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