Precocious puberty (patient information)
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Precocious puberty is the condition when the secondary sex characteristics happen earlier than normal. In boys the body chanes begin prior 9 years old, in girls prior 6~8 years old. It may be caused by many diseases, such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia, disorders of the testicles, ovaries, or adrenal glands, hypothalamic hamartoma, McCune-Albright syndrome and tumors. Hormone tests and imaging technology can help the doctor diagnose the disease. Treatment and prognosis of precocious ouberty depend on the cause. Psychosocial support for these children is necessary and important.
What are the symptoms of Precocious puberty?
Before 8 or 9 yeays old, girls and boys with precocious puberty show signs of secondary sex characteristics.
- First period (menstruation)
- Mature outer genitals
- Rapid height growth
- Breasts develpment
- Armpit or pubic hair
- Growth of the testes and penis
- Armpit or pubic hair, and facial hair, often first on the upper lip
- Muscle growth, rapid height growth
- Voice deepening
Who is at highest risk?
- Appearance of your child with secondary sex characteristics early before the age of 8 in girls or 9 in boys.
- Hormone tests: Hormones such as estrogen, FSH, LH or testosterone are needed to check to help doctors identify the diagnosis.
- Imaging technology: Imaging tests, such as cranial and abdominal MRI are necessary to identify whether abnormality in adrenal glands, pituitary gland or hypothalamus exists.
When to seek urgent medical care?
If your child has any signs and symptoms of precocious puberty, call your health care provider to identify the cause of the disease.
Treatments of precocious puberty depend on the cause.
- Treating the underlying cause or disease, such as a tumor, or disorders of the testicles, ovaries, or adrenal glands.
- Medications: The goal of medications is to help stop puberty until the child is closer to the normal time for sexual development.
- Psychosocial support: Appropriate psychosocial support for the child and family is important. Give your child a simple, truthful explanation about what's happening. Prevent emotional problems, such as loss of interest in daily activitiesand depression from affecting your child.
Diseases with similar symptoms
Where to find medical care for Precocious puberty?
Prevention of Precocious puberty
The way to prevent precocious puberty is unknown.
What to expect (Outlook/Prognosis)?
Prognosis in patients with precocious puberty depends on the cause.