From an interview with
Dr. Deidre Tyson
McLeod Pediatric Endocrinology
When a youth experiences puberty too early or their puberty is delayed after most other kids, it can be an embarrassing problem. McLeod Pediatric Endocrinologist Dr. Deidre Tyson assures parents that these conditions can be treated.
Here’s a summary of her comments:
Puberty is a focus of pediatric endocrinology. We are often called when there is a question about whether a child is experiencing puberty too early or too late. The definition of normal puberty varies between boys and girls. For girls, the normal onset of puberty occurs between the ages of eight and 14. For boys, the normal process ranges from between the ages of nine and 16. If a child falls outside of those age ranges, then we investigate possible causes. There are so many different causes of early and late puberty that a pediatric endocrinologist is required to properly diagnose and treat a child’s condition.
If it’s precocious (early) puberty, treatments are available to help stop the advancement through puberty, allowing the individual to maintain their childhood for the appropriate amount of time. If a child is experiencing delayed puberty, a full medical work-up will help determine if there are any underlying problems that need to be addressed. Treatment can help jumpstart a child’s puberty to help them complete the process and become grown-ups.
Fortunately, the most common causes of both precocious and delayed puberty are reasonably straightforward. In most girls and boys suffering a puberty disorder, the cause centers on their pituitary gland. Maybe their body’s alarm went off a little early and precocious puberty resulted. The same is true for children with delayed puberty. Most of the time, their bodies didn’t hear the puberty pituitary alarm go off. In any situation where growth is outside the normal range, a full diagnostic work-up can confirm that there’s nothing more serious at work, and the early or late puberty can be treated.