Body changes in the tween and teen years
Puberty is the time in life when your body changes from child to adult. When puberty hits, wild and wacky things happen both physically and emotionally, and it’s important for you and your son to understand that these changes are completely normal.
Changes will likely include:
- Body odor. Whew! One of the very first things tweens and teens notice is that their body starts to smell – a lot. And that’s normal. Encourage your teen to be proud of his musk, but to shower and use lots of deodorant so everyone around him breathes easier.
- Sweat. Teen guys sweat – a lot. And that’s normal. Chemical changes in your son’s teenage body turn on sweat glands. New emotions, physical activity, rapid growth and stress can cause him to sweat. Antiperspirant deodorants can help, and if sweating is really intense, come see us at Eugene Pediatric Associates for prescription-strength antiperspirant.
- Body hair. Like it or not, guys get hairy as they get older. Hair growth usually begins around 10 to 15 years of age. Hair grows around the armpits, genitals, face, and often on their chests and backs. No worries, it’s normal.
- Growth. Most young men shoot up in height, about 4 inches in a single year, once they hit their teen growth spurt, usually between the ages of 11 and 16. Head, hands and feet grow first, followed by arms and legs, and finally torso.
- Voice. Between the ages 11 and 15, boys experience a deepening of their voice. This occurs when the larynx (voice box) grows larger and thicker, and the vocal cords grow longer and thicker. Cavities in their sinuses and throat grow larger, too, adding further resonance to their voice. And his “Adams’ apple” will become more prominent at the front of his neck. As his body adjusts to this changing equipment, his voice may “crack” frequently. Reassure him that this unpredictable break in his voice will only last a few months.
- Genital. Early in puberty, around the same time as pubic hair starts to grow, boys may notice their scrotum enlarging, changing texture and turning slightly red. The penis increases in size, too, and about a year later, most boys will have their first ejaculation. The full size of a boy’s penis is not achieved until his pubic hair is fully grown (often not until late teens). There is no healthy or natural way to increase penis size, and boys should be reassured that they are normal and healthy.
- Breast growth. Some boys experience enlargement of one or both breasts, and should be reassured that this is normally temporary. Call Eugene Pediatric Associates if your son is worried about his breast growth.
- Behavioral changes. Testosterone flowing in your son’s body may lead to normal behavior changes: masturbating, thinking a lot about sex, wet dreams, moodiness, aggression and clumsiness.