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Ask the Pro: Let's Talk About Puberty


Dr Quan Fang, Chief Surgeon at Shanghai East International Medical Center (SEIMC), sheds light on changes during adolescence.

When do children usually experience puberty?

Girls usually get a head start on puberty. Most girls start their sexual development between the age of eight and 13, and the average age is 12. Most boys start to develop sexually between the ages of 10 and 13, and continue to grow to 16 years of age.

What happens during puberty?

Changes in girls include: 

  • breasts begin to develop

  • hips become rounded

  • increase in height

  • appearance of pubic hair

  • the uterus and vagina increase in size.

Menstruation usually happens last. Most girls have their first menstrual period between ages 12 and 13, but it can start earlier or later. The first sign of puberty in boys is an increase in the size of the genitals. Other features include: appearance of pubic hair, deepening voice and bigger larynx cartilage, also called “The Adam’s apple."

What kind of doctor is the most appropriate for teens to visit?

If a teenager grows fast and is ready to move on, a good fit for health care is an Adolescent Medical Practitioner. However, depending on where you live, it may be difficult to find one in your area. Teens keep seeing their Paediatricians as long as they are comfortable talking to them about important physical and mental health issues, with or without parental attendance.

For the full Q&A, click Read More below.