For most people, physical changes are common parts of puberty such as: hair growth in the armpits and genitals, breast development, a changing voice and a spike in height.
These changes generally occur between ages 8 and 14 in girls and 9 and 14 in boys. If they begin before these ranges, this may be the indication of a case of precocious puberty, which is the early manifestation of secondary sex characteristics. See also: Detect and slow the progress of precocious puberty.
Diego Botero, a pediatric physician, explains that this accelerated growth is more common, less risky and more evident among girls. With boys, however, this tends to be more serious, as it is often associated with having an organic disease. Different genetic factors also play a role in each case. Some risk factors include being overweight or obese, and leading a poor diet by consuming excessive amounts of refined sugar.
Keep in mind:
Physical signs of precocious puberty:
- Girls: Breast development, hair growth in the genitals and armpits, and menstruation.
- Boys: A changing voice; hair growth on the genitals, body and face; and an increase in the size of the sex organs.
This hormonal process occurs as a result of the balance between different hormones in the body’s endocrine system. If the central hormones in the brain are activated too soon, which then activate the peripheral hormones (ultimately responsible for the changes the body experiences), this leads to the onset of precocious puberty.
Precocious puberty is more common in children with a family history of it or among children who have different pathologies of the central nervous system such as tumors, deformities, infections or head injuries.