How does puberty affect the body?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

During puberty, the body undergoes numerous changes as adolescents develop secondary sex characteristics and eventually achieve fertility.

For young girls, menstruation is one of the milestones of puberty, marking the beginning of fertility. Girls often grow taller and slimmer, and develop rounder hips during this period. Their breasts develop, and hair begins to grow in the pubic area, on the legs, and under arms. Puberty begins for girl before boys, often causing them to appear older than their male counterparts during this timeframe.

Young boys experience testicle and penis growth accompanied by nighttime ejaculations called "wet dreams." They too have an increase in hair growth and height. Their voices deepen and, usually at the end stages of puberty, boys begin to develop facial hair.

Both sexes experience increased hormone production that causes sweaty armpits, acne, and body odor.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.