Puberty is a process that occurs between childhood and adulthood through a complex series of neuroendocrine changes, resulting in extensive internal and external physical changes and eventual reproductive competence. Puberty consists of two associated yet independent processes. Adrenarche, maturation of the adrenal gland and subsequent production of adrenal androgens (starting around ages 6–8 years in girls and 1 year later in boys), is primarily responsible for axillary and pubic hair during adolescence. Gonadarche begins a few years later with the secretion of estradiol and testosterone. In gonadarche, the primary sex organs develop (ovaries and testes) and the external signs of puberty begin, culminating in reproductive capability. Puberty also coincides with [Page 1330]other, related biological processes, such as brain development and physical growth, which together have ...
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