Precocious puberty is the unusually early onset of puberty. Typically this is before:
If you think your child is beginning puberty too early, talk to the doctor.
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 rare case, precocious puberty may be caused by conditions, such as:
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.
The following factors may increase your risk of a precocious puberty:
Symptoms of precocious puberty in girls may include:
Symptoms of precocious puberty in boys may include:
Your doctor will ask about your child's symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. Your child may be referred to an endocrinologist, which is a doctor who specializes in hormonal, glandular, and metabolic disorders. Other tests may include:
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. Treating precocious puberty can help children reach their full height potential and avoid the psychological reproductions of puberty-associated physical and hormonal stages occurring too early.
Treatment of Underlying Conditions
If an underlying condition is the cause of precocious puberty, treatment will revolve around treating the specific medical problem.
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Children's Health Canada
Pediatric Endocrinology and Rheumatology, University of Alberta Stollery Children's Hospital
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Kleigman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics .18th ed.Saunders: Philadelphia, PA; 2007.
Precocious puberty. DynaMed website. Available at: http://dynamed101.ebscohost.com/Detail.aspx?id=114717 . Accessed June 27, 2007.
Precocious puberty. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development website. Available at: http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/precocious_puberty.cfm .
VN Brito, AC Latronico, IJP Arnhold, BB Mendonca. Update on the etiology, diagnosis and therapeutic management of sexual precocity. Arq Bras Endrocrinol Metab 2008; 52(1):18-31.
12/13/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : 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):e583-90.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Michael Woods, MD