I’m 12 years old and I’m very concerned about my penis size. Its very small. Am I just a late bloomer. I don’t even know if I have reached puberty. How do I know?Darrel

Dr. Greene:

Puberty can be very confusing. For boys and girls, bodies develop in response to an ocean of surging hormones. There is a wide range of normal ages for puberty, which can make it even more confusing — especially when you’re the one going through the process. Doctors have a way of charting where, in the process of moving from child to adult, each individual is by assessing several factors. This is called Tanner Staging (named after James Tanner, the doctor who invented the scale) or Sexual Maturity Rating in Adolescents.

Darrel, take a look at these charts to see where you are in the process.

Tanner Staging for Boys

From: ANNEX H, SEXUAL MATURITY RATING (TANNER STAGING) IN ADOLESCENTS

Stage

Age range (years)

Testes growth

 

Penis growth

Pubic hair growth

Other changes

I

0–15Pre-adolescent testes
(≤2.5 cm)
Pre-adolescentNonePre-adolescent

II

10–15Enlargement of testes; pigmentation of scrotal sacMinimal or no enlargementLong downy hair, often appearing several months after testicular growth; variable pattern noted with pubarcheNot applicable

III

11.5–16.5Further enlargementSignificant enlargement, especially in diameterIncrease in amount; curlingNot applicable

IV

Variable: 12–17Further enlargementFurther enlargement, especially in diameterAdult in type but not in distributionDevelopment of axillary hair and some facial hair

V

13–18Adult in sizeAdult in sizeAdult in distribution (medial aspects of thighs; linea alba)Body hair continues to grow and muscles continue to increase in size for several months to years; 20% of boys reach peak growth velocity during this period

Tanner Staging for Girls

Stage

Age range (years)

Breast growth

Pubic hair growth

Other Changes

I

>0–15Pre-adolescentNonePre-adolescent

II

8–15Breast budding (thelarche); areolar hyperplasia with small amount of breast tissueLong downy pubic hair near the labia, often appearing with breast budding or several weeks or months laterPeak growth velocity often occurs soon after stage II

III

10–15Further enlargement of breast tissue and areola, with no separation of their contoursIncrease in amount and pigmentation of hairMenarche occurs in 2% of girls late in stage III

IV

10–17Separation of contours; areola and nipple form secondary mound above breasts tissueAdult in type but not in distributionMenarche occurs in most girls in stage IV, 1–3 years after thelarche

V

12.5–18Large breast with single contourAdult in distributionMenarche occurs in 10% of girls in stage V.

 

 

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