Precocious Puberty (Early Puberty)

Early puberty is also called precocious puberty.  Puberty is thought to be early in girls before the age of 8 and in boys before the age of 9.  Most children with early puberty grow fast at first, but finish growing before reaching their expected adult height. 

Early puberty will cause a child’s body to change much sooner than his or her friends.  They may feel different than their friends and have hormone changes that may cause mood swings.  Your child may feel uncomfortable with his or her body changes.  

Helping your child deal with teasing from friends and boosting self-esteem are important steps to help your child adjust to these changes.

Early puberty is caused by hormones from the ovaries and brain and special glands called adrenal and pituitary glands. 

A family history of early puberty or some genetic syndromes may also be a cause. 

Discuss the reason your child may be in early puberty with your child’s healthcare provider.

Boys 

  • Enlarged penis and testicles
  • Facial hair
  • Deepening of voice 

Girls 

  • Breasts
  • Periods

Boys and Girls 

  • Pubic and underarm hair
  • Acne
  • Mood swings
  • Early growth spurt

Most children do not need treatment for precocious puberty. 

If your healthcare provider thinks your child needs treatment, the goal is to stop puberty.  The medicine used to stop puberty is called Lupron or Supprelin.  Lupron is a shot given monthly or every three months.  Supprelin is an implant placed in the underside of the upper arm by a surgeon.  It lasts for one year and then needs to be replaced.

Your healthcare provider will talk with you about what is best for your child.

  • If your daughter has a period
  • If puberty continues while on medication

It is very important to have regular follow-up appointments (every four to six months) with your pediatric endocrinologist.


Last Updated 11/2013