What is Puberty?
What are the stages of normal puberty in girls?
The average age that breasts start to develop in girls is 9 to 10. Puberty usually starts earlier in African-American girls than in Caucasian girls. Some experts found that breast development in African-American girls started a year before it did in Caucasian girls. Breasts typically take at least three years to mature fully.
What are the stages of normal puberty in boys?
If boys show major development before age 9, it is considered early. Early puberty in girls or boys is called “Precocious Puberty.”
What is precocious puberty?
Another major problem with early puberty is that body changes happen much earlier than in other children of the same age. This makes a child appear different. Children with early puberty might be teased. This is common for girls who develop breasts early. Girls might receive sexual advances for which they are not mentally and emotionally ready. Boys might become more aggressive than their peers.
Children with early puberty might feel alone and rejected. Adults might expect them to act older than they are. This can be hard for children because they can’t live up to how others think they should act. For children with Spina Bifida, early puberty and all of the problems that go with it can make daily life more difficult.
Why are children with Spina Bifida and hydrocephalus more likely to start puberty earlier than their peers?
What do I do if my child shows signs of precocious puberty?
Your child would be referred to an endocrinologist (a doctor who specializes in hormones). If no other problems are found, the most common treatment is to delay puberty. There are hormonal treatments that can stop puberty, usually after three to six months; and may reverse some changes.
LHRH analogs, synthetic hormones that block the body's production of the sex hormones that cause precocious puberty, are available under different names, but Lupron seems to be the most commonly used medication. Positive results are usually seen within a year of starting treatment with an LHRH analog, and the drugs are considered to be generally safe. However, all drugs potentially have side effects, and families should discuss this with their physicians.
What is the benefit to delaying puberty in my child?
This information does not constitute medical advice for any individual. As specific cases may vary from the general information presented here, SBA advises readers to consult a qualified medical or other professional on an individual basis.