Premature thelarche related to fennel tea consumption?

J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Jan;27(1-2):175-9. doi: 10.1515/jpem-2013-0308.


Background: Isolated premature thelarche is the breast development in the absence of other secondary sex characteristics in prepubertal girls. Fennel is a plant which contains a phytoestrogen called anethole as an active ingredient.

Case: Here, we report a case of a 12-month-old girl who showed breast development that became apparent in the last 3 months. Her medical history revealed that she was given two to three teaspoons of fennel tea by her mother every day for restlessness for the last 6 months. Isolated premature thelarche was diagnosed based on physical and laboratory findings. On follow-up, after cessation of fennel consumption, the breast development of the patient regressed gradually and became normal by the end of 1 year.

Conclusion: Reporting this case, we want to emphasize the importance of awareness of fennel tea, a commonly used plant in babies, as a preventable cause of premature thelarche.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Beverages*
  • Breast / growth & development*
  • Female
  • Foeniculum*
  • Humans
  • Infant