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Tanner Stages for Girls
Tanner Stages for Boys
hair growth Genital
Images adapted from: Brown RT. Adolescent growth and development. In: Holland-Hall C, Brown RT, eds.
Adolescent Medicine Secrets. Philadelphia, PA: Hanley & Belfus, Inc.; 2002:21-28.
Getting the answers you need about central precocious puberty (CPP)1-4
As a parent or caregiver, it’s normal to worry and wonder what is causing your child to go through early puberty. Some children have an underlying condition causing early puberty. However, for most children, there is no known cause. Feel assured that your child’s doctor will perform tests and be able to answer questions specific to your child. Remember, CPP can be treated.
Talking with your child about early puberty1,4,5
Often, children are too young to understand the physical and hormonal changes happening to them. Reassure your child that these changes are normal and all of his or her friends will eventually go through puberty, too. These changes are just happening earlier in his or her body than they should.
Having this conversation early on can help your child feel more comfortable with CPP and its treatment.
Remember that CPP can be treated and your child can have a childhood just like other children his or her age. Sign up for emails to learn more and be sure to talk to your child’s doctor if you have questions.
Some tips for
While the type of discussion you have will depend on your child’s age, here are some tips that can help:
Here are some additional websites where you can find support and answers about CPP.
AbbVie is providing this information to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link
does not imply the endorsement of AbbVie.
Bone age X-ray: an X-ray of the left hand and wrist that helps evaluate how a child’s skeleton is maturing. This is typically done to help doctors diagnose conditions that delay or accelerate growth
Central precocious puberty (CPP): a condition in which children begin puberty at an abnormally early age (before age 8 in girls and before age 9 in boys). It’s caused by the early release of hormones by the pituitary gland near the base of the brain
Chronological age: a person’s age measured from the time of birth
CPP: see Central precocious puberty
Estrogen: a “female” sex hormone that causes the development of female sexual characteristics and affects the reproductive cycle in women
Fertility: the ability to produce offspring
FSH: see Follicle-stimulating hormone
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH): a hormone that stimulates the growth of follicles in the ovary and produces sperm in the testes
Genitals: reproductive or sexual organs
GnRH: see Gonadotropin-releasing hormone
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH): a hormone made by the hypothalamus (part of the brain) that causes the pituitary gland to produce two hormones, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
Growth chart: a standardized chart used to measure a child’s growth rate in comparison to other children of the same age and sex
Growth rate: the rate of increase in size for a set amount of time
Hormone: a substance produced by the body that travels through the blood to affect another part of the body. Hormones can influence a range of effects. For examples, see Follicle-stimulating hormone and Luteinizing hormone
Hypothalamus: a small area at the base of the brain. Produces hormones that travel to the pituitary gland to regulate basic functions necessary for life, including body temperature, hunger, sleep, and the production of sex hormones
LH: see Luteinizing hormone
Luteinizing hormone (LH): in females, it controls the menstrual cycle, including the production of both estrogen and progesterone. In males, it stimulates the testes to produce androgens
Ovaries: the pair of reproductive glands in women. They are located on each side of the uterus. Ovaries produce eggs (ovum) and female hormones
Pediatric endocrinologist: a specialist that treats a wide range of hormonal conditions in children
Peripheral precocious puberty (PPP): a condition where children begin puberty at an abnormally early age (before age 8 in girls and before age 9 in boys). It’s caused by the induction of sex steroids from abnormal sources, such as a tumor or exposure to external sources of estrogen or testosterone, such as creams or ointments
Pituitary gland: also known as the “Master Gland,” it is a pea-sized endocrine gland located at the base of the brain. It’s the gland that helps control the release of all hormones
Polycystic ovary syndrome: a hormone imbalance that can cause changes in the menstrual cycle, skin changes, small cysts on the ovaries, and trouble getting pregnant
PPP: see Peripheral precocious puberty
Precocious: unusually advanced or early in development
Puberty: the period of time when children rapidly change biologically, physically, and psychologically. The signs and symptoms of puberty are growth spurts, pubic hair, acne, breast development in girls, or a voice change in boys
Screening: a test or check to determine whether an individual has a specific disease or medical condition
Sex hormone: a hormone, such as estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, and androgen, that affects the growth or function of the reproductive organs and sex behavior
Testosterone: a male sex hormone made by the testicles in boys. It’s also present in girls, but in smaller amounts. Testosterone is responsible for producing masculine secondary sex characteristics such as growth of body hair, deepening of voice, and the development of the male reproductive system
References: 1. Barker J. Helping your child cope with precocious puberty. WebMD website. https://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/helping-your-child-cope. Published February 2010. Accessed March 21, 2018. 2. Mayo Clinic Staff. Precocious puberty: symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic website. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/precocious-puberty/symptoms-causes/syc-20351811. Published November 17, 2017. Accessed March 21, 2018. 3. Carel JC, Léger J. Clinical practice. Precocious puberty. N Engl J Med. 2008;358(22):2366-2377. 4. Carel JC, Lahlou N, Roger M, Chaussain JL. Precocious puberty and statural growth. Hum Reprod Update. 2004;10(2):135-147. 5. Central precocious puberty (CPP). WebMD website. https://www.webmd.com/children/central-precocious-puberty#1. Updated March 16, 2016. Accessed March 21, 2018. 6. Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary. 32nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2011. 7. X-ray exam: bone age study. KidsHealth website. https://kidshealth.org/en/
parents/xray-bone-age.html#catboy. Updated May 2014. Accessed March 21, 2018. 8. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): topic overview. WebMD website. https://www.webmd.com/women/tc/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos-topic-overview#1. Accessed March 21, 2018. 9. Everything you wanted to know about puberty. KidsHealth website. https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/puberty.html#catboy. Updated October 2015. Accessed March 21, 2018. 10. Puberty in boys. Merck Manual Consumer Version website. https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/men-s-health-issues/biology-of-the-male-reproductive-system/puberty-in-boys. Accessed March 21, 2018. 11. Precocious puberty. The Magic Foundation website. https://www.magicfoundation.org/growth-disorders/precocious-puberty/. Accessed March 21, 2018.