Why is precocious puberty harmful? Keys to understand and act in the face of this booming phenomenon
Cases of precocious puberty have increased significantly in recent decades, although no statistics that reflect to what exact extent. However, pediatricians confirm that it is a reality in their daily clinical practice.
A study from Granada has just found an association between the pesticides and this phenomenon that affects one girl or boy in every 5,000 or 10,000 (with special prevalence among them). But there are more causes, such as being overweight or microplastics and the chemical substances, which can alter hormonal processes. These are some keys of this problem.
Why is precocious puberty harmful?
According to the endocrinologist-pediatrician at the Central University Hospital of Asturias (in Oviedo) Isolina Riano, for two fundamental reasons. “The first, when puberty starts growth plates close and girls and boys are left with a very low height”, he explains. But, in addition, the other reason is “psychological”. “To have a mature body of a woman and a mind of a child It’s not psychologically good.” He says.
“In addition, we know that, in the breast cancer patients, one of the antecedents is having had a very early first period. This does not mean that girls with very early periods will get breast cancer. But the opposite is true: that patients with breast cancer had their first period very early,” she points out for her part. Nicholas Olea, Professor of Medicine in Granada and researcher of the Inma project, which studies the role of environmental pollutants during pregnancy and early life, as well as its effects on child growth and development.
What signs should be watched for?
In girls, the appearance of the “breast button”, according to the endocrinologist-pediatrician at the Sant Joan de Déu Hospital (Esplugues de Llobregat) Lourdes Ibanez. “This in itself should be reason for medical consultation, before the period, which appears later”, he explains. Precocious puberty usually occurs in girls in around the 8 years, and in children (in the form of genital growth or pubic or armpit hair), around 9.
What can you do about it?
According to Riaño, if the cause of precocious puberty is endocrine disruptors (chemical substances, such as parabens, which some gels and cosmetics have), must be “removed” and “avoid exposure to such substances.”
“I saw in my practice patients with signs of precocious puberty who used such substances. If they had been using them for a short time, when removing those signs they disappeared. If that goes on for a long time, it can lead to triggering precocious puberty, and that is no longer reversible”, points.
But if there is specific treatments for some cases. “They are puberty stoppers which are administered through a injection. It does not occur in all cases, but only applies in very young children with an evolutionary puberty”, says, for her part, doctor Ibáñez.
What are pediatricians seeing?
The perception is that menstruation is coming earlier. “As a doctor I have the perception that more and more menstruation arrives between 10 and 11 years old, and before he did it at 12 and 13″, says the endocrinologist Carmen Valls Llobet, who has studied the relationship between precocious puberty and microplastics.
Why are cases of precocious puberty increasing?
According to Dr. Ibáñez, in addition to pesticides or microplastics, being overweight, more prevalent than before, is also a key factor. “Birth weights are a little lower and then there is a greater tendency to be overweight. That change can start puberty a little before, between 8 and 9 years old”, says this doctor from Sant Joan de Déu.
precocious puberty It’s not something “pathological” but it’s not “quite normal” either. “There are environmental Pollutants, situations of stress in many children… We should probably take care of them more”. In times of covid, he says, there were studies in Italy that argued that cases of precocious puberty doubled during or as a consequence of the pandemic.
Source of data and images: elperiodico