Physical Development In Adolescence

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During adolescence, young people experiance a period of change called PUBERTY. This starts when the brain releases chemicals called HORMONES.

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Changes to Primary sexual characteristics

PRIMARY SEXUAL CHARACTERISTICS are present at birth. Examples include the overies, vagina, testes and penis. They are necessary for reproduction. During puberty, hormones cause the sexual and reproductive organs to mature.

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Changes to secondary sexual characteristics

SECONDARY SEXUAL CHARACTERISTICS appear during puberty. They are caused by changes to the height and shape of the body and distinguish the two sexes. Examples are the females breasts and facial hair for males. Secondary sexual characteristics are not necessary for reproduction.

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Primary and Secondary sexual characteristics

Male and Female Sexual Characteristics: Primary:

  • Penis enlargens
  • Prostate gland produces secretations
  • Testes enlarge and produce sperm 
  • Uterus and Vagina grow
  • Ovulation and menstrual periods begin

Male and Female Sexual Characteristics: Secondary:

  • Growth of facial, armpit and pubic hair
  • Increased muscles and strength
  • Growth spurt
  • Voice box (larynx) grows so the voice deepens (breaks)
  • Enlargemnet of breasts
  • Growth of armpit and pubic hair
  • Increased fat layers under the skin
  • Growth Spurt
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Reaching new heights

During the adolescence life stage, a young persons height can increase rapidly over a short period of time - this is known as a growth spurt.

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The Menopause is experianced by women. It can begin at any time during middle adulthood and may take several years. Physical changes during menopause include the gradual ending of menstruation and shrinkage of they sexual organs. Symptoms include hot flushes and night sweats.

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