When a boy begins puberty earlier than normal, the condition is known as precocious puberty. But as a parent, you may wonder if your child really has precocious puberty or is just going through normal puberty but earlier than usual. It is necessary to distinguish between precocious puberty and normal puberty in order to differentiate if your child is in one or the other.
The distinction between precocious puberty and normal puberty usually comes down to the age of onset. Puberty in girls is considered to be earlier than normal when they develop breasts between the ages of 8 and 10. For boys, puberty appears earlier than normal when the testicles develop between the ages of 9 and 12. In these cases, the bone age will coincide with the chronological age.
True precocious puberty occurs when boys show signs of puberty before age 8 in girls and by age 9 in boys. In these cases, X-rays could reveal advanced bone age.
Signs that your child is in puberty
When a boy or girl reaches puberty there are some changes in the body that often have parents concerned about precocious puberty. For example, many obese boys may start to have stronger body odor or grow pubic hair early. But normally a precocious puberty does not usually negatively influence the development of the child.
Menstruation in girls can also be a sign of precocious puberty. This is because menstruation occurs about two years after the breasts begin to appear. On the other hand, if a boy is growing faster and faster than other boys his age, it could also be a sign of precocious puberty rather than normal puberty. But to know if it really is precocious puberty, the doctor should send an x-ray test to check the bone size of the boy or girl.
Types of precocious puberty
There are two types of precocious puberty: central and peripheral. Differentiating it through medical tests is essential to be able to determine the type of treatment in case it is necessary.
Central precocious puberty
Central precocious puberty occurs when the gland in the brain that makes hormones is out of control for some reason. Signs include early breast development, pubic hair growth in girls or early testicular enlargement, and pubic hair development in boys.
Peripheral precocious puberty
Peripheral precocious puberty occurs when the sex organs or adrenal glands make too much hormone. Sometimes girls develop masculine characteristics, such as facial hair, and boys may develop feminine characteristics, such as having an enlarged chest, but this does not always happen.
If you realize that your son or daughter has signs of precocious puberty or you have any concern that your son or daughter’s development is not normal development, the first thing you should do is go to your child’s pediatrician so that he can assess the situation. They will probably order a blood test and X-rays to help diagnose precocious puberty or normal puberty. Remember that the development of each child may have a different rhythm from that of other children and that you should not worry too much if your son or daughter is healthy and presents an appropriate development for his age. Every kid is a world!