What Is Puberty?

Learn what puberty is from Jennifer Wider, M.D. in this Howcast video.

Do you feel weird because your body is going through a lot of changes? No matter whether you’re a boy or a girl, whether you play soccer or cello, no matter where you live or what you do, one thing is for sure. You’re going to go through puberty. One cool thing to note is that your body is growing faster than it ever has before and it ever will again, except of course when you were a baby.

What exactly is going on in puberty? Let’s break it down a little bit. There is a gland that’s shaped like a bean in the base of your brain called your pituitary gland, and when your body is ready it starts to send out a signal that says your body is going to change. That signal, which is a hormone travels through your body through the bloodstream, and if you’re a boy, it tells your testes to start producing testosterone, and if you’re a girl it tells your ovaries to start producing estrogen. These hormones are responsible for all of the different changes that you’re going to experience during puberty. Changes if you’re a boy, like a growth spurt, like your testes growing, like your voice changes, like your hair growth. All of these changes are because of your hormones.

For a girl, you get your period, your breasts start to develop, you have pubic and underarm hair. All of these changes make some people feel a little confused, frustrated or embarrassed, that’s normal, too. If you have these feelings and need to speak to someone, your parents are a great place to start. If you’re not comfortable talking to your parents, you can talk to a guidance counselor, an older sibling, a friend, a coach. Whoever you feel comfortable with. But trust me, everyone’s been there, they’ve all gone through puberty, and you’ll make it, too.