Precocious Puberty

Also known as: Early puberty

What is precocious puberty?

Puberty is the beginning of sexual maturation and the ability to reproduce. Precocious puberty is the earlier than normal presence of the signs of puberty (before 8 years of age in girls, and before 9 years in boys).

Signs/symptoms during puberty:

  • Development of breasts
  • Increased growth of testes and penis
  • Pubic hair
  • Underarm hair
  • Facial hair (in boys)
  • Body odor
  • Menstrual bleeding
  • Acne
  • Deepening voice in boys
  • Mood swings
  • Increased growth rate.

What causes precocious puberty?

In most cases the cause of precocious puberty is unknown. In others, a family history of precocious puberty, or problems in the body’s hormone producing glands (the pituitary, ovaries, testes or adrenals) cause them to release sex hormones that start the process early. Other causes include:

  • Genetic and medical conditions
  • A variety of brain conditions
  • Obesity
  • Radiation or cancer treatments
  • Social, environmental factors or exposure to hormone pills/ointments.

What are the signs/symptoms of precocious puberty? 

The signs/symptoms of precocious puberty are the same as puberty in any other child.

What are precocious puberty care options? 

The objective of treatment is to enable your child to grow to his/her appropriate normal adult height. In many cases where no cause is found, an injectable medication called Gn-RH analogue therapy which blocks pubertal hormones, may be used to delay puberty. Treatment addressing any contributing medical etc. because may be beneficial.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: November 03, 2021 03:35 PM

Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes

The Division of Pediatric Endocrinology at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital provides comprehensive services for infants, children, and adolescents with endocrine disorders.

Learn more