Premature adrenarche refers to the presence of secondary sexual hair in girls younger than 8 years old and boys younger than 9 years old. It is more common in girls than in boys. Other features like greasiness of the skin, acne and adult body odour may be present. Adrenarche occurs due to increased adrenal androgen synthesis which is different from the activation of testis/ovaries that happen in precocious puberty.
Premature adrenarche is relatively a benign condition, but the doctor will need to exclude more sinister conditions like congenital adrenal hyperplasia and tumors of the ovary/testes or adrenals or Cushing’s syndrome. Sometimes premature adrenarche may be associated with low birth weight girls when it can also be related to polycystic ovary syndrome in the future.
Once the sinister conditions mentioned above are excluded, most children will require only growth monitoring and ensuring that pubertal progression is appropriate.