Children As Early As Age 2 Can Undergo Puberty, Here's Everything You Need To Know About Precocious Puberty
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For most people, puberty is considered a milestone which highlights the physical development that will mark the transition from childhood to adulthood. Normally, children go through puberty in their early teens. However, today, about one in every 5,000 children suffer from a rare condition called precocious puberty or early puberty as young as 2 years old and unfortunately the situation gets worse each day.
So every parent has been struggling to have answers to the question about what precocious puberty is. Basically, precocious puberty is a medical condition that causes an early release of hormones from the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus of the brain which is responsible for stimulating estrogen production that causes puberty to start before it's supposed to.
According to independent.co.uk, this can happen to children as young as two years old, but the upper age for which the condition may be diagnosed has not been defined. Experts also said that it is usually diagnosed before the age of eight in boys and nine in girls.
They have also mentioned that there are various signs of precocious puberty like breast development, rapid height growth, menstruation, acne, enlarged testicles or penis, or pubic or underarm hair. However, the condition is more difficult to detect than often thought of. Deccan Chronicle reported that Paul Kaplowitz, a doctor at the Children's National Medical Centre in Washington DC, has explained that only one in 10 children ever referred to him with signs of early puberty actually had the condition. Dr. Kaplowitz also explained that children can have isolated breast development and pubic hair without other symptoms. This may show that they are not signs of normal puberty, but just normal variations.
Charlene Denton, a British woman whose daughter started puberty at the age of two, told how she discovered the signs of her child's condition. "Just after her second birthday, she started developing little breast buds. At first, the doctor reassured us that she was absolutely fine and there was nothing wrong with her. But then she started developing a second breast bud, so we took her back and had all sorts of tests done to diagnose her with precocious puberty," she said. "We were completely shocked. We'd never heard about it," she added. However, the treatment for precocious puberty can also depend on the cause.
According to a report by Zee News, about 90 percent of girls and 50 percent of boys suffering from this rare condition could not identify any underlying cause. This is referred to by health experts as 'idiopathic precocious puberty'. However, when the cause is identified, it is usually either an abnormality in the brain or a problem such as a tumor or genetic abnormality in the ovaries, testes or adrenal glands, causing overproduction of sex hormones.
Experts have also named obesity as one of the factors that can contribute to undergo early puberty. The increase in the level of child obesity related to the data that suggests the average age of puberty in the USA and Europe has been earlier compared to before. This may be because when there are more fat cells in the body, more estrogen storage can be found.
Meanwhile, the ultimate goal of the treatment is to make sure the child will have a normal growth as an adult because the condition can hinder their growth. Also, it is important to note that in cases where there is an absence of the underlying cause, the condition can be most likely be treated with medication that usually includes monthly injections that will delay any further development.