Premature puberty in girls
What factors can lead to puberty in girls? What are the symptoms of this complication in girls?
For several years, parents’ concerns about the premature prevalence of puberty in their daughters have intensified; Because early puberty has its own physical and psychological consequences, and of course no parent wants their child to move from childhood to adulthood too soon.
Puberty refers to the period during which secondary sexual traits are developed and the ability to reproduce is developed. Secondary sexual characteristics in girls include breast enlargement, armpit and genital hair growth, and menstruation, but what factors lead to premature puberty in girls?
In response to this question, Dr. Ameneh Lahouti says: Undoubtedly, genetics is the main factor determining the onset of puberty, but it seems that other factors also affect the onset of puberty. It has also been shown that nutrition, general health, geographical location, exposure to light and mental status of each person are effective at the onset of symptoms of physical maturity.
“The age of onset of menstruation in obese girls is earlier than average,” the obstetrician told Jamjam. Also in urban communities, the age of puberty is lower for those who live at lower altitudes and those who live in the tropics. Overall, the age of puberty has decreased in developed countries, and this seems to be due to the improvement of the nutritional status in these societies and its role in creating premature puberty.
The normal age of puberty in girls
Puberty development in girls takes about 14.5 years. The first sign of puberty is sudden growth, followed by genital hair growth, maximum height growth, and finally menstruation. The first menstrual bleeding usually occurs 2.5 years after the onset of puberty and after the growth spurt has passed.
Dr. Lahouti says: “Studies on the age of onset of puberty are related to Western societies, and according to the latest studies, puberty in Western girls begins around 9 to 10 years old.” However, the growth of genital hair or breasts may occur even at the age of six to seven.
Recognize the signs of puberty
Some girls or parents find some common manifestations of pubertal development, such as anemia, acne, psychosocial problems, myopia, and irregular bleeding, to be abnormal.
Referring to the natural signs of puberty in girls, Dr. Lahouti explains: Girls are less inclined to eat foods that contain iron, and therefore the risk of anemia increases. Acne can also be caused by a change in the hormonal status of the body during puberty and sometimes requires a visit to the doctor and appropriate examination and treatment.
“Many girls are dissatisfied with their physical appearance, and this lowers their self-esteem,” she said, emphasizing that the psychosocial changes during puberty contribute to depression. This problem is especially prevalent when a person’s pubertal development is not in sync with his or her age. Also, girls with precocious puberty are more likely to have mental health problems, make older friends, and be pressured by their peers.
Why premature puberty?
Premature puberty is a type of pubertal development that, according to natural standards, begins earlier than expected.
Emphasizing that premature puberty has different causes, Dr. Lahouti explains: One of the causes is premature puberty. This means that genetically and naturally the maturation process in a person has started earlier than expected. On the other hand, some diseases (which may even be dangerous) may be associated with premature puberty. Sometimes just one of the signs of puberty occurs. This means that a baby girl may have only enlarged breasts and no other signs of puberty for a long time. In this case, too, there is usually no need to worry.
According to him, precocious puberty in children should be carefully evaluated to determine the cause and treatment required, as well as to avoid developmental and psychological complications caused by early sexual development.
When to see a doctor?
But at what age, if puberty begins, is it premature and requires a visit to the doctor?
Dr. Lahouti answers: If we consider the average age of puberty in 10-year-old girls, premature puberty refers to the onset of signs and symptoms of puberty before the age of eight. Although the age of puberty has decreased in recent years, families should be aware that many of the cases that are considered as precocious puberty are in fact normal puberty and do not require examination and treatment.
Recognize the true signs of precocious puberty
According to Dr. Lahouti, in all girls under the age of six who have genital hair growth or breast development, and in girls under the age of eight who have seen both genital hair growth and breast growth, a complete evaluation to determine the cause of this problem. It is necessary.
“Also, in children under the age of eight who have only seen breast development or genital hair growth alone, a thorough history, clinical examination, bone age assessment, and careful follow-up to determine height growth are more important than those who are exposed,” he said. Growth retardation are to be identified. Dangerous symptoms that are associated with precocious puberty and require prompt referral and careful examination include the onset of puberty before the age of six, rapid progression of puberty, and associated symptoms include headache and seizures. If precocious puberty is not caused by a disease and has started due to the early genetic onset of puberty, the only complication is short stature and psychosocial complications.
Treatment of premature puberty
The main purpose of treating premature puberty is to maximize height in adulthood and prevent psychological damage to the individual; Because as soon as the maturation process is complete, the growth areas in the long bones that are responsible for a person’s height are closed and height growth no longer occurs.
Dr. Lahouti adds: “Since the first signs of premature puberty include growth spurts and then breast germination, if these symptoms are seen at an earlier age than expected, you must see a specialist; Because if there is a delay and, for example, the child is taken to the doctor after menstruation, no treatment will be effective due to the closure of the bone growth areas. For the treatment of premature puberty, ampoules are usually used that temporarily block the function of the ovaries, and this causes the normal process of height and mental development to continue, and by stopping this drug, the process of puberty is resumed.