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Central Precocious Puberty (CPP)

What is CPP?

Central precocious puberty (CPP) is a rare condition that causes the early onset of puberty in a child.  CPP can occur in as early as five years of age in girls and eight years of age in boys. This condition is more common in girls than boys. CPP leads to rapid development and growth of muscles and bones as well as early development of the body’s ability to reproduce.

What are the symptoms of CPP?

Symptoms of CPP vary in boys and girls. In girls, symptoms include:
  • Onset of first period
  • Early breast development
In boys, symptoms include:
  • Development of facial hair
  • Deepening voice
  • Enlargement of penis and testicles
Common symptoms in both boys and girls include:
  • Appearance of genital and underarm hair
  • Acne
  • Adult body odor
  • Emotional and mood changes
  • Social issues and bullying

What causes CPP?

The cause for the development of CPP is mainly unknown. CPP is caused by an early release of a hormone called gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). This hormone is responsible for telling the pituitary gland in the brain to release hormones such as gonadotropin, follicle stimulating hormone, testosterone and estrogen. Occasionally, the cause of CPP is thought to be due to the following:
  • Brain or spinal cord tumor
  • Brain defect at birth
  • Brain injury
  • Brain infections such as meningitis or encephalitis
  • Radiation and/or chemotherapy treatment for cancer
  • Genetic heredity

Are there treatment options for CPP?

Treatment of CPP is dependent on the cause. Treatment options include:
  • Correction of any underlying physical/medical condition
  • Medication administration to halt puberty until appropriate age is reached. This is usually in the form of a monthly injection
  • Support and communication for the child regarding any emotional or social problems they may be experiencing.

Where can I find more information about CPP?

Central Precocious Puberty Articles

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