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Precocious puberty
ICD-10 E301, E228
ICD-9 259.1
OMIM 176400
DiseasesDB 10519
MedlinePlus 001168
eMedicine ped/1882
MeSH {{{MeshNumber}}}

Precocious puberty means early than normal onset of puberty.

Types and causes

Early pubic hair, breast, or genital development may result from natural early maturation or from several other conditions. Early puberty which is natural in every way except age is termed idiopathic central precocious puberty. It may be partial or transient. Central puberty can also occur prematurely if the inhibitory system of the brain is damaged, or a hypothalamic hamartoma produces pulsatile gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). Secondary sexual development induced by sex steroids from other abnormal sources (gonadal or adrenal tumors, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, etc.) is referred to as peripheral precocious puberty or precocious pseudopuberty.

Clinical significance

Early sexual development deserves evaluation because it may:

  1. induce early bone maturation and reduce eventual adult height,
  2. cause significant social problems, or
  3. indicate the presence of a tumor or other serious problem.


No single age limit reliably separates normal from abnormal processes, but the following age thresholds for evaluation will minimize the risk of missing a significant problem:

  • Pubic hair or genital enlargement in boys with onset before 9 years.
  • Breast development in boys before appearance of pubic hair and testicular enlargement.
  • Pubic hair before 8 or breast development in girls with onset before 7 years.
  • Vaginal bleeding in girls before 10 years.

Suggested causes: Environmental estrogens, sedentary lifestyle, and obesity

Other notes

Medical evaluation is sometimes necessary to recognize the few children with serious conditions from the majority who have entered puberty early but are still medically normal.

Children (esp. girls) who are obese are more likely to physically mature earlier.

Precocious puberty can make a child able to conceive when very young. Both sexes have become parents before age 10. The youngest mother on record is Lina Medina, who gave birth at the age of 5 years, 7 months and 21 days.

Psychological issues

See also


  • Traggiai C, Stanhope R (2003). Disorders of pubertal development. Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol 17 (1): 41-56. PMID 12758225.

External links

de:Pubertas praecox

es:Pubertad precoz nl:Pubertas praecox pt:Puberdade precoce

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