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Overview

Precocious Puberty: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment? How is the treatment done? Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?) Who is not eligible for the treatment? Are there any side effects? What are the post-treatment guidelines? How long does it take to recover? What is the price of the treatment in India? Are the results of the treatment permanent? What are the alternatives to the treatment?

What is the treatment?

Early puberty or sexual precocity or early adoloscent

How is the treatment done?

Precocious puberty is basically early onset of puberty among kids or children. For girls, it starts at the age of 8 years and for boys it starts at 9 years of age. Puberty in general is associated with rapid developments and changes in the body and the release of sex hormones in the body, estrogen for girls and testosterone for boys. The symptoms vary between girls and boys. For girls, it generally results in breast enlargement and beginning of menstruation. In boys, it results in enlargement of testicles and penis, facial hair (on the upper lips) and deepening of voice. Some common changes and development occurring in both girls and boys include growth of pubic hair and under arms, acne and rapid growth in terms of height and body.

There is no specific cause for the precocious puberty. Early puberty can occur due to a tumor or injury which might lead to the release of sex hormones or the sex hormones may also be released in the body on receiving signals from the brain. These causes are broadly classified into two categories- Central Precocious Puberty and Peripheral Precocious Puberty. For proper treatment to be carried out doctors or endocrinologists may run a physical examination, enquire about family’s medical history and do a blood test to measure hormonal level. Also additional tests may be done like an MRI or Thyriod test to figure out the cause and begin treatment.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Precocious puberty, also termed as early puberty can be classified into two categories according to its cause- central precocious puberty and peripheral precocious puberty. Therefore, treatment of precocious puberty also differs depending on the cause.

After the diagnosis of precocious puberty through proper blood tests and urine tests, MRI and CT scan, your child may be referred to a pediatric endocrinologists( a doctor who specializes in hormonal and growth disorders in children). Once the correct cause is identified, treatment procedure is started. Treatment is generally targeted at reversing or slowing the sexual development and bone growth in children resulting in short height.

If your child has central precocious puberty, the doctor treats the underlying cause with the hormonal treatment called Gn-RH analogue therapy. The drug that is currently used is called leuprolide (Lupron Depot). It is injected into the body that slows down or reverses the sexual development in kids. The treatment is carried on for at least one year or until the child reaches the age of puberty. Once the medication stops, puberty again starts for both boys and girls.

If your child has peripheral precocious puberty, the cause of which may be an underlying medical condition like tumor that leads to the secretion of sex hormones in the body. Medications for the disease treat the tumor which in turn leads to cessation of sex hormones.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

The age group for precocious puberty generally involves children aged between 6 to 9 years. The signs and symptoms for precocious puberty vary from girls to boys. For girls, it is the enhancement of breasts, rapid growth in height and maturation of the body. For boys it is enlargement of testicles and penis and deepening of voice. Some common symptoms that can be seen for girls and boys include acne, pubic and under arms hair.

Are there any side effects?

Precocious puberty occurs among youg boys and girls. Therefore, kids or children whose puberty occurs at an normal age of 10 for boys and 8 years for girls do not any sort of treatment for their puberty.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

The treatment for precocious puberty is very safe for children as it generally involves treating an underlying disease. However, the Gn-RH analogue therapy done to stop the production of sex hormones in the body have some very mild side effects that includes headaches, menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and abscess at the injected area.

How long does it take to recover?

Children experiencing precocious puberty might faces many emotional and social difficulties as their body starts to change and they look different from the rest of the kids. It’s important for parents to deal with their kids in a correct manner and explain to them the changes happening to their bodies. Moreover, being overwhelmed by their feelings may start to sexual experiment at an early age. Therefore, it’s important to have the necessary sex talks with your child. However, if you and your child are facing difficulty in coping with the situation, you should seek the help of a psychological counselor. It is important to remember to not let your child develop low-self-esteem or become concerned with his or her appearance.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Recovery time for precocious puberty treatement is nill. Whatever time your child may require will be based on his or her coping mechanism with the whole situation. It's important to remember that kids having precocious puberty can be treated. Dotors can help them attain their true height potential and stop any emotional difficulties that they are facing at an early age.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The cost for precocious puberty varies greatly in the country. The price depends on the type of doctor yor are a consulting and to which hospital he or she is affiliated to. Genearlly an endocronologists charges any where between Rs.600 to Rs.1000 for a single appointment and the cost of medicines are seperate. It can cost anywhere between Rs.2000 to Rs.5000.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

The treatment for precocious puberty generally depends on the type your child is having. If it is peripheral, then the results are immediate and permanent but if it is central, then results may take time to show, generally after a year. However, the results are permanent.

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