Daughter Entering Puberty?

Updated on February 24, 2009
K. asks from Henderson, NV
28 answers

My daughter turned 8 in December and I notice she's got hair growing under her arms.  One has a lot and another not so much.  It's very fine.  She also has a little bit of very fine, dark hair in her pubic area.  Now, I come from a family of very hairy women (gotta love those genetics), but this seems early to me.  Could it be puberty?  Has anyone else had this experience?  Places I've looked on the Internet say breast development starts first, but I don't see any evidence of that.  Any info would be appreciated.

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So What Happened?

You Mamas rock! I feel a lot better after reading the responses. My daughter is very slim, but has developed physically very early in other ways (1st 4 teeth at 4 months!) and is in the 95 percentile for her height. We do organic dairy and meat because of the hormones. I'll schedule an appt with her ped just to be on the safe side. Thank you all so much!

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J.T.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi K.,
My daughter (now 9) started growing hair in the pubic area first as well. I think she was 8. Then she started 'budding' in the breast area toward the end of last school year. I bought her training bras but her dad was in TOTAL denial and said not yet! Over the summer she matured in both areas. More hair and more breast buds. She even had some spotting at the beginning of this school year (she is in the 4th grade). Just for 2 days and very little and that was it. I freaked out of course, until I spoke with her pediatrician whose own daughter did the same thing and then nothing for a year! I think it is the beginning of puberty. I went out and bought her a book by the American Girl company, The Care and Keeping of You. It is very informative but not too graphic. In any case, good luck to you and your daughter!

J.

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B.W.

answers from San Diego on

My daughter is 6 (almost 7) and has started getting hair in her pubic area and I just discovered a hair under her arms as well, and sometimes has body order - but she has no breast development. She is seeing an pediactric endocronologist for this and he has diagnosed her with premature andrenarche. It's all about some of the hormones slipping through a bit earlier then usual - maybe due to stress with the birth, or if their bone age is advanced (they take an x-ray of their hand to determine this) and some other possibilities. Typical signs of this condition is early development of pubic hair and under arm hair. Might be something you want to bring up with your child's doctor as a possibility? I'd be curious to know what your doctor says about it all, if you don't mind sharing :) Good luck - or contact me if you want to know more.

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K.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

My daughter also showed body hair very early, at 7. Her pediatrician explained that there are 2 sets of hormones involved in puberty: the ones for the sweat glands, which stimulate hair growth, and the ones for the breasts/ovaries; it's the combination of the two that mark the onset of puberty. The doctor felt my daughters breast tissue and found no sign of development at that time; however, she did suggest that with the sweat glands developing early that my daughter might want to consider frequent baths/showers and perhaps a light deoderant. MY daughter is now 9 and is showing some breast development, although that might also be due to the fact that she is on the chubby side. I didn't start showing breast development until I was 11, and started my periods at 12, but I have a younger sister who was quite developed at 10. So there may be something to the genetics of it as well.

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C.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

My daughter started growing underarm hair right after she turned 9 (we have those same hairy genetics and she took after me). She needed deordarent at 8. She is very slim so weight is not an issue. Her breasts are just beginning to emerge, just barely and she's fine. According to the mothers of some of her friends, she's not the only one so I wouldn't worry too much. Just as an FYI my son started puberty at 8, very early for a boy. I had him tested. The doctor said he was at the very high end of normal and his physical age is 3 years beyong his chronological age. At 12 he's 6 ft and wears a size 13 mens shoe which seems to be normal on my husband's side of the family. So puberty seems to be coming earlier now. My son drinks a lot of milk and I only recently switched to organic. If you're worried take her to the doctor but from what I know of my niece and other girls, she's normal. Take care and don't worry!

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D.C.

answers from Honolulu on

I suspect that girls are developing faster than we used to due to the additional hormones now found in milk, chicken, etc. I don't have a soapbox on this issue, but think about it...how big were the chicken breasts in the store when you were growing up versus the size of chicken breasts we now buy at Costco? Other than eating organic everything, I'm not sure of a solution.

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D.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

Well K., the fact is yes, she is probably preteening right now. My daughter started with breast buds at 8, pubic hair and underarm hair by 11, but I am sure it was sooner she was just too embarassed to ask. My mother in law started her monthly menstruation when she was 9. I would talk to you pediatrician to get more info, but it does seem as if puberty will be coming sooner than later.
~~D.

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C.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

Yes, it could be a very early puberty or a female hormone problem. Puberty is usually triggered by body fat. Is your daughter large or overweight? This can trigger puberty. So can ingestion of hugh amounts of soy products which contain female hormones. If your daughter is of normal weight for her age, you want to have her checked by someone who knows about hormone problems in children. There could be another medical reasons(endocrine problems, tumors, genetic disorders). Probably a couple of simple blood tests will tell you what you need to know. I think you are correct about breast development usually preceding or accompanying hair development so this could be another issue. In my family we had issues with weight, early growth spurts, and early development of prepuberty signs that caused some worries in my family, but most turned out just fine.

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L.M.

answers from Reno on

Hi, K....

