You smell terrible, hair starts growing in weird places and red sores break out across your face. No, you’re not turning into a werewolf. You’re not even on death’s doorstep. It’s just puberty, and every human has to go through it.
Usually, this process takes years, and it still stinks. But what if all these changes happened to you in just one day? If your body grew this fast, could your mind keep up with it? How would super-fast puberty affect your relationships? And could all these quick changes drive you a little insane?
Puberty is an emotional rollercoaster. But with all the extreme physical changes that happen, you could also say it’s a “roller-gross-ter.” It’s one of the most dramatic – and traumatic – processes that humans experience. But it would start off very quietly.
Imagine you were nine years old, sleeping in your jammies. But deep inside your brain, a ticking time bomb would be about the go off. Your pituitary gland.
It’s only the size of a pea. But it’s called the master gland because it controls the production and release of most body-altering hormones. Boom! Your pituitary exploded into hyperactivity. It would start spewing out hormones that would set off a chain reaction. And it would trigger other glands to produce even more hormones at incredible speeds.
In girls, the ovaries would start producing estrogen. And in boys, the testicles would produce testosterone. These two hormone monsters would cause the horror show you’re about to experience.
6 AM – 9 AM
When you woke up, you’d be around 11 years old. And your body would already be very different. Right away, you’d notice some changes downstairs.
9 AM – 11 AM
By 9 am, you’d be around 13 years old, and it’s time to go to school. Get ready, because you’d be about to undergo rapid, extreme changes in front of your whole class. Hair would start growing on your legs, your arms and armpits. And down there, too. And what are those ugly spots? Acne would start spreading on your face and back.
Your private parts would get bigger too. And to make matters worse, your voice would start to crack. Unless you’re a girl. Girls’ voices don’t go all weird.
11 AM – 1 PM
By 11 am, you would experience a massive growth spurt, adding up to 7 cm (3 in) to your height every 90 minutes. Your muscle mass would increase too. Finally.
But your motor control would become almost impossible. It could have something to do with the constant pain, fatigue and hunger from growing so fast. I hope you brought bigger clothes, because when lunch was over, your first outfit wouldn’t fit you anymore. And you’d want some deodorant too. Because now you’d be producing some seriously funky body odor.
1 PM – 4 PM
By 1 pm, you’d have the body of a 14-year-old, so the worst is over. Right? Wrong. It would seem like this nightmare will never end.
Inside your body, those fast-acting hormones would be creating an emotional rollercoaster. This sped-up growth would make you feel like you’re going crazy from the wide range of emotions you’re experiencing. And that could be hard on your friendships.
You might be sobbing one second and laughing hysterically the next. Staying focused would become next to impossible. And sometimes, you would get overly excited. Then, girls would start getting their first period. And then the next one, and one more, every 7.5 minutes.
Their reproductive organs would work so fast it would cause extreme discomfort and pain. For the boys, the voice would get much deeper. And is that a little peach fuzz I see?
4 PM – 6 PM
Your body would be transforming so fast that it would consume all your energy. You’d be exhausted and feel sleepy. And on top of that, you’d experience sudden outbursts of anger. You’d be a real pain to deal with. Puberty is a neurological firestorm. Add that to the social pressures of adolescence, and it can lead to serious mental health problems.
6 PM – 12 AM
By 6 pm, your body would be like a 15-year-old’s. You’d make it home for dinner, gloomy and sullen. What a day. You’d be starving from your extreme growth spurt. So you would need to consume 10-15% more calories than your parents just to break even.
As you went to bed, you body would be around age of 16. You’d still feel exhausted, frightened and in pain. But your growth would start to slow down. And right before you turn off the light, you could see in the mirror a hopeful glimmer of what lies ahead. The wispy beginnings of a beard.
In just one day, you’d grow an average of 30 cm (12 in). And, even though I said you weren’t turning into a werewolf, thick, coarse hair in all the funny places would now reach its full potential. Welcome to adulthood.
- “All About Puberty (For Kids) – Nemours Kidshealth”. 2021. kidshealth.org.
- “Stages of Puberty: A Guide For Girls And Boys”. 2021. Healthline.
- “Adolescent mental health”. 2020. who.int.
- “Precocious Puberty – Symptoms And Causes“. 2021. Mayo Clinic.
- “Growing up too fast: early puberty and mental illness”. 2013. The Conversation.