Last reviewed 04/2023

Puberty is a series of physiological changes which convert the child into an adult capable of reproduction.

These changes include growth acceleration, alteration of body proportions and the development of secondary sexual characteristics.

Puberty is not an abrupt event but should be viewed as part of the continuum of child development. The early signs of puberty can be seen from mid-childhood onwards. For example, from the age of 6 yrs onwards, nocturnal pulses of LH increase in amplitude and frequency.

The age at which puberty becomes apparent varies between and within the sexes:

  • boys begin at 10-14 and complete at 15-17 yrs
  • girls begin at 9-13 and breast development may continue until age 18 yrs