The onset of puberty below eight years in girls and below nine years in boys is called precocious puberty. The endocrinologist should see all kids with suspected precocious puberty. Some of them turn out to be normal puberty that started earlier than expected. On the other hand, some kids with early puberty may turn out to have diseases of the pituitary, the hypothalamus or the gonads( testes and ovaries) or even the adrenals.
Early-onset of puberty will bring both emotional and physical problems. The biological concern includes early bone growth stoppage, leading to short adult height. In addition, kids with early puberty are highly self-conscious about the changes occurring in their bodies. This may lead to low self-esteem and increase the risk of depression and substance abuse. The early onset of menstrual periods in girls is also a concern to parents.
Medicines called GnRH analogues (e.g. Leuprolide, Triptorelin) are commonly used to stop the production of gonadotropins and hence arrest the progression of puberty. When used early and at an appropriate age, these drugs help to improve the final height of kids with precocious puberty. They are generally safe and have very few adverse effects.