BENGALURU: If your child is below nine years of age and developing facial hair, a change in voice, is growing fast or already developing acne, it’s time to meet a doctor as your child may be at risk of entering “early puberty”. According to medical experts, pediatricians and endocrinologists in the city, there is a rise in children entering puberty as early as four-five years, as opposed to the normal age of puberty, which is 10-14 in girls and 12-16 in boys.
This is not just affecting the physical appearance of the children, it is also impacting their psychological health and overall growth. Dr Sumitra, a paediatrician who is a private practitioner, said, “I see at least two cases with symptoms of early puberty a week. I then refer them to endocrinologists for further investigation.”
Dr Mahesh DM, consultant endocrinologist at Aster CMI Hospital, said, “If the child is below 10 and developing symptoms of puberty, then they should see a doctor and undergo a few tests to diagnose the actual reason for it.”
As explained by doctors, early puberty may not have immediate effects, but in the future, such children will face issues such as diabetes, Polycystic Ovary Disease, obesity and joint pains. “This cannot be ignored as there are chances of the child’s mental health being affected. They might face bullying,” said Dr Mahesh.
If the child is diagnosed with early puberty, then it is not easy for them to handle it alone. In such cases, doctors suggest seeking help from counsellors. “Sometimes, although kids may not need treatment, they need assistance to handle the sudden changes in their body. We recommend the parents and the child both see a counsellor and discuss the issue,” said an endocrinologist.