Delayed Puberty

What is Delayed Puberty?

Delayed puberty is a condition where the sexual development starts later than usual, typically later than 14 years of age. Medical conditions, including diabetes, cystic fibrosis or kidney disease, can cause delayed puberty, but sometimes no cause can be identified. Disorders of the thyroid or pituitary glands may cause delayed puberty. Malnutrition can also delay puberty.

Symptoms

  • No breast development in girls by age 13

  • No menstruation for five or more years after the first appearance of breast tissue

  • No testicles development by age 14 in boys

  • Incompletely developed male organs by five years after the first start to develop

Diagnosis

  • Complete physical exam and medical history

  • Blood tests to determine hormone levels

  • X-rays of the hand to determine bone age

When to Call for Help

If your child exhibits no signs or few signs of sexual development by age 13 for girls, or by age 14 for boys, see a doctor.

Treatment

Treatment depends on the individual case and the specific cause. For example, if insufficient hormones are the cause, delayed puberty can be treated by the use of supplemental hormones.

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