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General Physical Changes Adolescents Experience
Although some of the physical changes that happen during adolescence are internal and not visible, others can be seen easily by others. These obvious changes in the body can affect how adults and peers of both sexes view and treat young people.
The changes that occur both inside and outside the body during adolescence happen through a process called “puberty.” This process stems from the release of certain hormones (chemicals) in the brain. These hormones released are the same in all adolescents, but differences in hormone levels lead to different results in males and females. The physical changes in adolescents shift them from their childhood bodies to their adult bodies and give them the ability to get pregnant or cause pregnancy. This ability to get pregnant or cause pregnancy is called “fertility.”
Anyone who looks at an adolescent male and female side by side will see some clear differences. Still, adolescents of both sexes exhibit many changes in common, most notably, growth spurts in height and weight. During these growth spurts, bones and muscles get longer and stronger, which allows adolescents to take on tasks they were likely not able to do as younger children, such as lifting heavy objects and walking, running, or biking long distances. Many young people will reach their full adult height by the end of puberty. Beyond the growth spurts, other physical changes that happen in both males and females include body odor, acne, and more body hair.
As noted above, many of the physical changes in adolescence are related to fertility. Some adolescents may be embarrassed by these changes at first, but they need to know that they happen to everyone. Consider this short list: