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 problems occur when these processes and changes don’t occur at the typical time in your daughter’s development. These problems may include:
Puberty problems can have a variety of causes, including:
If your daughter is experiencing puberty problems, her symptoms may include:
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:
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:
Some girls experience delayed puberty, precocious (early) puberty, breast development without other signs of puberty, or the development of male characteristics.
Puberty problems cam 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, or other underlying medical conditions or injuries.
If your doctor suspects your daughter’s puberty issues will resolve on their own, he or she will observe your daughter through regular check-ups. Other treatment may include hormone therapy, surgery for anatomical corrections, and counseling for related social and emotional issues.