What is precocious puberty?

Updated: Nov 30, 2020
  • Author: Paul B Kaplowitz, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Robert P Hoffman, MD  more...
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Answer

Precocious puberty refers to the appearance of physical and hormonal signs of pubertal development at an earlier age than is considered normal. For many years, puberty was designated as precocious in girls younger than 8 years; however, studies have come to indicate that signs of early puberty (breasts and pubic hair) are often present in girls (particularly Black girls) between ages 6-8 years. For boys, onset of puberty before age 9 years is still considered precocious.

In central precocious puberty (CPP), which is gonadotropin-dependent, early maturation of the entire hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis occurs, with the full spectrum of physical and hormonal changes of puberty.


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