Puberty is the process a child’s body goes through as it develops into an adult’s body.
Puberty starts when the body begins producing extra amounts of hormones, leading to physical and emotional changes. In girls, these changes include breast development, pubic hair growth, the beginning of menstrual periods, and a growth spurt.
While every girl will grow and develop at a different rate, the normal onset of puberty is between the ages of 8 and 13.
A puberty disorder is when these processes and changes don’t occur as they normally should.
- Hormonal disorders – including polycystic ovary syndrome (POS)
- Genetic disorders
- Problems in the pituitary or thyroid glands that produce the hormones necessary for body growth and development
- Chromosome disorders that interfere with normal growth processes
- Eating disorders
- Excessive exercise
- Other underlying medical condition or injury
- Lack of breast development by age 13
- Lack of pubic hair by age 14
- More than 5 years between breast development and first period
- Period hasn’t started by age 16
- Breast growth, period, pubic hair and other signs of puberty occur before age 7 or 8
Types of Puberty Disorders
- Delayed puberty – puberty hasn’t started by age 13
- Precocious puberty – puberty begins too early, before age 7 or 8 in girls
- Contrasexual pubertal development – development of male characteristics in females
- Premature thelarche – breast development without any other signs of puberty
- Premature menarch – periods start without any other signs of puberty
- Premature adrenarche – appearance of pubic hair without any other signs of puberty