n. the time at which the onset of sexual maturity occurs and the reproductive organs become functional (see gonadarche). This is manifested in both sexes by the appearance of secondary sexual characteristics (e.g. deepening of the voice in boys; growth of breasts in girls) and in girls by the start of menstruation. These changes are brought about by an increase in sex hormone activity due to stimulation of the ovaries and testes by pituitary hormones. See also adrenarche, androgen, oestrogen, precocious puberty. —pubertaladj.
Subjects: Medicine and Health.