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Oestrogens in puberty

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Oestrogen first appears in the blood at puberty and causes the development of the female secondary sexual characteristics as follows:

  • breast:
    • development
    • enlargement and pigmentation of the areolae, although most pigmentation is associated with the oestrogen of pregnancy
  • female hair distribution; androgens probably have a more significant role:
    • pubic region with the upper margin concave upwards
    • axillae
    • absent from the face
  • genitourinary tract; enlargement of:
    • uterus
    • vagina
    • labia majora
    • labia minora
  • female distribution of fat:
    • around hips
    • within breasts
    • contributes to characteristic body shape
  • psychological changes of womanhood are associated with oestrogen exposure

In addition, oestrogens in conjuction with growth hormone increase the female growth rate at puberty:

  • epiphyseal skeletal growth is stimulated
  • the pelvis is stimulated to widen

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