When Should Puberty Start for Boys?

What is the average age of puberty onset in boys?

On average, boys start between 12 and 16, though recent studies have shown boys are starting puberty as early as 9 and 10.

What does the beginning of puberty look like for a boy?

Sparse pubic hair and growth of the testicles are early signs of puberty. This is usually followed by a growth spurt, and you may notice the limbs grow faster than the trunk.

Other fun things to look forward to are acne, body odor and generally acting like little ungrateful a-holes.

When to worry …

Early or precocious puberty occurs when the above signs start before the age of 9 in a boy. In addition to the obvious social and emotional issues this may cause, kids with untreated precocious puberty usually end up being shorter than average. There are medications to slow down the rate of puberty. You should definitely discuss with your doctor if you have any questions.

Delayed puberty. In boys, delayed puberty is defined as no signs of puberty by the age of 14. It is more common in boys. In the majority of cases, it is just a normal variant, and these kids will simply be late bloomers. Sometimes though, there is a medical cause, e.g. an eating disorder, celiac disease, a thyroid disorder. While chances are there is no cause for concern, I recommend speaking to your child’s doctor if you suspect delayed puberty, just to rule out a medical cause.


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Author: Karen Latimer

Karen is a Family Doctor, mom of five and founder of Tips From Town.