Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Children's Health

Font Size

Worried About Precocious Puberty? How to Talk to Your Pediatrician

Children start puberty at different ages based on many factors, including activity level, race, and genes. Precocious puberty can be a sign of a medical condition that calls for a doctor’s attention. Other times, precocious puberty has no apparent reason but can be slowed down with treatment.

In this article, WebMD lets parents know what to look for and when to call the pediatrician about early puberty.

Recommended Related to Children

General Information About Unusual Cancers of Childhood

Unusual cancers of childhood are cancers rarely seen in children. Cancer in children and teenagers is rare. Since 1975, the number of new cases of childhood cancer has slowly increased. Since 1975, the number of deaths from childhood cancer has decreased by more than half. Unusual cancers are so rare that most children's hospitals might see less than a handful of some types in several years. Because the unusual cancers are so rare, there is not a lot of information about what treatment works...

Read the General Information About Unusual Cancers of Childhood article > >

Early Puberty: How Young Is Too Young?

When a child has precocious puberty, she or he starts developing sexual characteristics early, before ages 7 or 8 for girls and age 9 for boys.

The exact age is a matter of debate. Some doctors have suggested lowering the official age of precocious puberty. Others say that doing so will lead to not identifying children who would benefit from treatment.

Further complicating matters are racial differences in how soon puberty starts. By age 8, 38% of African-American boys and 48% of African-American girls show some signs of puberty. By comparison, 28% of white boys and 14% of white girls have begun to develop by the same age. So far, it’s unclear what portion of this age difference is due to race.

Parents concerned about their children’s development can compare their child’s age to how old they were when they started puberty.

In the end, parents and pediatricians need to look at the child’s development and the many factors surrounding it to determine what defines too early.

Intervene Early or Wait and See?

Parents who think their child has precocious puberty should see their pediatrician. Rarely, early puberty is the first sign of a serious medical condition like a tumor or neurological disorder. Treating the condition can put puberty on hold until the appropriate age. Often puberty simply starts early for no apparent medical reason.

While it may be a relief to know precocious puberty is not usually a sign of a more serious medical condition, kids with precocious puberty may stop growing before they reach their full adult height. They also face possible teasing by other kids.

Bones matures during puberty, and when puberty starts early, the growth spurt begins and ends sooner than normal. At first, children with precocious puberty tower over their friends who haven’t started to grow. But within a few years, they may stand among the shortest in their class. Diagnosing the condition early can help the child’s growth return to the appropriate pre-precocious rate.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.

worried kid
jennifer aniston
Measles virus
sick child

Child with adhd
rl with friends
Syringes and graph illustration