Normally, a girl begins to develop pubic hair between 10 and 11 years old. However, some medical conditions can cause young girls to exhibit early signs of puberty before the age of 8. Although premature pubic hair growth cannot be prevented, the Kid's Health website suggests keeping children away from all exposure to estrogen and other sex hormones.
The Dr Greene website explains that McCune-Albright Syndrome can cause abnormalities in a child's hormone levels, resulting in the development of pubic hair prematurely. This syndrome is a condition that causes mutations in genes, giving the body two different types of DNA. Besides pubic hair, young girls can develop breasts and begin menstruation as early as 3 years old.
In addition, symptoms of this condition can include large birthmarks, tumors and skeletal deformity. Although dangerous, McCune-Albright Syndrome can be treated with estrogen blocking drugs and surgery to remove abnormal adrenal glands.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
According to the Kid's Health website, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome commonly affects young girls. It can trigger symptoms of premature puberty such as the early development of pubic hair. This disorder causes the ovaries to produce higher than normal levels of the male hormone androgen.
As a result, some of the eggs released during ovulation turn into cysts. These cysts can build up within the ovaries, causing them to enlarge. To treat, a doctor may prescribe a medication to regulate the disrupted hormone levels. In addition, large ovarian cysts may need to be surgically removed.
Thyroid diseases, like hyperthyroidism, cause the thyroid to produce excessive levels of the thyroid hormone. When this disorder occurs in young girls, the New York Thyroid Center states that it can cause an enlargement of the pituitary gland. Then the pituitary gland can produce too much of the prolactin hormone, causing a young girl to enter puberty prematurely.
Many thyroid disorders resolve themselves within a few months. However, more serious disorders, like hyperthyroidism, may require a prescription antithyroid medication. Left untreated, chronic thyroid disorders are dangerous and can lead to osteoporosis and heart damage.