Puberty

Puberty is a natural process that marks the transition from childhood to adulthood. This process includes the development of secondary sexual characteristics. For example, girls might experience breast development, while boys may notice a deepening of the voice.

During puberty, some changes are unique to either boys or girls, while other changes happen to both. For example:

  • Growing taller at a higher rate
  • The development of body odour
  • Growth of pubic hair and underarm hair
  • Development of acne for many
  • Emotional changes

While the timing and progression of these changes can vary, they are a normal and important part of the development process.

Adolescence is the period following the start of puberty when a child develops into an adult.

Boys

For boys, puberty typically begins around the age of 12 and lasts for several years, triggered by an increase in testosterone production.

During this time, boys experience a range of physical changes, including:

  • Voice deepening
  • Widening of the shoulders
  • Development of the penis and testes
  • Testes start producing sperm
  • Growth of facial and chest hair

These changes are triggered by an increase in testosterone production. While the timing and progression of these changes can vary, they are a normal and important part of the development process.

Girls

For girls, puberty typically begins around the age of 11 and lasts for several years, triggered by an increase in estrogen production.

During this time, girls experience a range of physical changes, including:

  • Widening of the hips
  • Development of breasts
  • Menstruation starts
  • The ovaries start to release eggs (menstrual cycle)

These changes are triggered by an increase in estrogen production.

Hormones

Hormones play a key role in the changes that occur during puberty.

During puberty, there are many physical and hormonal changes in the body. These changes are triggered by the production of sex hormones, which are chemicals produced by the body’s endocrine system.

  • In males, the primary sex hormone is testosterone, which is produced in the testes
  • In females, the primary sex hormone is estrogen, which is produced in the ovaries

You’ve used 0 of your 10 free revision notes for the month

Sign up to get unlimited access to revision notes, quizzes, audio lessons and more

Sign up