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The time that puberty starts will be different for everyone, but it usually happens between the ages of eight and 14 – the average age is around age 11. Some people may start changing earlier or later than this, and this is normal too.

What is puberty?

It is the time in your life when your body starts to become sexually mature.

Boys and girls go through a lot of physical and emotional changes over several years.

Puberty begins when your body starts to release the sex hormones testosterone and oestrodiol.

Male and female sex hormones

Testosterone is the male sex hormone, and oestrodiol the female sex hormone.

However, men’s bodies contain small amounts of oestrodiol and women have small amounts of testosterone.

The sex hormones cause the changes to your body that occur during puberty.

What should puberty look like?

Because we are all different, there is no ‘right’ or ‘normal’ way to go through puberty, and it can be helpful to know that not everyone develops at the same rate or in exactly the same way.

It is also important to remember that everyone feels worried at some point about how they are changing!

What will it feel like?

As your body matures you may feel more self-conscious, because your appearance will change as different parts of you develop and grow. For example, some people will suddenly grow taller, or some might find their feet get a lot bigger or they develop breasts before everyone else.

Even your skin changes as you go through puberty, which is why lots of people get spots when they are a teenager.

Emotions in puberty

Your mind also matures when you are going through puberty and you will probably find yourself experiencing new feelings and emotions.

This can be confusing, as your feelings may go up and down and be different from one day to the next.

Your relationships with friends, parents and siblings may change.

First love?

Another thing that happens in puberty is that you might find yourself becoming more interested in having a boyfriend or girlfriend, or find that you fancy or have a crush on someone.

This can feel very exciting, but it can also cause worry if you feel no-one wants to go out with you or that everyone else has more experience than you.

It is important to know that it does not matter when you have your first kiss, boyfriend or girlfriend as you have the rest of your life to learn about sex and relationships.

Different for boys and girls

While everyone might get spotty, suddenly taller or embarrassed as they go through puberty, there are some changes that depend on your sex. Read more about:



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The Information Standard: Certified member

This article was last reviewed on 18/12/2015 by Anna Peters

Date due for the next review: 1/12/2018

Content Author: Allison Macbeth

Current Owner: Health Promotion

More information:

Puberty. NHS. 2014

Time to change. KidsHealth. 2012

Puberty - changes in thinking. Child and Youth Health. 2012

Puberty - boy changes, girl changes. Child and Youth Health. 2012

Puberty - symptoms. NHS. 2014

Puberty info for parents. NHS. 2014

Puberty - causes. NHS. 2014

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