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Signs to help detect early puberty in children, parents should not ignore

Many parents believe that a girl’s menstrual period is considered to be entering puberty. However, in fact, the time of girls’ puberty is counted from the time when they begin to develop mammary glands.

Realizing that her 8-year-old daughter has unusual signs compared to her peers, Hoai Anh (in Hanoi) could not help but worry. At first when I saw her tall and puffy child, I thought that she was just growing earlier than you, but before signs of breast development, her face started to have acne… she was extremely confused, didn’t know if there were any signs. Is that your precocious puberty?

According to Ths.Bs Pham Nhu Quynh, former doctor of the Central Hospital of Endocrinology, for girls under 8 years old who have had their first period or some signs such as pubic hair growth, large breasts, acne growth… The baby has gone through puberty.

For boys under 9 years old, developments such as voice changes, body odor, penis size changes, mustache growth, acne, etc. are signs that children are entering puberty. Doctors recommend that, from 7 to 10 years old, parents should observe their children’s signs or talk to their children to detect signs of early puberty in children.

Signs to help detect early puberty in children, parents should not ignore
A child is examined for precocious puberty at the National Children’s Hospital. Photo: VietNamNet

Dr. BS Huynh Thi Vu Quynh, Hospital of the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Ho Chi Minh City, added that many parents believe that when girls have a period, it is puberty. But in fact, the time when girls go through puberty is counted from when they start developing mammary glands. “When parents see the baby’s mammary glands popping up, at first it can be on one side and then on both sides, which is a sign of puberty,” said Dr. BS Huynh Thi Vu Quynh. In addition, signs of early puberty in girls (under 8 years old) are pubic hair growth, armpit hair, height, acne, etc.

Also according to TS.BS Huynh Thi Vu Quynh, for boys, early signs of puberty are more difficult to detect because at this age, babies take care of themselves, so parents hardly notice changes in their children’s bodies.

“In boys, early puberty is subtle signs such as testicles begin to develop, then pimples, voice changes, armpit, pubic hair …”.

TS.BS Vu Quynh information, causes of early puberty include physical causes and risk factors.

In girls with precocious puberty, most often no cause is found (idiopathic). The results of brain scans in girls with early puberty showed that about 80% of them did not have abnormalities in the pituitary gland, on the brain. The remaining 20% ​​have brain abnormalities. Specifically, the children have pituitary tumors, inflammation of the pituitary gland. This is called the physical cause.

For boys with precocious puberty, the cause is more physical (abnormalities found in the brain). Accordingly, 50% of boys with precocious puberty have a physical cause. Thus, boys with early puberty are more worrisome than girls because of the association with brain abnormalities.

“For children with precocious puberty but no cause can be found, risk factors are considered. The first factor is obesity. Accordingly, obese children have fatty tissue that secretes gonadal stimulants. of the baby early, causing early puberty”, said Dr. Vu Quynh.

Another factor is related to certain endocrine disruptors in the environment. It’s the PPA found in the plastic. PPA levels were measured in children with precocious puberty and found to be higher in children without precocious puberty. In addition, there are other substances such as DDT, which is found in pesticides. The content of this substance is not controlled, found in vegetables, tubers, fruits … is also a risk factor for early puberty.

In addition, phthalates are found in cosmetics such as shampoo, shower gel, nail polish, toenail polish, etc. If parents let children use products with these substances, it can also cause early puberty.

In children with early puberty, sex hormones have the effect of increasing height, so during puberty, children grow very quickly. But at the same time, this hormone is also responsible for closing the growth cartilage of the bones. Thus, along with the rapid growth of the baby, the baby also suffers from premature growth cartilage closure and stops growing earlier than other children. Therefore, the consequence of early puberty is that the height of the child is not equal to that of you who did not have early puberty.

In addition, early puberty also results in early menopause in girls. In addition, children with early puberty will have psychosocial problems. The development of mind and intellect does not go with physical development, which puts the baby at risk of sexual abuse, unwanted pregnancy…

TS.BS Vu Quynh further information, about treatment, doctors will consider appointing which children need treatment, only 50% of children with precocious puberty need treatment. If precocious puberty has progressed too much, affecting the child’s final height, the doctor will base on the age of the child at the onset of puberty, the child’s current height, the current bone age (regardless of age). ) to determine if the child needs treatment.

The child will be given anti-puberty medication. The drug can be injected once a month or every 3 months… to stop the early signs of puberty in children. Specifically, when the drug is injected, the child’s height will slow down, the menstrual period will stop. This treatment lasts until the age of 12, when puberty is possible. At this point, the child will be stopped from treatment to start puberty again.

“Most children respond well to this treatment process, the drug is relatively safe, so parents should not worry too much about early puberty,” said Dr. Vu Quynh.

According to Dr. Vu Quynh, to optimize height, children need to have a reasonable diet, balance groups of substances, eat less sweets and fats, and drink less carbonated soft drinks. Children need foods rich in calcium and vitamins. At the same time, children need to exercise a lot, every day, at least 40 minutes/day with sweaty sports.

Besides, children must go to bed early, before 10pm and get enough sleep. Dr. Vu Quynh explained: “From 11 pm to 3 or 4 am, children fall into a deep sleep. At this time, the body secretes a lot of growth hormone to help children optimize their height. Parents also need to pay attention to creating a healthy and happy living environment for their children. The environment that causes stress for children such as family conflicts, academic pressure, etc. also limits children’s physical development and height.”

Ngoc Trang

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