Precocious puberty is a bizarre condition in which a child’s body begins to change into an adult’s much sooner than normal. Boys are normally diagnosed with this if they hit puberty before the age of nine. But in a case that has left people stunned, a child in Delhi has been suffering from this rare condition since before his first birthday.
When this toddler was six months old, his parents noticed that he was bigger than other babies of his age. His genitals had also grown much larger than they’re supposed to.
“We thought maybe he was just a big baby, so we did not take him to the doctor. But by the time he was one, it was apparent there was something wrong. My mother-in-law, who has taken care of several children in the family, also said that his growth seemed unnatural. That is when we took him to the doctor,” said his mother.
At the age of 18 months, he was at least 15 cm taller than children of his age. He had already started growing body hair, his voice had begun to crack, and he had fully developed sexual organs. After noticing these changes, his parents finally took him to a doctor.
“His testosterone levels were exceptionally high, as high as that of a 25-year-old, because of which he had started experiencing physical changes. Since he was so young, he was not able to understand what was happening. He would experience sexual urges too,” said Dr Vaishakhi Rustagi of Max Super Speciality Hospital, Shalimar Bagh.
According to the doctor, the condition is extremely rare. At this age, only one in 1 lakh suffer from precocious puberty. “It is a rare case that happens once in 10 odd years. Precocious puberty is traumatic for a child of his age. The baby can’t express his feelings or understand what his happening to him, while his parents are left confused.”
While no cause for the child’s condition has been found, he is supposed to be given monthly injections that negate the effect of his hormones as part of the therapy prescribed by the doctors. The dose will gradually be reduced to once in three months. The treatment will be stopped once the child is close to the normal age of puberty.
“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 3-4 ft tall,” Dr Rustagi said.
This treatment is costing the family a phenomenal amount, as their insurance company has rejected their claim. They have to pay ₹11,000 a month for their son’s treatment.
We can only hope that the little boy stops suffering soon.