You are your child’s best advocate. At school, at practice, and at home, you already know how to champion your little one’s needs. Advocating for their CPP treatment may feel like new territory, but when you understand what the process entails, you can move forward with confidence and clarity.
Central Precocious Puberty is rare, affecting one in every 5,000 – 10,000 children. Pediatrician appointments typically happen every 6 or 12 months, and therefore, pediatricians don’t always recognize CPP right away, which can cause significant referral delays. It often takes an entire year to obtain a pediatric endocrinologist referral, at which point, treatment could have limited effectiveness depending on your child’s age. Knowing the signs of CPP will help you advocate for your little one so they can get back to the business of being little as soon as possible.
Early warning signs
When girls younger than eight and boys younger than nine start to exhibit signs of puberty, that’s your first warning sign. Sometimes, early manifestations of CPP involve changes in personality and behavior: unusual outbursts and moodiness generally reserved for teens could be a clue that physical changes are on the way.
If the root cause of these personality shifts is, indeed, CPP, physical clues like growth acceleration, body odor, pubic hair, and breast bud development will soon follow. When you notice major personality shifts in your child, that is reason enough to see your pediatrician: when these shifts precede bodily changes, it’s time to talk to your pediatrician about a pediatric endocrinologist referral.
You can learn more about CPP symptoms here.
The role of a specialist
Although your pediatrician may be the first doctor to consider CPP as a cause of your symptoms, he or she will not make the official diagnosis. This happens in partnership with a pediatric endocrinologist: A specialized doctor who focused on conditions related to the endocrine glands, which includes variations of physical growth and sexual development in childhood, diabetes and childhood obesity.
Though you may want to go directly to a pediatric endocrinologist, it’s important that you meet with your pediatrician first, because he or she will usually be able to refer you to a specialist in your area.
You can learn more about your CPP care team here.
What to expect at the pediatrician’s office
Ideally, your pediatrician will listen to your concerns and refers your family to a pediatric endocrinologist for their expertise in diagnosis and management of precocious puberty, blood work and bone age analysis right away. However, parents often tell us that the pediatrician may want to take more of a ‘wait and see’ approach to observe symptom progression. At this point, seeking out another pediatrician – or even reaching out to a pediatric endocrinologist on your own to see what your options are – could be the right choice for you.
Taking early action
It’s important to see a specialist as soon as you can, because CPP diagnosis and treatment initiation may take months: multiple visits, waiting for test results and insurance approval. It’s best to get the ball rolling as soon as possible so your little one doesn’t have to miss out on another moment of childhood.
With CPP, proactivity makes all the difference. Once treatment begins, your little one can start to simply be a kid again.
Check out these articles to learn more about the diagnosis process.