puberty (pyu´ber-te)

Sequence of events by which a child becomes a young adult, characterized by the beginning of gametogenesis, secretion of gonadal hormones, development of secondary sexual characters and reproductive functions; sexual dimorphism is accentuated. In girls, the first signs of p. may be evident at age 8 with the process largely completed by age 16; in boys, p. commonly begins at ages 10 to 12 and is largely completed by age 18. Ethnic and geographical factors may influence the time at which various events typical of p. occur. In law, the ages of presumptive puberty are 12 years in girls and 14 years in boys. [L. pubertas, fr. puber, grown up]
precocious p. condition in which pubertal changes begin at an unexpectedly early age; often the result of a pathological process involving a gland capable of secreting estrogens or androgens, e.g., the ovary or the adrenal cortex.pubertas praecox;


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