During puberty, adolescents start to grow hair in new places — namely their underarms and pubic area. For kids with central precocious puberty (CPP), pubertal hair growth can happen much sooner. If your child has prematurely begun to develop pubertal hair, consider taking these steps to care for your little one.
I didn’t even know what CPP was, but I knew kids weren’t supposed to get pubic hair until they were pre-teens. When my six year old daughter started to develop hair in new places, I called her doctor.
See your pediatrician right away
Your child’s pediatrician can check for other symptoms of central precocious puberty like growth acceleration, body odor, menstruation, and testes or breast bud development. They can also refer you to a pediatric endocrinologist if they suspect CPP. If and when your child is prescribed CPP treatment, pubertal hair should stop growing after about three weeks.
Understand what’s happening in your child’s body
During puberty, kids’ adrenal glands start to produce a group of hormones called adrenal androgens that stimulate the growth of underarm and pubic hair. These same hormones are likely causing pubertal hair growth in your child… just sooner than expected.
Talk to your child with sensitivity
Let your child know they’re not alone – everyone eventually grows pubic and underarm hair. Explain that even though their body is becoming more adult, they are not an adult, and let them know you’re there to support them through the changes to come. Then praise them for talking to you about an awkward body topic… the more open your communication is throughout CPP, puberty, and life; the better!
Instill new hygiene habits
Teach your child to wash pubic hair in the shower with soap and water (if you have a daughter, make sure she knows not to use soap inside her vagina as that could disrupt her pH levels and lead to infection). Depending on your child’s age and the time of year, they may want to shave their underarms. If that’s the case, coach them through the process so they don’t nick their skin.
Know that if and when your child starts CPP treatment, pubertal hair growth should subside. With your guidance and the help of a pediatric endocrinologist, your kid can get back to the simplicity of childhood.