My 6-year-old daughter is undergoing tests at our local hospital to see if she's in puberty. How can this be happening so early?
Puberty, the time when kids develop physically and emotionally into young adults, usually begins around 8 to 15 years of age. But for some kids it can happen much earlier. The medical term for this early development is precocious puberty.
Precocious puberty might be the result of a problem in the brain or a hormonal imbalance, but more often there's no specific underlying health issue. Some kids just have an early timer.
A doctor who specializes in early puberty can help distinguish between normal early development and a medical issue, and can help with treatment if it is needed.
Going through puberty early can be difficult on any child emotionally and socially, but can be even more difficult if that child is too young to understand what's happening. Give your daughter a simple, truthful explanation about what's happening, and keep her informed about what can be expected along the way.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: May 2015
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|BeingGirl This website offers answers to questions about puberty and menstruation, as well as information about music and fashion, quizzes, and games.|
|GirlsHealth.gov GirlsHealth.gov, developed by the U.S. Office on Women's Health, offers girls between the ages of 10 and 16 information about growing up, food and fitness, and relationships.|
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|Blood Test: Estradiol Estradiol is the most important form of the hormone estrogen. Doctors may order an estradiol test if a girl appears to be entering puberty earlier or later than expected, or to evaluate menstrual problems.|
|Blood Test: Dehydroepiandrosterone-Sulfate (DHEA-S) Doctors may order a DHEA-S test if boys or girls show signs of sexual development earlier than expected. It can rule out certain diseases of the testes or ovaries, or help diagnose damage or disease of the pituitary gland.|
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|Growth and Your 6- to 12-Year-Old As kids grow from grade-schoolers to preteens, there continues to be a wide range of "normal" as far as height, weight, and shape.|
|Understanding Early Sexual Development Young kids develop an emotional and physical foundation for sexuality in many subtle ways as they grow. By understanding how your kids grow and learn, you can play an important role in fostering their emotional and physical health.|
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