All about Early Puberty

All about Early Puberty

Prabhu Vyass

By Dr Prabhu VyasSexology

Early puberty, more often referred to as precocious puberty, can be viewed as premature adolescence in girls aged below 8 years, and in boys of ages below 9 years. This is marked by the transformation of the child’s body into an adult much earlier than usual. These changes may be witnessed in body shape or size, as well as the body’s reproductive abilities.

Signs and Symptoms of Early Puberty:

In Girls –

  1. Menarche, or the first period of the menstrual cycle
  2. Breast growth and their development

In Boys –

  1. Growth of facial hair
  2. Enlargement of penis and testicles
  3. Deepening of voice

In both girls and boys alike –

  1. Rapid growth
  2. Underarm or pubic hair
  3. Acne

Causes:

Depending on whether it is peripheral precocious puberty or central precocious puberty, causes may be classified as follows:

Causes of central precocious puberty –

  • Brain tumors or tumors in the spinal cord
  • Radiation exposure to the central nervous system
  • McCune-Albright Syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes hormone – related issues
  • Hypothyroidism, when the thyroid gland does not produce adequate hormones
  • Hydrocephalus (excess fluid accumulation)
  • Hamartoma (non-cancerous tumor)
  • Injuries to any component of the central nervous system
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia, a group of genetic disorders

Causes of peripheral precocious puberty –

  • Testosterone or estrogen imbalances
  • Tumors in the pituitary gland or the adrenal glands
  • McCune-Albright Syndrome

Treatment:

Depending upon the cause, early puberty should be treated accordingly, with the intent of helping the child grow into normal human beings. This can be achieved through the judicious use of medications. This kind of treatment is also called a Gn-RH analogue therapy.