If puberty happens late in teenagers then it can be termed as delayed puberty. This will indicate that the child’s physical signs, when it comes to sexual maturity don’t appear by age of 12 yrs in girls or age 14 yrs in boys. The breast or testicle development, pubic hair, or changes when it comes to voice will not be proper.

We got in touch with Dr. Payal Narang, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, to explain the causes, symptoms, and diagnosis of delayed puberty in teenagers. Read on to know more about this and help your children.

Parents, do you notice symptoms such as no breast development in girls even above 14 yrs, no penis and testicular development in boys above 14 yrs, and having a short stature when compared to other children of that age. This indicates delayed puberty. Puberty means the child’s transition to an adult. Many times, children tend to pass this normal age range for puberty, without showing any signs of body changes which is known as delayed puberty.

Turner Syndrome by 777 Bond vector | www.shutterstock.com
Turner Syndrome

The causes of delayed puberty in teenagers

1. Genetic Disorder

If anyone in the child’s family has delayed puberty then he/she may also encounter it.

2.  Chromosomal Problems

Turner syndrome in girls and Klinefelter syndrome in boys indicates that the cause of delayed puberty could be chromosomal problems.

3.  Endocrinal Disorder

Thyroid problems, an underactive pituitary gland can also cause delayed puberty.

4. Other Causes

Chronic illness, too much exercise, eating disorders like anorexia, abnormal development of one’s reproductive system can also cause delayed puberty.

Symptoms of delayed puberty in teenagers

1. Girls

They may spot signs such as no breast growth by age 12 yrs, delayed or no menstruation, delayed pubic hair growth.

2. Boys

No testicular enlargement by age 14 yrs, delayed pubic hair growth by age 15 yrs, and taking more than 5 yrs to complete adult genital growth.

Stressed Teenage Girl by fizkes | www.shutterstock.com
Stressed Teenage Girl

Issues that teenagers face due to delayed puberty

It can be a matter of embarrassment for teenagers. They will have many doubts in their mind regarding delayed puberty. They may feel that they lack behind others. There will be low self-esteem and the teenagers may not socialize with anyone. They will feel lonely, stressed, anxious, depressed, and frustrated. They will avoid interacting with other kids owing to embarrassment. Thus, behavioral disorders are commonly seen in children due to delayed puberty.

How delayed puberty is diagnosed

In order to diagnose delayed puberty, a teenager will be sent to a pediatric endocrinologist, who specializes in treating kids and teens who have growth problems along with the help of other doctors.

1. Blood tests

Blood tests can help you know about hormone levels, chromosomal problems and other disorders.

2. X-ray

The X-ray can be taken from the left hand and wrist. This can estimate your child’s bone age.

3. CT scan

CT scans can show bones, muscles, fat and organs to monitor the child’s growth pattern.

4. MRI

It is done to get the images of the tissues in the body.

Teen Medical Checkup by Studio Romantic | www.shutterstock.com
Teen Medical Checkup

Treatment for delayed puberty

Did you know, before recommending any treatment, the doctor will take certain things into consideration like age, overall health and other factors when advising treatment? One may be given hormone therapy or surgery if required. The treatment will vary from one teenager to another. Your doctor will be the right person to decide what can be done in case of your delayed puberty. Do not self-medicate as doing so is risky. Parents, your children will require emotional support, understanding and cooperation while dealing with delayed puberty. Try to be there for your child. Spend some quality time with him/her and help them sail through the situation.

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