Puberty in Boys
Puberty can be defined as the stage in a child’s life in which she/he experiences numerous physical changes which transform their bodies into adult bodies that are capable of reproducing. Puberty in boys is triggered by hormone signals from the brain to the testes. In response to the hormone signals triggered by the brain, the testes in boys produce various hormones that are responsible for stimulating growth of boys.
Timing of Puberty in Boys
In boys, puberty can start between 9 years of age to 13.5 years of age. The duration of pubertal development can last between 2 to 5 years in boys. Each individual grows at a different pace so there is nothing that anyone can do to start or postpone puberty.
Boys observe the following bodily changes during puberty:
- Genitalia and Pubic Hair: The onset of puberty in boys is marked by the enlargement of the scrotum. The scrotal skin begins to redden and the texture of the skin also begins to change. Boys can observe the appearance of pubic hair at the base of the penis. The hair is soft in the beginning but tends to become darker, curlier, and coarser over a period of time. The penis also begins to grow and increases in thickness. Within a year of the growth of the penis, boys have their first ejaculation.
- Spurt in Growth: Puberty in boys is marked by a spurt in growth. An average growth of 4.1 inches a year is observed in boys going though puberty. The head, hands, and feet begin to grow followed by the torso, arms, legs, and the shoulders.
- Voice Change: Boys undergo a voice change during puberty. Their larynx enlarges and their vocal cords grow quickly. This results in cracking of voice as they speak. This phase lasts for a couple of months and results in a deeper voice.
- Body Hair: Boys will observe a growth of hair on their body during puberty. They will experience a growth of hair on their arms, pubic area, and chin and upper lip. The hair tends to be soft and straight at the beginning and then it becomes thicker and curlier. As the hair on their face becomes bristly, they need to start shaving.
- Wet Dreams: As boys reach their puberty, they tend to become sexually excited easily. This results in ejaculations, which can even happen when they are asleep. This is a normal mechanism by which the body gets rids of semen.
- Acne and Pimples: During puberty, the body produces a lot of hormones. The production of hormones affects the sebaceous and sweat glands. This in turn results in the appearance of pimples and acne. Pimples are typically produced due to the over-activity of sebaceous glands.
- Sweat: When boys reach puberty, they start to sweat a lot. It is important to note that sweat that does not have much smell of its own. It is the bacteria that live on the skin which create body odor. Boys in their puberty should start taking a shower every day and use a deodorant or an antiperspirant.
- “Pubertal transitions in health”, by George C Patton, et al. Published in Volume 369, Issue 9567 of the Lancet, accessed on 18 March 2015. Retrieved from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(07)60366-3