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What are the last signs of puberty?

Puberty is the process of physical changes through which a child’s body matures into an adult body capable of sexual reproduction. Puberty is initiated by hormonal signals from the brain to the gonads. The process takes place over several years and involves a number of physical stages. The timing of puberty varies widely, beginning anywhere from age 9 to 14.

When does puberty typically end?

On average, puberty tends to end around ages 15-17 in girls and ages 16-17 in boys. The major markers of the end of puberty include:

  • Completion of growth spurts
  • Cessation of menstrual cycles stabilizing in girls
  • Voice changes settling in boys
  • Development of adult hair distribution patterns

However, puberty does not end at the same time for everyone. The duration and specific timing of the process varies from person to person. Puberty can take up to 4 years from the beginning to the end.

What are the final physical changes in females?

In girls, some of the last signs of puberty hitting full maturity include:

  • Breast development – Breast growth is typically one of the first signs of puberty in girls, but can continue into the late teens. Estrogen stimulates maturity of the breasts and surrounding glands and tissues.
  • Pelvic bone changes – Widening of hips and pelvic bones contribute to an adult, curvier physique.
  • Reaching adult height – Growth spurts even out to minimal gains by the end.
  • Hair growth – Adult hair distribution finalizes, like pubic and underarm hair.
  • Acne improvement – Hormone fluctuations that contribute to acne tend to settle down.

Perhaps the most defining final stage is when menstrual cycles regulate. The onset of menstruation, or menarche, signals that a girl has reached reproductive maturity. Irregular cycles eventually stabilize, lasting about 3-7 days and occurring every 26-35 days.

What are the final physical changes in males?

Some of the last characteristics of puberty in boys involve:

  • Genital development – The penis, scrotum, and testes grow to adult size and shape.
  • Voice changes – The larynx (voice box) grows, and the voice pitch deepens significantly but eventually plateaus.
  • Facial hair – Hair grows on the upper lip, chin, sideburns, and cheeks in males.
  • Chest hair – Hair develops on the chest, abdomen, arms, and legs.
  • Reaching adult height – As with girls, growth rates wane and decelerate.
  • Acne improvement – End of puberty usually indicates settling of oil production and breakouts.

One of the last milestones is spermarche, or the beginning of sperm production in the testes. This demonstrates full reproductive capacity.

What emotional changes happen at the end of puberty?

In addition to physical developments, puberty brings changes in emotions, social awareness, and psychology. Some emotional milestones in the final stages of puberty include:

  • Development of unique personality traits
  • Increasing independence and desire for more privacy
  • Strengthening self-image and confidence
  • maturation of thinking processes and problem-solving skills
  • Deeper friendships and more importance placed on peer relationships
  • Romantic and sexual interests

Mood swings tend to stabilize as puberty ends. However, stress regarding school, social situations, family life, and other outside factors can still influence emotions.

How do doctors evaluate the end of puberty?

Doctors use Tanner staging to evaluate physical development during puberty. There are 5 Tanner stages, with stage 5 representing full adult development:

Tanner Stages in Females

Stage Breast Development Pubic Hair
1 No breast tissue or areola enlargement No pubic hair
2 Breast bud forms, areola begins enlarging Small amount of long, downy hair around labia
3 Breast continues developing and enlarging Hair is darker and coarser but still sparse
4 Areola and nipple form secondary mound Adult-like hair quantity and texture but sparse coverage
5 Mature breast contour and volume Adult-type hair in triangle pattern at base of thighs

Tanner Stages in Males

Stage Genitalia Pubic Hair
1 Prepubertal testicular volume; penis unchanged No pubic hair
2 Slight enlargement of penis and testes; scrotum thinning and reddening Small amount of long, downy hair around base of penis
3 Penis length continues to increase; testes and scrotum enlargen Hair is darker and coarser but still sparse
4 Penis increases in diameter; glans develops; testes and scrotum further enlarge Adult-like hair quantity and texture but sparse coverage
5 Adult genitalia size and shape Adult-type hair distributed as inverse triangle around base of penis

What is the average age when puberty ends?

On average:

  • Girls complete puberty around ages 15-17.
  • Boys finish puberty around ages 16-17.

But puberty does not progress at the exact same pace for everyone. The normal range spans several years. Puberty can end as early as age 13 in some girls and age 14 in some boys. It may last until about ages 17-19 in boys who mature more slowly. Factors like nutritional status and genetics influence timing.

Can puberty end earlier or later than average?

Yes, it’s possible to finish puberty earlier or later than peers. Signs of late puberty in girls include:

  • No breast development by age 13
  • No menstrual periods by age 16

Signs of late puberty in boys:

  • No testicular enlargement by age 14
  • Voice unchanged by age 16

Delayed puberty warrants evaluation by a pediatrician. On the other hand, precocious puberty refers to the onset of sexual development earlier than normal, before age 8 in girls and age 9 in boys. This can accelerate the end of puberty as well.

When should someone see a doctor about the end of puberty?

See a doctor if signs of delayed puberty are present:

  • No breast development by age 13 in girls
  • No menstrual periods by age 15 in girls
  • No testicular enlargement by age 14 in boys
  • Voice unchanged by age 16 in boys

Evaluation is important because delayed puberty can be caused by underlying health conditions. Monitoring growth patterns is also important since the greatest increase in height happens during puberty.


The end of puberty is a process that occurs over several years and involves many physical and emotional changes. Final pubertal changes include breast, hip, and genital maturity in girls and boys, respectively. Menstrual cycles and sperm production mark full reproductive capability. puberty concludes with cessation of rapid growth as stature plateaus. Although puberty typically ends around ages 15-17, the timing varies considerably among individuals. Evaluation by a doctor is recommended if signs of delayed puberty are present.