Precocious Puberty: What Should You Know About This Rare Disease?

Childhood is a time for innocence, exploring, and fun. It has always been said that children grow up too fast and each moment should be treasured. First words, first steps, first loves all the milestones a parent cherishes and a child looks forward to.

What if a fast forward button was pressed and the small, innocent child began to grow and mature before your eyes far too soon?

Imagine it... Source: www.flickr.com
Imagine it… Source: www.flickr.com

Changes started to happen with your little one’s body that you would have never expected. Precocious puberty can make this a reality and a confusing one.

Precocious puberty is a condition where a child begins to develop much earlier than is expected.

With this condition, a child will begin to develop adult characteristics before 8 years old in girls and 9 years old in boys.

Symptoms include:

  • development of pubic and underarm hair
  • rapid growth
  • acne
  • adult body odor

With girls specifically, they experience breast enlargement and early onset period. Boys will have enlarged penis and testicles, facial hair, and voice deepening.

Advanced bone growth will also occur and cause a child’s bones to mature at an accelerated rate and stop before average height can be achieved. This leads to a short stature in both boys and girls.

Though in many cases the cause is unknown, other cases of precocious puberty are believed to be caused by abnormally high levels of the hormones for growth and maturation.

These elevations are thought to be due to over active pituitary gland, adrenal glands as wells as excessive hormone production due to over developed ovaries and testicles.

Though the medical symptoms are as I have explained, it is the social and emotional challenges that are the most difficult.

Source: www.flickr.com
It makes for a difficult, isolating time. Source: www.flickr.com

A child with precocious puberty has to struggle with the development of their body in away that a child usually has the time and ability to learn and understand what is happening.

Puberty was rough on us all, but to a 5, 6 ,7 ,8-year-old child it can be confusing and scary. The cruelty of other children their age can be a challenge to both the child and their family.

In an online article by the MAGIC foundation I found a tremendous amount of information regarding precocious puberty, including one brave little girl’s story.

Treatments do exist and include the administration of hormones to halt puberty until the appropriate age has been reached. Letting kids be kids has never meant more to me as when I read about this condition.

Education, understanding and communication are needed, as is most importantly, love, in precocious puberty treatment.


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