Puberty is a series of biological and physical transformations that normally occur between the ages of 10-14 for females and 12-16 for males. The important thing to remember is a child will go through puberty when their body is ready, you cannot compare a child of the same age to another. There are some things that will affect the timing of puberty which include obesity, poor diet, amount of exercise and genetics. Kids that tend to be heavier go through puberty earlier than skinny kids. This happens because the hormone Leptin is released from adipose tissues. Leptin influences the brain by working on the hypothalamus which will then release the gonadotropin releasing hormone, this affects the pituitary gland causing the release of the luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone. These two hormones will then either work on the ovaries or the testes to produce estrogen, progesterone or testosterone.
The physical changes for females that take place during puberty include; breast development, pubic and armpit hair growth, followed by menstruation. As soon as a young girl starts developing breasts, this is the time to get her bralette (the new term for training bras). The bralette is not for support or shape, but is instead just to protect the developing breasts. Menstruation usually will start 2.5 years after the onset of puberty.
For men the physical changes that occur during puberty are enlargement of the testes, enlargement of the penis, pubic and armpit hair growth followed by the deepening of the voice and concludes with facial hair. Masturbation is common for both males and females during puberty; the important thing is making sure they are masturbating in appropriate locations (not at school, out in public, etc).
Growth spurts usually take place during puberty with 17-18% of adult height being attained. Weight changes are another common change, with girls putting on more fat than males. Puberty is a time when the cardiovascular system and the lung also mature. Puberty can be a scary time for both kids and parents, but it does not have to be. It can be a time of great knowledge and understanding of how the body works. If you or your child have any questions about puberty please feel free to give me a call (415) 912.9934.