Puberty begins when your daughter’s body begins producing increased amounts of certain hormones, leading to physical and emotional changes. In girls, changes include breast development, pubic hair growth, a growth spurt, and finally the start of menstrual periods. Girls grow and develop at different rates, and the normal onset of puberty is sometime between the ages of 10 and 13.
Puberty is activated by certain genes and hormones. An area of the brain known as the hypothalamus activates gonadotropin-releasing hormone, which signals the pituitary gland (at the base of the brain) to release hormones that stimulate the ovaries in girls or testicles in boys to produce sex hormones.
Both boys and girls may experience acne and both will usually have a growth spurt, bringing them closer to their adult height.
Precocious puberty is more common in girls than in boys and occurs more often in African-Americans than in children of other races. Other risk factors may include:
The changes to your child’s body brought on by precocious puberty may cause him (or her) to feel self-conscious, and may also lead to teasing by peers. Counseling may help your child to work through these issues.
Puberty problems occur when these processes and changes don’t occur at the typical time in your daughter’s development. These problems may include:
Although symptoms may vary from child to child, symptoms of precocious puberty may include:
There are several methods used for diagnosing precocious puberty. Your child’s doctor may use a combination of these methods:
In many cases, there is no known cause for precocious puberty. In other cases, it may be caused by:
Treatments for precocious puberty may include: