Children's Health Omaha NE

Because boys' first sign of sexual development (enlargement of the testicles) is more hidden, data on them remains sparse. But one federally funded 2001 study of more than 2,000 boys suggests they too are maturing earlier, with 30 percent of Caucasians, 38 percent of African Americans, and 27 percent of Latinos showing some genital development by age 8, and an average age for pubic hair development between 11 and 12.

Victoria Renee Ruedisueli
(402) 559-7351
982185 Nebraska Medical Ctr
Omaha, NE
Specialty
Pediatrics

Data Provided by:
Hobart E Wiltse, MD
(402) 559-7350
600 S 42nd St
Omaha, NE
Specialties
Pediatrics
Gender
Male
Education
Graduation Year: 2007

Data Provided by:
Michael John steve Simulescu
(402) 559-5380
982185 Nebraska Medical Ctr
Omaha, NE
Specialty
Pediatrics

Data Provided by:
Helen Bergado Lovell, MD
(402) 559-7344
982169 Nebraska Medical Ctr
Omaha, NE
Specialties
Pediatrics, Pediatric Nephrology
Gender
Female
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Ca, San Francisco, Sch Of Med, San Francisco Ca 94143
Graduation Year: 1976

Data Provided by:
Kari A Simonsen
(402) 559-9800
988095 Nebraska Medical Ctr
Omaha, NE
Specialty
Pediatrics

Data Provided by:
William B Rizzo, MD
(804) 828-9295
412 South Saddle Creek Road,
Omaha, NE
Specialties
Pediatrics
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Il Coll Of Med, Chicago Il 60680
Graduation Year: 1977

Data Provided by:
Melissa Lynn St Germain
(402) 559-5380
982185 Nebraska Medical Ctr
Omaha, NE
Specialty
Pediatrics

Data Provided by:
Kristin Alanna Rice
(402) 559-5380
982185 Nebraska Medical Ctr
Omaha, NE
Specialty
Pediatrics

Data Provided by:
John Norman Walburn, MD
(402) 559-7346
982167 Nebraska Medical Ctr
Omaha, NE
Specialties
Pediatrics
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Ne Coll Of Med, Omaha Ne 68198
Graduation Year: 1973

Data Provided by:
Suseela P Koppula, MD
982185 Nebraska Medical Ctr
Omaha, NE
Specialties
Pediatrics
Gender
Female
Education
Medical School: Guntur Med Coll, Univ Of Hlth Sci, Guntur, Ap, India
Graduation Year: 1966

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Early Bloomers

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By Lisa Marshall

One day in the fall of 2001, Denise de Reyna glanced at her 4-year-old daughter, Emily, and noticed something terribly odd. “It looked like she had little breasts,” recalls de Reyna, a mother of three who lives in Port Washington, New York. At first, de Reyna attributed it to baby fat. But when she ran her hand across her daughter’s chest and felt a hard mass beneath her nipple, she got worried.

The next day, as Emily stood in the doctor’s examination room putting her clothes back on, the pediatrician delivered some inconceivable news to de Reyna: It looked as though her preschooler was beginning puberty. “I was horrified,” she recalls. “I’d never heard of such a thing.”

Two years later, Emily had developed underarm hair and body odor. With the possibility of early menstruation looming and doctors warning that an early bone growth spurt could radically stunt her final height, Emily’s parents were forced to make a painful decision: Take a wait-and-see approach and face the physical and emotional consequences, or give Emily monthly injections of a hormone suppressant and stall time.

“In my eyes, I could not have my kindergartner going through puberty,” says de Reyna, who reluctantly opted for medication. “She had already lost some of her childhood, and I would be sadder if she had lost more.”

According to researchers, physicians, and parent advocacy groups, such stories continue to grow more common, as the average age of the first signs of puberty decreases and healthcare providers and parents grapple with what to do about it. In 1997, a landmark study published in the journal Pediatrics confirmed what anyone who had been to a shopping mall or water park recently could confirm: American girls are growing up faster (at least physically) than their mothers and grandmothers did. The study of more than 17,000 girls in the US found that 1 percent of Caucasian girls and 3 percent of African American girls begin developing breasts and/or pubic hair by age 3. By age 8, roughly half of African American girls and 15 percent of Caucasian girls show clear signs of sexual development. Overall, African American girls begin puberty between age 8 and 9, and Caucasian girls begin by age 10—as much as a full year earlier than in the 1960s. And girls today start menstruating between ages 12 and 13, slightly earlier than in decades past.

Because boys’ first sign of sexual development (enlargement of the testicles) is more hidden, data on them remains sparse. But one federally funded 2001 study of more than 2,000 boys suggests they too are maturing earlier, with 30 percent of Caucasians, 38 percent of African Americans, and 27 percent of Latinos showing some genital development by age 8, and an average age for pubic hair development between 11 and 12.

In order to quiet parental fears and prevent unnecessary treatment with potentially dangerous medications, many in the pediatrics community have responded by lowering the definition of “norma...

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