Precocious puberty

Precocious puberty

DiseaseDisorder infobox
Name = Precocious puberty
ICD10 = ICD10|E|30|1|e|20, ICD10|E|22|8|e|20
ICD9 = ICD9|259.1
OMIM = 176400
DiseasesDB = 10519
MedlinePlus = 001168
eMedicineSubj = ped
eMedicineTopic = 1882
MeshID = D011629

Precocious puberty (La:"pubertas praecox") is an unusually early onset of puberty, the process of sexual maturation triggered by the brain or exogenous chemicals, which usually begins in late childhood and results in reproductive maturity and completion of growth. Early puberty may be a variation of normal development, or may be a result of a disease or abnormal hormone exposure.

In some contexts, the term is used more broadly to describe the early appearance of any of the physical features of puberty even if the complete brain-directed process is not occurring.


Early pubic hair, breast, or genital development may result from natural early maturation or from several other conditions.

a. Early puberty which is natural in every way except age is termed "idiopathic central precocious puberty". It may be partial or transient. Central puberty can also occur prematurely if the inhibitory system of the brain is damaged, or a hypothalamic hamartoma produces pulsatile gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH).

b. Secondary sexual development induced by sex steroids from other abnormal sources (gonadal or adrenal tumors, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, etc.) is referred to as "peripheral precocious puberty" or "precocious pseudopuberty".

Clinical significance

Early sexual development deserves evaluation because it may:
#induce early bone maturation and reduce eventual adult height
#indicate the presence of a tumor or other serious problem
#cause the child to become an object of adult sexual interest

Central precocious puberty can be caused by intracranial neoplasm, infection, trauma, hydrocephalus, and Angelman syndrome. [cite journal |author=Dickerman R, Stevens Q, Steide J, Schneider S |title=Precocious puberty associated with a pineal cyst: is it disinhibition of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis? |journal=Neuro Endocrinol Lett |volume=25 |issue=3 |pages=173–5 |year=2004 |pmid=15349080]

;Case Study

High levels of beta-hCG in serum and cerebrospinal fluid observed in a 9-year old boy suggest a pineal gland tumor. The tumor is called a "chorionic gonadotropin secreting pineal tumor". Radiography and chemotherapy reduced tumor and beta-hCG levels normalized. [cite journal |author=Kuo H, Sheen J, Wu K, Wei H, Hsiao C |title=Precocious puberty due to human chorionic gonadotropin-secreting pineal tumor |journal=Chang Gung Med J |volume=29 |issue=2 |pages=198–202 |year= |pmid=16767969] "Central precocious puberty (CPP) was reported in some patients with suprasellar arachnoid cysts(SAC) [3] , and SCFE occurs in patients with CPP because of rapid growth and changes of growth hormone secretion." [cite journal |author=Yamato F, Takaya J, Higashino H, Yamanouchi Y, Suehara H, Kobayashi Y |title=Slipped capital femoral epiphysis during the treatment of precocious puberty with a gonadotropin-releasing hormone-agonist: aetiological considerations |journal=Eur. J. Pediatr. |volume=164 |issue=3 |pages=173–4 |year=2005 |pmid=15592875 |doi=10.1007/s00431-004-1578-7 |url=]

Bones can be considered older in individuals with early puberty beyond actual age of individual. Early puberty is marked by growth hormone problems resulting from various brain disorders.


Studies indicate that breast development in girls and pubic hair in girls and boys are starting earlier than in previous generations.Fact|date=June 2008 As a result, "early puberty" in children as young as 9 and 10 is no longer considered abnormal, although it may be upsetting to parents.

No single age limit reliably separates normal from abnormal processes in children today, but the following age thresholds for evaluation will minimize the risk of missing a significant medical problem:
*Pubic hair or genital enlargement in boys with onset before 9 years.
*Breast development in boys before appearance of pubic hair and testicular enlargement.
*Pubic hair before 8 or breast development in girls with onset before 7 years.
*Menstruation in girls before 10 years.

;Suggested causes:Fact|date=October 2007
#endocrine disorder
#familial associations
#abnormalities in the ovaries, testicles, or adrenal glands
#structural problems in the brain
#tumors that release hormones (estrogen, testosterone, etc.)

(For Suggested Causes and epidemiology of central form, see: cite journal |author=Antoniazzi F, Zamboni G |title=Central precocious puberty: current treatment options |journal=Paediatr Drugs |volume=6 |issue=4 |pages=211–31 |year=2004 |pmid=15339200 |doi= |url=)


The causes of early puberty are not clear. Girls who are obese are more likely to physically mature earlier. [ [ When Little Girls Become Women: Early Onset of Puberty in Girls ] ]

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used to make plastics, and is frequently used to make baby bottles, water bottles, sports equipment, medical devices, and as a coating in food and beverage cans. Scientists are concerned about BPA's behavioral effects on fetuses, infants, and children at current exposure levels because it can affect the prostate gland or mammary gland, and lead to early puberty in girls. BPA mimics and interferes with the action of estrogen-an important reproduction and development regulator.

Other notes

Medical evaluation is sometimes necessary to recognize the few children with serious conditions from the majority who have entered puberty early but are still medically normal.

Precocious puberty can make a child able to conceive when very young; the youngest mother on record is Lina Medina, who gave birth at the age of 5 years, 7 months and 21 days. An 8 year old boy had early puberty caused by a malignant intracranial germ cell tumor. [cite journal |author=Massie R, Shaw P, Burgess M |title=Intracranial choriocarcinoma causing precocious puberty and cured with combined modality therapy |journal=J Paediatr Child Health |volume=29 |issue=6 |pages=464–7 |year=1993 |pmid=8286166]

The role of the pineal gland in reproduction of other species of vertebrate suggest that the pineal gland does have significance in development and function of human reproductive axis. [cite journal |author=Cavallo A |title=Melatonin and human puberty: current perspectives |journal=J Pineal Res |volume=15 |issue=3 |pages=115–21 |year=1993 |pmid=8106956 |doi=10.1111/j.1600-079X.1993.tb00517.x] In a study using neonatal melatonin on rats, results suggest that elevated melatonin could be responsible for some cases of early puberty. [cite journal |author=Esquifino A, Villanúa M, Agrasal C |title=Effect of neonatal melatonin administration on sexual development in the rat |journal=J Steroid Biochem |volume=27 |issue=4-6 |pages=1089–93 |year=1987 |pmid=3121932 |doi=10.1016/0022-4731(87)90194-4(4-6):1089-93]

ee also

*Delayed puberty


External links

* [ Your Child - Puberty] by University of Michigan
* [ PSM] by Child Growth Foundation
* [ When Little Girls Become Women: Early Onset of Puberty Among Girls] by Center4Research

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • precocious puberty — the development at an early age of the physical and physiological changes associated with puberty. In girls this is usually taken as development of breasts or pubic hair before the age of six or menstruation before the age of eight. In boys… …   Medical dictionary

  • precocious puberty — the development at an early age of the physical and physiological changes associated with puberty. In girls this is usually taken as development of breasts or pubic hair before the age of six or menstruation before the age of eight. In boys… …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • precocious puberty — /prəkoʊʃəs ˈpjubəti/ (say pruhkohshuhs pyoohbuhtee) noun puberty which has an unusually early onset, in girls before age 8 and in boys before age 9, either as a variation in normal development or as a result of disease or abnormal hormones …   Australian English dictionary

  • constitutional precocious puberty — precocious puberty occurring in otherwise normal children generally with a family history of early onset of puberty. The age range for such individuals overlaps the upper range for those with idiopathic precocious puberty …   Medical dictionary

  • central precocious puberty — precocious puberty caused by premature hypothalamic pituitary gonadal maturation; it is always isosexual and involves not only development of secondary sex characters but also development of the gonads. Increases in height and weight and osseous… …   Medical dictionary

  • contrasexual precocious puberty — precocious puberty in which secondary sex characters of the opposite sex are developed; called also heterosexual precocious p …   Medical dictionary

  • isosexual precocious puberty — precocious puberty in which sex characters are consistent with the sex of the individual …   Medical dictionary

  • Male-limited precocious puberty — Classification and external resources OMIM 176410 Male limited precocious puberty (also known as familial sexual precocity and gonadotropin independent testotoxicosis)[1] is a form of gonadotropin independent …   Wikipedia

  • idiopathic precocious puberty — central precocious puberty in which no underlying causative lesion can be found; it affects mainly girls and is usually sporadic, although there is a hereditary form whose occurrence is confined largely to boys …   Medical dictionary

  • neurogenic precocious puberty — central precocious puberty that is caused by a lesion of the central nervous system, such as tumor, congenital defect, or trauma …   Medical dictionary