What is delayed puberty?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 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.
What are the symptoms of delayed puberty?A noted lack of symptoms of puberty is the primary indicator that a child may be experiencing delayed puberty. The following are the most common symptoms of delayed puberty. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
- lack of breast development by age 13
- more than five years between breast growth and menstrual period
- lack of pubic hair by age 14
- failure to menstruate by age 16
- lack of testicular enlargement by age 14
- lack of pubic hair by age 15
- more than five years to complete genital enlargement
How is delayed puberty diagnosed?In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnosis of delayed puberty may include:
- blood tests (to check for chromosomal abnormalities, measure hormone levels, and test for diabetes, anemia, and other conditions that may delay puberty)
- x-ray - a diagnostic test which uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film. A bone x-ray of the hand or wrist may be performed to determine bone maturity.
- computed tomography scan (Also called a CT or CAT scan.) - a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices), both horizontally and vertically, of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general x-rays.
- magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.
Treatment for delayed puberty:Specific treatment for delayed puberty will be determined by your child's physician based on:
- your child's age, overall health, and medical history
- extent of the condition
- your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- expectations for the course of the condition
- your opinion or preference
The information on this Web page is provided for educational purposes. You understand and agree that this information is not intended to be, and should not be used as, a substitute for medical treatment by a health care professional. You agree that Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital is not making a diagnosis of your condition or a recommendation about the course of treatment for your particular circumstances through the use of this Web page. You agree to be solely responsible for your use of this Web page and the information contained on this page. Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital, its officers, directors, employees, agents, and information providers shall not be liable for any damages you may suffer or cause through your use of this page even if advised of the possibility of such damages.