Early Puberty In Your Child
Created by Faraz Mohammad Khan Updated on Sep 20, 2020
Puberty is considered a milestone in a person's physical development, marking the transition from childhood to adulthood. Usually, this starts to happen in adolescence — about 7 to 8 years of age in girls (the average age is about 10) and 9 years of age for boys (the average age is about 11). In some cases, a child will suffer from a rare condition called precocious puberty which causes their body to start developing when they are younger than the normal age of puberty. For a parent discovering that your child is entering puberty can be alarming and can give rise to questions like why is it happening? Can my child handle it? And so on.
What Is Early Puberty
Early or Precocious puberty is a medical condition that causes an early release of hormones from the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus areas in the brain, which in turn stimulates estrogen production, causing puberty to begin prematurely. The signs of a normal puberty and early puberty are the same, it's just the timing which differs. Signs involve.
What Causes Early Puberty
Girls:Progressive breast development, growth acceleration, and early menses (usually 2-3 years after the appearance of breasts)
Boys:Penile and testicular enlargement, increase musculature and body hair, growth acceleration, deepening of the voice
- Most times when puberty occurs early, it is merely a speeding up of the normal process; in other words, the alarm rings too early because the clock is running fast. This is particularly true in case of girls.
Sometimes, precocious puberty is caused by a medical problem like-
- Tumors and other growths, which are often benign
- Brian injury, either from surgery or a blow to the head, that affects hormonal balances
- Inflammation of the brain , sometimes from an infection
The above list might look worrying, but just remember that only in a small number of cases in boys is precocious puberty caused by a medical problem. In girls, it is extremely rare for a medical problem to be the cause. Rarely, puberty occurs early because the glands that make sex hormones, the ovaries in girls and the testes in boys, start working on their own, earlier than normal. This is called peripheral precocious puberty (PPP).
Lastly, exposure to estrogen- or androgen-containing medication can lead to early puberty.
What It Means To A ChildEarly puberty can effect a child physically and mentally.
Short stature:Once puberty is over, growth stops. Since precocious puberty ends earlier than normal puberty, these kids stop growing at an earlier age -- and sometimes, the end result may be a shorter height than they would have otherwise had
Stress:Even at its usual time, puberty can be a confusing time. It can be all the more stressful for younger kids with early puberty. They might feel awkward about looking different from their peers. Early mensurations can be unsettling for girls who are age 9 or younger
Behavioural changes:Girls can become moody and irritable. Boys can become more aggressive and also develop a sex drive inappropriate for their age
Treating Early PubertyDepending upon the cause, there are two possible approaches to treatment:
- Treating the underlying cause or disease, such as a tumor
- Lowering the high levels of sex hormones with medicine to stop sexual development from progressing
What Parents Can Do To CareKeep your child informed about what is happening and the treatment and what can be expected along the way. Be supportive of your child and lookout for signs of teasing or other difficulties that they might face. Try not to focus your comments on appearance. nstead, offer praise for achievements in school or sports and support your child's participation in other activities.
Just remember that early puberty is treatable. Proper care and medication can preserve their actual growth potential and limit the social and behavioural difficulties that they may face.
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