Puberty is a complex developmental process culminating in sexual maturity. This transitional period begins in late childhood and is characterized by maturation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, the appearance of secondary sexual characteristics, acceleration of growth, and, ultimately, the capacity for fertility. Significant endocrinologic changes accompany these developmental events. Disorders of pubertal development may occur at any of the steps of the maturational process leading to either precocious or delayed puberty. A thorough understanding of the normal pubertal process is important to the accurate diagnosis and treatment of pubertal disorders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Reproductive Medicine
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Physiology (medical)