The time when boys and girls begin the process of sexual maturation is called puberty. During this time, both sexes undergo a series of biological changes that include a rapid increase in height, bone growth, weight increase, the growth of pubic hair, breast development and the onset of menstruation in girls, and testicle, penis, and muscle enlargement in boys. Read more: Puberty Article
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Related Disease Conditions
Anemia: Symptoms, Treatment and Causes
Anemia is the condition of having less than the normal number of red blood cells or less than the normal quantity of hemoglobin in the blood. The oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood is, therefore, decreased. There are several types of anemia such as iron deficiency anemia (the most common type), sickle cell anemia, vitamin B12 anemia, pernicious anemia, and aplastic anemia. Symptoms of anemia may include fatigue, malaise, hair loss, palpitations, menstruation, and medications. Treatment for anemia includes treating the underlying cause for the condition. Iron supplements, vitamin B12 injections, and certain medications may also be necessary.
Acne is a localized skin inflammation as a result of overactivity of oil glands at the base of hair follicles. This inflammation, depending on its location, can take the form of a superficial pustule (contains pus), a pimple, a deeper cyst, congested pores, whiteheads, or blackheads. Treatments vary depending on the severity of the acne.
STDs in Men
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections transmitted during sexual contact. They may be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites. STDs in men cause no symptoms or symptoms like genital burning, itching, sores, rashes, or discharge. Common infections that are sexually transmitted in men include gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, hepatitis C and B, genital warts, human papillomavirus (HPV), and genital herpes. Some STDs in men are treatable while others are not. STDs are diagnosed with tests that identify proteins or genetic material of the organisms causing the infection. The prognosis of an STD depends on whether the infection is treatable or not. Use of latex condoms can help reduce the risk of contracting an STD but it does not eliminate the risk entirely.
Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2)
Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. The two types of diabetes are referred to as type 1 (insulin dependent) and type 2 (non-insulin dependent). Symptoms of diabetes include increased urine output, thirst, hunger, and fatigue. Treatment of diabetes depends on the type.
Ingrown hairs may be caused by improper shaving, waxing, or blockage of the hair follicle. Symptoms and signs of ingrown hairs include itching, tenderness, and small red pus bumps. Ingrown hairs usually heal on their own, but topical antibiotics, chemical depilatories, and hair-removal laser may be used in the treatment of ingrown hairs.
Hair Loss (Alopecia)
There are many causes of scalp hair loss. This featured article covers the common ones such as patchy hair loss (alopecia areata, trichotillomania, and tinea capitis), telogen effluvium, and androgenetic alopecia (male-pattern baldness, female-pattern baldness).
Gum Disease (Gingivitis)
Gum disease is caused by plaque and may result in tooth loss without proper treatment. Symptoms and signs of gum disease (gingivitis or periodontal disease) include receding gums, bad breath and pocket formation between the teeth and gums. Treatment depends upon the stage of the gum disease, how you responded to earlier treatments, and your overall health.
What Is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis causes an abnormal curvature of the spine. When the cause of scoliosis is unknown the disorder is described based on the age when the scoliosis develops (infantile, juvenile, or adolescent idiopathic scoliosis). In functional scoliosis, curvature develops due to a problem somewhere else in the body. With neuromuscular scoliosis, there is a problem when the bones of the spine are formed. Treatment typically involves observation, bracing, and surgery and is dependent upon the severity of the curvature.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Women (STDs)
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are among the most common infectious diseases in the United States. STDs can be spread through any type of sexual activity involving the sex organs, the anus or mouth, or through contact with blood during sexual activity. Examples of STDs include, chancroid, chlamydia, gonorrhea, granuloma inguinale, lymphogranuloma venereum, syphilis, genital herpes, genital warts, trichomoniasis, pubic lice (crabs), and scabies. Treatment is generally with antibiotics; however, some STDs that go untreated can lead to death.
Lymphedema is a condition in which one or more extremities become swollen as the result of an impaired flow of the lymphatic system. There are two types of lymphedema: primary and secondary. Filariasis is the most common cause of lymphedema worldwide. In the U.S., breast cancer surgery is the most common cause. Symptoms include swelling of one or more limbs, cracked and thickening skin, and secondary bacterial or fungal infections of the skin. There is no cure for lymphedema.
Pimple vs. Cold Sore
Pimples are areas of skin inflammation with pus in the center. Cold sores are fluid-filled blisters. Pimples are caused by bacterial overgrowth and inflammation. Cold sores are caused by infection with herpes simplex viruses (HSV-1 and HSV-2). Benzoyl peroxide and sometimes antibiotics treat acne. Antiviral medications accelerate the healing process of oral herpes.
