The appearance of a breast bud in a girl before the age of eight years, the occurrence of the first menstrual period before the age of nine years – both are considered early puberty in girls. An increase in size of testes before the age of nine years in boys is considered early puberty in boys.
Early puberty especially occurring before eight years of age, the earlier it occurs signifies always a problematic condition and it is not healthy. In boys this could mean a serious central nervous system tumor. Girls between the age of seven and eight often get early puberty due to genetic reasons and in them there may be no serious cause underlying.
Early puberty in boys can be because of conditions like hypothalamic hamartoma, radiation to brain and spinal cord. Congenital adrenal hyperplasia also can trigger precocious puberty in boys.
The very first symptom for early puberty in girls is a sudden increase in height, a girl who is less than eight years of age showing a sudden increase in height should prompt evaluation for early puberty, the height acceleration occurs even before the development of breast buds. In boys, the first symptom of early puberty may be the appearance of pubic or armpit hair.
Early puberty is easily and safely treated by the use of going to drop in analogues. These are monthly injections to be given intramuscularly. They are almost 100% effective in stopping the progression of puberty in those with Central because of stability which is the most common cause of early puberty. The presence of precocious puberty in boys should prompt evaluation for underlying central nervous system disorders or tumors. If any abnormality is uncovered, it has to be treated accordingly.
Early puberty has profound effects on final height. The earlier the precocious puberty occurs the shorter the total final height, though at the time of diagnosis of precocity children are often very much taller than their peers.