There are a number of reasons to treat precocious puberty.1
Treatment for precocious puberty can help stop puberty until the child is closer to the normal time for sexual development. One reason to consider treating precocious puberty is that rapid growth and bone maturation, caused by precocious puberty, can prevent a child from reaching his or her full height potential. Children grow rapidly in height during puberty and reach their final adult height after puberty. Children who go through puberty too early may not reach their full adult height potential because their growth stops too soon.
Another reason to consider treating precocious puberty is that a young child may not be psychologically ready for the physical and hormonal changes that occur in puberty.
However, not all children with precocious puberty require treatment, particularly if the onset of puberty is only slightly early. The goal of treatment is to prevent the production of sex hormones to prevent the early halt of growth, short stature in adulthood, emotional effects, social problems, and problems with libido (especially in boys).
If precocious puberty is caused by a specific medical problem, treating the underlying problem can often stop the progression of precocious puberty. In addition, precocious puberty can often be stopped by medical treatment to block the hormones that cause puberty. For example, medications called gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists (GnRHa) are used to treat central precocious puberty. These medications, some of which are injected, suppress production of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
With delayed puberty or hypogonadism, treatment varies with the origin of the problem but may involve2:
- In males, testosterone injections, skin patches, or gel
- In females, estrogen and/or progesterone given as pills or skin patches
- National Center for Biotechnology Information. (2011). Precocious puberty. Retrieved June 5, 2012, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002152 [top]
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2011). Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. Retrieved June 4, 2012, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000390.htm [top]