I’m worried. I’m 13 and haven’t started puberty

Last updated on July 26, 2023



I am 13 years old. I have not started puberty. I have no body hair, and my genitals are small. When I did the Tanner Stage calculator, I was stage 1.8. Also, the last time I went to the doctor (about 10 months ago), she said I had not started puberty. I only grew 4.5 cm from 11 to 12, and from my last check-up to now, I only grew 4.5 cm. When will I hit puberty? All the other students in my class are taller than me. My parents and I are worried. Please give me the answer.


Puberty is technically when your hormones rise in your blood to start the process of changing your body from a child to an adult. For males, this rise occurs about one year before any external signs of changes are seen. Thus, the common definition of puberty is when the first external signs of changes are seen. Most boys miss the first few signs because they are subtle: a swelling of the scrotum and a darkening of its color. Even hair growth is hard to see at first as the new hairs start out fairly colorless. It is not until they get thicker and tinted that most people notice the hair is growing.

Even so, the normal range for a boy to start showing external signs of growth is anywhere from age 9 to age 15. Starting after age 14 is commonly referred to as being a late bloomer. Being a late bloomer is not fun because you see everyone else changing, and you are behind. However, it does have a few advantages in the long run. Late bloomers tend to be taller because when they finally get their growth spurt, they are starting from a taller height. They also tend to look younger than their age, which is annoying when you are in your twenties but becomes an advantage in your forties and fifties.

I can’t see you, so I don’t know if small changes are being overlooked, but most likely the simple fact is that you will grow later than your peers. If no signs of changes are seen after you turn 14, then your doctor will check you to see if there might be a physical reason for the delay. If nothing is found, then the typical answer is to wait another year.


Thank you for answering my question so quickly. However, I have one more question. You said the first change was the swelling of the scrotum. What does it look like?


A small boy’s scrotum isn’t very big and tends to hug the body.

After puberty, the scrotum starts to swell as the testicles begin to enlarge. It isn’t a huge increase. That is why it is often overlooked. After the swelling begins, the skin of the scrotum becomes a bit more red in color because of the increased blood flow in that area. Again, it isn’t dramatic, but it can be noticed if you look for it. After this, there will be an increase in the number of erections and the penis will start to enlarge a bit when you are erect. Eventually, you will see hair growing just above the base of the penis.