How Do Doctors Treat Delayed Puberty in Boys?

Delayed puberty does not always have to be treated. We treat if your son is bothered by his lack of pubertal signs. We treat delayed puberty by giving your son injections (shots) of testosterone just under the skin once a month. If he doesn’t start showing first signs of puberty after having injections for 6-12 months, then we will consider increasing the dose over time.

What is the Outlook for My Son's Delayed Puberty?

Your son will typically do well if he has delayed puberty, but eventually starts showing signs of puberty on his own. Treatment with short-term testosterone injections will not affect his ability to enter puberty on his own. He will reach a normal adult height, have normal bone strength and show all of the physical signs of puberty. His chances of being fertile enough to have children in the future are also normal.

If your son has to have long-term testosterone injections, it might affect his chances of being fertile enough to have children in the future. If this happens, we can give special medications that might help when he reaches an appropriate age to have children.

How Can I Help My Son with Delayed Puberty?

You can reassure your son that these changes are not different from other children – they are just happening later. Your son might be self-conscious about these later changes. This is an important time to listen and respond to questions and concerns he might have. You should continue to treat your son appropriately for his age and continue to help him with self-esteem.

What are the Differences Among Sex, Gender Expression and Gender Identity?

Sex, gender expression and gender identity might sound similar, but they are actually very different terms.

  • Sex refers to the biology (chromosomes [DNA], genitalia and hormones) that a person is born with.
  • Gender identity refers to how a person identifies, such as male, female, transgender or a number of other terms.
  • Gender expression refers to how a person expresses their gender through their appearance (clothing, hair, makeup, etc.), behavior, names, etc.

The language around gender changes all the time. If you are not sure what to call someone, just ask! Gender was once referred to as binary, or simply male and female. This is not true anymore. Gender is a spectrum and there are many terms a person can use to refer to their gender. Gender is also a lifelong process of self-discovery and expression.

At MGHfC, we welcome patients of all genders and sexes. If you have questions about gender and/or sex and how it relates to your child’s pubertal development, ask the care team.

Learn More