It can be upsetting for a child to not be growing and developing physically as quickly as his or her peers. It’s usually nothing to be worried about, but having your child evaluated by a doctor can help set both of your minds at ease.
Delayed puberty is defined differently for boys and girls:
Here’s what you need to know about delayed puberty:
There’s a lot of variation in terms of what’s a “normal” time to start puberty.
A specialist, such as an endocrinologist, is often able to detect signs that puberty has started, even if it doesn’t look that way to you, your child or even your child’s pediatrician.
Delayed puberty can be caused by an underlying medical condition (e.g., celiac disease or a hormone deficiency).
There’s often a hereditary component to delayed puberty. If a parent was late in starting puberty, it’s more likely that his or her child might be, too.
In the overwhelming majority of cases, if treatment with hormones is required, it successfully jumpstarts puberty.
Delayed puberty: Reviewed by Diane Stafford, MD
© Children’s Hospital Boston; posted in 2012