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What is a Growth Spurt in Puberty? - Definition, Signs & Symptoms

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  • 0:00 What Is a Growth Spurt?
  • 1:15 Signs
  • 1:45 Symptoms
  • 3:20 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

Did you know that, on average, girls in puberty have growth spurts that occur two years sooner than boys? Learn more about growth spurts, the signs, and the symptoms.

‚Äč!!!What Is a Growth Spurt?

Mary is a 12-year-old girl who has just started the seventh grade. Mary has been sleeping longer at night and is always hungry. After Mary spilled a carton of milk and tripped over a broom, Mary's mother commented that Mary has become quite clumsy. Mary also has trouble getting dressed in the mornings since none of her clothes ever seem to fit. Mary may not know it yet, but she is showing obvious signs of a growth spurt in puberty.

Puberty refers to a period in development when your body begins to change as you transition from a child to an adult. During puberty, sexual changes occur within the body, and you become able to reproduce. Puberty is also marked by growth spurts, which are rapid changes in body characteristics, notably height and weight. Your body grows faster during puberty than any other time, with the exception of when you were a baby.

For most females, puberty begins between ages eight and fourteen, with a growth spurt usually occurring somewhere between ten and fourteen. This means that Mary is in the normal age range during which puberty occurs. For most males, the onset of puberty occurs between the ages of nine and thirteen, and they don't stop growing until around age sixteen.

Signs

Mary has shown many signs that indicate she is experiencing a growth spurt during puberty. For example, Mary is having more accidents and tripping over things. Adolescents who are experiencing growth spurts may become clumsy as their muscles try to catch up to their growing arms and legs. For this reason, they are also more prone to injuries. Other signs that Mary has been exhibiting are growing out of her clothing more quickly, sleeping for longer periods of time, and having an increased appetite.

Symptoms

The symptoms of growth spurts are different for boys and girls. We'll go into detail about these differences now.

Growth Spurts in Girls During Puberty

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