Early Puberty

Monday, May 2, 2011 - 7:07am

Researchers work to explain premature puberty in girls around the world.

Laura Christian says her daughter Cindy is like any other 9 year old -- she likes to play video games and sports and hang out with her friends.

However, unlike other girls her age, Cindy has already started to hit puberty.

It began when she started kindergarten around age 5.

She started growing body hair, and shortly after that she started developing breasts.

"It was very alarming. She's a little kid. I knew that was wrong," Christian said.

Christian brought her daughter to Children's Hospital Los Angeles, where bone and blood tests showed that Cindy was maturing at a faster rate than other kids her age.

"Nowadays, we're seeing the girls start breast development earlier and earlier," said pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Pisit Pitukcheewanont.

He said premature puberty is something that is happening to girls all over the world, and researchers don't know exactly why girls are maturing early.

Whatever the cause, many girls start their period too early; and some experts say that leads to health and behavioral risks.

It didn't happen to Cindy because she was diagnosed correctly and got treatment.

A patch was implanted under her skin, which releases chemicals that keep puberty at bay.

Dr. Pitukcheewanont said once she is old enough, he will stop treatment and allow her to get her period naturally.

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