Pediatric and Adolescent Puberty Problems

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.

What are Pediatric and Adolescent Puberty Problems?

Puberty problems occur when these processes and changes don’t occur at the typical time in your daughter’s development. These problems may include:

What are the signs and symptoms of Pediatric and Adolescent Puberty Problems?

If your daughter is experiencing puberty problems, her symptoms may include:

  • Lack of breast development by age 13
  • Lack of pubic hair by age 14
  • More than 5 years between breast development and first period
  • Delayed period that hasn’t started by age 15
  • Breast growth, having a period, development of pubic hair, or other signs of puberty occurring before age 7 or 8

How are Pediatric and Adolescent Puberty Problems diagnosed?

If your child’s doctor suspects problems with your daughter’s puberty development, he or she will conduct a physical exam – including breast and pelvic exams, when necessary – and take a complete medical history.

The doctor may also order diagnostic tests, including:

  • An x-ray of the hand and wrist to determine bone age
  • Blood tests to measure hormone levels or check for chromosomal abnormalities
  • An MRI or CT scan to rule out abnormalities in the brain, pituitary gland, or adrenal glands
  • An ultrasound to examine your daughter’s ovaries 

What are the causes of Pediatric and Adolescent Puberty Problems?

Puberty problems can stem from a variety of causes including:

  • Heredity
  • Genetic disorders
  • Problems with the pituitary or thyroid glands and the hormones they produce
  • Eating disorders or excessive dieting/weight loss
  • Excessive exercise
  • Chemotherapy and/or radiation
  • Ovarian tumors
  • Other underlying medical conditions or injuries

How are Pediatric and Adolescent Puberty Problems treated?

If your daughter’s doctor discovers a problem with the onset or progression of her puberty, her treatment will depend on symptoms and the underlying cause of the problems.

Treatment may include:

  • Observation with regular check-ups
  • Hormone therapy
  • Surgery to correct issues of anatomy
  • Counseling to help your daughter, and your family, deal with the social and emotional challenges of delayed or early puberty

Pediatric and Adolescent Puberty Problems Doctors and Providers