Gum problems may be caused by improper brushing and flossing, gum disease, canker sores, treatments and hormonal changes. Symptoms of gum problems include red, swollen, sore and bleeding gums. These symptoms can be prevented by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, eating a well-balanced diet, drinking enough water, not smoking, and relaxing.
Menstruation (Menstrual Cycle)
Menstruation (menstrual cycle) is also referred to as a "period." When a woman menstruates, the lining of the uterus is shed. This shedding of the uterine linking is the menstrual blood flow. The average menstrual cycle is 28 days. There can be problems with a woman's period, including heavy bleeding, pain, or skipped periods. Causes of these problems may be amenorrhea (lack of a period), menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea), or abnormal vaginal or uterine bleeding. There are a variety of situations in which a girl or woman should see a doctor about her menstrual cycle.
A broken bone is a fracture. There are different types of fractures, such as: compressed, open, stress, greenstick, spiral, vertebral compression, compound, and comminuted. Symptoms of a broken bone include pain at the site of injury, swelling, and bruising around the area of injury. Treatment of a fracture depends on the type and location of the injury.
Gynecomastia (Enlarged Male Breasts)
Gynecomastia, an enlargement of the gland tissue in the male breast is caused by an imbalance of hormones. Certain medical conditions may also lead to gynecomastia such as cirrhosis, malnutrition, disorders of the male sex organs, kidney failure, thyroid disorders, and medications. Gynecomastia is generally treated with medication, and if necessary, surgery.
Sprains and Strains
An injury to a ligament is called a sprain, and an injury to muscle or tendon is called a strain. Sprains and strains may be caused by repetitive movements or a single stressful incident. Symptoms and signs include pain and swelling. Though treatment depends upon the extent and location of the injury, rest, ice, compression, and elevation are key elements of treatment.
Thymoma is an uncommon cancer of the thymus gland. Many thymomas are asymptomatic. When symptoms do occur, they include chest pain, shortness of breath, and cough. Treatment of thymomas includes surgery, and sometimes, radiation and chemotherapy. The prognosis for thymoma is excellent when it is found in the early stages.
Myasthenia gravis, a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease. Varying degrees of weakness of the voluntary muscles of the body are the main characteristics. A defect in the transmission of nerve impulses of the muscles is the cause of myasthenia gravis. Myasthenic crisis is when the muscles that control breathing weaken, which requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms include weakness of the eye muscles, facial expression, and difficulty swallowing. Treatment of myasthenia gravis includes medical therapies to control the symptoms of the disease.
Cystic fibrosis is a disease of the mucus and sweat glands. Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease. The outcome of the disease leaves the body malnourished, with bulky and fouls smelling stools, vitamin insufficiency, gas, painful or swollen abdomen, infertility, susceptible to heat emergencies, and respiratory failure. There is no cure for cystic fibrosis, treatment of symptoms is used to manage the disease.
What Causes Low and High Prolactin Levels?
Prolactin plays an important role in the reproductive system of both men and women. Learn what causes an increase or decrease of prolactin levels, the signs to look for, and what to do about low and high prolactin levels.
The breast, or mammary gland is made up of lobules, milk producing glands, and a system of ducts to transport milk. Both males and females have breasts. Abnormal enlargement of breasts in men is referred to as gynecomastia. In women, during pregnancy the breasts grow larger and produce milk. Common medical conditions that affect the breasts include breast cancer, breast lumps, fibrocystic changes and cysts, mastitis, and benign tumors (fibroadenomas).
Anabolic steroids are synthetic substances that are related to testosterone and promote skeletal muscle growth and the development of male sexual characteristics in both men and women. In the 1930s, it was discovered that anabolic steroids could promote skeletal muscle growth in lab animals, which lead to anabolic steroid abuse by bodybuilders and weight lifters.
Hemophilia A and B (Bleeding Disorders)
Hemophilia is defined as one of a group of inherited bleeding disorders. Hemophilia A and hemophilia B are inherited in an X-linked recessive genetic pattern. Symptoms of hemophilia include bleeding into the: joints, muscles, GI or urinary tract, or brain or skull. Hemophilia treatment generally involves the replacement of blood clotting factors.
