The issue of puberty is often discussed more frequently and out loud when it concerns girls. Maybe because the actual onset is more visible and abrupt than in boys with the onset of menstrual cycle.
When it comes to the male gender, it is difficult to know exactly when puberty comes. There are changes that occur, but they occur gradually over a period of time rather than as a single event.
Puberty is an event in a person's life when his/her body changes from child to adult under the hormonal influence. This includes both physical and emotional growth. On average, puberty begins in boys between the ages of 9 and 14. With the onset of puberty, the secondary sexual characteristics begin to develop, such as breasts in girls, and a deepening of the voice in boys. During this period of time boys become susceptible to certain diseases, environmental factors and metabolic disturbances.
When a boy hits puberty, he gets a strong influence of testosterone – the main male hormone. He might feel moody or more aggressive, sleeping more and day dreaming at school. I had many cases in my practice when at this specific period of time boys were misdiagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. When physical changes start to appear, boys might feel very uncomfortable talking about them. It is so important to have a warm, trustworthy and supportive family relationship in order to talk about intimate issues that might be scary for teenagers such as wet dreams.
Sometimes, puberty may occur earlier. This is referred to as precocious puberty and is characterized by the early development of sexual characteristics in girls before the age of 8 and in boys before the age of 9.
- Boys who are being teased. Earlier puberty
Boys with precocious puberty presumably are stressed because of physical changes they are too young to understand. They may be teased by their peers or be vulnerable to inappropriate sexual interest because of the physical signs of early maturation. Boys may have an increased libido leading to masturbation at a young age.
Early puberty accelerates growth. This rapid growth “spurt, is often accompanied by “growing” pains in legs. These children initially may be considerably taller than their peers. Because bone maturation also is accelerated, growth may be completed at an unusually early age, resulting in short stature.
Most children with an earlier onset of puberty will grow fast at first, but their growth will come to a halt sooner, resulting in a shorter period of growth and a shorter stature. Left untreated, most youngsters will not grow taller than 5 feet 2 inches.
Up to 70 percent of normal adolescent boys develop breast tissue during puberty. It is called “gynaecomastia”. It is caused by hormonal imbalance with an alternation in the ratio of testosterone to estrogen (one of the main female hormones) in the body. High estrogen stimulates receptors in the breast tissue in boys who are susceptible to it.
Boys are more likely than girls to have problems with oily skin and perspiration, including sweaty palms and feet, and genital odour. Acne can have an affect on the self esteem of the young man and makes this transitional time harder to deal with. The sebaceous glands in the skin secrete excessive amount of oil that block the hair follicles by combining naturally with the dead skin cells. Generally, people who eat a lot of oily food suffer from this problem.
- “It looks like I am growing breasts”
Puberty and acne can be managed if you know what to do. When youngsters start showing signs of acne; greasy foods or foods that contain chocolate should be avoided. Sometimes puberty and stress can combine to make acne even worse. Find the causes of stress and work on reducing or eliminating them. The acne itself can lead to stress and that can result in a vicious cycle. Teenagers during puberty does not need the added stress of acne.
Puberty is a transient stage that may act as an accelerator and increase the risk of diabetes in some children.
Fifty years ago, type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent) was the only type of diabetes considered prevalent among children. Today, endocrinologists have seen a dramatic increase in type 2 diabetes among children and adolescents.
In addition to having diabetes, these children also present with thyroid and adrenal imbalances.
One of the reasons for type 2 diabetes is linked to the large increase in overweight or obese children. The goal of treatment is to get proper weight control with type 2 patients through a combination of balanced diet and exercise.
Numerous studies show a relationship between many different vaccines and the development of insulin diabetes, including the pertussis, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, hemophilus influenza and others. The data indicated that people with vaccine induced diabetes may not develop the disease until 4 or more years after receiving a vaccine.
In children with type 2 diabetes, special cells called - beta cells appear to work harder and harder until they finally "wear out." In contrast, in healthy teens, beta cells might relax somewhat during adolescence so that when insulin sensitivity returns to normal at the end of puberty, the beta cells are vital and can keep working throughout adulthood. Teenagers who do not recover their insulin sensitivity by adulthood, though, may end up with type 2 diabetes.
