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Puberty is the process when your body physically matures into an adult and being able to sexually reproduce. Learn about the different reproductive systems and pregnancy on the Male Reproductive System, Female Reproductive System, and Pregnancy pages. Below we list down what you may experience when going through puberty.

Everybody is different, and every body is different. It’s completely normal to have different sized breasts than or a voice that’s not as deep as your friends’, for example. Your body is your own.


  • Hair growth in the armpits and around the genitals (pubic hair)
  • Hair growth on the arms and legs
  • Growth spurt
  • Acne on the face and body
  • Increase in sweat and body odor
  • Emotional and hormonal changes, mood swings


Males usually begin puberty between 12-16 years old.

  • Hair growth around the face and chest regions
  • Broader chest and shoulders
  • Deepened voice
  • Growing of the testicles and penis


Females usually begin puberty between 10-14 years old.

  • Breast growth
  • Widening of the hips
  • Start of menstruation (period)
  • Labia may grow and change color


If you’re born with body parts that don’t fit the typical definitions of male or female categories, you are described as being intersex. You may experience puberty differently. For example, you may start puberty later than usual or not know that you’re intersex until puberty, and that is completely okay. Check out this page from InterACT for intersex resources and support.

Content reviewed by Shandhini Raidoo, MD, MPH, FACOG

Last Updated: September 25, 2020 by Phyllis Raquinio


  • Male Stages of Puberty Photo: Poncelet, B. (2020, May 23). The 5 Stages of Puberty in Boys. Retrieved July 30, 2020, from
  • Female Stages of Puberty Photo: Stages of Puberty in Girls. (2019, April 5). Retrieved July 30, 2020, from
  • Intersex Flag Photo: Symbols. (2019, April 29). Retrieved July 30, 2020, from