Normal and Abnormal Puberty
Early Puberty: What Is Normal and When Is Treatment Indicated?Ritzén E.M.
Department of Women and Child Health, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
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Girls and boys who enter puberty before 8 and 9 years of age, respectively (corresponding to about –3 SDS), are arbitrarily considered to need referral for endocrine investigation. A recent report from the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society suggested that the limit for investigation of girls and boys should be lowered to 7 and 8 years, respectively. For African-American girls, 6 years is the suggested age. This recommendation has been criticized. Although short stature is a common end result of precocious puberty, short- and long-term psychological symptoms may be more important, since several studies have indicated psychopathology in this patient group. Whether this can be prevented by gonadotropin releasing hormone agonist treatment remains to be shown. This review will highlight the psychological aspects of early puberty. In short, aspects other than height should also be evaluated when considering treatment of the early maturing child.
© 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel
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