McCune-Albright syndrome is a rare condition that’s hard to diagnose and requires treatment for the many accompanying symptoms, one of which can show up at a very young age as precocious puberty. While this can initially cause some shock and discomfort, it’s also one of the factors that allow doctors to help you find the right diagnosis so you can find the right treatment – a silver lining in an otherwise difficult situation.
There are many benefits to diagnosing McCune-Albright syndrome early on. Patients who discover the cause of their symptoms early can access long-term management strategies that can help to minimize pain and maximize their enjoyment of life.
What Is Precocious Puberty?
Precocious puberty is defined as the early onset of puberty, when a child’s body begins changing into an adult body too soon. Clinically, this presents itself before age 8 in girls, and before age 9 in boys. It’s important to consult a doctor and get a clear diagnosis because this can be triggered by a number of factors, including exposure to hormone medicine or rare diseases such as birth defects, tumors, or McCune-Albright syndrome.
McCune Albright Precocious Puberty Symptoms
The following symptoms may be caused by precocious puberty:
- Vaginal bleeding (girls)
- Early breast growth (girls)
- Enlarged testicles and/or penis (boys)
- Facial hair and/or a deepening voice (boys)
- Increased and darker pubic or underarm hair
- Rapid growth in height
- Adult body odor
If your child experiences any of these symptoms, it’s in their best interest to consult with your child’s doctor for a proper evaluation and treatment.
McCune-Albright Symptoms: Precocious Puberty – Who Is At Risk?
Some children are more at risk than others for precocious puberty. Girls are more likely than boys, which holds true for children with McCune-Albright syndrome as well. Additional factors to rule out include exposure to sex hormones and ovarian tumors.
It’s important to note that not all children with McCune-Albright syndrome will develop precocious puberty, and very few children with precocious puberty have McCune-Albright syndrome as the underlying cause of it.
Precocious Puberty Complications
Children with precocious puberty initially grow taller than their peers, although this can cause the bones to stop developing early, leaving them shorter as adults. With proper treatment, this is preventable.
Additionally, these children may experience anxiety and self-consciousness around their peers, due to their feelings of being different. It is recommended that all children with McCune-Albright, precocious puberty aside, should be evaluated for social emotional well-being to lessen the likelihood of depression and anxiety in adulthood.
The good news is that there are medications available that can treat precocious puberty. Consult with your physician to ensure they are addressing the root cause of the issue, as treatments and effectiveness can vary by patient.
Your Key Takeaway
Precocious puberty is an early onset of puberty or physical sexual maturity and can be caused by McCune-Albright syndrome. The symptom itself can be one key identifier in discovering that your child has McCune-Albright syndrome, which can help you to find the right treatment and management strategies early on. Precocious puberty is treatable with the proper medical care, so it’s most beneficial to diagnose and treat it as early as possible.