Sex

Precocious Puberty

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Precocious Puberty, Premature Sexual Development

  • Epidemiology
  1. Girls: Benign central cause in 50 to 90%
  2. Boys: Pathologic peripheral cause in 50%
  • Definition
  • Precocious Puberty
  1. Girls
    1. Secondary sexual characteristics before age 8 years in girls
    2. Breast gland development
      1. Abnormal if before age 7-8 years
      2. Most will have onset after age 8 years, but occurs age 7-8 years in 20% of black, 5-10% of white girls
      3. Early Breast gland development (at age 7-8 years) also occurs with Obesity
    3. Menarche before age 10 years
    4. Pubic Hair (modified 1999)
      1. White: Before age 7 years
      2. Black: Before age 6 years
    5. Referral recommended if 2 signs at age <8 years
    6. References
      1. Kaplowitz (1999) Pediatrics 104:936-41 [PubMed]
      2. Midyett (2003) Pediatrics 111:47-51 [PubMed]
  2. Boys
    1. Testes > 2.5 cm (>3 ml vol) before age 9 years
    2. Pubic hair before age 9 years
  • History
  1. Timing of secondary sexual characteristics
    1. Body odor
    2. Breast Development or Testicular Development
    3. Pubic and axillary hair
    4. Acne
    5. Exposures
    6. Exogenous sex steroids
    7. Head Trauma
    8. Radiation Therapy or exposure
  2. Other history
    1. Family History of Precocious Puberty
    2. Brain malignancy
  3. Symptoms
    1. Hypothyroidism or Hyperthyroidism symptoms
    2. Abdominal Pain (malignancy)
    3. Vaginal Bleeding
      1. Genital Trauma or sexual abuse
      2. McCune-Albright Syndrome
  • Exam
  1. Constitutional
    1. Plot height, weight and Body Mass Index on growth curves
      1. Calculate Growth Velocity
      2. Calculate Midparental Height
      3. Compare Midparental Height with projected height from growth curve
        1. Abnormal if difference >10 cm
    2. Findings
      1. Body mass increased (associated with Precocious Puberty)
      2. Pubertal growth spurt (greater than the 5 cm basal rate)
      3. Short Stature (Thyroid disease)
  2. Head and Neck
    1. Thyromegaly
  3. Genitourinary
    1. Sexual maturity staging (Tanner Stage)
    2. Asymmetric Testes (gonadal mass)
    3. Clitoromegaly (Hyperandrogenism)
    4. Vagina
      1. Dull pink instead of red due to Estrogen exposure
  4. Neurologic
    1. Focal neurologic deficits (intracranial lesion)
  5. Skin
    1. Hirsutism
      1. Hyperandrogenism (androgen-secreting tumor, Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia)
    2. Cafe Au Lait spots
      1. McCune-Albright Syndrome
      2. Neurofibromatosis
  • Findings
  • Red Flags suggesting pathologic cause
  1. Premature Puberty in very young children
  2. Contrasexual development
    1. Feminization in boys
    2. Virilization in girls
  3. Peripheral cause (often asynchronous development)
    1. Penis enlarges without scrotal enlargement
    2. Extensive pubic Hair Growth
    3. Menarche without Breast bud development in girls
  4. Precocious Puberty in boys (50% pathologic)
  5. Visual field deficit suggests pituitary mass
  • Labs (See Evaluation below)
  1. Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
  2. Luteinizing hormone (LH)
  3. Estradiol Level (in girls)
  4. Testosterone Level (in boys)
  5. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
  6. Serum Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG)
    1. Screen for gonadotropin secreting tumor
  7. Consider GnRH Stimulation Test
  8. See additional evaluation for Step 2c below
    1. 17-Hydroxyprogesterone
    2. Serum Dehydroepiandrosterone (Serum DHEA)
  • Imaging (See Evaluation below)
  1. Left wrist radiograph for Bone Age
  2. Consider Head MRI
    1. Screen for pituitary or other CNS Lesion
  3. See additional evaluation for Step 2c below
  • Evaluation
  • Step 1 - Initial Evaluation
  1. Clinical history and physical
  2. Exogenous Sex Hormone sources
    1. Androgens and Anabolic Steroids in boys
    2. Oral Contraceptive use in girls
    3. Estrogen or placental containing hair products
      1. Common use in African American girls