Normally, after a meal, the body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose in the blood. That signals the pancreas to secrete insulin; which helps the body's cells pick up glucose and convert it to energy. However, when cells become resistant or less sensitive to insulin, (as they do in type 2 diabetes) they cannot absorb glucose efficiently leading to high levels of blood sugar.
In healthy teens, insulin resistance disappears with the end of puberty. Among people with type 2 diabetes, though, cells can ignore insulin more and more until they stop responding to insulin altogether.
The 'junk' diets which are high on processed carbohydrates and sweeteners results in the 'Humpty-Dumpy' Syndrome: fat, out-of-shape and inactive children. This is fertile ground for the rapid and increasing growth of our population of 'Adult Onset' diabetic teenagers and adults.
Unless we make a significant alteration in teenagers lifestyles, they will likely progress to a deteriorating course of insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and diabetes.
In 1996 the Children's Nutrition Research Center in Houston conducted a study and found children are larger proportioned and taller than they were three decades ago, but much of that bulk is fat, not muscles. They center also concluded that North American children of all races are getting fatter, which could be a factor in triggering early puberty. The Houston study found that twenty years ago, one in six girls had more than the thirty two percent body fat - the threshold for obesity in women. One in six boys was considered obese then. Today, one in three American girls and one in four boys has the body fat proportions that designate them as obese.
- How Testosterone effects blood sugar
Diabetes opposes testosterone and testosterone opposes diabetes. The excess insulin smashes testosterone.
Testosterone has a profound effect on stabilizing a boy's teenager diabetic blood sugar. On Numerous studies show that it's possible to take boys off diabetic medications and some even off regular insulin. Most find that their blood sugar lowers and the amount of medication is reduced by 25% to 50%. So, testosterone may be the best treatment for diabetes while assisting in stabilizing the fluctuations of insulin requiring male diabetics!!
What do Barbie dolls, food wrap, and spermicides (chemicals that kill sperm) have in common? And what do they have to do with low sperm counts, precocious puberty, and breast cancer (in men too)?
- Bizarre Changes in Reproductive Systems. Environmental causes
Barbie dolls manufactured in the 1950 and 60's are made of PVC containing a stabilizer that degrades to a sticky, estrogen- mimicking residue and accumulates on the dolls bodies. Young children who play with older Barbie and Ken dolls expose themselves to this estrogenic chemical.
The unborn baby is particularly vulnerable during certain critical periods of intrauterine development, especially at about 20 days and again at about seven weeks after conception. This can occur before most women know for certain they are pregnant. Researches believe the male urinary and genital systems are particularly vulnerable to damage in womb before and after birth. Brief exposure to feminizing chemical hormones during these small windows of time can cause some most surprising and dramatic lifetime changes .Prenatal exposure to pesticides are associated with more feminine activity in males and more masculine activity in females. The fluid in which the unborn baby floats, can contain one to several pesticides; DDT for example, which can interfere with the reproductive system's biochemical pathways.
Typical emotional traumas faced by adolescent boys are caused by everything from acne, to bodies with more fat than muscles, and not least by their opinion of the size of their genitals in comparison with those of their friends. Such problems are potentially devastating and can carry over throughout their adult lives, seriously affecting physical and emotional well being, even their intimate future relationships.
Puberty and adolescence is a complex time. As your son goes through the physical changes of puberty he starts to experience a wide range of feelings. He is trying to figure out his place in the world. He becomes more independent and starts doing things without us, parents.
Sometimes during puberty, teenagers may feel distanced from parents. We as parents, may feel the same way and may be uncomfortable talking with our teenagers about intimate issues too. Try to understand what your teens are going through. Be open when your son is making an effort to talk with you about personal things such as sex, drugs, and friendships. Spend more time together and try to discuss these hardest topics in a warm and loving way. Let your son know that he has the strongest support from you!