When a child’s body begins to change to that of an adult too soon, it is called precocious puberty. When bodily changes such as changes in stature and the development of male or female characteristics occur at age 9 in boys and age 8 in girls it is considered precocious puberty.
The development of the body’s ability to procreate, rapid growth of bones and muscles, changes in body shape and size are the salient characteristics of puberty.
The main driving force behind precocious puberty cannot be traced. Seldom, a range of conditions can cause it. These include brain injuries, tumors, hormone disorders, or infections. Medications to prevent rapid growth are usually prescribed.
Precocious puberty usually manifests as the following in children 8 to 9 years of age in boys and girl, respectively:
- Adult body odor
- Breast growth and first period in girls
- Enlarged testicles and penis, facial hair and deepening voice in boys
- Pubic or underarm hair
- Rapid growth
To diagnose a patient with suspected precocious puberty, your doctor will:
- Evaluate your child’s and your family’s medical history.
- Perform a physical examination
- Measure hormone levels by doing a blood test
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Thyroid test
X-rays are useful implements for diagnosing your child for precocious puberty. These can help the doctor identify the age of your child’s bone.
The main objective of treatment is to let your child develop to a typical adult height.
Treatment for precocious puberty is cause dependent. However, because causes sometimes could not be identified, your child may not need treatment. This is dependent on his or her age, and how rapidly is puberty progressing. Close monitoring by a doctor is essential so that your child’s development could be assessed.
Your primary care physician is probably going to ask you various inquiries about:
- Your family therapeutic history, specifically, relatives’ statures and any history of endocrine issue or tumors
- The age at which adolescence started for kin and guardians
- Family racial structure