      2. Associated with Breast or pubic hair development
  3. Evaluate Pubertal Milestones (See Tanner Staging)
  4. Evaluate growth chart
  5. Obtain Left Wrist XRay for Bone Age
  • Evaluation
  • Step 2a - Unremarkable Evaluation in Step 1
  1. Findings
    1. Early, but normal Puberty
      1. Girls: Breasts enlarge early
      2. Boys: Testicles enlarge early
    2. Bone Age exceeds Chronological age
      1. Early growth spurt and initially taller than peers
      2. Early epiphyseal closure and short in adulthood
  2. Diagnosis
    1. Constitutional or Idiopathic Precocious Puberty
  3. Further evaluation
    1. Observation
    2. Consider further diagnostic testing (see above)
      1. All labs at pubertal levels
      2. All imaging studies normal
  4. Management
    1. Counseling and reassurance
    2. Consider GnRH analog to suppress FSH and LH
      1. Leuprolide (Lupron) long acting injectable
      2. Nafarelin (Synarel) short acting intranasal
  • Evaluation
  • Step 2b - Normal Variation in Step 1
  1. Findings
    1. Early, but normal Puberty
    2. Bone Age consistent with Chronological age
  2. Diagnosis: Benign Premature Adrenarche
    1. Girls
      1. Benign Premature Thelarche
        1. Glandular Breast tissue
      2. Benign premature Menarche
        1. Prepubertal Vaginal Bleeding
      3. Benign Premature Adrenarche
        1. Pubic and axillary hair, body odor or acne
        2. Distinguish from Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, cortisol excess, adrenal tumor (see step 2c)
      4. Fatty Breast tissue (Lipomastia)
    2. Boys
      1. Benign Gynecomastia of Adolescence
      2. Familial Gynecomastia
      3. Consider evaluation for alternative causes of persistent Gynecomastia for >18-24 months
        1. Testicular Cancer
        2. Adrenal adenoma
        3. Performance enhancing drugs
        4. Hypogonadism (e.g. Klinefelter Syndrome)
  3. Further evaluation
    1. Observation over 3-6 months
    2. Consider further laboratory testing for progressive symptoms (see diagnostics above and to Step 2c below)
  4. Management
    1. Counseling and reassurance
  • Evaluation
  • Step 2c - Abnormal Evaluation in Step 1
  1. Findings
    1. Abnormal Pubertal Milestone sequence
    2. Bone Age variable
      1. May be consistent with Chronological age
  2. Differential Diagnosis (pathologic cause suspected)
    1. See Precocious Puberty Causes
    2. Central Precocious Puberty due to idiopathic or CNS Lesion (pubertal LH and gonad size)
      1. Features
        1. Despite Precocious Puberty, otherwise normal development
        2. More common in girls than boys (by 10 fold)
        3. Typically idiopathic in girls, but more likely to be pathologic in boys (e.g. Head Trauma, Brain Tumor)
      2. Consider Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) therapy (e.g. Lupron)
        1. Early initiation before epiphyseal closure preserves height potential
      3. Brain MRI indications
        1. Boys with Precocious Puberty
        2. Girls under age 6 years old
        3. Neurologic findings (Headache, Seizure, vision changes)
    3. Peripheral Precocious Puberty (prepubertal LH and gonad size)
      1. Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, cortisol excess, adrenal tumor
        1. Consider Corticotropin Stimulation Test, adrenal imaging, Cushing Syndrome
        2. Endocrinology referral
      2. Exogenous sex steroid exposure
      3. Hypothyroidism
      4. Ovarian tumor
        1. Elevated estradiol level and low LH level seen with Estrogen-secreting tumors
      5. Testicular Tumor
      6. McCune-Albright Syndrome
      7. Neurofibromatosis
  3. Further evaluation
    1. Further laboratory testing (see above)
    2. Additional lab testing (esp. Virilization, hyperandrogenic effects in girls)
      1. 17-Hydroxyprogesterone
      2. Serum Dehydroepiandrosterone (Serum DHEA)
    3. Additional imaging (suspect peripheral cause)
      1. Pelvic Ultrasound of Ovaries
      2. Consider Adrenal MRI
  4. Management
    1. Assess for exogenous sex steroid exposure
    2. Treat based on underlying cause