In most cases, doctors don’t know what causes central precocious puberty (CPP). It’s more common in girls, but boys are more likely to have a specific trigger than girls. It might be caused by things like an infection, a brain injury, or a tumor.
The main goal of treatment is to help your child grow to a normal adult height. Because CPP can make kids feel different from their peers, treatment can help with self-esteem and feelings, too.
How CPP is treated depends on how early it happens and if the cause is known.
Wait and See
Sometimes central precocious puberty doesn’t need to be treated.
If puberty starts for your child very close to normal age or it’s moving slowly, your doctor might not want to treat it. In that case, they’ll just watch closely to see how your child is developing.
If CPP starts very early, your doctor might want to stop puberty or slow it down.
Normally during puberty, the brain releases a hormone called gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). It tells the pituitary gland to release hormones called gonadotrophins. These hormones -- LH and FSH -- affect growth and sexual development.
With central precocious puberty, the brain releases GnRH at an earlier age than normal. So the goal of treatment is to temporarily stop LH and FSH from being released.
Your doctor may suggest a man-made GnRH medicine to accomplish this.
The medicine can be given by shot once a month, once every 3 months, or once every 6 months. Another option is a small implant that your doctor will put under your child’s upper arm after numbing the area first. This works for about a year.
The space around the shot or the implant might hurt or be red and irritated for a little while. But there don’t seem to be any long-term side effects or issues with the hormones.
Puberty usually will start again about 16 months after your child stops taking the medicine. You and your doctor will figure out the best time to stop treatments.
Treating an Underlying Cause
In some cases, another condition triggers CPP. If your pediatrician thinks this might be the case for your child, they’ll give your kid an exam and may do tests like MRIs or CT scans to find the cause.
If they discover that a medical issue is the cause of your child’s CPP, the doctor will treat that issue. For example, a tumor that is causing the release of hormones probably will be removed.