Precocious puberty is the early onset of puberty, usually before the age of 7 or 8 for girls and 9 for boys.
The causes of early puberty are still unknown, but in some cases precocious puberty can be due to a hormone imbalance or a brain tumor. Some other purported causes of puberty are a high fat diet, or obesity.
It is always best to go to your doctor and get checked up if you notice any signs of puberty earlier than what is considered to be a "normal" age.
In females, these signs can include breast development, pubic and underarm hair development, height growth, menstruation, "mature" body odor, and acne.
For males, these signs can be enlargement of the testes, pubic, underarm, or facial hair growth, rapid height growth, deepening of the voice, acne, and "mature" body odor.
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Precocious puberty can cause stunted growth in both males and females. Since growth ends when puberty ends, though a child will initially be taller than all of his or her peers, he or she may stop growing before his or her peers.
Precocious puberty can also create emotional and psychological distress. Having a mature body before your peers can definitely be something you might be embarrassed about, but it definitely does not need to be one.
Talk to a trusted friend, relative, parent, or even a health counselor if you are ever feeling uncomfortable about your body and the changes occurring in it.
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Written By: Niharika Bedekar, teen writer
Reviewed By: Nancy Brown, Ph.D.
Last Reviewed: October 2013
Below are links PAMF accessed when researching this topic. PAMF does not sponsor or endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF guarantee the accuracy of the information contained on them.
Precocious Puberty, KidsHealth.org.
Precocious Puberty, MedlinePlus.
Precocious Puberty (Early Puberty), University of Michigan Health System.