Reproductive physiology

Female Puberty: Definition, changes and factors affecting it.

Puberty is a developmental process by which a fully competent adult reproductive capacity is established.

In the US, it usually occurs in girls between 8 and 13 years of age, whereas in Nigeria between 9 and 13 years.

Physical changes in puberty

  • Thelarche
  • Pubic hair growth
  • Axillary hair growth
  • Growth spurt
  • Menarche

Breast budding (thelarche) is the first sign of puberty.

The time period between breast budding and menarche is an average of 2.5 years.

Factors affecting onset of puberty

  • Race: earlier in blacks
  • Bodyweight: earlier in obese
  • Exercise: delays puberty
  • Stress: delays puberty
  • Altitude: earlier in those who live at low altitudes
  • Environment: earlier in urban dwellers
  • Blindness: puberty occurs earlier in blind girls