Puberty is a complex process of developmental change regulated by multiple genetic and endocrine controls. Abnormal pubertal development (both precocious and delayed puberty) can cause significant distress to the patient and may in some instances be a sign of life-threatening pathology. Delayed puberty is often due to constitutional delay of growth and puberty, but will also occur in cases of primary gonadal failure and in patients with disorders leading to diminished gonadotropin levels (ie, central nervous system [CNS] tumors). Precocious puberty may occur due to CNS disorders, certain genetic disorders, ectopic gonadotropin secretion or autonomous sex steroid secretion. Treatment is directed toward the underlying pathology, and may include agents to either stimulate or block pubertal development. Health care providers require knowledge of the normal onset of timing and rate of progression of puberty, and must be able to identify patients with abnormal pubertal development, as well as initiate the appropriate laboratory workup.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health