Precocious puberty

Alternative Names

Pubertas praecox

Definition of Precocious puberty

Puberty is the time during which sexual and physical characteristics mature. Precocious puberty is when these body changes happen earlier than normal.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Puberty usually begins between ages 10 and 14 for girls, and ages 12 and 16 for boys. Some African American girls may start puberty earlier, around age 9.

Symptoms

In girls, precocious puberty is when any of the following develop before age 8:

Signs and tests

Blood hormone levels, or of the abdomen and MRI of the brain or of the abdomen are often used to diagnose the problem.

Treatment

Medications can stop the release of sexual hormones. Some tumors need to be removed with surgery.

Review

Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 8/2/2009

Endocrine glands
Male and female reproductive systems

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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