Special 27 August, 2016 Isabel Vallejo
Precocious puberty is generally defined as accelerated hormonal development before the age of 8 in girls, and 9 in boys.
Wilfredo Hernández, a pediatric endocrinologist, explains this condition.
What are its characteristics?
“The first sign of the onset of puberty in girls is breast development, followed by the growth of pubic hair, hair under the arms and menstruation. Boys experience testicular growth and a rapid increase in height.”
Does precocious puberty make the child feel like they are in a body that is not theirs?
“In some children it causes psychosocial problems, especially when they compare themselves with children of the same age and realize that their body is different. Occasionally they are treated as young adults or are expected to behave as though due to their older appearance. They may also be restricted from participating in activities or games for having a height that does not correspond to their age group.”
How can precocious puberty be diagnosed?
“It is important for all children to visit their pediatrician regularly. Parents should also be aware of any physical changes that take place early.”
Is there a cure or a treatment for it?
“This is a condition that does require treatment to slow the progress of puberty and any future complications that may occur.”
What risk factors are associated with it?
“It is more frequent among children who have a family history of precocious puberty, or when conditions affecting the central nervous system are present such as: tumors, birth defects, infections of the central nervous system, or head trauma. Other risk factors include being overweight and obesity.”
Is it very common?
“It is a very common diagnosis for pediatric endocrinologist doctor’s visits. During these appointments, the child’s weight gain and any rise in obesity is measured, and poor eating habits are detected. It is estimated that this condition will become more common in the coming years.”
Puberty is considered to be normal if it occurs in girls once they turn 8 and in boys once they turn 9.