I had promised 2 of my callers to discuss “male puberty”, this week. So for all mothers with daughters, for all fathers with sons, I am here to guide you.
Dr Ojum Ekeoma Ogwo
A woman called me from Abuja. She read my submissions on “Is this your first pregnancy?”. She said ‘I have 3 girls of about 7, 81/2 & 10 years’. I rebuked her for not practising, the much preached “ appropriate child spacing”. She retorted wryly ‘I did not make myself pregnant’.
Quite smart, she shifted the blame to us (men). She said, ‘I did not call you because of my girls. I have 2 other boys of about 11 and 13 years living with us. They were brought back from the village by my husband, they had lost both parents through a fatal car accident’. After pleasantries, she then hit the nail on the head. She asked, and I quote, ‘ Doc, when will a boy become a man?’. Her exact words.
I did not know what to make of this type of question.
Then I asked, ‘why?’ She said, ‘I read your take on girl-child and early pregnancy. When I prodded further, she then blurted out, ‘I want to know, when a boy will be able to make a girl pregnant?’. She wanted to know when the below teenage boys living with them, will be old enough to impregnate girls.
So as, to then take precautionary measures to protect her young girls.
First, I advised her, to be very protective of her young girls, no matter their ages and also the ages of the males living with them. This was compounded by the text, I got while we were still chatting, which came from a young man, an enthusiastic reader of my Dr Sun’s column, from Obowo in Imo State. He is a Laboratory Technologist.
He bluntly told me to write about male puberty. I called him back, and we had a very fruitful discussion, of cases involving even law enforcement agents. Where a mother would be vigorously arguing that her son was too young to make any girl pregnant.
They would usually come to him to verify the owner of the pregnancy of a girl-child. Since he has no facility for DNA confirmation test, the puzzle will be shifted to another venue.
Warning to mothers about their girl child.
Your young daughters should not have any relationships, any associations with any male, without guided supervision. If you like regard the relationship as platonic.
Note that it is that innocent looking lad, that innocent looking male, who you think has a platonic relationship with your daughter, that personal driver of yours, that security man, that part-time teacher, that will destroy her. It is said that, inappropriate relationships ruin girls, but secret relationships destroy any girls future absolutely.
Mothers be very wise, because fathers have no time, are too lackadaisical, and are not primed or equipped for close marking. Most fathers, I am sorry to say, are also rampaging cassanovas.
I had promised 2 of my callers to discuss “male puberty”, this week. So for all mothers with daughters to protect, for all fathers with sons to caution, for all old males who wish to know how they began and for all young Adams who wish to know when they will start sowing their wild oats and land into trouble. I am here to guide you.
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What are the early changes in a boy?
The changes of puberty in a boy can start at any time, from about 10 years of age, to about 15. Then finish between 14 and 18. So some normal boys have completed puberty, before other normal ones have started.
Especially as those who do start earlier also tend to take less time over it. But on average, the changes start at about 12, and reach a peak between 13 and 14.
What are the sequence of events in development of male puberty?
The sequence of events can also vary, but a typical sequence would be;
1) The testes and scrotum begin to enlarge.
2) The first pubic hair appears at the base of the penis.
3) The penis begins to enlarge; and, about the same time, 4) There is a sudden rapid gain in height(adolescent growth spurt).
5) The shoulders broaden.
6) The voice deepens as the larynx grows.
7) Hair begins to appear in the armpits, and on the upper lips.
8) Sperm production reaches a level at which semen may well be ejaculated during sleep. The boy is now ready to fire, and could become a teenage father, in case of any accidental discharge. Mothers beware.
9) The pubic hair begins to show colour.
10) The prostrate gland enlarges; and
11) There is sudden increase in strength. Other changes of male puberty include
12) Increased oiliness and coarseness of the skin.
13) Development of body odour for the first time, from the armpits and genitals.
14) Other areas such as the feet also smell stronger than before.
15) Blood pressure, blood volume, red blood corpuscles all rise.
16) The heart slows down, body temperature falls, breathing slows down.
17) Bones grow harder and more brittle, and change in proportion.
18) At 17 3/4 years the bulk of growth in all males is over, give or take 2%.
19) Any height attained by age 18 becomes the adult height, but some males, who were malnourished at younger ages are known to continue catch-up growth till age 22.
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What is our take this week?
■ From 12 to 15 years if 80 percent of the above enumerated signs is present, then the boy has attained puberty, so could make any girl pregnant. My caller from Abuja, please take note.
■ If less than 30 percent of the enumerated signs is present in a boy of 15. This should be a dangerous sign. The boy should immediately be evaluated by a doctor, or we would have an Eunuch in the making. Testes could be corrected at this time.
■ At 13 to 15 the masculinizing hormone testosterone is usually produced excessively, as a guide to enable the boy establish his maleness, and this is when they start sexual experimentations with females especially little girls. Parents of girl-child should take note.
■ Please parents should be properly guided.