Section 1, Article 1 - Typically lasting 3 to 5 years, puberty is the period of time starting when the first rush of occurs and ending when full adult physical development has been achieved. Crucial to this process is the pituitary gland, a key brain structure that signals the production of androgens (male hormones) and estrogens (female hormones). Besides triggering the production of these sex hormones, the pituitary gland signals the production of growth hormones. The interaction between growth and sex hormones activates the growth spurt as well as puberty. This process usually begins in children between the ages of 8 and 14.