[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
September 10, 1982

The puberty that almost wasn't: helping men mature

JAMA. 1982;248(10):1155-1157. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330100007002

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


A few adult men have recently gone through puberty for the first time, as a result of intermittent therapy with luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH).

These men "generally look like 12-year-olds," says Andrew R. Hoffman, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, California. They are beardless, lack muscle mass, and have genitals one half to one third the normal adult size. They tend to live "celibate, almost monastic lives," Hoffman adds.

"It's very sad," he elaborates. "They don't date women because of the fear that they will be asked to perform sexually, and they obviously can't. And they usually stop buddying around with men by the time they're 17 or 18 because it's embarrassing to go into a locker room."

The men's problems result from idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism—in most cases congenital—so called because, for unknown reasons, the hypothalamus does not secrete LHRH in sufficient quantities, or in