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Puberty is said to be delayed when symptoms do not appear by age 13 for girls and age 14 for boys. Delayed puberty can be hereditary; the late onset of puberty may run in the families. However, delayed puberty may also be due to chromosomal abnormalities, genetic disorders, chronic illnesses, or tumors that damage the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus, which affect maturation.
Indications that a child may be experiencing delayed puberty is the noted lack of puberty symptoms. The following are the most common symptoms of delayed puberty. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
The symptoms of delayed puberty may resemble other problems or medical conditions. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.
In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnosis of delayed puberty may include:
Specific treatment for delayed puberty will be determined by your child's physician based on:
Treatment for delayed puberty depends on the cause of the problem. Often, when the underlying cause is treated, puberty proceeds normally. If the delayed puberty is due to heredity, no treatment is usually necessary. In some cases, treatment may involve hormone therapy to stimulate the development of secondary sexual characteristics, or surgery to correct an anatomical problem.
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