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Physical Changes at Puberty

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  • Last Updated : 29 Jun, 2022
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As we all know to ensure the continuity of life on earth it is necessary to have reproduction in every species. In every species, there is a stage of growth prior to which they cannot reproduce. The period of growth to attend the reproductive age is called puberty. Growing up an individual is a natural process and at a certain age, it starts occurring at a noticeable rate means during this time the body undergoes some changes which lead to maturity in an individual and this whole process is called adolescence.

So, now we will study these changes in detail-

Changes at Puberty

Prior to the discussion of changes at puberty we should know about adolescence and puberty in brief. Adolescence is the period between puberty and adulthood. Adolescence is defined as the period of life when the body undergoes changes leading to reproductive maturity. The onset of Adolescence usually begins at the age of 11 and lasts up to 18 to 19 years of age. The people who belong to this age group are called adolescents or teenagers. Puberty is that phase of life when a boy or a girl becomes sexually mature. The human body undergoes several changes during adolescence due to the effect of changes in hormones. These noticeable changes are the beginning of puberty. When an adolescent reached maturity, puberty ends.

1. Increase in Height

The most remarkable change during puberty is a sudden increase in height. At this time the whole body grows at a faster rate as a result of the growth in bones. Usually, puberty starts 1 or 2 years earlier in girls than in boys. By the time boys and girls reach about 18 years, they reach their maximum height. Some may even grow after that age, but compatibility with the growth in puberty is very less. It is very necessary to have a healthy and right kind of food during this age to ensure proper growth. The height of an individual is similar to that of his other family members because the gene which is responsible for the growth of height is also inherited from parents commonly known as heredity.

2. Change in Body Shape

As a result of puberty, the body shape also get changes. The changes in adolescence in boys and girls are different. In boys, the shoulders and the chest becomes wider making them muscularly stronger. The physique of boys gets stronger during puberty. In girls, the region below their waist becomes wider. Generally, in boys, the growth of body muscles is more prominent than in girls.

3. Voice Change

At puberty another noticeable change is voice. The voice box or the larynx grows during puberty. Boys usually developed a large voice box than girls and it can be noticed by hearing the cracks in their voice. Due to the large size of the voice box in boys, it is visible in the throat area. The protruding part of the voice box that can be seen from outside the throat is called Adam’s Apple. The voice box is also known as the larynx. Since the size of the larynx is smaller in girls it is hardly visible on the throat. Due to the smaller size of the larynx girls develop a high-pitched voice. Sometimes during adolescence, the muscle of the growing larynx of a boy goes out of control resulting harsh voice which however becomes normal after a few weeks.

4. Increased Activity of Sweat and Oil Glands

As we know at puberty the growth occurs at a phenomenal rate that’s why the rate of metabolic activities get also increased. Due to an increase in metabolic activity, the waste which is excreted in the form of sweat, oil, and sebaceous gland also increases. That’s why, increased secretion of sweat, oil, and sebaceous glands is a noticeable change occurring during puberty. Most teenagers get acne and pimples on the face during this phase because oil excessive oil secretion.

5. Development of Sex Organs

During puberty, male sex organs like the testes and penis developed completely. They also begin to produce sperms. Puberty itself makes the young individual ready for reproduction. The sex organs in both males and females also developed completely. In males, the testes and penis develop completely and the testes start production of sperms. In female, the size of the ovaries enlarges and the maturation of eggs begin. The eggs which are matured are released by the ovaries every month.

6. Reaching Mental, Intellectual, and Emotional Maturity

Adolescence does not mean only the changes in physical appearance but also changes in a person’s way of thinking. Adolescents are more independent than before and are more self-conscious. As intellectual development happens they tend to spend more time thinking. Sometimes adolescents may feel insecure while trying to adapt to the new changes occurring in the body and mind. These changes are a natural part of growing up.

Secondary sexual characters

The distinguishing features between boys and girls which develop during the adolescent period are called secondary sexual characteristics.

Secondary Sexual Characters in Males

  • The distinguishing characteristics developed in the male body are secondary sexual characters in males. Boys begin to grow facial hair, which means mustaches and beards. Hair starts growing on the chest part. In the groin region also, means in the region above the inner thigh or pubic region hair starts growing. Hair also starts going under armpits.

