Precocious Puberty: Children Becoming Adolescents

It is when 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 rapid growth of bones and muscles, changes in the shape and size of the body, and 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 development of the following before age 8 in girls and before age 9 in boys.

In the girls include:

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

In 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 useful 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, are the hormones involved in the increase and development of female and male sexual characteristics.

Physical changes occur. The production of the hormones estrogen and testosterone that forge the physical changes of puberty.

Risk factor’s.

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: this 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 with respect to McCune-Albright syndrome or congenital adrenal hyperplasia – conditions that involve the abnormal production of male hormones (androgens).

In some very rare cases, precocious puberty is associated with hypothyroidism.

The radiation therapy 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 treatment is to allow the child to grow up to a normal adult size.

Most children with precocious puberty, in which there is no underlying medical condition, can be treated effectively with medication.

The treatment called treatment with Gn-RH analogues, 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 he or she reaches the normal age of puberty. On average, 16 months after he or she stops receiving the medication, puberty begins again.