Sex Disorder Clinic & Delayed or Permature Puberty

Puberty is the time when your body grows from a child's to an adult's. You'll know that you are going through puberty by the way that your body changes.

If you're a girl, you'll notice that your breasts develop and your pubic hair grows, that you have a growth spurt, and that you get your period (menstruation). The overall shape of your body will probably change, too — your hips will widen and your body will become curvier.

If you're a guy, you'll start growing pubic and facial hair, have a growth spurt, and your testicles and penis will get larger. Your body shape will also begin to change — your shoulders will widen and your body will become more muscular.

These changes are caused by the sex hormones (testosterone in guys and estrogen in girls) that your body begins producing in much larger amounts than before.

Puberty takes place over a number of years, and the age at which it starts and ends varies widely. It generally begins somewhere between the ages of 9 and 14 for girls, and somewhere between the ages of 10 and 16 for guys, although it can be earlier or later for some people. This wide range in age is normal, and it's why you may develop several years earlier (or later) than most of your friends.

Sometimes, though, people pass this normal age range for puberty without showing any signs of body changes. This is called delayed puberty.

1. Precocious Puberty

The symptoms of precocious puberty are similar to the signs of normal puberty but they manifest earlier—before the age of 8 in girls and before age 9 in boys.

2. Delayed Puberty

Delayed puberty is characterized by the lack of onset of puberty within the normal range of ages.

Thyroid Disorders in children

The symptoms of thyroid problems depend on the type of problem, including whether it causes too much or too little thyroid hormone.

Children with too much thyroid hormone (overactive thyroid, or hyperthyroidism) may be more nervous, agitated or emotional than usual, and they may have trouble sleeping. They may lose weight even though they seem to be eating enough. They may sweat more than normal and have heart palpitations, high blood pressure and diarrhea. Overactive thyroid can make the thyroid enlarge (get bigger). An enlarged thyroid is called a goiter.

Children with too little thyroid hormone (underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism) tend to have the opposite symptoms. They may seem sluggish or have low energy. They may be depressed. They may start gaining weight even though they haven't changed their eating or exercise. There may be no clear symptoms at first.

Thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer do not usually cause symptoms. Both conditions may cause a lump in the neck that you, your child or a healthcare provider can feel. Sometimes thyroid cancer makes the thyroid and lymph nodes in the neck enlarge. It may also cause voice changes because the thyroid is near the voice box (larynx) and nerves to the vocal cords.

Overactive parathyroid glands can cause high levels of calcium in the blood. Symptoms can include feeling tired, weak and not well overall; having kidney stones; having headaches and being constipated.

Diabetes mellitus in children

Throughout the world, incidences of diabetes are on the rise, and consequently so is diabetes amongst children. Most children are affected by type 1 diabetesin childhood. However, the number of children and young adults affected by type 2 diabetes.

Approximately 90% of young people with diabetes suffer from type 1 and the number of patients who are children varies from place to place.

A figure of 17 per 100,000 children developing diabetes each year has been reported. As metabolic syndrome, obesity and bad diets spread, so too have the first incidences of type 2 diabetes, previously incredibly rare.

Further relevant pages

• Diabetes & pregnancy

• Juvenile diabetes

• Keeping your kids free from diabetes

• Teenage diabetes and blood glucose testing

How is diabetes caused in children?

The actual causes of the diabetic condition are little understood, in both children and adults. It is widely speculated that diabetes occurred when inherited genetic characteristics are triggered by environmental factors such as diet or exercise.

Overweight & Obesity

Is Your Child Overweight?

Body mass index (BMI) uses height and weight measurements to estimate a person's body fat. But calculating BMI on your own can be complicated. An easier way is to use a BMI calculator.

Once your child's BMI is known, it can be plotted on a standard BMI chart. Kids ages 2 to 19 fall into one of four categories :

1. Underweight : BMI below the 5th percentile

2. Normal weight : BMI at the 5th and less than the 85th percentile

3. Overweight : BMI at the 85th and below 95th percentiles

4. Obese : BMI at or above 95th percentile

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