Puberty and adolescence are two terms interlinked to each other representing certain changes and period of such changes. Puberty refers to the physical changes leading to sexual maturity in a boy or a girl. Adolescence refers to the transition period when psychological and social changes take place in a boy or girl. Puberty is the reason for the adolescence and this period may vary from one person to another.
As a part of growth and maturity, the body undergoes many changes both in men and women. Especially during adolescence, development is at a faster rate. For the purpose of reproduction, there are some different characteristics which can be observed in boys and girls. Primary sexual characteristics are those characteristics which are inborn while secondary sexual characteristics are those which emerge at puberty. Penis in men and vagina in women are primary characteristics in human. Hair growth in the pubic region and height change are examples of secondary sexual characteristics.
Secondary sexual characteristics
Secondary characteristics are the result of hormonal changes in the body during puberty. These changes are faster in girls than in boys. Some changes are common in both boys and girls while others are specific to each gender. This is due to the different hormones released by them. Growth of pubic hair, facial hair and under the armpit, increase in height, sweating, etc. are some of the secondary sexual characteristics.
- Change in height: Most prominent change that occurs in adolescents is the change in their heights. Growth hormone secretion and bone growth are much higher during this time.
- Sweat and Sebaceous glands: The pimples and acne in adolescents are mostly due to the increased activities of sweat and sebaceous glands
- Hair growth: Another observable change is rapid hair growth under the armpit and pubic area.
Changes developed in Boys
- Boys develop the heavier muscular body, wide shoulders, and narrow hips.
- Enlargement of the voice box leads to a much deeper voice.
- Maturation of testis and starts to produce sperms.
- The growth of hairs on the chest.
- Enlargement of Adam’s apple.
Changes developed in girls
- Rounded hips and breast development.
- Matured ovaries start to release a mature ovum.
- Ovulation and menstruation initiate.
- Mammary gland enlargement.
Testosterone hormones produced in the testis of males and estrogens released in ovaries of females are responsible for these changes in the males and females respectively.