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Health Information For Teens
Puberty is the time when your body grows from a child’s to an adult’s. You’ll know that you are going through puberty by the way that your body changes.
Usually, these changes begin between the ages of 8 and 14 for girls, and between 9 and 15 for guys. This wide range in age is normal, and it’s why you may develop several years earlier (or later) than most of your friends.
Sometimes, though, people pass this normal age range for puberty without showing any signs of body changes. This is called delayed puberty.
Doctors usually can help teens with delayed puberty develop so they can catch up with their peers.
If you’re a girl, you’ll notice that:
If you’re a guy, you’ll notice that:
These changes are caused by the sex hormones —
in guys and
in girls — that your body is making in much larger amounts than before.
Signs of delayed puberty in guys include:
In girls, signs include:
Puberty can be delayed for several reasons.
Most often, it’s simply a pattern of growth and development in a family. A guy or girl may find that his or her parent, uncle, aunt, brothers, sisters, or cousins developed later than usual, too. This is called constitutional delay (or being a late bloomer), and it usually doesn’t need treatment. These teens in time will develop normally, just later than most of their peers.
Medical problems also can cause delays in puberty.
Some people who don’t go through puberty at the normal time have problems with their chromosomes, which are made up of DNA that contain our body’s construction plans. Problems with the chromosomes can affect normal growth processes. For example:
The good news is that if there is a problem, doctors usually can help teens with delayed puberty to develop more normally. If you’re worried that you’re not developing as you should, ask your parents to make an appointment with your doctor.
The doctor will:
The doctor also might:
Often, doctors find no underlying physical problem. Most teens with delayed puberty are just developing a bit later than average and will catch up.
If doctors do find a problem, they might send a teen to see a pediatric endocrinologist, a doctor who specializes in treating kids and teens who have growth problems, or to another specialist for further tests or treatment.
Some late bloomers struggle with waiting for the changes of puberty to start. So doctors may offer hormone treatment:
After treatment ends, a teen’s own hormones usually take over to complete the process of puberty. If they don’t, the doctor will discuss long-term sex hormone replacement.
It can be tough to watch your friends grow and develop when the same thing’s not happening to you. You may feel like you’re never going to catch up. Even when the doctor or your parents reassure you that things will be OK, it’s hard to wait for something that can affect how you feel about yourself.
If you’re feeling depressed or having school or other problems, talk to your mom or dad, your doctor, or another trusted adult about finding a counselor or therapist you can talk to. They can help you sort out your feelings and suggest ways to cope with them.
Delayed puberty can be difficult for anyone to accept and deal with. But it’s a problem that usually gets solved. Ask for help if you have any concerns about your development.
Voice cracking? Clothes don’t fit? Puberty can be a confusing time, but learning about it doesn’t have to be. Read all about it.
Your body’s changing – and if you’ve ever felt out of step with it, you’re not alone. Find out how to deal with body changes and feelings in this article.
When your body changes, so can your image of yourself. Find out how your body image affects your self-esteem and what you can do.
In most cases, teens who are small are just physically maturing a bit more slowly than their friends. Occasionally, though, there’s a medical reason why some kids and teens stop growing. Find out about growth problems and how doctors can help.
Lots of girls and guys worry about when their bodies will develop. The fact is that physical development starts at different times and moves along at different rates in normal kids.
Just about every guy wonders about the size of his penis at one time or another.
Find out what the experts have to say.
Periods can be confusing. Get the facts in this article for teens.
Eating disorders are so common in America that 1 or 2 out of every 100 students will struggle with one. Find out more.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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