Here’s what you need to know about central precocious puberty
Central precocious puberty is an uncommon condition in which a child’s body begins experiencing the adolescent phase earlier than expected. Puberty that commences before the age of 8 in girls and before the age of 9 in boys is termed to be central precocious puberty. In this condition, the child’s bones and muscles develop rapidly, along with the body shape, size, and reproductive organs.
The following are some key symptoms of central precocious puberty:
- Menarche (first period)
- Breast growth
- Facial hair
- Deep voice
- Enlarged penis and testicles
The exact cause of central precocious puberty is still unknown. For most kids dealing with this problem, there’s no underlying medical disorder triggering such hormonal imbalance. However, in rare cases, central precocious puberty might be a result of the following health conditions or circumstances:
- Injury to the brain and spinal cord
- Tumor in the brain or spinal cord
- Radiation exposure to the brain and spinal cord
- A birth defect such as hydrocephalus (excess fluid buildup) or hamartoma (a form of noncancerous tumor)
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia, that is, a type of genetic disorder that causes the adrenal glands to produce an abnormal amount of hormones
- McCune-Albright syndrome, which is a rare form of the genetic condition that impacts the bone and skin color and also triggers hormonal issues
Central precocious puberty is more likely to develop in girls. Likewise, it is more commonly observed in African-Americans as compared to other races. Exposure to hormonal medications and obesity also amplifies the risk of this condition. It is critical to get the necessary treatment for central precocious puberty as it can create complications in the future, such as short height or emotional problems.
When it comes to the preventive measures, not every risk factor can be prevented. However, parents can encourage their children to maintain a healthy weight. Similarly, parents should keep their kids away from external sources of hormones such as dietary pills or ointments.
Central precocious puberty that isn’t triggered by an underlying condition can be managed pretty effectively with medicines. Doctors use a treatment known as Gn-RH analog therapy, involving a monthly shot that helps in delaying puberty. The medication will be administered to the child until it’s the right time for them to undergo puberty. Usually, puberty kicks in approximately 16 months after the Gn-RH analog therapy is stopped.
In cases where an underlying condition is affecting the puberty of the child, they will have to get the condition treated. For instance, if congenital adrenal hyperplasia is impacting the normal puberty process, it will have to be treated for streamlining the body’s hormonal activity. Correcting this disorder will let the child’s system delay puberty until a suitable time arrives.
Dealing with central precocious puberty can be a confusing experience for both the parents and the child. If the parents sense that their child is facing emotional problems, they can opt for counseling. This will not only help the child but will also enable the parents to understand and communicate with them efficiently.
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