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Worried About Being A Late Bloomer

Published: September 25, 2002
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I've recently become worried about being a "late bloomer". I'm a 16-year-old male. According to a puberty survey listed on a popular masturbation website, most males begin to have pubic hair between the ages of 12 and 13. For me, this happened between 15 and 16. Also, according to the survey, 98.2% of males had under arm hair by age 16. I don't have underarm hair yet. Is this something I should be worried about? Should I be making an appointment for a doctor for growth hormone injections or something? An adult relative was just concerned if my "balls had dropped", which I am 100% sure they have. I'm 5'9" tall. Is my growing over or do I still have a while to grow (since I seem to lag a whopping 3 years behind my peers in development). My foot size (10 1/2) has stopped increasing so I'm wary my growth has stopped. Thank you. I can't even begin to tell you how glad I am about a site like TeenHealthFX. Atlantic Health's hospitals should be very proud of this site!
Signed: Worried About Being A Late Bloomer

Dear Worried About Being A Late Bloomer,

 

Thank you for writing. TeenHealthFX is always pleased to hear positive feedback, as it is our goal is to educate teens and to try and answer all of those questions that go along with growing up in order to create knowledgeable young adults.

 

Back to your concerns - in general, puberty begins in males anytime between the ages of 11 and 16, but usually between 9.5 - 13.5 YO. Puberty in males begins with testicular enlargement, followed in about a year by penile enlargement. Pubic hair usually precedes the growth of the penis. Facial hair will also appear, as well as the hair under the arms. However, some men do not grow much facial hair and they may not grow a lot of hair under their arms. This depends on the individual.

The growth spurt in males occurs usually between ages 10 1/2 and 16 and ends between 13 1/2 and 17 1/2 years of age. Growth does continue at a much slower pace for several years after the spurt but usually stops between 18 and 20 years of age.

So, the males who start puberty earlier will finish earlier and those who start later will continue to grow until a later age. Neither early nor late puberty has any influence on what your eventual growth will be. This has been predetermined by your genetic make-up. Ultimately, height, weight and body build are influenced by diet, exercise and hereditary factors.

Something to keep in mind when you are reading surveys - the intent of any survey is to take a small percentage of a population (like males going through puberty) and represent the population as a whole. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the survey, that may or may not be true. Since TeenHealthFX is not familiar with the specifics surrounding that particular survey, we cannot verify its validity. So TeenHealthFX recommends that you do not base your own rate of growth as being abnormal based on the results of that one survey.

You can always check with your doctor if you continue to have concerns. He/she will examine you and be able to answer any specific questions you may have and help calm your fears.

If you would like to meet with a doctor at the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health in Morristown, New Jersey, you can call 973.971.6475 for an appointment.

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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