Puberty is the transition from child to adult, when the body gets ready to be able to have children. Boys and girls reach puberty at slightly different ages, and the start and length of puberty varies from boy to boy and girl to girl. During puberty big changes take place both physically and psychologically. The body grows a lot and changes from being a child’s body to an adult’s body over a few years. Teenagers’ emotions also change a lot and a lot of people experience that their mood can swing more than before.
Girls often start puberty when they are between ten and twelve years old, and puberty has usually finished by the time they are between fifteen and seventeen. The womb, Fallopian tubes and ovaries all mature at this time. Ovulation starts and girls have their period about once a month. Their breasts develop and grow, and they get hair around their genitals and under their arms. They grow taller and the pelvis gets broader. Girls also acquire more fat, particularly around the hips and breasts.
Boys often start puberty between eleven and thirteen, and are finished when they are sixteen to seventeen. Boys get bigger muscles and heavier bones, and they grow taller. The voice box (larynx) grows and their voices break, resulting in a deeper voice. At this stage boys get facial hair, and hair in their armpits, on their chest and around the genitals. The penis, scrotum and prostate gland grow. The testicles start to produce the hormone testosterone and sperm cells. The skin also changes, becoming thicker and more fatty.