What is puberty?
Puberty is the method of bodily modifications through which a kid’s body matures into a grownup body able for sexual reproduction. It is initiated via means of hormonal alerts from the mind to the gonads: the ovaries in a girl, and the testes in a boy. In reaction to the alerts, the gonads produce hormones that stimulate libido and the mind’s growth, function, and transformation, bones, muscle, blood, skin, hair, breasts, and intercourse organs. Physical growth—top and weight—speeds up in the first half of puberty and is finished while a person’s frame has been developed. Before puberty, the external intercourse organs, called number one sexual traits, are intercourse traits that distinguish boys and women. Puberty ends in sexual dimorphism via the improvement of the secondary intercourse traits, which in addition distinguish the sexes.
On average, women start puberty at a long time 10–eleven, and whole puberty at a long time 15–17; boys commonly start puberty at a long time eleven–12, and whole puberty at a long time 16–17.
What is precocious puberty?
Precocious puberty is when a kid’s body starts changing into that of an adult (puberty) too soon. When puberty starts off evolving earlier than age eight in women and earlier than age nine in boys, it is miles taken into consideration precocious puberty. Puberty consists of a speedy increase of bones and muscles, adjustments in frame form and size, and improvement of the frame’s cap potential to reproduce. The purpose of precocious puberty frequently cannot be found. Rarely, positive conditions, along with infections, hormone disorders, tumors, mind abnormalities, or injuries, can also cause precocious puberty. Treatment for precocious puberty consists of a remedy to postpone similar improvement.
Types of precocious puberty
- Central Precocious Puberty: It is more common. It is like regular puberty; however, it occurs early. The pituitary gland begins making hormones referred to as gonadotropins. These hormones cause the testicles or ovaries to make different hormones: testosterone or estrogen. These intercourse hormones motivate the modifications of puberty, like breast improvement in girls.
There is no underlying medical disease and no apparent reason for early puberty in the majority of children with this syndrome.
Central precocious puberty can be induced by a variety of factors, including:
- A brain tumor or a tumor in the spinal cord (central nervous system)
- A congenital abnormality in the brain, such as excessive fluid buildup (hydrocephalus) or a benign tumor (hamartoma)
- Radiation to the brain or spinal cord is one of the most dangerous types of radiation.
- A brain or spinal cord injury
- McCune-Albright syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that affects the bones and skin color, as well as causing hormonal issues.
- Adrenal hyperplasia congenital is a set of hereditary illnesses characterized by abnormal hormone production by the adrenal glands.
- Hypothyroidism is a disorder in which the thyroid gland produces insufficient hormones.
- Peripheral precocious puberty or precocious pseudopuberty- It is a different condition and is rarely found. Estrogen and testosterone are the hormones that cause the symptoms. However, neither the brain nor the pituitary gland is involved. It is a problem with the ovaries, testicles, adrenal gland, or extremely underactive thyroid gland.
The following factors can cause premature puberty in both girls and boys:
- A tumor that releases estrogen or testosterone from the adrenal glands or the pituitary gland.
- McCune-Albright syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that affects the color of the skin and the bones, as well as causing hormonal issues.
- Exposure to estrogen or testosterone via external sources, such as lotions or ointments
Peripheral precocious puberty in girls has also been linked to:
- Cysts in the ovaries
- Tumors of the ovary
- Peripheral precocious puberty in males can also be caused by:
- A tumor in the cells that produce sperm (germ cells) or testosterone (testosterone-producing cells) (Leydig cells).
- An uncommon condition known as gonadotropin-independent familial sexual precocity, which is caused by a gene abnormality, might result in the creation of sperm too early.
- Other conditions that may appear to parents and even pediatricians to be early puberty but do not include:
- Premature thelarche: It occurs when a young girl’s breasts begin to expand. Girls as young as a few years old are frequently affected. It gets better on its own and is not early puberty, which is concerning for parents. Although there is no need for treatment, you should still take your child to the doctor to receive their opinion.
- Premature pubarche: It is when pubic or underarm hair appears at a young age. It can be caused by premature adrenarche, which occurs when the adrenal glands begin releasing hormones too soon. When it may appear scary, it is usually not a concern. It is also not a symptom of impending puberty. However, because it could be the first sign of an abnormally high release of adrenal hormones, your child should consult a doctor.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Pioneering puberty signs and symptoms in children typically occur before 8 years old in girls and before 9 years old in boys.
- Breast development and first period in girls
- Boys with enlarged testicles and penis, facial hair, and darkened voice
- pubic or armpit hair
- Rapid growth
- adult body odor
If you want to know why some children start puberty earlier than others, it is important to understand why puberty usually begins in the first place. The brain begins the process of producing a hormone called gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). When this hormone reaches the pituitary gland, it leads to the production of more hormones in the ovaries and testicles for females and males. Estrogen is responsible for the growth and development of female sexual characteristics. Testosterone is essential for the growth and development of male sexual characteristics. Some children experience central precocious puberty early in their development, while others have peripheral precocious puberty. The causes are the same in children, regardless of their age. This is especially true if puberty is moving along quickly. They may include:
- Tumors and other forms of growth that are often benign
- Brain injury, either from surgery or a blow to the head that affects hormone balances
- Inflammation of the brain, sometimes from an infection
Only a small number of central early childhood puberty cases in boys result from a medical problem. There is a lesser chance of girls developing this condition.
- Gender- Girls are 10 times as likely as boys to experience central precocious puberty.
- Genetics- Sometimes, genetic mutations that cause the release of sex hormones can lead to early puberty. These children are more likely to have a parent or sibling with a similar genetic problem.
- Race- Researchers do not know why, but on average African American girls start puberty about a year earlier than white girls.
- International adoption- One study showed that adopted children outside the United States are 10 to 20 times more likely to mature into early puberty. The uncertainty of the exact ages of the adopted children might be affecting the study results.
- Obesity- There is a link between obesity in young girls and an increased risk of precocious puberty. But the researchers do not know how direct the connection is. There is no clear connection between obesity and early puberty in boys.
- Children who experience precocious puberty may grow quickly at first, but they will eventually grow at a slower pace than other children their age. The bones of premature babies often grow more quickly than those of babies who are not premature. This can cause them to stop growing earlier than usual, which can be a problem. A potential side effect of this medication could be that adults may be shorter than average. Treating precocious puberty in very young children can help them grow taller than they would without treatment.
- Some children who begin puberty earlier than their peers may be very self-conscious about the physical changes happening to them. This might affect self-esteem and increase the risk of depression or substance abuse.
Talk to your doctor if your child shows any signs of precocious puberty (before age 7 or 8 in girls or 9 years in boys), including:
- breast development
- Rapid growth in height
- Enlarged testicles or penis
- pubic or armpit hair
To diagnose precocious puberty, your doctor may order blood tests to look for high levels of sex hormones. X-rays of your child’s wrist and hand can show if the bones mature too early. MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) or ultrasound tests are rarely used to rule out uncommon causes of precocious puberty, such as a tumor in the brain, ovary, or testicle.
- GnRH analog therapy: If your child has central precocious puberty and no other conditions, the doctor may suggest using a GnRH analog therapy to help speed up their development. This is a medication your child receives in a shot once a month. It halts development while they take it. The child will continue to grow and develop until they reach the age at which puberty begins.
- Histrelin implant (Vantas): Your kid needs a little surgery to fit in. The doctor put the needle into the skin on the inside of the upper arm of the patient. The vaccine also delays development but does not require monthly shots. The implant lasts for one year.
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