(Precocious Sexual Development, Premature Puberty)
Precocious puberty is the unusually early onset of puberty. Typically, this is before:
Puberty is a complex process of brain, body, and hormonal development. If your child begins puberty at an early age, it may just be a variation in the range of what is considered normal.
In about 25%-75% of affected boys, this condition is due to underlying medical conditions. However, for many girls and some boys there is no known cause.
In rare cases, precocious puberty may be caused by conditions such as:
Factors that may increase your child's risk of a precocious puberty include:
Symptoms of precocious puberty in girls may include:
Symptoms of precocious puberty in boys may include:
Symptoms in both boys and girls include:
The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. An assessment of puberty milestones and growth will be done. Your child may be referred to an endocrinologist, which is a doctor who specializes in hormonal, glandular, and metabolic disorders.
Images may be taken of your child's bodily structures. This can be done with:
Your child's bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with blood tests.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:
Different medications can be used to treat precocious puberty depending on the type. These medications stop or slow sexual development. They also halt the rapid bone growth and encourage normal growth.
Developing before their peers may cause social challenges in some children. Psychological support may be helpful. Talk to your child's doctor about what options are available.
Treatment of Underlying Conditions
If an underlying condition is the cause of precocious puberty, treatment will involve treating the specific medical problem.
Surgery may be needed if the early puberty is caused by a tumor or other lesions. The procedure will depend on the location and size of the tumor.
The doctor will continue to check your child’s height, weight, and sexual development. This will help to note any changes or show if the treatment has been effective.
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
The Hospital for Sick Children
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12/13/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: Biro FM, Galvez MP, Greenspan LC, et al. Pubertal assessment method and baseline characteristics in a mixed longitudinal study of girls. Pediatrics. 2010;126(3):e583-590.
Last reviewed July 2013 by Michael Woods, MD