Puberty is perhaps one of the most critical stages in a person's life, as it is characterized by innumerable physical and emotional changes. Here, we'll have a discussion on the male puberty stages.
In layman language, puberty is a phase in human life which is marked by biological, psychological, social and cognitive changes; boys start to reach their manhood and girls, their womanhood. 9-14 is usually the male puberty age, while for girls, it begins a little earlier, between 8-14. This is the reason why during puberty, a girl will be taller than a boy of the same age. Although, puberty deals with the development and maturity of sexual characteristics and sexual organs, it is also related to a wide range of emotional changes. These changes are easily managed by some, while they present some sort of challenges to others.
Different Phases of Male Puberty
The stages that define male puberty are also known as Tanner Stages, named after British pediatric endocrinologist, James Mourilyan Tanner. He was the first person to notice all such changes in human beings.
This is generally known as prepubertal stage – it marks the beginning of adolescence.
☞ During this phase, a boy may be 9 – 11 years old.
☞ Here, the size of the testes may remain less than 2.5 cm.
☞ Only villus hair may be present.
☞ Growth may occur at the rate of 5 – 6 cm a year.
Normally, at 11 – 11.9 years of age, this phase begins.
☞ Here, the testicles begin their maturation process with an initial growth spurt.
☞ The skin of the scrotum may change in its texture, may become thinner, and redder.
☞ A boy may continue to grow taller (5 – 6 cm a year), and fine growth of hair may be noticed in the pubic area.
☞ At this stage, there is reduction of total body fat too.
The third stage of puberty in boys, usually begins at the age of 13 – 14. It may also initiate as early as 11 or as late as 16.
☞ There is a growth in the penis lengthwise, and the pubic hair becomes darker and fuller than before.
☞ Usually, the pubic hair starts spreading to the area just above the genitals.
☞ Height keeps increasing gradually (7 – 8 cm a year), and erections occur more frequently, accompanied by the continued growth of the testicles (3.3 cm – 4 cm).
☞ At this stage, it is common for most boys to experience what is known as nocturnal emissions. Also known as wet dream, it refers to involuntary ejaculation of semen during sleep. It may occur with or without an erection.
☞ This stage is also characterized by a voice change from a lighter to a deeper tone. The voice may begin to break or crack. This occurs as a result of the growth of the larynx, and lengthening of the vocal cords.
☞ Also, most boys may experience a slight swelling of their breasts. This is, however, temporary, and completely normal.
☞ Increase in muscle mass is also evident in this stage of puberty.
The 4th stage generally kicks off at 14.
☞ Here, hair starts growing in the armpits and on the face, along with a coarser growth of the pubic hair.
☞ Hair growth might be evident in the anal area, as well.
☞ The testicles will keep on growing, and the penis starts growing in width and continues to lengthen.
☞ The scrotum now will appear darker than before. The penis gradually begins to take a mature look.
☞ Voice will get even and deeper, and change permanently.
☞ This stage is also marked by an overproduction of oil by the sebaceous glands, because of which, acne outbreak may occur frequently.
☞ Faster growth could also be evident in this stage (about 10 cm a year).
Here comes the final stage, wherein, boys ideally achieve most of his height. This however, might not occur for all. Generally, at this stage they are 15.
☞ Shoulders begin to broaden, muscles develop, and arms, legs and chest appear more masculine. This results due to the development of new muscle fibers, which get thicker overtime.
☞ The inner thighs and stomach will be covered by the growing pubic hair, which will be denser than before.
☞ Facial hair will start getting prominent as they grow, and will require shaving.
☞ The sex organs will be fully developed, and bear the appearance of those of an adult male’s.
☞ Size of the testes will generally be greater than 4.5 cm.
☞ Although, most boys achieve their full height, and their body type will be complete like that of an adult, some may continue to grow till their 20s.
All such major changes in growth and development may be a source of worries, anxiety, and overwhelming feeling for some. While for others, they may be taken as a simple process of nature. So, it is always advisable to have a conversation with someone older, about what are you feeling regarding the physical and emotional changes you are going through. This will help you become more familiar with all such changes, and help you cope with the same.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for what a medical expert would advise or suggest..