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Forum Name: Pediatric Topics

Question: Is there something wrong with my sons puberty?


 markymark - Wed Aug 04, 2010 6:56 pm

My son just turned 16 and his penis has not grown at all yet. He has already had most of the other common changes but this is the one he has not come across. I am worried he might have a problem. Please help.
 Faye Lang, RN, MSW - Fri Aug 06, 2010 4:48 pm

Hello markymark,

Puberty generally occurs between the ages of 13 and 15, although it can occur earlier or have later completion. The initial signs of puberty include increased growth, especially of height; increased shoulder width; growth of penis and testicles; voice changes; pubic, beard and armpit hair growth; and nighttime ejaculations ("wet dreams.")

There are 5 stages of male sexual development:

1. Downy pubic hair that is similar to abdominal hair appears.

2. Enlargement of the scrotum and testes occur. The scrotal enlargement includes reddening and folding of the scrotal skin. Sparse pubic hair becomes apparent.

3. Enlargement of the penis occurs. The majority of this growth is in length, although some changes in the diameter of the penile shaft may occur. Further enlargement of the scrotum and testes occur, and pubic hair thickens, curls and becomes coarse in texture.

4. The changes noted in Stage 3 continue, with enlargement of the penile glans (head), with thickening of hair in the pubic area.

5. Completion of sexual maturation, in which the penis, scrotum and testes are fully matured and adult-sized. The testes constantly manufacture sperm, with limited storage space available in a scrotal structure called the epididymis, so sperm must be released occasionally to make room for the newly manufactured sperm. Nocturnal emissions are the result, and are a normal part of maturation.

Physical growth can continue in males into their 20s, though further growth of the penis and scrotum would be very minimal, if at all. If your son is progressing through the stages according to those described above, he is likely a "late bloomer." However, this should not be assumed, and should be evaluated by your doctor, who can check testosterone and growth hormone levels and provide you with specific medical advice as to whether or not there is a growth problem with your son. Testosterone and/or human growth hormone can be replaced until maturation is achieved. Consultation with an endocrinologist may be recommended.

Good luck to you and your son.

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