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Disorders of Puberty

What are pubertal disorders?
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Puberty is an important phase in the psychosocial and physical development of an individual. Puberty is the process that leads to the sexual maturation and physical development which includes the growth of secondary sexual features, psychosocial maturation and body composition changes. Usually, in girls, these  changes are in the form of pubic hair growth, breast development, beginning of regular menstrual periods and growth spurt while in boys it is enlargement of genital organs, growth spurt and physical changes.

Attaining puberty is a central event in growth and development and is controlled by numerous neuroendocrine hormones. Normally puberty starts in between the ages of 8 and 13 years. When these changes do not occur normally, then it is a disorder which can be categorised into late and early puberty.

Early attainment of puberty is a common disorder which is caused by  certain brain disorders, adrenal or gonadal problems. Early onset of puberty can be secondary to the activation of the hypothalamic pituitary gonadal axis or to abnormality in regulation of sex hormone production. Delayed attainment is much more common which is often neglected due to complacency from both parents and physicians. But ultimately it results in psychosocial and metabolic problems in children. Constitutional growth delay and puberty is the most common cause of late puberty. There can be numerous systemic causes, brain disorders or gonadal disorders which delay puberty.

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