Precocious puberty. Does any student know why a person's height is affected so much in precocious puberty?
Precocious puberty. I would like to learn more about final height. Does anyone know more on the social issues?
Talks about the normal process in children development in puberty or precocious puberty
What is precocious puberty?
Covers what is known as precocious puberty in boys and girls, causes (genetic or over nutrition for example), and why ic can be 'bad'.
What is precocious puberty?
Discussion on the topic of precocious puberty in male and female children. The professional describes which ages are "bad" in terms of when the child would start developing their puberty, and which ages are considered normal. In females, breast development would start around the age of 10, while the development of pubic hair should start around 10.5 years old, and the first menstrual period should be from the age of 13-14. The child is considered to show signs of precocious puberty if all of these are presented by the age of 8 or lower. In males, the normal age for testes development should be around 11.5 years old, while pubic hair should begin to grow at about 12.5 years old, and the boy would mature by the age of 15. The child is considered to show signs of precocious puberty if all of these are presented by the age of 9 or lower. In boys, the condition is less common, while at the same time, if it occurs, it is more worrisome. Parents usually feel that they are to blame for this condition, while they may not be at all, as different factors could cause this. Genetics is one cause, and also, over nutrition, which causes an increase in the BMI of the child, followed by an increase in growth, and in turn, a speeding up of the process of puberty. The main concerns of parents are the height of the child, as they would not be able to obtain full growth in terms of height, and also social issues, fearing that the child would not be treated the same among children his/her age as they would behave/look different. If the parent has a visit to the doctor with these concerns, the child's condition should be evaluated and then decided whether their situation is normal or not. At times, a child may display some of these factors, while it may just be normal variation and not be something to be worried about.
i'm here at stanford medical school
with Morgan Theis and Dr. Laura Bachrach
and they're going to teach us some things.
Okay, so what are we going to learn about today?
I'd like to talk about precocious puberty
it seems to be on the minds of many parents these days
they worry that their child is developing too early,
they worry their child is going too small as a result,
they worry their child is going to get picked on,
and they worry they might have done something wrong.
Fed the child the wrong food, or exposed them to the wrong videos,
to cause this all to happen.
So could we just talk about what precocious puberty means,
it almost sounds like they've done something too soon,
is that correct?
It's exactly true.
The normal process of puberty, in a girl, we think,
we used to think, started around the aged of 10,
with a little bit of breast development.
And around 6 months later, the girls would get
a little bit of pubic hair,
and around the age of 12 and 3/4 to 13
they'd get their first period.
In boys, we used to think,
the process was starting a little later,
at about 11 and a half.
The boys would get some enlargement of the testes.
They'd get some pubic hair about a year later.
And by age 15 or so, they'd be mature.
We have a definition of what's precocious,
uh, when there's signs of puberty before 8, in a girl,
or before 9, in a boy.
Ok. So, 8 or less in a girl, would be precocious,
and that's for the breast development?
For any signs of puberty:
the breasts, the pubic hair or the period
would be precocious if it happened before the age of 8 in a girl.
And in a boy, before the age of 9.
Now this has become a little bit controversial
because there was one very large pediatric study
that involved over 17 000 girls
that found that as many as 25% of african american
girls would have sign of puberty before 8,
and as many 7% of the white girls had some
signs of puberty before age 8.
But we're still basically using these guidelines.
Not to say that this is definetely abnormal, but
this is something we're going to evaluate.
If we see signs of puberty before those age landmarks.
Ok, so it sounds like there's a lot of variability,
it's kind of hard to know in any individual case,
whether it's normal or not, but we have to have
some kind of threshold for which we're going to
work someone up to make sure everything is normal.
You hit on a really important word.
And that is variability.
And a lot of this variability, uh, is determined by genetics.
So part of what we always need to know is
the timing of development in the family.
So when did mom get her first menstrual period,
when did dad get his puberty and growth spurt?
So that's part of it, genetics,
and we need to know that, take that into account:
If mom had her first period at 10 and started
her breasts at 8
it might be perfectly normal for her daugher.
If mom's period were at 14 and her daughter has
breast development at 7 and a half
it's more worrysome.
Ok, the second factor that seems to be contributing,
is the overnutrition of our young people.
And in the particular study that I mentioned to you,
where they looked at over 17 000 children,
at least for the white population,
the could explain the earlier signs of puberty
as an association with a high body mass index.
So it looked as if, if you overnourish your child
you may speed along their growth, and eventually,
potentially, speed along the onset
Now, this did not hold up as an association in the
african american population, so there's other factors
going on there.
