Precocious Puberty: Children Becoming Adolescents

A child’s body begins to change that of an adult (puberty) too soon.

When puberty begins before age 8 in girls and before age 9 in boys, precocious puberty is considered.

Puberty includes:

  • The rapid growth of bones and muscles.
  • Changes in the shape and size of the body.
  • The development of the body’s ability to reproduce.


It is difficult to find the cause of precocious puberty. Rarely, certain conditions, such as tumors, infections, hormonal disorders, brain abnormalities, or injuries, can cause precocious puberty.

The procedure usually involves medication to delay development.

What are your symptoms?

The symptoms of precocious puberty include the following development before age 8 in girls and before age 9 in boys.

The girls include:

  • The growth of the chest.
  • In the first period (menarche).

Children include:

  • Enlargement of penis and testicles.
  • Facial hair (usually grows on the upper lip for the first time).
  • Thickening of the voice.
  • The signs and symptoms that can occur in children include:
  • Pubic and axillary hair.
  • Rapid growth
  • Acne.
  • Body odor of adults.

Why does precocious puberty occur?

To understand the reason for precocious puberty in some children, to begin with, it is helpful to know what causes puberty. This process includes the following steps:


The brain starts the process—part of the brain that produces the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH).

The pituitary gland releases more hormones. The hormone Gn-RH causes the pituitary gland – small and bean-shaped at the base of your brain – to release two other hormones. The hormones are called luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (HFE).

Sex hormones HL and HFE are produced in the ovaries and are the hormones involved in increasing and developing female and male sexual characteristics.

Physical changes occur—the production of the hormones estrogen and testosterone that forge the material transformations of puberty.

Risk factors.

Factors that increase a child’s risk of precocious puberty include:

  • Being a girl: girls are much more likely to develop precocious puberty.
  • African-American descent affects African Americans more often than children of other races.
  • Being obese: If your daughter or son is overweight, you have a higher risk of developing precocious puberty.

Be exposed to sex hormones. When you come in contact with a substance of estrogen or testosterone and some other hormone-containing substances (such as dietary supplements), you may increase the chance of developing precocious puberty.

Other medical conditions: Precocious puberty may be a complication concerning McCune-Albright syndrome or congenital adrenal hyperplasia, which involves the abnormal production of male hormones (androgens).

In some sporadic cases, precocious puberty is associated with hypothyroidism.

The radiation therapy is received in the central nervous system. Radiation treatment for tumors, leukemia or other conditions may increase the risk of precocious puberty.

Treatments and medications.

The treatment of precocious puberty depends on its cause. The main objective of the therapy is to allow the child to grow up to an average adult size.

Most children with precocious puberty with no underlying medical condition can be treated effectively with medication.

The treatment with Gn-RH analogs usually includes a periodic injection of medication, such as leuprolide, which delays further development. Some new formulations can be given at longer intervals.

The child continues to receive this medication until they reach the typical age of puberty. On average, puberty begins 16 months after they stop receiving the drug.