Secondary Sexual Characters in Females

  • The distinguishing characters developed in the female body are called secondary sexual characters in females. In girls, breasts start developing. Hair starts growing under armpits. In the groin region, which means the region above the inner thigh or pubic region, hair starts growing.

Hormones

Hormones are chemical substances that are secreted from endocrine glands or the endocrine system. Endocrine hormones are released directly into the bloodstream which will reach the target body organ called the target site. The endocrine gland releases many hormones. The pituitary gland is also one of them. One of the hormones released from the endocrine gland is responsible for the secretion of pituitary glands. Hormones play a very important role in the age of puberty. These hormones are responsible for the control of undergoing body changes in both boys and girls. Testosterone is the male hormone. This is responsible for the exhibition of secondary sexual characteristics like the growth of facial hair in boys. In girls, once puberty is reached the female hormone starts releasing eggs. The female hormone responsible for secondary sexual characters in girls is estrogen. Secretion of this hormone causes the development of breasts in females. The milk-secreting glands or mammary glands start developing inside the breasts. The hormones released from the pituitary gland stimulate testes and ovaries which are responsible for the release of male and female hormones respectively. These hormones stimulate changes occurring during adolescence at the onset of puberty.

Conceptual Questions

Question 1: What is adolescence? Explain briefly.

Answer:

Adolescence is the time phase between puberty and adulthood. Adolescence is defined as the period of life when the body undergoes changes leading to  maturity. The onset of Adolescence usually begins at the age of 11 and lasts up to 18 to 19 years of age.

Question 2: List out the changes happening during adolescence.

Answer:

The changes happening during adolescence:

  • Increase in height
  • Change in body shape
  • Voice change
  • Increased activity of sweat and oil glands
  • Development of sex organs
  • Reaching mental, intellectual, and emotional maturity

Question 3: What are the body changes happening in boys and girls during puberty?

Answer:

In boys, the shoulders become wider and the chest becomes wider making them muscularly stronger. The physique of boys gets stronger during puberty. In girls, the region below their waist becomes wider. Generally, in boys, the growth of body muscles is more prominent than in girls.

Question 4: What is the reason for excessive sweating during adolescence?

Answer:

At puberty, the growth occurs at a phenomenal rate which is why the metabolic activities are also happening at an increased rate. Due to an increase in metabolic activity, the waste which is excreted in the form of sweat, oil, and sebaceous gland increases.

Question 5: Why does the voice of teenage boys cracks during adolescence.

Answer:

Boys usually developed a large voice box and it can be noticed by the cracks in their wise. Due to the large size of the voice box in boys, it is visible in the throat area. The protruding part of the voice box that is seen outside the throat is called Adam’s Apple.

Question 6: Define puberty?

Answer:

Puberty is the period of life one a boy or a girl becomes sexually mature. The human body undergoes several changes during adolescence due to the effect of changes in hormones. These noticeable changes are the beginning of puberty. When an adolescent reaches reproductive maturity, puberty ends.

Question 7: What are the secondary sexual characteristics in males?

Answer:

The distinguishing characters developed in the male body are secondary sexual characters in males. Boys begin to grow facial hair, meaning mustaches and beards. Hair starts growing on the chest part. In the groin region, meaning in the region above the thigh or pubic region hair starts growing. Hair also starts going under armpits.

Question 8: Explain the role of hormones at puberty.

Answer:

Hormones play a very important role in the age of puberty. These hormones are responsible for the control of undergoing body changes in both boys and girls. Testosterone is the male hormone. This is responsible for the exhibition of secondary sexual characteristics like the growth of facial hair in boys. In girls, once puberty is rich the female hormone starts releasing. The female hormone responsible for secondary sexual characters in girls is estrogen. Secretion of this hormone causes the development of breasts in females. The milk-secreting glands or mammary glands starts developing inside the breasts. The hormones released from the pituitary gland stimulate testes and ovaries which are responsible for the release of male and female hormones respectively. These hormones stimulate changes occurring during adolescence at the onset of puberty.


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