Iron is a mineral our bodies need. Iron deficiency is a condition resulting from not enough iron in the body. It is the most common nutritional deficiency and the leading cause in the US. Iron deficiency is caused due to increased iron deficiency from diseases, nutritional deficiency, or blood loss and the body's inability to intake or absorb iron. Children, teen girls, pregnant women, and babies are at most risk for developing iron deficiency. Symptoms of iron deficiency include feeling weak and tired, decreased work or school performance, slow social development, difficulty maintaining body temperature, decreased immune function, and an inflamed tongue. Blood tests can confirm an iron deficiency in an individual. Treatment depends on the cause of the deficiency. Proper diet that includes recommended daily allowances of iron may prevent some cases of iron deficiency.
Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis)
Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating of the underarms, palms, or soles of the feet. Treatment may involve over-the-counter antiperspirants, prescription antiperspirants, iontophoresis, medications, surgery, and Botox.
Hidradenitis Suppurativa (Acne Inversa)
Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS or acne inversa) is a chronic skin condition that causes painful red abscesses in the groin and armpits that may drain foul-smelling pus. Treatment options include weight loss, smoking cessation, topical antibiotics, and avoidance of tight-fitting underwear. Finasteride and adalimumab may be helpful for those with resistant cases of HS.
Turner syndrome is an inherited chromosomal condition affecting women. Women with Turner syndrome do not have ovarian function, and features of the syndrome include webbed neck, lymphedema of the hands and feet, heart defects, kidney problems, and skeletal abnormalities. The X chromosome is related to Turner syndrome. Treatment focuses on the symptoms of the syndrome.
What Are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks occur in the dermis, the elastic middle layer of skin that allows it to retain its shape. When the skin is constantly stretched, the dermis can break down, leaving behind stretch marks.
Lipodystrophy (Acquired, Generalized, Inherited)
Lipodystrophy is a syndrome in which fat deposits accumulate all over the body, or sometimes just portions of it, like just the upper or lower body, or places on the skin where you give yourself daily allergy or insulin shots). You can be born with the generalized congenital or inherited type, or you can acquire it from HIV treatment drugs, infections, autoimmune diseases, trauma, or from repeated injections in the same place on the skin. The symptoms, treatment, and management depend upon the patient's type of lipodystrophy.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Children (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in children is a functional gastrointestinal disorder with signs and symptoms of: Abdominal pain Bloating Diarrhea Constipation The cause of IBS is unknown, however, certain foods, stress, anxiety, and depression may contribute to the symptoms of IBS. There is no cure for IBS in children; however, medications, dietary changes, and stress management may relieve symptoms.
When dried sebum and dead skin cells block pores, blackheads (open comedones) result. Blackheads often appear on the face in the crevices of the nose, the chin, and cheeks. Prescription topical retinoids are effective treatments for blackheads. Vacuum extractors and pore strips are other options for blackhead removal.
Just about everybody masturbates. Masturbation itself is the self-stimulation of the male or female genitals to achieve sexual pleasure or arousal to the point of orgasm. Masturbation involves stimulating the penis or clitoris. Masturbation is very common among people who have, or do not have sexual relations with a partner. Masturbation can relieve sexual tension that can build up over a period of time. Masturbation generally is considered normal unless it becomes a problem by inhibiting sexual activity with a partner, done in public, or causes distress to the person masturbating. Some experts suggest that masturbation can improve a person's sexual health and personal relationships.
Disease Prevention for Teens
Teenagers recognize that they are developmentally between child and adult. Teen health prevention includes maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, preventing injuries and screening annually for potential health conditions that could adversely affect teenage health.
Poland syndrome is a congenital malformation that affects one side of the body. Characteristics of Poland syndrome include the absence or underdevelopment of the chest muscles on one side of the body and the webbing of the fingers on that same side of the body. Reconstructive surgery is the main treatment for those with Poland syndrome.
Heart Attack Prevention
Heart disease and heart attacks can be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle with diet, exercise, and stress management. Symptoms of heart attack in men and women include chest discomfort and pain in the shoulder, neck, jaw, stomach, or back.
Gilbert syndrome is a benign genetic condition that causes abnormal breakdown of bilirubin, a compound that is formed when hemoglobin from red blood cells degrades. Elevated bilirubin can cause, jaundice, which is yellowing of the eyes. Gilbert syndrome does not need to be treated and has a good prognosis.
Prader-Willi syndrome is a condition characterized by severe floppiness (hypotonia), poor growth, delayed development, and poor feeding problems in early infancy later followed in infancy by excessive eating that may lead to extreme obesity. The genitals in both females and males are underdeveloped and most are infertile. Prader-Willi syndrome is related to chromosome 15.
Regular physical activity can reduce the risk of disease. Regular exercise can also reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety. There are fitness programs that fit any age or lifestyle.
