Treatment

The goal of treating precocious puberty is to halt or reverse sexual development and stop the rapid growth and bone maturation that will eventually result in adult short stature. This can be done either by treating the underlying cause of disease (such as a tumor) or normalizing hormone levels with medication to stop sexual development from progressing. Often a tumor cannot be removed, but even when removal is possible, this rarely stops precocious puberty from continuing. Treating an underactive thyroid condition with medication may be effective.

In most cases there is no underlying disease triggering the precocious puberty, so treatment usually consists of hormone therapy to stop sexual development. The currently approved hormone treatment involves synthetic drugs called LHRH analogs, which reduce the secretion of sex hormones within two weeks of administration; symptoms begin to disappear soon after this.

Dramatic results are usually seen within a year of starting treatment with an LHRH analog. In girls, breast size may decrease and pubic hair may fall out, or there will be no further development. In boys, the penis and testicles may shrink and pubic and facial hair may decrease. A child's behavior usually becomes more age-appropriate as well.

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