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The Facts about Puberty (for Guys)

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"I'm getting hair in places I've never had hair before ... My voice is changing ... I think I've grown another inch overnight." This happens to every guy (and girl - but differently). It's the time when you physically stop being a boy and begin to transform into a man. It's when hormones in your body take over and cause things to change, grow, and develop. It's called puberty. Technically speaking, puberty is your body's way of transforming you into an adult, all for the sake of reproduction.

Starting at around age 13 or 14, you undergo a number of changes. Your ears, hands, and feet grow larger. You get taller and bulkier. Your shoulders broaden and your muscles get stronger. Your penis and testicles (balls) increase in size, as do your breasts (just temporarily, so chill!). Also, during this time, the testes will begin to produce a hormone called testosterone as well as produce sperm.

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Your voice will begin to deepen, and you will begin to grow hair on your face and under your arms, as well as pubic hair.

Of course, no one can predict just when this will happen. It happens gradually over a period of time. Sometimes the transformation from a boy to man can take up to four years. Some males continue growing as late as age 21!

Here are some questions and answers about male puberty:

Q. I woke up and I can't talk in my normal voice. I try to sing, and I croak. When I talk, I sound like a rooster! I'm so embarrassed.

A. You can thank the androgens in your body for that. Androgens are hormones that control your male characteristics. They increase the size of your larynx (or voice box). Your larynx and the folds around it will thicken, and increase the lower tones or frequencies of your voice. While this is happening, you may experience periods of voice "cracking." The good news is that it's just a matter of time before you finally adjust to your lower voice -- although you may have a challenge singing for a while.

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