Approach to the girl with early onset of pubic hair

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Jun;96(6):1610-22. doi: 10.1210/jc.2011-0225.


Premature pubarche, or the development of pubic hair before the age of 8 in girls or 9 in boys, is most commonly caused by premature adrenarche. Adrenarche is the maturation of the adrenal zona reticularis in both boys and girls, resulting in the development of pubic hair, axillary hair, and adult apocrine body odor. Although originally thought to be a benign variant of normal development, premature adrenarche has been associated with insulin resistance and the later development of metabolic syndrome and polycystic ovary syndrome. Although further studies are needed to confirm these relationships, the case presented herein argues for periodic assessment of children at risk. Indeed, recognition of these associations may allow for early preventive measures.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adolescent
  • Adrenarche*
  • Body Composition
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hair / growth & development*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / etiology
  • Puberty, Precocious / complications
  • Puberty, Precocious / diagnosis*