Puberty is the phase of hormonal changes and development of sexual characters related to reproduction and overall development. On an average, in girls the signs of puberty are prominent from 8 to 13 years of age and in the case of boys from the age group of 9 to 14. Early puberty is noted when the normal course of sexual maturity initiates at an early age and continues with growth spurts and maturation of bones earlier than usual. Early puberty in girls is also called precocious puberty, in which significant and noticeable signs of puberty appear before the age of 7 in girls.
It is important to know the causes and signs of early puberty in girls and also about how to prevent it.
Types of Early Puberty in Girls
Some of the types of early puberty in girls include
- Central Precocious Puberty: – It is the common type and is similar to the normal phenomenon of puberty but occurs at an early age. The pituitary gland is stimulated to produce hormones which are called gonadotropins. Eventually, the sexual organs or ovaries are stirred to produce specific hormones such as testosterone and estrogen. The changes in the cycle of puberty is caused due to these hormones such as breast development can bring about a change in the physical attributes in girls.
- Peripheral Precocious Puberty: – This is an entirely different condition and is also known as precocious pseudo puberty. The reason of trigger in symptoms are hormones specifically testosterone and estrogen. It is just a local problem in testis, ovaries, adrenal gland or an underactive working thyroid gland, but the involvement of the brain and pituitary gland is not clear.
Causes of Early Puberty in Girls
Here are some of the prominent causes of early puberty in girls
- Medical conditions including defects in the central nervous system can cause early puberty in girls.
- Tumors and some other kinds of growths, probably which are benign in nature.
- Brain injuries either due to any accident or surgery that eventually causes imbalances in hormones can cause early puberty in girls.
- Infections in the brain which becomes a cause of inflammation, which can affect the hormone controlling centre in the brain.
- Obesity, being overweight or excess accumulation of fat.
- Social or psychological factors causing stress such as childhood trauma and poor relationships in family can also cause early puberty in girls.
- Emotional instability leading to abrupt social behavior
- Exposure to certain chemicals in diet or drugs that affect the endocrine function.
While these are just the most prominent causes, other conditions related to the endocrine system, certain genetic defects or other factors too can be the contributing causes of early puberty in girls.
Signs of Early Puberty in Girls
Here are some signs of early puberty in girls
- Breast development
- Underarm or pubic hair development
- Acne, particularly on face and sometimes on chest or back.
- Rapid growth in height or also known as a growth spurt in the stature of girls.
- Mature odor of body.
Several problems can arise due to early puberty in girls. This can lead to tall stature due to early growth spurt but in some, rapid maturation of bone can cease the linear growth resulting in short adult stature. In girls, early menstrual cycle, early appearance of secondary sexual characteristics and development of breasts can cause emotional distress.
With proper awareness, parents can help children deal with puberty and the changes related to it. Knowing the signs of early puberty help to identify such conditions and if medical advice is provided in time, it may help to overcome other problems related to early puberty in girls.
How to Prevent Early Puberty in Girls?
Now, let us get to know the ways to prevent early puberty in girls: –
- Limit Excess Sugars – It is advised to limit the intake of sugar as elevated sugar consumption may lead to high and risky concentration of sex hormones which are linked to early periods. In a recent study it has been declared that consumption of aerated drinks, sugar laden snacks and junk food can contribute to early signs of puberty. Avoiding such food items can help to prevent early puberty in girls to some extent.
- Consume Fruits and Vegetables – The role of fiber is considered as an important factor to maintain good health and a healthy weight in growing girls. Also the rich content of vitamins and minerals in fresh fruits and vegetables is essential, which can help to prevent early puberty in girls.
- Avoid Chemicals – Sun exposure in summers should be avoided in order to be shielded from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. But most of it is best done by using light clothing and hats. A safe sunscreen can be used before stepping out, preferably only on face and other uncovered areas. It is in best advantage to avoid the use of chemical based creams or beauty products to avoid exposure to harmful chemicals.
- Breathe Fresh – Spending some time in open air can provide fresh air, which aids in normal growth and development. Normal blood circulation and good health can be promoted with proper ventilation and fresh air, even when indoors. Keeping the rooms well lit, ventilated and free from dust is important. Heating filters and air conditioners should be changed regularly.
- Take Adequate Sleep – Sufficient amount of sleep is very important to maintain health and allows the mind and body to relax. As irregular patterns of sleep disrupt the secretion of certain hormones which certainly play an imperative role in puberty and physical development. Taking adequate sleep in the night can help to prevent many illnesses and conditions including early puberty in girls.
- Mayo Clinic – Precocious Puberty: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/precocious-puberty/symptoms-causes/syc-20351811
- HealthyChildren.org – Precocious Puberty: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/gradeschool/puberty/Pages/Precocious-Puberty.aspx
- Healthline – What You Need to Know About Precocious Puberty: https://www.healthline.com/health/precocious-puberty
- Medical News Today – What to know about precocious puberty in girls: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323328
- WebMD – Precocious Puberty: https://www.webmd.com/children/precocious-puberty-overview