Medical Video: Why Is Early Puberty So Dangerous?
The transition of childhood to adolescence or known as puberty is characterized by physical and mental changes in children. Although growth is a good thing for children, puberty that is too fast or early is an unnatural thing. Early puberty is probably a sign of health problems experienced by children and can have an impact on children's health.
What is early puberty?
Puberty occurs at various ages. In girls the process of puberty begins around the age of 8-13 years, while in men aged 9-14 years. Puberty begins with brain activity which triggers the reproductive glands to produce sex hormones and causes physical changes. The child is said to experience early puberty or precocious puberty if he experiences the characteristics of puberty earlier before entering puberty. This is an abnormal growth that can affect children's physical and mental growth in the future.
Early puberty is known to have two different types of development, namely:
- Central early puberty - is a type of early puberty that is common and is characterized by gonadal hormone secretion by the pituitary gland in the brain that is too fast, thus triggering the activity of the testes and ovaries to produce sex hormones and causing the puberty process to occur earlier.
- Peripheral early puberty - is a type of early puberty that is rare. This is characterized by the production of sex hormones by the reproductive organs but without the activity of the brain glands. This is a sign of a problem with the reproductive organs, adrenal gland, or inactive thyroid gland.
What are the signs of a child experiencing premature puberty?
The most important thing in the process of early puberty is the development of the child's reproductive organs that occur before the age of puberty. But this is still difficult to diagnose appropriately because there are signs of other physical changes that resemble early puberty. Physical changes such as early breast development (thelarche premature) and hair growth on the surface of the armpit or pubis (premature pubarche) is not a sign that is significant to show children experiencing early puberty.
The main characteristics of puberty in women can be recognized by the presence of the first menstrual cycle, whereas in men the physical condition that arises is usually a change in the size of the penis and testes, and the appearance of fine hair around the face.
What causes children to experience early puberty?
The cause of early puberty in a person will be difficult to know, but can be distinguished based on the type of development at central or peripheral early puberty.
Causes of central early puberty
Central early puberty involves the role of the brain as a trigger for the reproductive organs to produce sexual hormones. This can be caused by various disorders of the central nervous system and can trigger early puberty. Some of these disorders include:
- Tumors in the brain or spinal cord.
- Defects in the congenital brain such as the condition of hydrocephalus or non-cancerous tumors.
- Effects of radiation exposure on the brain or spine.
- Injuries to the brain or spine.
- McCune-Albright syndrome - a genetic disorder that affects the color of bones and skin and triggers hormonal disorders.
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia - genetic disorders that cause disturbances in the production of hormones from the adrenal gland.
- Hypothyroid disorders - conditions that cause the thyroid gland not to produce enough hormones.
Causes of peripheral early puberty
At peripheral early puberty that does not involve the central nervous system, hormonal disorders and reproductive organs are the main cause. Some of the possibilities that cause peripheral early puberty are:
- Tumors in the adrenal gland.
- McCune-Albright syndrome.
- Exposure to estrogen or testosterone from drugs
- Cysts and tumors in the ovaries of girls
- The presence of tumors in cells from sperm-producing organs or testosterone in men.
- Genetic mutations in the gonadal glands of male infants causing testosterone production have begun at the age of 1-4 years.
What factors can increase the risk of a child experiencing premature puberty?
There are several risk factors that cause children to experience early puberty:
- Girls are more at risk of developing early puberty.
- The condition of obesity triggers girls to have enough fat cells for puberty even though it is still too early to experience puberty.
- Take drugs that contain sex hormones.
- Complications of various disorders of adrenal and thyroid hormones caused by genetic factors.
- Damage or infection caused by surgery or therapy with radiation.
What is the impact on children if they experience early puberty?
The unpreparedness of the body to experience puberty can cause growth imbalances in children, as a result of which their physical and mental growth is not optimal. The impact of early physical puberty is the growth of the body which tends to be short. Children who experience early puberty may experience a rapid increase in height at first, but as adults they have a height below normal for their age. Early treatment is needed to overcome the development of height in children who experience early puberty.
Early puberty will also make it difficult for children to adapt emotionally and socially. Problems with self-confidence or feeling confused are most often experienced by girls who experience early puberty because of their physical changes. In addition, behavioral changes can occur in boys and girls due to mood changes, and tend to be angry more quickly. Boys can tend to be aggressive and have sex drive that is not in accordance with his age.
Various possible serious illnesses cause your child to experience early puberty, the impact of development on children can also still be felt when children grow up. Therefore, early treatment is needed to deal with the effects of early puberty in children. If you find a variety of signs of early puberty in your child, immediately consult a doctor for further diagnosis and treatment.
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