Puberty and Sexual Development Disorders

Puberty is the stage in a child’s life that marks sexual maturity. Boys and girls undergo many physical changes at puberty, and achieve fertility due to the influence of reproductive hormones.

The onset of puberty is determined by a number of factors including nutrition, genes, and body weight. It can start between the ages of 10 and 14 in girls, and 12 and 16 in boys. At the time of puberty, endocrine glands release hormones that lead to the development of secondary sexual characteristics, such as pubic hair, breast development in girls, and voice changes in boys. The major hormones that bring about these changes are oestrogen, secreted by the ovaries in girls; and testosterone, released by the testicles in boys.