to puberty.
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
Kids Health. Talking to your child about periods.
Cleveland Clinic. Puberty: Is your daughter on track, ahead or behind?.
Ford KR, Khoury JC, Biro FM. Early markers of pubertal onset: height and foot size.J Adolesc Health. 2009;44(5):500-501. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2008.10.004
Busscher I, Kingma I, Wapstra FH, Bulstra SK, Verkeke GJ, Veldhuizen AG. The value of shoe size for prediction of the timing of the pubertal growth spurt.Scoliosis. 2011;6:1. doi:10.1186/1748-7161-6-1
By Sarah Bradley
Sarah Bradley is a freelance health and parenting writer who has been published in Parents, the Washington Post, and more.
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