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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

May 31st, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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