The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

I'm concerned about my development because I have never had distinct stages. I've never had a growth spurt, my younger sister caught me up in height. I'm 17 now and around 5 foot 5. Also, I still have hardly any body hair. When my voice broke I couldn't pinpoint any other changes. My voice only broke at 15-16. I'm just worried about what is wrong with me. My doctor did blood tests and I have high testosterone, at the top end of the normal range for fully grown men. But this was when I'd shown hardly any signs of being a man, so I find the high testosterone strange. Also, my growth is slowing down but I'm still gaining mostly length in my penis rather than girth.


Answer

It is easy to forget that all of the body's hormones are links in a chain. Testosterone is a critical hormone in male development, but it is not generally used by the body directly. For example, an enzyme called 5α-reductase converts testosterone into DHT. It is DHT that stimulates hair growth, so a male with plenty of testosterone but little 5α-reductase will not be hairy. I'm not saying this is your case, but to point out that problem could be more complex than you think.

It is possible that your development is merely more drawn out, since you've noted that the stages have not been distinct for you. A slowing down in growth generally means you are moving into stage 4 and it is in that stage that body hair develops. I assume you have pubic hair characteristic of stage 3, the start of some under arm hair, and a faint mustache. All of these are characteristics that show up in stage 3. Girth in the penis is also something that shows up in stage 4.