My daughter is 9 1/2 and she started with smelly perspiration at the beginning of Kindergarten, believe it or not. Her breasts began to develop (just enough to notice) this past summer. She, too, has very fine hair in her pits, and I don't know about her pubic area. I believe your daughter is starting puberty. It's shown that girls are going through this earlier than the past generations. Of course, I am sure that genetics is playing a role in this. My daughter also has been having "growing pains" in the evening and mood changes (yikes). Don't know if this helps you, but know that you are not alone.

~L. M

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A.B.

answers from Las Vegas on

umm, yeah it maybe puberty my sister and I both started puberty at nine and everything happened altogether though. You could also go to the library and get books on the subject

S.I.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi K.,

I second (and third and fourth) all the moms who said to eat organic or hormone-free whenever possible. Many of the pesticides used for commercial farming (including pesticides for the feed that commercially raised animals eat) have estrogenic effects when consumed by humans. This is likely one of the reasons girls enter puberty earlier now than they did two generations ago. And an overbalance of estrogen leads to many worse things than early puberty...like an increased likelihood of fibroids, heavy menses, certain female cancers, and so on. So the more organically you can eat, the better.

It's also a good idea to limit the amount of animal foods (meat and dairy) she eats relative to vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. It's about proportion, not about being a vegetarian. As long as the biggest share of her food intake is plant-based, she should do fine.

Best wishes,

S. I., L.Ac.
Lotus Wellspring Healthcare
456 E. Mission Road, Suite 100
San Marcos, CA 92069
###-###-####
[email protected]____.com
www.lotuswellspring.com

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L.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

It does seem to me that young girls are entering puberty earlier now than say 40 years ago. There is a wonderful book we used with our daughter when she was that age titled "What's happening to Me?" She may develope breast buds soon. I would recommend that you find a nice female GYN, (I took my girls to Womens Health Center, Dr. Lynne Nguyen on Talbert in Fountain Valley. ###-###-####) so she gets comfortable with the idea of taking good care of her body.

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R.P.

answers from Los Angeles on

I have read articles that a lot of girls are entering puberty earlier and earlier. She may indeed be entering puberty. You might call your pediatritian and get her in to be tested. They don't generally suppress puberty unless the girls are under 3, the side effects are like menopause. There could be other reasons, so do talk to your ped...
Good luck!
R.

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J.P.

answers from Los Angeles on

I think she is fine, it does seem early but hairy is in your genes. And we are all diffrent my daughter started getting hairy first also. But this is simply the time to tell her a few things about her body, remember she doesn't need to know everything because she is really young & that's still way gross to her. Just things to expect that are natural and that she might notice some blood in the undies. Don't over whelm her, in a few weeks you can tell her a little more about herself. but then wait a few years for the boy info. Let her tell you what's okay to hear & what's more then she can handle. Pay attention to her actions and comments you'll know when she is done for today. Good luck! J.

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H.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

I think they say breast 1st because it is obvious. By 8 our kids for the most part dress, and bathe themselves. Yes it is puberty, I started my period at 9 and my oldest daughter sadly followed in my footsteps. I got a great pamphlet at Kaiser on becoming a woman, I went over it with my daughter and I put it away in a place she knows so if she needs to she can read it, or of course come to me. Good Luck, additude comes next.

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F.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

My sister in law started her period when she was eight. My mom started hers at nine. I guess some girls just start early. I wouldn't worry about it.

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L.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi K.,

I don't want to repeat everything, but I definitely wanted to respond to assure you that things are okay, but scary for the both of you.

My daughter's grew first (I took her to the doctors because of the lumb - yes, I embarrassed us because the doctor examined her and said she was developing). She then started with light underarm hair that you had to get up close to see. I wouldn't allow her to shave until it was noticable bc I'm hairy and I didn't want her to deal with the aftermath of shaving early.

Long story short, it's normal - the advice given was good so I won't repeat.

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J.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi K.,

Some things you need to be doing if you can is to go organic, with your meats/chicken, dairy, no soy. This is happening so much more earlier than any other generation and I think it has a lot to do with the foods and hormones and also how everything on TV/Movies/Music is 'sexed' up.

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S.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

i got armpit hair in 3rd grade.. about the same time...
We actually saw a child psychologist recently to deal with a prob with our daughter and (off topic) she was telling us that kids are going through puberty much much earlier than before because of all the stuff on TV and billboards etc... and that it's not abnormal now for girls to get their periods even at 8... when before it was very out of the ordinary

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C.S.

answers from Las Vegas on

Hi K.,

I'm still waiting for the breasts to develop over here...even after 2 kids. Okay, on a serious note, yes I am sure she is going through puberty and it is quite a bit young as compared to what we are used to seeing 20 years ago. There are a lot of hormones & steroids in the food unless you have been feeding organics. Look it up, it is sad but true.

We eat organic in hopes to make a difference. I haven't heard of anyone eating organic and still developing early. Maybe someone will post something and let us know if it has made the difference or not for them.

