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Early Puberty in Boys

What is early puberty?

Puberty is considered early if a boy starts becoming sexually mature before the age of 9. Your son is showing signs of puberty if:

  • His testicles start getting bigger.
  • He starts having hair on his face, in the pubic area, or under his arms.
  • He has a big growth spurt.

Early puberty may keep your son from growing to his expected height.

Early puberty may also be called precocious puberty.

What is the cause?

Often there is no clear cause. It may run in the family or something may be affecting the release of hormones. Children showing signs of early puberty should be checked by their healthcare provider.

How is it diagnosed?

Your child's healthcare provider will examine your son and ask about your family history. Your provider will measure your child’s height and weight. Your provider will check your child’s bone age with an X-ray of the hand and wrist.

Other tests may include:

  • A blood test to check hormone levels
  • An MRI, which uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to show detailed pictures of the brain. It can help your child’s provider check for anything that might affect the gland responsible for releasing hormones.

A specialist called a pediatric endocrinologist may need to see the results of the tests.

How is it treated?

Your child’s healthcare provider may recommend treatment if early puberty is likely to make it hard for your child to reach his expected height. Early puberty can often be stopped with a medicine called Lupron. This medicine is given as a shot once a month. When the shots are stopped, puberty will start again.

Your provider may want to see your child every 4 to 6 months to check on his growth.

How can I help take care of my child?

Talk to your child about the changes in his body in a way that doesn’t make your child feel like there is something wrong with him. If he is taking medicine for the problem, explain how the medicine will help. Talk to his brothers and sisters as well to help prevent teasing.

Follow your child’s healthcare provider's instructions. Ask your provider:

  • How and when you will hear your child’s test results
  • What symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if your child has them

Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2013.2 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2012-06-29
Last reviewed: 2012-04-12
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2013 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
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