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Puberty in Boys

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Every stage of growth and development has challenges and rewards. Puberty is one stage of development that’s often more maligned than celebrated. Puberty in boys is often given much less attention than puberty in girls.

Puberty is the transition from being a child to a teenager and then to an adult. It may take several years to complete and involves a number of physical and emotional changes. The Canadian Pediatric Society (www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/information_for_boys_about_puberty) offers the following talking points to share with your son about what to expect during puberty:

• Your body shape may start to change as more muscle tissue forms.

• You will become taller, develop more muscles and your shoulders will get broader. Boys can grow any where from two to eight inches (five to 20 centimetres) in one year. Boys often have their growth spurt later than girls.

• Hair begins to grow around your genitals and your scrotum (the soft pouch underneath your penis that holds your testicles). It will also grow on your chest, arms, legs, armpits and face.

• Your testicles will start to make tiny cells called sperm. The sperm is the male reproductive cell. If a sperm joins an egg from the female after sexual intercourse, a pregnancy can happen.

• Semen is a mix of sperm and other fluids that leave your penis when you ejaculate. Likely, the first time you ejaculate you will be sleeping. When you are dreaming you will have an erection (your penis becomes hard) and you will ejaculate. This is called a “wet dream.”

• In the last phase of puberty, your growth spurt will slow down. You will reach your adult height, your genitals will reach their adult size and you may develop more body hair.

• More sweat. Since sweat can cause body odour, it helps to take a bath or shower every day. • Some boys develop acne (pimples). Washing your face in the morning and at night with regular fragrance-free soap and water is important. If you do get pimples, acne lotions,
creams and special soaps may help. If they don’t work, talk to your doctor about other treatments.

• Your voice will change. Sometimes it cracks as it gets lower. This is because your larynx (voice box) is growing.

• Attractions. Many people start to be attracted to and think romantically about others during this time.

These changes can be confusing. Open communication can make a difference to making the transition a smooth one.

Dr. Bhooma Bhayana is a family physician in London and the mother of two young men and grandmother of one lovely princess! She continues to find wonder and enjoyment in family practice despite more than 30 years on the job!


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