What is delayed puberty?
Delayed puberty is when a person’s body doesn’t start maturing at the usual time. It can happen in males or females and it happens for a number of reasons. Sometimes, delayed puberty is caused by something called hypopituitarism which means that there isn’t enough production of certain hormones like testosterone and estrogen.
This may be caused by an injury to the pituitary gland, brain tumors, or some other type of medical issue. Delaying puberty allows more time for growth so patients can reach their full height potential without needing expensive treatments like hormone injections or surgery later on in life.
Causes of delayed puberty
Most people think puberty is a natural process, but it can be delayed due to many different factors like stress or environmental toxins. These causes can effect both girls and boys, though girls are more likely to experience the delay than boys. The first signs of puberty usually start with breast development for females and increased size in their genitals for males which may happen anywhere from 8-13 years old depending on genetics.
There have been studies that show exposure to certain chemicals before birth can cause delayed puberty in children as well as other lifestyle choices including eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some medicines like steroids also cause delayed onset of puberty so parents should be aware if they are using any of these drugs that could potentially delay the progression into adulthood
Signs and symptoms of delayed puberty
Delayed puberty can be devastating for a teen. It is not uncommon that teens suffering from delayed puberty are often ridiculed among their peers and feel alone in the world. What’s worse? Teenagers with delayed puberty may have to wait up to 10 years before they undergo treatment because doctors assume it will eventually happen on its own, but this is not always the case. In fact, there are many signs and symptoms of delayed puberty such as breast development or pubic hair growth that indicate a need for medical attention now. Luckily, there are ways you can identify if your child has delayed puberty and what you should do about it so read on!
Signs of delayed puberty in guys include:
- The penis and testicles not starting to grow larger by age 14
- Genital growth that takes longer than 5 years
- Short stature compared with their peers, who now are growing faster
In girls, signs include:
- No breast development by age 14
- Not starting to menstruate within 5 years of when breasts start to.
- grow or by age 16
Treatment for delayed puberty
Often, doctors find no underlying physical problem. Most teens with delayed puberty are just developing a bit later than average and will catch up.
If doctors do find a problem, they might send a teen to see a pediatric endocrinologist, a doctor who specializes in treating kids and teens who have growth problems, or to another specialist for further tests or treatment.
Some late bloomers struggle with waiting for the changes of puberty to start. So doctors may offer hormone treatment:
- Guys might get a short course of treatment with testosterone (usually a monthly injection for 4–6 months) to get the changes of puberty started.
- Girls might get low doses of estrogens for 4–6 months to start breast development.
After treatment ends, a teen’s own hormones usually take over to complete the process of puberty. If they don’t, the doctor will discuss long-term sex hormone replacement
Tips to help a child cope with the changes that come with developing early or late
Hey, so you’re a teen and your body is changing. You might not feel like yourself anymore or maybe have some questions about what’s happening to your body. That happens because puberty can be tough on anyone! That being said there are some things that you can do to help make it easier for you.
Here are a few tips:
- Take care of your mental health by hanging out with people who support and understand you
- Talk to someone if something is bothering you
- Take time for yourself every day even if it’s just 10 minutes etc.
- Take care of your physical health by eating nutritious food regularly (and drink lots of water), getting enough sleep, exercising etc.
- Doing self-care activities or hobbies that make you feel good