All About Early Puberty In Girls
If you have begun to see early signs of puberty in your daughter, you are not alone. A growing number of parents in South Africa and around the world are concerned about their children moving into puberty too early.
Also known as precocious puberty, it is when your child’s body begins to mature at a faster pace and sooner than usual. While this does not mean that there is anything wrong with your child, it is good to understand why.
Read on to find out more about early puberty and its causes in girls.
On average, girls undergo puberty between the ages of 8 years and 13 years. With precocious puberty, girls begin to show clear signs of puberty before this age window. This occurrence affects a very small percentage of children around the world. According to research, 1 out of 5,000 children are affected by early puberty.
Causes of Precocious Puberty
While there are ongoing scientific studies that show why some girls experience early puberty, some factors are obvious. Here are the most common, known causes of early puberty.
1.ObesityGirls who are overweight or obese are likely to develop early puberty.
Exposure to sex hormones like oestrogen or testosterone increases a girl’s risk of developing precocious puberty.
2.Exposure to Sex Hormones
This could happen if she comes in contact with a lotion or any other substance that contains these hormones.
3.GeneticsIn some girls, an unusual genetic mutation can cause the release of sex hormones. This release can lead to early puberty. A parent or sibling may likely have a similar genetic issue.
4.Medical ConditionsMedical conditions such as hypothyroidism can trigger the development of early puberty. Complications from the condition could lead to abnormal production of hormones. Such complications are believed to be associated with precocious puberty.
5.Undergoing Radiation Therapy of the Central Nervous SystemRadiation therapy is often used for the treatment of medical conditions like leukaemia and tumours. Undergoing such therapies can increase the risk of development of early signs of puberty in girls.
Should You Worry?
Precocious puberty is not a reason to worry. In most cases, it does not present any health risk to your child.
But if you still feel concerned and think that your little girl is unable to process early puberty, you must contact your paediatrician who will run some tests and provide guidance.
In some critical cases, precocious puberty may require treatment, especially when the signs point towards a severe, related condition.
Addressing Early Puberty
If you feel she needs professional counselling to address the changes going through her body, do consult a doctor.
Young girls are not as well-equipped to handle early menstruation. It can be very unsettling and embarrassing too. Thus, you must reassure your daughter that you are there for her, and she can always rely on you for support. It would help if you prepared her by discussing the things that she can expect during puberty.
Factors for Parents to Note
- Sometimes, signs that may seem like early puberty are often not related to the condition. They can show up from time to time, but also clear up on their own.
- If you and the doctor decide that a treatment is essential, discuss the same with your partner and your child. Treatment usually has positive results.
- Most girls with precocious puberty often handle the signs well. They go on to be healthy as usual, physically, mentally, and socially.