Early puberty can cause girls problems

Starting puberty at an early age could increase the likelihood of girls experiencing psychological problems in later life. This is the suggestion of new research published in the journal The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, which found early onset might also mean females are at risk of early pregnancy and even sexual abuse.

According to the review, early puberty - which is usually defined as the development of secondary sexual characteristics before the age of eight - can affect girls from both physical and psychological perspectives, as higher levels of sex steroids may lead to adolescent behaviour.

In addition, some young females who appear older than they are might be expected to behave in a manner more befitting their physical maturity as opposed to their actual age.

Sakunthala Sahithi Tirumuru, Specialist Registrar in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Alexandra Hospital, Redditch, said: "Starting puberty early can have a significant impact both psychologically and socially on both the child and her family."

Emma Citron, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "How a child responds psychologically to very early puberty within a family and their community will depend for the large part on how self conscious the child is about their development and how their peers respond.

"Bullying of the child should be handled as would any other form of bullying either on a school or sibling level and it will be up to the parents of the child to keep a close eye on how the child is managing psychologically."