Puberty is a time period of physical change that leads to your sexual maturity. When it starts, ends and how long it takes varies.
In general, puberty takes place between the ages of 10 to 14 for girls and 12 to 16 for boys. However, it’s normal for it to occur a bit earlier or later.
The first sign of boys puberty is testicle size increase. For girls, the initial sign is breast development. Subsequent signs of puberty for both boys and girls, include:
- spurt in height
- weight increase
- underarm & pubic hair growth
And you’ll likely notice a difference in the way you think and feel.
Additional signs of puberty for boys are:
- voice deepens
- penis enlarges
- facial hair growth
- become more muscular
Typically, the final sign of puberty for girls is menstruation.
Precocious puberty means an unusually early development. Early as in commencement before age 8 for girls and 9 for boys.
The signs of precocious puberty for girls and boys are the same as puberty. The difference is they start exceptionally early.
The primary health issue with launching into puberty too soon is that it may cause a growth stoppage ahead of reaching full height potential. Boys and girls reach their adult height after puberty. Thus, an early puberty could mean your growth ends prematurely.
Precocious puberty can be caused by some type of health condition, like:
- brain tumor
- ovarian cyst
- ovarian tumor
- testicular tumor
- adrenal gland tumor
- pituitary gland tumor
- adrenal gland disorder
- brain, spinal cord injury
- hypothalamic hamartoma
- McCune-Albright syndrome
- radiation to brain, spinal cord
- congenital adrenal hyperplasia
- infection ~ encephalitis, meningitis
- ischemia ~ blood flow obstruction to brain
Yet, for the majority of precocious puberty cases there’s no underlying health problem nor identifiable reason. Puberty just happens to starts early.
Precocious puberty can be treated. Treatment stops sexual development until a more appropriate age.
Delayed puberty means passing through the “normal” age range without showing any signs of change. Some health problems can cause puberty to start late, such as:
- cystic fibrosis
- kidney disease
- Turner syndrome
- anorexia nervosa
- diabetes mellitus
- Klinefelter syndrome
- inflammatory bowel disease
- pituitary, thyroid gland issues
- mumps infection affecting testes
- radiation, chemotherapy treatment
- very thin because of excessive exercise, dieting
- tumor that damages pituitary gland, hypothalamus
Puberty can also be late simply because a delayed pattern of growth and development runs in your family. If this is the cause for you being a late bloomer, then signs of puberty will occur. Just later.
Delayed puberty is more prevalent in boys. And girls with a serious delay should be checked for primary amenorrhea.