delayed puberty

Last reviewed 08/2021

Delayed puberty is a term that is used to define no pubertal changes in a girl aged 13 years or a boy aged 14 years or the failure of developmental progression over a 2 year period

An absence of any sign of puberty by the age of 13 years in girls and 14 years in boys warrants investigation (1).

Pubertal age corresponds better with skeletal maturity (assessed by bone age) than with chronological age.

A delay in sexual maturation may be temporary or more permanent as a result of an underlying organic cause (see linked aetiology term).

The majority of patients who complain about a delay in sexual maturation are males.

Delayed puberty occurs in about 2% of the adolescent population.


  1. Prescriber (2004); 15(9): 56-64.