Early-onset puberty can make children feel self-conscious and parents concerned about their health and wellbeing. Over the long term, early puberty stunts growth in adulthood, which can contribute to mental and physical health issues down the line. To help parents understand how to deal with this condition, we’ll try to answer some of the most common questions about cause, effect, and treatment.
What is early puberty?
Early puberty occurs in young children, before the age of 9 in boys and age 8 in girls. It’s exactly what it sounds like – visible signs of maturation before a child’s body is prepared. The signs are different in boys and girls, as both sexes mature differently.
In young girls, pubescent puberty comes with early breast development, body hair and odor, the onset of menstruation, and a growth spurt. In boys under nine, growth of reproductive organs, deepening voice, facial and body hair, and body odor or acne can be signs of early puberty. If you believe your child may be maturing too early, it’s best to visit a doctor to discover any underlying issues.
What causes children to mature too early?
As hormones trigger puberty, secretion of certain regulators, such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone, testosterone, or estrogen, is typically the culprit. In any case, dangerous health conditions can be the cause. For example, tumors on reproductive organs contribute to premature hormonal delivery. Malfunction in the central nervous system can cause sexual development and rapid growth. Most worryingly, dietary changes have some of the strongest links to early maturation.
As life’s fast pace gets even faster, our food becomes more synthetic, chemical, and convenient. A lack of nutritious options, such as fiber, lean proteins, and good fats, lead to childhood obesity – especially for girls. Estrogen is created and stored in adipose tissue. Thus, the more adipose tissue available, the greater likelihood of early puberty.
But a well-balanced diet isn’t just necessary for young girls. Obesity can alter hormonal levels in young boys as well. Improper timing of sex steroids, such as testosterone, can close growth plates and limit height and development into adulthood. If you have concerns about early puberty in your child, it’s important to see a pediatric endocrinologist as soon as possible.
Diagnosis of early puberty
Early diagnosis allows for early treatment, providing time for your child to return to normal maturation. Discuss any abnormalities with your child’s pediatrician. They’ll be able to run blood and urine tests in search of abnormal hormone levels. Furthermore, x-rays of the hand and wrist can show whether or not your child’s bones are growing faster than normal.
Central precocious puberty tends to involve gonadotropin-releasing hormone from the pituitary gland. If your child’s pediatrician finds elevated levels of this hormone, a regular injection of GnRH agonists might be the solution. If it’s a dietary concern, an endocrinologist can make suggestions on how to move forward. However, late changes in a child’s diet might not be enough to stop puberty if it’s already started. That’s why many medical professionals recommend GnRH agonists and growth hormones to restore normal growth patterns.
Restoring normal growth
GnRH agonists effectively stop puberty in its tracks, preventing growth plates from fusing, yet in some cases leave young people hypogonadal. Aromatase inhibitors present an alternative option, by stopping the conversion of androgens to estrogens. Selectively suppressing estrogen production also helps minimize other auxiliary features like facial hair and sexual development. Moreover, combining aromatase inhibitors with growth hormone leads to higher peak height potential in adulthood.
Combined with a clean, healthy diet, medical interventions can reduce risks associated with early puberty. Regular injection of Pamorelin, use of aromatase inhibitors, and growth hormone injections can keep early puberty at bay while promoting normal growth patterns.
Learn more about early puberty at HGH Vallarta
If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to contact us today. We’ll happily connect you with a pediatric endocrinologist who specializes in early puberty. Our clinic offers all three medical interventions at affordable pricing, so you’ll receive connected, patient-first care from start to finish.