Learn About Precocious Puberty

What is the definition of Precocious Puberty?

Puberty is the time when a person's sexual and physical characteristics mature. Precocious puberty is when these body changes happen earlier than normal.

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What are the alternative names for Precocious Puberty?

Pubertas praecox

What are the causes of Precocious Puberty?

Puberty usually begins between ages 8 and 14 for girls and ages 9 and 16 for boys.

The exact age a child enters puberty depends on a number of factors, including family history, nutrition, and sex.

Most often there is no clear cause for precocious puberty. Some cases are due to changes in the brain, genetic problems, or certain tumors that release hormones. These conditions include:

  • Disorders of the testicles, ovaries, or adrenal glands
  • Tumor of the hypothalamus (hypothalamic hamartoma)
  • Tumors that release a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)
What are the symptoms of Precocious Puberty?

In girls, precocious puberty is when any of the following develop before age 8:

  • Armpit or pubic hair
  • Beginning to grow faster
  • Breasts
  • First period (menstruation)
  • Mature outer genitals

In boys, precocious puberty is when any of the following develop before age 9:

  • Armpit or pubic hair
  • Growth of the testes and penis
  • Facial hair, often first on the upper lip
  • Muscle growth
  • Voice change (deepening)
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What are the current treatments for Precocious Puberty?

Depending on the cause, treatment for precocious puberty may include:

  • Medicines to stop the release of sexual hormones, to help delay puberty. These medicines are given as a shot (injection). They will be given until the normal age of puberty.
  • Surgery to remove a tumor.

Children with early sexual development may have psychological and social problems. Children and adolescents want to be the same as their peers. Early sexual development can make them appear different. Parents can support their child by explaining the condition and how the doctor plans to treat it. Talking to a mental health worker or counselor may also help.

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What are the possible complications of Precocious Puberty?

Children who go through puberty too early may not reach their full height because growth stops too early.

When should I contact a medical professional for Precocious Puberty?

See your child's provider if:

  • Your child shows signs of precocious puberty
  • Any child with early sexual development appears to be having problems in school or with peers
How do I prevent Precocious Puberty?

Adult prescription medicines and dietary supplements that contain hormones should not be consumed by children.

Your child should maintain a healthy weight.

Endocrine glands
Male and female reproductive systems
What are the latest Precocious Puberty Clinical Trials?
The COPENHAGEN School Study. Normal Pubertal Development in Youth 2021 and Long-term Disease and Death Risk After Extremely Early Puberty

Summary: The COPENHAGEN School Study is a combined cross-sectional and longitudinal study of healthy Danish school children. This study will by clinical examinations and withdrawal of blood samples investigate whether age of pubertal onset is continuing to decline in Denmark over the past 15 years. Furthermore, we will investigate the mechanism driving earlier onset of puberty and the long term health risk...

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Evidence-based Medical Research on the Treatment of Children's Rapid Progressive Central Precocious Puberty With Integrative Chinese and Western Medicine

Summary: Our study used a randomized controlled trial to validate the clinical efficacy of a combination of traditional Chinese and Western medicine in the treatment of children with rapid progressive central precocious puberty.

What are the Latest Advances for Precocious Puberty?
Stereotactic radiosurgery for epilepsy related to hypothalamic hamartoma.
Surgical management of syndromic versus non-syndromic craniofacial fibrous dysplasia: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
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Response of South Indian girls with central precocious puberty to gonadotrophin analogue (GnRHa) therapy - a single center experience.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: August 10, 2021
Published By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Garibaldi LR, Chemaitilly W. Disorders of pubertal development. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 578.

Haddad NG, Eugster EA. Precocious puberty. In: Jameson JL, De Groot LJ, de Kretser DM, et al, eds. Endocrinology: Adult and Pediatric. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 121.