Hyderabad girls go for shot to delay puberty

The Times of India

October 19, 2010

HYDERABAD: Heard of the shot that delays puberty? Well, many worried parents in the city have, and are now opting for these growth hormone injections for their child to either delay the early onset of menstrual cycle or stop monthly periods for a couple of years. Not exactly a fad, the medication appears to be a rather expensive mechanism to combat a disturbing urban health reality — of girls as young as 8 and 9 attaining puberty.

Considered to be a disorder called ‘precocious puberty’, city doctors have not only seen a rise in this condition in the last couple of years but in the number of takers of this medical treatment which costs Rs 3,500-4,000 a month. “We get 5-6 such cases of early puberty a month. These girls mostly aged between 5-8 years are managed by GnRH analogues, basically an injection, to control the hormone levels and postpone the menstrual cycle till they grow up to 10 years or more. This treatment is used after ruling out other organic causes for this disorder (early puberty),” says Prof Rakesh Kumar Sahay, Osmania Medical College. Sahay, who is also secretary of Endocrine Society of India, further stated that there are no significant side effects of this treatment.

Doctors say this condition not only has implications on the child’s height but increases the exposure to oestrogen hormone which can lead to breast cancer at a later stage. While precocious (early) puberty may also be due to defect in endocrine glands, infections and inflammations, but most of the time it turns out to be physiological, doctors say. They note that it is ideal to start the treatment before menstrual cycle commences, based on the symptoms of puberty but it can also be taken up after the cycle begins.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.