What Age Do People Stop Growing?

The human body begins growing the second it is conceived, and its size continues to multiply rapidly until young adulthood. The exact age at which people stop growing is different for everyone, and a variety of factors go into when you will reach your maximum size. Find out what you can expect when it comes to the growth of body parts throughout your life.

Height and limb length

After a rapid increase throughout early life, humans generally stop growing taller around age 20. This is the average age when the growth plates fuse on your arms and legs, and you have very likely reached the height you are going to be for the rest of your life. Don't lose all hope, however; it is not uncommon for people, especially men, to grow a little bit taller into their early to mid 20s.

Reproductive organs

Reproductive organs growing and changing are some of the first signs of puberty, and they generally reach their full size by the end of puberty. This usually occurs around the same period of time in which a person stops growing taller. A male's penis generally reaches full size by age 20, and so do a female's breasts, ovaries and other reproductive organs. In the case of females, however, breasts may continue to change in size with weight loss and gain, as well as pregnancies and breast-feeding.

Pelvis and skull bones

While you may not grow too much taller after age 20, there is evidence to show that some bones continue growing throughout your life. Specifically, the bones of the pelvis and skull.

According to a 2011 study from the University of North Carolina, the pelvis continues to grow and widen from age 20 all the way to age 79. On average, the pelvis widens about an inch over the years, leading to a 3-inch increase in waist size, regardless of body fat or other factors.

Wrinkles aren't the only thing to blame for your face changing as you age. A 2008 Duke University study shows that the skull continues to grow and change throughout adulthood. The skull grows larger, the forehead tends to shift forward, and the cheekbones move further back.

Ears and nose

Contrary to a popular "fun fact" that states the ears and nose never stop growing, they actually cease growing around the same time as most of the other body parts: after puberty. Older people may appear to have larger ears and noses, but it is an optical illusion caused by cartilage breaking down, and the body parts beginning to sag under gravity.

Whether you stop growing at age 16 or 25, inhabiting different shapes and sizes is a part of the human experience. The only way to know for sure when you will stop growing is to wait and see, even though there are average ages when the end of puberty occurs.

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