Precocious Puberty

Precocious Puberty Causes

In most cases, experts don't know what causes central precocious puberty, mostly in girls.

Sometimes, a medical condition activates central precocious puberty. Causes are equally common in boys and children under age 6, especially if puberty is moving along quickly. They can include:

Tumors and other growths, which are often benign
Brain injury, either from surgery or a blow to the head, that affects hormonal balances
Inflammation of the brain, sometimes from an infection
Only a small number of central precocious puberty cases in boys result from a medical problem. It’s even less common in girls.

Precocious Puberty Symptoms

The signs of early puberty and puberty are usually the same. It’s the timing that differs. Signs include:

  • Girls

    Breasts start to grow (often the first sign)

    Menstruation (typically not until 2-3 years after the earlier symptoms start)

  • Boys

    Testicles, penis, and scrotum start to grow

    Voice deepening (this is usually a late sign of puberty)

  • Girls and boys

    Rapid height growth
    Adult body odor

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the causes of precocious puberty?

    It may be caused by tumors or growths on the ovaries, adrenal glands, pituitary gland, or brain. Other causes may include central nervous system problems, family history of the disease, or certain rare genetic syndromes. In many cases, no cause can be found for the disorder.

  • How do I know if my child has precocious puberty?

    Puberty that happens early is called precocious puberty. This means a child’s physical signs of sexual maturity develop too soon. Precocious puberty happens before age 8 in girls, and before age 9 in boys. Signs can include breast growth, pubic hair, and voice changes

  • Is it necessary to treat precocious puberty?

    If another medical condition is causing your child’s precocious puberty, treatment of that condition is necessary to stop the progress of puberty. For example, if a child has a tumor that’s producing hormones and causing precocious puberty, puberty usually will stop when the tumor is surgically removed.

Precocious puberty, also identified as early puberty, is when a child’s body starts to go through the transformation into an adult body early .

on average puberty age start in girls between ages 8 and 13 and in boys between ages 9 and 14.

Girls who show clear signs of puberty and its progression before age 8 and boys before age 9 are considered precocious. It affects about 1 out of 5,000 children.

There are two types of precocious puberty:

  • Central precocious

    Central precocious puberty is more common. It’s just like normal puberty, but it happens early. The pituitary gland starts making hormones called gonadotropins. These hormones cause the testicles or ovaries to make other hormones: testosterone or estrogen. These sex hormones cause the changes of puberty, like breast development in girls.

  • Peripheral precocious puberty

    Peripheral precocious puberty or precocious pseudo puberty is a different condition. It’s also less common. The hormones estrogen and testosterone trigger the symptoms. But the brain and pituitary gland aren’t involved. It’s usually a local problem with the ovaries, testicles, adrenal gland, or a severely underactive thyroid gland.

Precocious Puberty Risk Factors

While they aren’t necessarily reasons, a number of things are linked to early puberty. They include:

  • Gender

    Girls are 10 times as likely to have central precocious puberty as boys.

  • Genetics

    Sometimes, genetic alterations that trigger the release of sex hormones can lead to precocious puberty. Most often, these children have a parent or sibling with alike genetic problems.

  • Obesity

    A sum of studies have shown a relation between obesity in young girls and an increased risk of precocious puberty. But researchers don’t know how direct the tie is. Obesity doesn’t seem to be associated to early puberty in boys.

Precocious Puberty Diagnosis

To figure out if your child has precocious puberty, your doctor may:

Go over their medical history.
Do a physical exam.
Do a blood test to check their hormone levels.
X-ray their hands and wrists to look at bone age. This tells them if the bones are growing too quickly.

Precocious Puberty Complications

For kids, early puberty can cause physical and emotional problems. They include:

  • Short stature

    While kids with precocious puberty are often tall for their age, some wind up short as adults. Why? Once puberty is done, growth stops. Since precocious puberty ends earlier than normal puberty, these kids stop growing at an earlier age. The result may be a shorter height than they would have otherwise had.

  • Stress

    Even when it’s happening to average 12-year-olds, puberty can be a unclear time. It can be all the more stressful for younger kids with early puberty. They might feel awkward about looking different from their age group. Early menstruation can be disturbing for girls who are age 9 or younger — or who are developmentally delayed. Parents can help by teaching their kids what changes they should expect.

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