Early Or Late Puberty Onset (Female)

Evaluating Risk Factors: Early Or Late Female Puberty Onset

Evaluating your likely current (and near future) state of health means taking into account the risk factors — such as early or late puberty onset (female) — that affect you.   Our medical diagnosis tool, The Analyst™, identifies major risk factors by asking the right questions.

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In the Childhood section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about early or late puberty onset (female):
Puberty. Compared to your peers (other children of similar age, race and circumstances), did puberty for you begin early or late? The first physical signs of puberty are usually breast and then pubic hair development.
Possible responses:
→ It started well over 1 year before my peers
→ It started about a year before my peers
→ It was about average / normal / don't know
→ It started about a year after my peers
→ It started well over 1 year after my peers

The Diagnostic Process

Based on your response to this question, which may indicate very early puberty onset, early puberty onset, late puberty onset or very late puberty onset, The Analyst™ will use differential diagnosis to consider possibilities such as:
Breast Cancer

Early onset of menarche (beginning of the menstrual function) is a recognized risk factor for breast cancer, while a later menarche has been associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer.  Menarche comes later in children raised on a plant-based diet.

  • de Ridder CM, Thijssen JHH, Vant Veer P, et al.  Dietary habits, sexual maturation, and plasma hormones in pubertal girls: a longitudinal study.  Am J Clin Nutr 1991;54: pp.805-13
  • Beaton GH, Bengoa JM.  WHO monograph.  1976;62: pp.500-19
DHEA Elevated

Girls with premature puberty have been found to have elevated levels of DHEA-S. The elevated levels are normally one of the first biochemical signs of awakening of the reproductive glands, in this case the adrenal gland after the long period of childhood inactivity.

Elevated Insulin Levels

Girls with premature puberty have been found to have elevated insulin and DHEA-S levels.  This contributes to the weight gain usually seen in advanced PCOS.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Some research suggests that girls who begin to develop pubic hair early (usually before the age of eight, a condition known as premature pubarche) have been found to have many of the signs and symptoms of PCOS.  When girls with premature pubarche have been followed throughout the rest of puberty they have been found to develop excess testosterone production and irregular periods consistent with PCOS.  Thus premature pubarche may be an early form of PCOS.

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