- f13-1956 f13-1956 Nov 21, 2013


A period of rapid physical growth and change that culminates in sexual maturity. Gen Psych, Ch 8, pp. 263


  • What is puberty?
    • Puberty involves a series of physical stages or steps that lead to the achievement of fertility. Physical features associated with adult males and females (such as the growth of pubic hair). While puberty involves a series of biological, or physical, transformations, the process can also have an effect on the psychosocial and emotional development of the adolescent.
  • When does puberty occur?
    • In some African-American girls, puberty begins earlier, at about age 9, meaning that puberty occurs from ages 9 to 14.
    • Adolescent girls reach puberty today at earlier ages than were ever recorded previously. Nutritional and other environmental influences may be responsible for this change. For example, the average age of the onset of menstrual periods in girls was 15 in 1900. By the 1990s, this average had dropped to 12 and a half years of age.
  • Puberty facts

    • Puberty is the time of sexual maturation and achievement of fertility.
    • The time when puberty begins varies greatly among individuals; however, puberty usually occurs in girls between the ages of 10 and 14 and between the ages of 12 and 16 in boys.
    • Body fat may play a role in regulating the onset of puberty.
    • Puberty is associated with development of secondary sex characteristics and rapid growth.
    • Some medical conditions may worsen or first become apparent at puberty.
    • Precocious puberty is puberty that occurs earlier than usual. It is more common in girls than in boys.

external image male-puberty.gifexternal image your%20changing%20body_article.gif


  1. What are the physical changes of puberty in girls and boys?
    • Girls
      1. The beginning of breast development (around 11 years old)
      2. The growth of pubic hair
        • A minority of girls begin to develop pubic hair prior to breast development.
      3. The growth of armpit hair
      4. The onset of menstruation (around 2.5 years after puberty starts
      5. Regular pattern of ovulation develops once menstrual periods start
        • Girls who start menstruation after age 13 tend to have lower rates of regular ovulation in the years following the onset of menstruation.
    • Boys
      1. Increase in testicles size (around age 11.5)
        • Lasts for about 6 months
      2. Increases in penis size
        • Enlargement of the testicles and penis almost always occurs before the development of pubic hair.
      3. The growth of pubic hair & armpit hair.
      4. The voice becomes deeper & increase in muscles size.
      5. The development of facial hair.
        • Fertility is achieved in males near the onset of puberty, when a surge in testosterone triggers the production of sperm.
    • The sequence of changes in puberty has been characterized by physicians and is referred to as sexual maturity rating (SMR) or Tanner stages,which are determined by the development of the secondary sex characteristics and encompass changes in the size and appearance of the external genitalia, the development of pubic hair, and breast development in girls. Tanner stages allow doctors to classify the extent of development of sex characteristics into five distinct steps ranging from stage 1 (prepubertal) to stage 5 (mature adult type). [This is not an analogy...]


  1. What other changes in the body occur during puberty in boys and girls?

    • The "growth spurt"
      • A rapid increase in height that affects both the trunk and the limbs/ Growth in the limbs usually happens first.
      • Occurs earlier in girls than in boys.
      • Girls having the growth spurt approximately 2 years prior to boys. The growth spurt typically precedes the onset of menstruation by about 6 months.
    • Bone growth and Mineralization
      • Puberty is accompanied by growth of bones and increases in bone density in both boys and girls.
      • In girls, bone mineralization peaks around the time of the onset of menstrual periods.
      • Studies have shown that bone width increases first, followed by bone mineral content, and lastly by bone density.
      • Because of the lag between bone growth and achievement of full bone density, adolescents may be at increased risk for fractures during this time.
    • Weight changes
      • Changes in body composition occur in both boys and girls.
      • Adolescent girls develop a greater proportion of body fat than boys. Fat redistributes toward the upper & lower portions of the body, leading to a curvier appearance.
      • While boys also have an increase in the growth of body fat, their muscle growth is faster. By the end of puberty, boys have a muscle mass about 1.5 times greater than that of comparably sized girls.
    • Other changes
      • Maturation of the cardiovascular systems and lungs results in an increased working capacity of these organs.
        • An overall increase in endurance and strength are more pronounced in boys than in girls. [Nor is this a mnemonic...]

In the News:

Young girls now reaching puberty at age seven
Natural News) An increasing number of U.S. girls are now reaching puberty as young as the age of seven, according to a study conducted by researchers from Cinccinnati's Children's Hospital and published in the journal Pediatrics. Researchers examined more than 1,200 girls between the ages of six and eight who were living in Cinccinnati, San Francisco or East Harlem, N.Y. twice between 2004 and 2006. Each examination was conducted by a different female pediatrician, who felt the girls for the development of breast tissue. The researchers found that 10.4 percent of white girls, 15 percent of Hispanic girls and 23.4 percent of black girls had developed breast tissue by the age of seven. In contrast, one study 10 years ago found that only 5 percent of white girls and 15.4 percent of black girls had developed breast tissue by that age. The prior study did not include Hispanic girls.

New Drug Proves Successful in Treating Precocious Puberty
BOSTON — Doctors say a new drug has shown success in treating the effects of precocious puberty--unusually rapid growth followed by stunted growth. The disorder is seen six times more often in girls than boys.Researchers years ago found some children begin to mature sexually long before others. These children grow much faster than normal. Then, suddenly, bone growth slows to almost zero. This deprives them of added inches other children were gaining while waiting for puberty.

Girls are not properly informed on what a menstrual cycle is, which lead to several problems. The girls and women in India would miss school or even avoid going out in public if they were on there period. That wasn't that bad, the worst part was when how a menstrual cycle was treated. Majority of the women used a cloth instead of a sanitary napkin, and they didn't clean it. The girls reuse the same cloth, without washing it with soap or anything. The reusing of the cloth lead to many health problems for the girls as well as pain.

Videos: puberty


Discussion Area:

Start a discussion by clicking
discussion button.jpg
discussion button.jpg
at the top of the page. Click on a subject below to see what people are saying and join a discussion.
This is the area for in-depth discussion of:
  • location of a page elements
  • quality/appropriateness of videos or pictures
  • improving analogies and mnemonics.

Subject Author Replies Views Last Message
Comment added: I don't mean to be rude but...if a pe... SB13-1158 SB13-1158 1 15 Nov 21, 2013 by f13-1956 f13-1956
Improper editing SB13-2265 SB13-2265 1 15 Nov 21, 2013 by f13-1956 f13-1956