Image of a young woman looking at her face in the mirror.

What triggers puberty to begin?

Puberty is a strange time for anyone going through it. Bad things happen, good things happen and we as humans quickly develop from child to young adult. What stimulates all of this to occur? What actually triggers puberty to begin? Studying this first key developmental stage of hormones provides and interesting look into how hormones continue to work into adulthood. Let’s take a look.

Medical image of the hypothalamus


What we know

The study into precisely what triggers puberty to begin is still underway, but we do know that puberty begins when the hypothalamus starts releasing increased levels of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). The production of GnRH stimulates the subsequent production of two key gonadotropins - follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH).

These gonadotropins are essential to your reproductive health. They help your sex glands mature and function.

3D illustration on medical topics. Egg cell leaves the ovary. Ovulation. Natural fertilization


In females

In females, GnRH indirectly stimulates your body’s production of estrogen and progesterone - predominant female sex hormones that play a key role in ovulation and conception.

During a menstrual cycle, your body releases a higher level of estradiol - this is a type of estrogen that increases GnRH production.

The increase in GnRH triggers a decrease in follicle-stimulating hormone and an increase in luteinizing hormone.

These changes cause an ovary to release an egg.

The hormonal changes that occur during a menstrual cycle are a little like a shortened version of puberty.

3D medical image of sperm production.


In males

In males, GnRH stimulates the production of luteinizing hormone, which affects how much testosterone and androgens your body makes. It also stimulates production of follicle-stimulating hormone, which affects sperm production.

3D medical graphic of the human embryo.


In embryo

During embryonic life, GnRH neuronal development takes place between the 5th and 16th embryonic weeks. The levels of GnRH gradually increase and reach a peak level at the mid gestational age, after which they gradually fall toward the end of the gestational period due to the negative feedback effect of circulating placental steroids. 

After birth, these levels remain elevated for two years in girls and six months in boys before falling.

The mechanism of suppression of GnRH after birth is still unknown, but certain neurotransmitters like GABA and Neuropeptide Y seem to play an important role in the suppression of GnRH.

So… when does GnRH start to increase again?

You guessed it… puberty.

3D image of the pituitary gland inside the brain.

Development at any age is dependent on your hypothalamus & pituitary health.

10 Ways to Keep Your Pituitary Gland in Shape:

Just as you can flush your body of toxins, you can detox your brain and improve its health. Poor lifestyle habits sustained over several years can cause the pituitary gland to calcify and inhibit its ability to do its job.

Food and supplementation are the key to pituitary gland decalcification. For starters, avoid common toxins found in foods. This includes refined table sugar, partially hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners (aspartame K), high fructose corn syrup, and other typical food ingredients with a scientific-sounding name.

Natural Pituitary Gland Support Supplements: