How I Knew My Child Had CPP Series #5: Growth Spurt

Featuring a quote from a caregiver of when they first knew something was different

See also: How I Knew My Child Had CPP Series #4: Sexual Comments and Behaviors

Kids grow up so fast—sometimes it feels like you blink, and your baby is already as tall as you. While this attitude holds true for many parents, it’s especially true for parents of children with CPP. From age 5 until puberty, kids without CPP typically grow about 2 inches per year. Kids with CPP, however, usually experience a sudden and much more sizable growth spurt long before puberty. 

If your kiddo’s stature has undergone abrupt, rapid changes lately, something hormonal could be going on. Consider taking these steps to handle the issue with care.

My 6 year old daughter has always been tall for her age—her dad and I are both relatively tall people. But she recently grew nearly 4 inches in about 6 months. I knew this sort of growth spurt wasn’t typical outside of puberty, which worried me. So I called her pediatrician. She has CPP.

See your pediatrician right away

Although a growth spurt may not seem so detrimental at first, it’s important to see your child’s pediatrician as soon as possible if your little one is growing much more quickly than average. Although kids with CPP gain a boost in stature early on, they’re at risk of bone growth plates fusing too early, which prematurely causes them to stop growing altogether. Most children with untreated CPP become significantly shorter-than-average adults.

Your child’s pediatrician can check for other signs of central precocious puberty like pubic hair, 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, their growth rate should slow to a more sustainable pace.

Understand what’s happening in your child’s body

Pubertal growth spurts are the result of quickly changing hormones. Pituitary growth hormone, thyroid hormone, the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen, and Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) are all sending signals to your child’s body that it’s time to grow up… fast.

Talk to your child with sensitivity

Know that your child may feel self-conscious about being the tallest kid in class, or bigger than their older siblings. Try establishing a rule at home that “we don’t comment on other people’s bodies in this house.” Although your child may receive comments from their peers—and even adults—at school and sports practice, do what you can to enforce the idea that every body is different, and that’s okay!

If your child does have CPP, their symptoms are very treatable. Your child’s doctor is there to help, and once they start treatment, your child’s growth velocity should diminish.

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