Detecting Early Puberty

27 September 2022

Puberty is the period of time during which a child’s body changes into that of an adult. During this time, the body undergoes important hormonal shifts that help appropriate developmental changes. Early puberty is a growth abnormality that manifests itself early in childhood, often causing concern and anxiety among parents.

Early Puberty Affects Adult Height

Dr Ch’ng Tong Wooi, Consultant Paediatrician and Paediatric Endocrinologist, Sunway Medical Centre, Sunway City, shared that early puberty might impede a child's physical and mental development, and that parents should pay greater attention to it.

She points out that premature development causes a child to increase in height under the influence of sex hormones. It encourages premature fusion of the epiphysis, and once the epiphysis closes, the opportunity for the child to grow taller vanishes.

Early Puberty May Lead to Low Self-Esteem

Children with early puberty may carry a heavy burden of thought prematurely because they differ from their peers in terms of body shape and appearance, resulting in low self-esteem, fear and anxiety, and an increased psychological burden, which may affect their interest in learning and academic performance.

How to Differentiate Between True and False Early Puberty?

Dr Ch’ng pointed out that there is a distinction between true and false early puberty, which are Central Precocious Puberty (CPP) and Peripheral Precocious Puberty (PPP).

“CPP is the most common type, which is triggered by the premature production of gonadotropins in the brain. In contrast, PPP is not triggered by the early release of gonadotropins in the brain, but by androgens or oestrogens produced elsewhere in the body,” Dr Ch’ng shared.

Prevent Childhood Obesity by Eating a Well-Balanced Diet and Getting More Exercise

Clinical paediatricians frequently counsel children with a tendency of early puberty to consume fewer fried, sugary, high-fat, and high-calorie meals to avoid becoming overweight.

Source: Sin Chew Daily