But that's something that we rtake into account.
THe bottom line is,
the child may present with some signs of early puberty,
mom or dad get worried,
they go to the pediatrician,
and the pediatrician has to decide what's going on.
Ok, now, JUST Backing up a little bit, is this a problem?
I mean, what's the problem with, say, a 7 year old girl
starting puberty, or, uh, an 8 year old boy
starting puberty early?
I imagine there could be some social implications
(as you mentionened)
but what are sort of the things
we worry about?
Well, that's an importand question,
because it comes up not only how far do we go to
evaluate them, but how far do we go
to treat them?
So, one of the concerns parents have,
relates to their final height.
So, if they start their growth spurt early in life,
and close it off early in life,
are them gonna cheat themselves
out of some final height?
So height is a concern.
And its impact really depends upon how young the child is.
A three year old going into puberty
is definetely going to end up short
if we don't do something.
A seven and a half old girl is
probably not going to be altered by this
in terms of height.
The second concern is definetely what you
brought up, in terms of social concern.
Parents worry their child may behave in an older way,
or be treat in a way that
they're not quite ready for.
They mey get unwarranted attention
from people because they look older.
And there is even potential concern for abuse,
So those are the usual parental concerns
for why they bring the child in.
The other concern they have is, often
"what am I doing wrong".
There are a lot of questions about
"should I have fed my child organic food?"
"what about the soap i was using?"
"what about the soap operas my child was watching?"
You know, they're really
concerned about something they might have done.
And they worry about these additives in ourplastics,
in our theeth sealants, etc...
They worry about evils inour environment.
So things that you address in the visit that
you have with them are definetely
some of the, the concerns that parent have
about what they could have done differently.
Exactly. We start out, assessing
in a sort of a systematic way.
The first question we want to know, is
when did this all start?
And what did they notice.
And it's really important
to break down the signs of puberty,
because different hormones contribute to
the different signs.
For example, in a girl, if she is presenting with
some body odor, some acne, and some pubic hair,
but no signs of any breast development,
that leads us down the road to
worry about what we call her androgens
or her male hormones.
If a girl comes in with just breast development
but none of the body hair
or body odor, we think, aha! she's been
exposed to estrogens.
And so we get a lot from the physical exam in
terms of thinking what hormones to go after.
okay, so even though the definitions of precocious
is just any of these
different physical developments happening
too soon, the combination that you see
is going to direct what yo uthing is going on
wit hthem clinically.
It will make us more or less worried
and it will take us down one avenue or another,
thinking about what could be wrong,
what level of abnormality in the hormone system is at work.
Ok. Can I ask you a question, just curious, so
what are the most common diagnosis given
to people coming in with their kids, that are
concerned for precocious puberty?
The common diagnosis, is "variations are normal".
There is a condition called
"isolated premature adrenarche" which is a
fancy doctor way of saying
the adrenal glands producting their
hormones, we see pubic hair, underarm hair, and acne.
Uh... We also can see isolated
breast development in little toddler girls
that's not concerning.
So that would just go away, or?
Yes. Typically that begins between
six months and two years and
But even within the more full blown cases,
where we're seeing breast and the pubic hair
in a girl, or the enlagrement of the testes
and the pubic hair in a boy, where's it's full on,
full blown puberty, it may be idiopathic,
or not pathological.
We think that in girls,
who develop fully, 95% of the time, even if they
have the full blown puberty,
it's idiopathic, or not pathological.
Whereas in boys, about 50% of the time, there is pathology.
So the condition is less common on boys, but
when it occurs in boys, it's more worrisome.
So it's less common for boys to have any signs of
precocious puberty, but when it does happen you worry more.
Because it's more likeyl to be something bad.
So I'm guessing as an endocrinologist,
once you've sort of ruled out the normal things, then you start th
then you start thinking more about
sort of what's going on in terms of all the
different hormones that are controlling the
things, which maybe is something that
we'll talk about in a different
is there any other sort of general things
that you wanted to adress when
we'll just talking about...
I think the general advice I would give to a parent
if see signs of puberty in their child,
before 8 in a girl, before 9 in a boy,
they should at least question their pediatrician
about it, uh, and the pediatrician should do
a complete exam, and the
other factor that needs to be looked at carefully is growth,
because a child who is truly in puberty will have a growth spurt.
So, those are things that parents can be
aware of at home, but I think it's
important that the parent asks the pediatrician about it,
if they are concerned.
Ok, well thank you so much.
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