Premature puberty in girls and boys first symptoms

How to recognize early puberty in girls and boys

The premature entry into adulthood is indicated by several characteristic signs of puberty in girls, occurring even before the eighth year, while in boys certain events can occur just before the ninth birthday. If female children have their period before the right time, enlarged testicles with the little boys, it may point to early puberty.

If you yourself are a parent, have children of your own be sure to stick with us, because it will help you a lot.

What are the symptoms of premature sexual maturation of children?

Signs and symptoms of premature maturation are identical to the real manifestation of physiological puberty, but with a significant difference as early puberty in girls occurs much earlier than usual, even before the eighth year, while in boys may occur before nine.

The emergence of the first period before the ninth year is an important criterion for the diagnosis of premature sexual maturation. However, to define premature puberty, one fact very much complicates the whole thing, and it warns us that in healthy children, there are big differences in terms of the age in which puberty occurs as a result of deficient genetic factors, and the impact of environment.
In 95 percent of healthy girls puberty begins between 8.5 and 13 years - an increase of breasts, appearance of pubic hair and hair under the armpits. These can occur before, after or at the same time when the breasts increase. The first menstruation (menarche) appears an average of two years later, between 12.5 and 14.5 years.

On the other hand, puberty in boys usually begins between 9.5 and 13.5 years - enlargement of the testicles. The growth of the penis, scrotum and pubic hairy phenomenon commonly appears one year later.

It should be noted premature puberty in girls is significantly more frequent in comparison to boys (ratio is 23: 1).

How to diagnose premature sexual maturity?

Children with whom there is a suspicion that early puberty has occurred, it is necessary to accurately measure body height to assess the stage of pubertal development, do radiography of the left hand in order to determine bone maturity, as well as to measure the levels of hormones, or FSH and LH and estardiol levels in girls and in boys testosterone. In addition, it is necessary to do an ultrasound examination of the abdomen, and an ultrasound of inner genitals in girls.

Early sexual maturation can be classified into two main categories namely: false and true precocious puberty.

False early maturation is characterized by the development of secondary sexual characteristics due to the secretion of sex hormones from the gonads (ovaries or testes), or due to the secretion of sex hormones from the adrenal glands. The most common cause of false premature puberty in girls is functional ovarian cysts. Mechanisms are not known. Most often the cyst withdraws spontaneously, and sometimes surgical treatment is necessary. 

Fake precocious puberty in girls may also be caused by accidental ingestion of estrogen (pill), or the use of some cosmetics with a strong estrogenic effect. (Various creams for hair removal and the like.)

The true form is totally different and is caused by activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, while in the case of false symptoms the consequences are other health conditions, like ovarian cysts.

What are the most common causes of early puberty?

With 90 percent of girls with precocious maturation the cause is unknown, it is a so-called idiopathic premature puberty. While in more than 70 percent of boys the cause is a tumour on the CNS (central nervous system).

Unlike with boys, in girls the intracranial tumour (a tumour in the fossa) is described as the cause of precocious puberty in less than ten percent of the cases. Young children with the aforementioned signs often have detected tumours of the CNS than older people.

Differences in the beginning of physiological puberty exist between individual children of the same family, children of the same ethnic origin, and are particularly strong between members of different ethnic groups.

When we talk about the disorder as premature puberty, it is assumed that genetic factors can influence its occurrence, but they have not yet been sufficiently explored to this day.

What is the effect of an unhealthy diet?

The impacts of environmental factors are reflected in all of us, and certainly in this regard the undoubted influence of the modern diet plays an important role. However, how this factor affects premature puberty in children is still not sufficiently examined.

What are other health risks of premature puberty?

Regardless of etiology, that is the cause of the disorder, in children of both sexes linear growth and bone maturation is accelerated, if diagnosed with early puberty. Accelerated bone maturation has a result of a premature cessation of growth and therefore results in a very short stature in adulthood.

Unlike the advanced physical growth, mental development is in accordance with the chronological age, easy premature breast development, hair growth in the underarm area and the vulva, and occurrence of menstruation in girls, or the increase of libido in boys may be the cause of emotional instability but serious psychological problems are very rare in this age.

On the other hand, unfortunately, in the premature puberty, girls can be victims of sexual abuse, and the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy should not be ignored, because necessary education is received only a few years later in schools.

Also, early puberty in boys, sometimes manifests itself in aggressive behaviour towards their peers, but also towards younger children, and adults - due to the high levels of testosterone.

What medication therapy for treatment is prescribed?

The goals of treatment are in the first place the identification and treatment of intracranial lesions, stopping further sexual maturation, providing adequate psychological support and preventing a potential sexual abuse at the time, and therefore unwanted pregnancy.

Today, the greatest significance in the treatment of a true precocious puberty with medication has a synthetic GnRH agonists, drugs that suppress these symptoms and which are applied every 28 days in the form of intramuscular injections.

Of course, the psychological support is very important if early puberty occurs, with the obligatory professional explanation of the nature of the disorder, because it is crucial for children and parents who jointly go through this difficult period. This period is characterised by a pretty aggressive behaviour, so keep an eye on everything.

If premature puberty in girls and boys only occurs in partial form, you do not need any treatment. Typically, it is a so-called isolated premature telarche (breast growth in girls) and isolated premature pubic hairness (pubic hair).

In telarche only increase of the glandular breast tissue is noticed, without other signs of puberty. It occurs in girls during the first two years of life and usually is resolved spontaneously by the third year.

Isolated premature pubic hairness indicates the occurrence of pubic hair in girls before the eighth or ninth year of life and in boys before ninth, with no other signs of puberty.

Important Note: A Brazilian wax (has become a kind of a fashion trend), as well as any other in this early period of life cannot be used. This will be confirmed by a number of cosmetologists and dermatologists, therefore if your little girl is in early puberty, it is mandatory to talk her out of a Brazilian waxing.