Precocious puberty is becoming more and more prevalent in children. Precocious puberty refers to the case where a child undergoes puberty much earlier than normal, thereby growing into an adult too soon. Precocious puberty presents several negative outcomes in children that experience this condition; however, there are treatments available to counteract the effects of precocious puberty.
Puberty that starts before age 9 for boys, and 8 for girls, is called precocious puberty (‘Precocious puberty,’ 2015). Typically, this results in the rapid development of muscles, bones, body size, shape, as well as the reproductive system. Causes of precocious puberty are unknown; however, certain factors may influence the chances of this occurring. For example, hormone disorders, infections, tumors, injuries, and brain irregularities may contribute to precocious puberty. Most medications prescribed aim at delaying further developmental growth in the child (‘Precocious puberty,’ 2015).
There are several symptoms associated with precocious puberty in boys and girls. For girls, rapid breast growth, as well as the first period, will occur in girls before age 8. In boys, symptoms include an enlarged penis and testicles, facial hair, and the deepening of the voice (‘Precocious Puberty,’ 2015). Additional signs for both boys and girls include the growth of underarm hair, pubic hair, rapid growth overall, acne, and adult body odor (‘Precocious Puberty,’ 2015).
Precocious puberty can also lead to further complications. Short height may be an outcome, though the child may grow quickly initially and be taller than most. However, as their bones grow and mature rapidly, they stop growing at an earlier point than most children. Additionally, precocious puberty can lead to a host of social and emotional issues, as girls and boys that begin their puberty much earlier become very self-conscious. This can lead to an increased risk of depression and substance abuse (‘Precocious Puberty,’ 2015).
In summary, precocious puberty presents many long-term health complications, both physical and emotional. Identifying this condition, along with early treatment, are recommended steps to take for both boys and girls that experience precocious puberty.
- Precocious Puberty. (2015). Retrieved August 1, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/precocious-puberty/basics/complications/con-20029745