A study from the National Institutes of Health shows that drugs can delay puberty in children who start puberty before age ten.

If your child develops signs of puberty before age ten, check with your doctor immediately. Early puberty closes growth centers in bones forever, so that a big nine year old boy or girl may end up as a very short adult. Also, girls who go into puberty when they are very young are often abused by older boys.

Signs of early puberty in girls are hair in the armpits and genitals, acne and enlargement of breasts. In boys, it is acne, hair on the face and genitals and enlarged testicles. Doctors at the National Institutes of Health successfully delayed puberty in these children by giving them drugs called LHRH agonists, and they ended up much taller than they would have if they had not been treated.

Increased final height in precocious puberty after long-term treatment with LHRH agonists: The National Institutes of Health Experience. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2001, Vol 86, Iss 10, pp 4711-4716. KO Klein, KM Barnes, JV Jones, PP Feuillan, GB Cutler.

Checked 8/9/05

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