For sexual development of non-human organisms, see Sexual maturity. Views of a Foetus in the Womb detail. Puberty is the process of physical changes through which a child’s body matures into an development of the penis in boys body capable of sexual reproduction. Comprehensive sexuality education can contribute to teenager’s better understanding of this process.
Approximate outline of development periods in child and teenager development. Puberty is marked in green at right. Two of the most significant differences between puberty in girls and puberty in boys are the age at which it begins, and the major sex steroids involved, the testosterones and the estrogens. For boys, an androgen called testosterone is the principal sex hormone.
While testosterone is produced, all boys’ changes are characterized as virilization, a substantial product of testosterone metabolism in males is estradiol. The hormone that dominates female development is an estrogen called estradiol. While estradiol promotes growth of the breasts and uterus, it is also the principal hormone driving the pubertal growth spurt and epiphyseal maturation and closure. The hormonal maturation of females is considerably more complicated than in boys. The main steroid hormones, testosterone, estradiol, and progesterone as well as prolactin play important physiological functions in puberty. Gonadal steroidgenesis in girls starts with production of testosterone which is typically quickly converted to estradiol inside the ovaries. Adrenarche is sometimes accompanied by the early appearance of axillary and pubic hair.