It seems just like yesterday when you were holding your tiny baby girl in your arms, and now she is in school! True, you are experiencing a reduced burden when it comes to tend your kid, but nevertheless, homework, exams and your kid’s lunch boxes are going to keep you busy enough and you are still enjoying your child’s innocent years.
So you may not be prepared when puberty occurs in your child way too early than you expected. Normal puberty is nothing short of an emotional roller coaster ride… watch tempers flare up, frequent break-downs, fussy behaviour and a load of emotional drama; but precocious puberty can actually be demoralizing and disheartening.
What Is Early Puberty in Girls?
Early puberty or precocious puberty may start at around 8 years of age, and is known to affect more girls than boys. It is a condition that affects a good number of children today and can actually be quite stressful for both parents and child.
Apart from dealing with all the changes at
Detecting Early Puberty:
Usually, girls progress into puberty between 9 to 14 years of age; however, if your little girl is still 8, and you notice that she starts growing pubic hair or develops any other symptom of puberty, she may be suffering from precocious puberty. There are actually many signs and symptoms that point out towards the condition.
- Development of breasts
- Rapid growth of height- also called a growth spurt
- Pubic hair
- Hair growth in the underarms
- Acne and breakouts
A child affected by precocious puberty may show all or some of these symptoms. Usually, a couple of changes are enough to signify a condition known as partial precocious puberty.
What Causes Early Puberty in Girls?
Now that you know how concerning this condition can be, it’s time to understand what exactly causes precocious puberty in girls. While in a vast majority of cases, precocious puberty doesn’t have any underlying cause associated with its occurrence, there may be certain conditions that may impact or cause symptoms associated with the condition.
- A tumor in the brain or the spinal cord.
- Injury to the organs of the central nervous system.
- Radiation related effects on the brain and the spinal cord.
- Birth defects of the central nervous system such as presence of non-cancerous tumors and excess buildup of fluid.
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia, which is basically a genetic disorder that causes abnormal hormonal production of the adrenal glands.
- Hypothyroidism, which is a condition where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones.
- McCune-Albright syndrome; a genetic condition that affects the bones and the skin and causes hormonal problems.
- An adrenal or pituitary hormone that secretes estrogen or progesterone.
- Exposure to creams that contain estrogen and progesterone.
- Ovarian cysts.
- Ovarian tumors.
To add to that, there are certain factors that could raise your little girls’ risk of being affected by precocious puberty..
- Being exposed to sex hormones in the form of creams or ointments.
- Consuming supplements that raise the risk of precocious puberty.
- Being obese; since obesity is a factor that influences precocious puberty.
- Receiving radiation therapy as a treatment.
Ways to Handle Early Puberty:
Precocious puberty can be quite stressful for the family, and appropriate treatment is necessary. Managing the underlying condition is the best and most effective way to deal with precocious puberty. If your little girl is affected by this condition due to the presence of a tumor in the adrenal or pituitary gland, getting it removed surgically could help you deal with the condition. Your doctor may also suggest some medications to suppress the tumor if possible.
In almost all cases of precocious puberty, an endocrinologist will recommend shots of a drug called LHRH (Luteinizing Hormone Releasing Hormone) analog to be taken daily or every 3-4 weeks, depending upon the hormonal levels as examined in your daughter.
Here are a few tips to help you deal with the condition if you find your little girl affected.
1. Stay Calm:
Do not panic. Your little girl is very young and practically unaware of what is going on with her. Panicking at this stage may affect her tender mind and may leave scars lasting into adulthood.
2. Seek Medical Attention:
The best way to detect the cause and take care of the problem is to visit a doctor and explain your concerns to him. The doctor will probably examine her physically to understand her condition better (what you may see as the onset of breast development may actually be just a little extra fat on the body).
3. Have A Positive Approach:
The condition is very much treatable; you just need to stay focused and look for good outcomes from the treatment.
4. Be There For Your Kid:
Explain to her that she’ll be receiving treatment for a condition that she’s suffering from, and that you’re proud of her and believe in her.
5. Enlist Others Support:
Stay in touch with your kid’s teachers and school management to understand and assess her academic progress. This will also help you find out if your kid is a victim of bullying or peer pressure or if her condition is affecting her performance at school.
Above all, love your girl for what she is and treat her as a normal kid. With changing times, you will need to assist your kid grow into a wonderful human being. Good luck!
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