Myopia, or nearsightedness, makes it difficult to focus on objects that are far away. The condition runs in families and occurs because light focuses in front of the retina, instead of directly on it. Headaches, eye strain, and fatigue are symptoms of myopia. The condition is diagnosed by having an eye exam and can be treated by wearing glasses or contact lenses or by having refractive surgery.
Central Precocious Puberty
Central precocious puberty is characterized by the unusual early onset of puberty -- in girls, prior to 8 years of age, and boys, prior to 9 years of age. The appearance of secondary sex changes -- enlargement of penis and testicles and development of breast tissue and facial, pubic, and axillary hair -- in central precocious puberty precedes that of routine onset of puberty by two and a half years. Treatment of central precocious puberty depends upon the cause.
Fast-food consumption and lack of exercise are just a couple of causes of childhood obesity. Health effects of childhood obesity include type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke, high cholesterol, asthma, sleep apnea, gallstones, fatty liver disease, GERD, depression, and eating disorders.
Does Your Body Shape Change During Puberty?
Puberty is the phase when children become sexually mature. Many changes occur in the shape and appearance of the body during puberty.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Pregnancy (STDs)
When you are pregnant, many sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can be especially harmful to you and your baby. These STDs include herpes, HIV/AIDS, genital warts (HPV), hepatitis B, chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis. Symptoms include bumps, sores, warts, swelling, itching, or redness in the genital region. Treatment of STDs while pregnant depends on how far along you are in the pregnancy and the progression of the infection.
Alpha thalassemia is a disorder in which the alpha globin protein is underproduced. There are two pairs of genes that carry the code for the alpha chains of hemoglobin. When one gene is impaired, that person is in a carrier state and suffers no medical problems. When four genes are impaired, the production of fetal and adult hemoglobin is prevented, resulting in hydrops fetalis and leading to death before birth.
Sexual health information including birth control, impotence, herpes, sexually transmitted diseases, staying healthy, women's sexual health concerns, and men's sexual health concerns. Learn about the most common sexual conditions affecting men and women.
How to talk to your kids about sex: Age to Age Ranges Guide
Local ResourcesFind a local Pediatrician in your town
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Red Streaks on the Skin
- Mood Swings
- Swollen Breast
- Sexual Health for Men
- Teenagers: Your Teenage Son's Health
- Doctor: Checklist to Take To Your Doctor's Appointment
- How to Choose a Doctor
- Doctor: Getting the Most from Your Doctor's Appointment
- Sexuality Education and Pregnancy Prevention
- Sexual Health for Women -- Mary Jane Minkin, MD -- 05/15/03
- Sex : Intimate Questions and Concerns
- Sexuality Education: What To Tell Your Children
- Teens - Ask a Therapist: Talking to your Teen
- Sexuality: Waiting for the Right Time: Teen Abstinence
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
- For Kids Who Hit Puberty Early, Risk of Self-Harm Rises
- Puberty Starts a Year Earlier for Girls Now Than in the 1970s
- Is Suppressing Puberty the Right Course When a Child Questions Their Gender?
- Health Tip: Your Changing Voice
- Health Tip: Positive Parenting in Mid-Childhood
- A Smooth Move Makes for a Happier Child
- Could Soaps, Shampoos Be Pushing Girls Into Early Puberty?
- Parents Teach Firstborns About Sex, But Not Their Later Kids
- Acne Advice for Returning Students
- Health Tip: Things to Remember About Acne
- Naked Mole-Rats May Give Clues to Human Longevity
- Health Tip: Cope With Stretch Marks During Puberty
- Can Mom-to Be's' Weight Affect Daughters' Risk for Early Puberty?
- Early Puberty in Girls May Take Mental Health Toll
- Many Parents Not Happy With Later School Start Times
- Does Early Puberty Affect a Girl's Academic Achievement?
- Concussion Can Spur Short-Term Change in Women's Periods
- Heavy Teens May Be Setting Themselves Up for a Stroke
- Testosterone May Protect Men From Allergic Asthma
- Is Early Puberty in Girls a Risk Factor for Dating Abuse?
- Teen Suicide Thoughts, Self-Harm Cases Double in a Decade
- Depression's Gender Gap Shows Up in Pre-Teen Years
- Puberty's Onset May Depend on DNA
- Sexual Abuse May Cause Early Puberty in Girls: Study
- Trauma as a Teen May Boost Depression Risk Around Menopause
- Teens With Autism More Likely to Land in ER, Study Finds
- Young Cancer Survivors Can Face Higher Risk of Pregnancy Complications
- Too Much Screen Time May Raise Kids' Diabetes Risk
- Lower-Income Girls in U.S. Feel Unprepared for Puberty
- First Birth Using Ovarian Tissue Frozen in Childhood
- Got a Moody Teen? Lack of Sleep May Not Be the Culprit
- Why the Teen Years May Not Be Lean Years
- Are Tea Tree and Lavender Oils Safe for Kids?
