What is Precocious Puberty?

Puberty is an inevitable phase of life that we all have to go through and occurs when the sexual organs begin to develop and your body will begin to transform into a teenager/adult.   Precocious puberty is when these changes happen earlier than expected or earlier than normal; before the age of 9. Precocious puberty is four times more prevalent in girls than boys.    With those who experience precocious puberty, their puberty experience may be varied from those who experience their puberty changes at the generic age.

The cause(s) of precocious puberty is still largely unknown as it is a fairly recent phenomenon.  In the past women did not reach puberty until their mid teens but over the last few centuries, and especially the past 50 years, the average age of puberty has fallen. It appears though that girls who have a high-fat diet and are not physically active or are  obese are more likely to physically mature earlier.  Environmental toxins could also play a role in the acceleration of puberty in today’s culture, as could hormone laden meat and dairy products.    The Mayo Clinic describes two types of prococious puberty: central precocious puberty where there is usually no identifiable cause or peripheral precocious puberty which results when either estrogen or testerone are released in the body.  Mayo Clinic

Any pre-tween girl that is experiencing precocious puberty may experience the following physical symptoms: armpit hair, pubic hair, breasts, matured outer genitals, growth spurts, muscle growth, acne, body odour or menarche.  Essentially all individuals with precocious puberty will experience the generic puberty symptoms.

Along with these physical symptoms the child may experience profound emotional, social and psychological manifestations from the early onset of puberty.   The fundamental nature of a child is innocence.  In precocious puberty the physical body is accelerating at a faster speed than the psychological and that innocence is challenged.   Sensitivity and compassion should be extended the child undergoing these duelling selves.  Girls unfortunately experience far more negative effects of early puberty than do boys, who often experience the positive effect of admiration from their peers.  Girls however, can be looked down upon and sexualized and consequently exhibit low self esteem, anxiety and early sexual experimentation and pregnancy.

Feby is helpful for young girls experiencing precocious puberty as it provides a neutral learning tool that aids conversation and education about her body and inevitable menstrual cycle.  Each bracelet comes with information regarding how to use it and what the colours mean but the rest of the content of the conversation is inevitably up to you and your child.  Sexuality is not the point of the bracelet but it can certainly be a bridge to that talk.