backup og meta
Health Screening
Ask Doctor

Puberty: What You Need to Know

Medically reviewed by Jezreel Esguerra, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Fred Layno · Updated Mar 31, 2023

Puberty: What You Need to Know

Puberty is the special time in the life of a boy or girl when their bodies undergo changes in preparation of becoming an adult. This process usually begins at ages 12 and 16 for boys and between ages 10 and 14 for girls. The changes that occur in boys and girls differ from each other.

What Are The Changes That Occur During Puberty?


Three important changes for girls are thelarche, pubarche, and menarche/ 

The very first sign of change during puberty among girls is the development of their breasts (Thelarche). They may feel an occasional soreness under the nipples as the breasts continue to grow. Do not worry, as this is normal. The girls’ bodies also become curvier and they gain weight on their hips.

One of the biggest changes an adolescent girl experience is having her first period, which is referred to as Menarche.

And finally, puberty also leads to the growth of pubic hair called Pubarche.


When boys reach puberty, their testicles and penis usually get bigger. There is also scrotal thinning and darkening, and of course, the appearance of pubic hair. 

Their muscles grow, their shoulders become broad, and their voice deepens. They also grow facial hair. 

Adolescent boys and girls may also start to get acne due to hormonal imbalances.. They may also experience a rapid increase in height for the next 2 or 3 years or until they reach adulthood. 

Growing hair is also a common sign of puberty among both boys and girls. They will usually see small patches of hair growing under their arms and on and around their genitals. The hair starts out looking thin and scattered. As they go through puberty, it becomes longer and thicker.  

What Happens Inside the Body During Puberty?

When a young person reaches a certain age, their brain releases a special hormone called the gonadotropin-releasing hormone or the GnRH. This hormone is responsible for releasing two more puberty hormones into the bloodstream. The first is the luteinizing hormone, which triggers ovulation in girls and stimulates testosterone production in boys. The second is the follicle-stimulating hormone, which helps regulate the growth and development of the reproductive processes of the adolescent body. Both guys and girls have these hormones. 

For guys, these hormones are responsible for the production of testosterone and sperm in the testes. Testosterone is responsible for most of the changes in a male’s body during puberty, including appearance and growth. 

In girls, the hormones target the ovaries and they help produce another hormone called estrogen. Estrogen is responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle and keeps cholesterol levels in control.

Mood Changes in Puberty

Puberty is a difficult time for adolescents. A lot of changes occur in the body. They now have to deal with acne and body odor, thus they feel self-conscious. Children now encounter new situations and feelings which can affect their psychological and emotional wellbeing. 

Adolescents may also find puberty to be a very confusing time. They’re coping with changes in their body. That is why it is very likely for children to experience a rollercoaster of emotions during puberty. They may exhibit sudden mood swings or aggression. They may also develop low self-esteem or body image issues. In some cases, they develop depression. During these times, guidance and support from parents is important. 

Sexual Drive

As hormones are racing, your teen may become more sexually aware and explore their bodies and their feelings towards others. Be open to your child about how puberty affects their bodies so they know what to expect and do not fear or feel confused by any of the emotions and physical changes they’re undergoing.

At this time, it may also be a good idea to give them the talk about sex. Remember, sharing good, accurate information is better than spreading fear and misunderstanding, as these will greatly affect how they see themselves, understand sex and relationships, consent, and the like.

Key Takeaways

If you are a parent of a child going through puberty, you may face some challenges along with your child. That is why it is important to keep open communication. It is also important to communicate rules clearly and with expectations. Also, remember that it is important to the child during this time to have some independence but you also need to clearly set and communicate limits. 

Learn more about Adolescents here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Jezreel Esguerra, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Fred Layno · Updated Mar 31, 2023

ad iconadvertisement

Was this article helpful?

ad iconadvertisement
ad iconadvertisement