No sharp time limits can be fixed for the period of adolescence, which represents a transition phase between puberty and full maturity. The latter themselves are periods subject to no fixed chronological laws. The changes of puberty involve far more fundamental phenomena than the mere appearance of the first menstruation (menarche). Many of these phenomena are carried over into adolescence. As a matter of fact, the gynecologic and endocrine problems of adolescence are essentially those of puberty. Moreover, they are practically all of endocrine causation, emphasizing again, if it needs further emphasis at the present day, how fundamental a role endocrinology plays in modern gynecologic practice.
Important as are the endocrines in the anatomic and physiologic phenomena of adolescence, there is one other factor which can never be overlooked in the interpretation of functional disorders at this epoch. I refer to the psychologic element. Even in the minds of the