Hormonal Changes During Adolescence

Learn about how hormonal changes influence one of the most unstable stages in human development. The transition from childhood to adulthood transforms nearly every aspect of a person's life, which is why teeneagers experience so many ups and downs.
Hormonal Changes During Adolescence

Last update: 18 October, 2019

Hormonal changes during adolescence alter the path to maturity. During adolescence, teenagers are developing and defining themselves as people.

The transition from childhood to adult life is a time of constant personal and emotional development.

The World Health Organization defines adolescence as the stage from 10 to 19 years old. It has two phases: early adolescence (10-14 or 15) and late adolescence (15-19).

During this growth phase, teenagers experience the infamous hormonal changes, mood swings, etc. These changes manifest themselves in a physical and psychological transformation that is very evident.

Types of hormonal changes during adolescence

Physiological changes

Most of the physical changes that teenagers experience are the result of changes in hormone levels. Changes for both sexes include:

  • Growth spurts.
  • Increased sweating.
  • Acne.
  • Growth of pubic and armpit hair.

Emotional changes

Adolescence is a stage marked by emotional transformation. Teenagers question their identity and feel the need to assert their independence.

During this stage of development, friendships become much more important and peer pressure increases markedly.

Be prepared: the constant changes in your teen’s behavior tend to cause a lot of conflict at home.

Hormonal Changes During Adolescence

Sexual development

One of the most obvious and challenging aspects of adolescence is developing sexual maturity. It’s also important to know that people are more aware of their sexuality during adolescence than at any other phase of life.

They’ll also have their first sexual experiences during this period, so it’s vital for parents to talk to their children openly about the subject.

Egocentrism and mood swings

Teens’ hormonal changes make them feel unsettled and tend to magnify the issues they’re going through. As a result, they tend to have a lot of mood swings. During this stage of personal development, their social circle exercises a lot of influence over their behavior and decisions.

Consequently, your teen will no longer be satisfied with your beliefs and worldview and will set out to form her own opinions. She’ll have first-hand experiences that help shape her opinion about different aspects of life.

The differences between guys and girls

Male and female hormonal changes during adolescence are different. For males, hormones cause the following transformations:

  • Broadening of the shoulders and torso.
  • Voice changes.
  • Increased body hair.
  • Genital and sexual development.

Female hormonal changes:

  • Breast development.
  • Menstruation.
  • Broadening of the hips.

“Adolescence is the ideal moment for children to establish their sexual identity and feel good about it.”

Advice for parents

Hormonal changes during adolescence also require major adjustments on the part of the parents. As your teen transforms into an adult, he’ll bristle at any attempt of yours to be overly protective.

Unfortunately, parents are the ones who have to deal the most with difficult behavior during this stage. Arguments will become more frequent, maybe even daily. Trying your best to put yourself in your teen’s shoes and keeping his point of view in mind can help mitigate conflict.

As a mom, being aware, open, and empathetic can go a long way to keeping the peace with your teen.

Hormonal Changes During Adolescence

Trust your teen

Let your teen assert her independence, but don’t take it as a cue to disconnect. Be there for her, be ready to lend a hand. That’ll strengthen trust between you, and also make reconciliation much easier.

Express interest in your teen’s hobbies and friendships. Ask her about her day-to-day life. Knowing these details will help you understand your teen better and make it easier to detect any abnormal behavior that might be cause for concern.

Talking with other parents will also help you get some perspective on the situation. Lastly, remember that your child is going through a complicated stage in life and that her love for you will never change.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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  • Diz, J. I. Desarrollo del adolescente: aspectos físicos, psicológicos y sociales. Pediatr Integral. 2013; 17(2): 88-93.
  • Güemes-Hidalgo M, Ceñal González-Fierro M, Hidalgo Vicario M. Desarrollo durante la adolescencia. Aspectos físicos, psicológicos y sociales. Pediatria Integral. 2017; 21(4): 233-244.
  • Güemes-Hidalgo M, Ceñal González-Fierro M, Hidalgo Vicario M. Pubertad y adolescencia. ADOLESCERE. 2017; 5(1):07-22.
  • Léger, J. Hipófisis. EMC-Pediatría. 2013: 45(3); 1-16.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.