- Health Tip: Hormones Can Affect Women's Dental Health
- Looks-Conscious Teens Trying Risky Supplements
- Female Pelvis Widens, Then Shrinks Over a Lifetime, Study Finds
- Cow's Milk Allergy in Childhood May Lead to Weaker Bones: Study
- Have Scientists Found 'Virginity Genes'?
- How to Talk to Your Teen
- Teenage Girls Now Try Alcohol Before Boys Do: Study
- Women Who Survive Childhood Cancer Stand Good Chance of Having Kids: Study
- Excess Weight Has 'Unexpected' Effect on Puberty Onset in Boys
- Breast Concerns May Sideline Many Teen Girls From Sports
- Bodily Changes Don't Always Signal 'Precocious' Puberty in Kids
- Metformin May Not Help Obese Teens With Type 1 Diabetes
- Relax, Parents, Your Teen's Moodiness Should Subside, Study Finds
- Many Obese Teens Don't Think They're Fat, Study Shows
- Short Boys Three Times More Likely to Get Growth Hormone: Study
- Minorities More Likely to Gain Weight in Childhood, Report Shows
- Soda Habit May Prompt Early Puberty in Girls, Study Suggests
- Almost All U.S. Teens Are Sleep Deprived, Study Finds
- Early Puberty Linked to Increased Risk of Depression in Teens
- Weighing Growth Hormones for Short Kids
- Gestational Diabetes May Influence Daughter's Weight Later
- Statins May Help Kids With Genetic Cholesterol Disorder
- Puberty Suppression Benefits Gender-Questioning Teens: Study
- Start School Later for Older Kids, Pediatricians Urge
- Children Face Highest Health Risk From Cell Phones
- Gene Study Gives New Insight Into Puberty in Girls
- Caffeine Affects Teen Boys, Girls Differently, Study Says
- Calling Young Girls 'Fat' May Increase Their Teen-Obesity Risk
- Many ADHD Drugs Linked to Painful Erections: FDA
- Early Puberty in Girls Might Be Linked to Bad Behavior
- Why Many U.S. Preteens Aren't Getting the HPV Shot
- Men's Bigger Builds Need Bigger Noses
- Earlier Onset of Periods May Not Mean Earlier Sex
- Study: Women at Higher Risk for Allergies, Asthma
- Childhood Obesity Again Tied to Earlier Puberty in Girls
- Early Periods May Signal Greater Diabetes Risk, Study Suggests
- Early Puberty Tied to Higher Odds of Substance Use in Teens: Survey
- More Menopausal Women Hospitalized for Asthma, Study Finds
- Talking to Your Daughter About Puberty
- Earlier Acne Outbreaks May Be Caused by Earlier Puberty: Experts
- More Evidence Links BPA to Childhood Obesity
- Scientists ID Gene Behind Early Onset Puberty
- Brain Surgery Eases Compulsive Eating in 10-Year-Old Girl
- Should Short Boys Take Growth Hormone?
- Obese Children Struggle With Joint Pain: Study
- Earlier Puberty: Age 9 or 10 for Average U.S. Boy
- Humira Might Help Kids With Tough-to-Treat Crohn's Disease
- Depression Rates Rise for Girls During Teen Years
- Exercise Controls Weight in White Girls Better Than in Black Girls: Study
- Preteen Food Choices May Help Predict Eating Disorders Later
- Health Tip: Help Your Child Develop a Healthy Approach to Eating
- Study: Constipation May Cause Bed-wetting
- New Genetic Clues to Breast Cancer?
- Health Tip: Risk Factors for Varicose Veins
- Steps Women Can Take to Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer
- Health Tip: Help Your Child Create a Healthy Body Image
- Number of U.S. Kids on ADHD Meds Keeps Rising
- Health Highlights: Sept. 8, 2011
- Do Probiotics Relieve Constipation in Children?
- Obesity, Smoking Linked to Teen Migraines
- Many Girls Now Begin Puberty at Age 7, 8
- In Young Girls, Obesity Linked to Early Puberty, Analysis Reveals
- Survey Links Puberty to Violent Behavior
- Canned Food May Expose People to BPA
- Chemicals in Beauty Products Tied to Early Puberty in Girls
- Later Puberty Seen for Obese Boys