Curious case of early puberty: One-year-old in Delhi diagnosed with a rare medical condition

One in 100,000 suffer from precocious puberty – a rare condition of early puberty diagnosed below age 8 in girls and age 9 in boys – in India. On Sunday, Hindustan Times reported a rare case as such of a one-year-old being treated for precocious puberty in a super specialty hospital in Delhi.

Representational / Getty images.

Representational / Getty images.

Thinking that the one-year-old Rahul (name changed) was just a big baby, his parents ignored his growing facial and hair. A year later when the Rahul grew 95-cm tall, abnormally bigger than children his age, and developed fully developed sexual organs his parents consulted a doctor, states the report.

Rahul's also has heightened testosterone levels of 500-600 nanogram per deciliter (ng/dl) which should normally, for a one-year-old, should be 20 ng/dl.

Stating that the condition may also result in stunted growth, Vaishakhi Rustagi, the consulting paediatric endocrinologist at treating Rahul at Max Super Specialty Hospital in Shalimar Bagh, told the newspaper: “If such children are not treated, they will become violent. The physical changes will not be suitable for their age. They will also stop growing after a few years and remain about 3-4ft tall,” Rustagi said.

What is precocious puberty? 

Simply put the medical condition is an early onset of puberty which can cause further problems like tall stature, however, rapid bone maturation can also stop the linear growth too early and result in short adult stature. A report authored by Paul Kaplowitz on a health website Medscape explains that in girls it results in early appearance of breasts or menses while in boys it increases libido triggering the emotional distress for some children.

A condition as rare as this costs Rahul's parents Rs 11,000 monthly, however, not being  a life-threatening one made the insurance companies reject the parents' claims for covering the expenses.

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Updated Date: May 31, 2016 19:32:55 IST