Now, more than ever before, children seem to be growing up much sooner than they should be. Generally the average age of reaching puberty and having your first menstrual cycle is between the ages of 8 and 16 years but that age is getting younger and younger.
There have been cases of girls reaching puberty as young as 4 years old. One case in particular, that of 5-year-old Skyla, had her mother worried that her little girl was suddenly menstruating. Thankfully the cause was due to thyroid problems and not full-blown puberty.
Early puberty or precocious puberty could caused by your child’s thyroid. Having a thyroid-related disease can cause either late or early puberty. If your preschooler starts showing signs of going through puberty, it’s always a good idea to take her straight to the doctor. Early puberty can also be caused by tumours, brain inflammation or a brain injury that could affect hormonal balance.
Signs to look out for:
The signs of puberty are different in boys and girls, but there are some universal tell-tale signs for both genders. Here are some of the main signs that your child could be going through puberty.
- Growth spurts
- Increase in appetite
- Sudden development of genitals (breast development in girls and growth of the testicles, penis, and scrotum in boys)
- Menstrual periods
- Armpit or pubic hair
What should you do?
If this is happening to your child, know that you aren't alone. Parent24 expert, Megan de Beyer, had a worried parent asking her a question about her early developing 8-year-old.
"My 8-year-old daughter started developing breasts and show some sign of puberty hair around the vagina. Is it normal for her age?", this concerned mom asked.
Megan calmed this mom's fears with her advice. "Many girls are physically developing prematurely. Explain to her what is happening to her body. Take her to a gynaecologist or a female GP for a check up and let a professional help you guide your daughter."
Have you seen signs of early puberty in your child? Share your thoughts with us below.