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D.M.

answers from San Diego on

Yes, it's very possible she's entering puberty. I've known several 9 year olds that have started their period (a couple that are my daughter's friends, and a few of my friends started when they were 9.) If she gets a lot of dark hair on her legs and she wants to shave, go ahead and let her. I let my 9 year old shave (but she has blonde hair) and I didn't make it a power struggle, and now she's lost interest.

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L.E.

answers from Los Angeles on

My niece and my female in-laws started developing between the ages of 8 and 10.

Lynne

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L.H.

answers from Honolulu on

Hi K.,
Don't be alarmed about it. Keep in mind that some girls have monthly periods at earlier ages than others. Some girls develop early stages of pubic or under arms hair in such earliest stages of their lives than others. Every individual is very different in their own body progress. Just let her go with the flow. It's not unusual or abnormal at all. Some babies are born with already thick grown hair and other babies are born with hardly any or no hair at all till later in their developments...I hope I made a good point.

L.

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M.S.

answers from Las Vegas on

Dear K.:

This sounds perfectly normal to me. This hair will remain fine for about a year and she won't need to shave under her arms until then, when it becomes coarse. She will probably be needing deodorant by summer.

In our family, girls got hair growth, then breasts and then periods. I never knew it was the other way. Maybe we notice the hair more easily because we're brunettes?

Last month, I took my daughter to emergency for what turned out to NOT be appendicitis and when the doctor found out she'd never had a period, he said, "Wow. You're really late!" (I know, what a jerk.) Considering that every female but one in our entire family got her first period at age 13+, I figure my daughter is still "normal." And, to give this guy credit, he probably doesn't deal with too many people on an all-organic/hormone-free diet!

By the time your daughter jumps through all the hoops of "puberty," I think you'll find that she'll end up right on track. Everyone has their own schedule and both our girls are well within "normal"!

Best wishes,

M.

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A.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi, I am sure it is nothing. I would mention it to her doctor at her check up. I echo using organic dairy.

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S.H.

answers from Honolulu on

Your daughter is 8, so it wouldn't be so unusual.

As a side-note in addition to the other great responses, just want to add:

Nowadays, "puberty" starts at around 8 years old. If it starts before then, it's called "precocious puberty" in which there are MANY different 'kinds.' ie: breast buds, hair growth, menstruation etc.

For us, we saw a Pediatric Endocrinologist because our daughter had some "spotting." As a matter of procedure, the Doctor asked various questions, and my girl had to get the "bone age" x-ray of the hand etc. In any case, my daughter's "ailment" subsided... and it turned out to be a urinary infection. My daughter is only 6 years old. But as it turned out, her "bone age" is within "normal" range although a little more than her age.

In any case... I just wanted to relay some crucial information here, which we got from the Pediatric Endocrinologist... and that is: one of the questions he asked us/my daughter was "what kind of pictures do you have on your wall and what do you watch on tv?" (the reason is, he said MANY MANY children watch "teen" & "pre-teen" shows at such a young age AND they have the posters on their walls too and dress like that already. He says it is an environmental "influence" on a child's development). His point being, it negatively impacts a child's physical development even... and that it is simply inappropriate... and that Parent's need to think about that. And it "can" perhaps trigger or induce a child's physical development, adversely.

Also, staying away from 'hormone' filled foods... ie: soy milk, artificial growth hormones in dairy/milk, BPA's in plastics etc. ALSO, the Doctor said that in one case, there were 2 children under the age of 8, (a boy and girl siblings) that were getting behaviorally aggressive and getting abnormal hair growth already. After much investigation into their lifestyle... it was found that their Dad's "hair growth" cream for baldness, (which has testosterone in it), was causing their precocious puberty, abnormally. Just from normal physical contact with their Dad and skin-to-skin contact...the hormones was being absorbed into the children's endocrine system.

So, many things can "harm" a child's endocrine development. It is very complex... from the media they watch to what they ingest or touch, on a continuous basis.

Thankfully, my daughter was fine. But this is how we learned all about precocious puberty. They say that nowadays... "10" years old is the new "15" years old. This is how fast children are advancing... whether for good or bad.

All the best, just wanted to pass along some info.,
Susan

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C.A.

answers from Las Vegas on

Hi, just wanted to say, that's the age that I started shaving my underarms because I started growing hair there, too, at that age. And I didn't start my period or start really wearing bras until I was 12, so sometimes it just works out that way. I wouldn't worry. =)

P.S. Just a suggestion, I would help her start shaving it now because it could be very embarrassing for her! I was a gymnast at that age, and I was so embarrassed until my mom started helping me shave. Just a thought.

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T.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

Switch to all organic dairy and meats. If you cannot do organic, at least look for the hormone-free kind. Sprouts/Henry's often has great deals on organic meats, and the meat they sell that is not organic is hormone-and-antibiotic free. Trader Joes sells dairy products that are from cows not treated with rbst, the bovine growth hormone. I think they have hormone-free meats there as well.
Hopefully this will slow things down a bit so she can be a kid for a little while longer. It's scary how early kids go into puberty these days!

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J.P.

answers from San Diego on

Girls in US are going into puberty earlier and earlier because of the hormones in the environment, milk and meat. Did you know that pesticides are usually hormone based. Organic is the best option for food.

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