Flap: Precocious vs Delayed Puberty

Excitement is one emotion that blows you off and then turns you on all at the same time. Instances could turn to circumstances and your stance in all this is the fuse.

Form 2  was an exciting moment. The girls were all around 12 to 14 years old. Each day, the dormitory was rather fussy with noisy people trying to find out the next person to have joined the so-called ‘mbra’ crew. This was a whole thing and girls started getting eager about getting their periods. I mean it was so rampant that it almost felt as though there was someone sharing periods. When it was your turn and you got your period, you would celebrate and get to know how it feels to go back to the dormitory because of a period leak or tie a pull over around your waist and try to keep the inquisitive guys off your case. I mean guys attended biology lessons just so they will know how to calculate periods. Some were so sure of dates to the extent that once a girl stood up to leave the class it became a ‘check check’ party not only for the girl but for the long necks at the back of the class.

While girls experienced all these, Form 3 came with same the atmosphere and by the end of Form 3, almost everyone was in the club but for Serah. She asked herself time without number what she had done to deserve that. I mean everyone got their period at the end of or the beginning of the month but all her sanitary pads were ever good for was sharing. One day she asked Glory,

 “I hear without menses I can’t have kids. Is it because I am called Serah? My kid sister already got her period. Why is my case different? It’s so bad even mum is worried. I mean I am 16 and on a smooth ride to 17 with no menses. My mum is worried and so are my aunts. We have been to the doctors severally but they keep saying it will be ok. Just the last doctor suspected delayed puberty “

Her friends felt the pinch so much so that when they are on their periods they didn’t want her to know. One cool Sunday morning, she complained of abdominal pain. Later that day in church, she said she felt wet and on standing she was rather baptized at it was a blood bath on her seat. She was all smiles but was forced to remain seated while everyone left.

What: Precocious Vs delayed puberty.

Precocious Puberty

Precocious puberty is when a child’s body begins changing into that of an adult (puberty) too soon. When puberty begins before age 8 in girls and before age 9 in boys, it is considered precocious puberty.

Precocious puberty signs and symptoms include the development of the following before age 8 in girls and before age 9 in boys.

Breast growth and first period in girls

  •  Enlarged testicles and penis, facial hair and deepening voice in boys
  • Pubic or underarm hair
  •  Rapid growth
  •  Acne
  • Adult body odour
Risk factors

Factors that increase a child’s risk of precocious puberty include:

  • Being a girl. Girls are much more likely to develop precocious puberty.
  • Being of African origin. Precocious puberty appears to affect Africans and people of African origin more often than children of other races.
  •  Being obese. Children who are significantly overweight have a higher risk of developing precocious puberty.
  • Being exposed to sex hormones. Coming in contact with an estrogen or testosterone cream or ointment, or other substances that contain these hormones (such as an adult’s medication or dietary supplements), can increase your child’s risk of developing precocious puberty.
  •  Having other medical conditions. Precocious puberty may be a complication of  congenital adrenal hyperplasia — conditions that involve abnormal production of the male hormones (androgens). In rare cases, precocious puberty may also be associated with hypothyroidism.
  • Having received radiation therapy of the central nervous system. Radiation treatment for tumors, leukemia or other conditions can increase the risk of precocious puberty.

Delayed puberty

Delayed puberty in girls occurs when breasts don’t develop by age 13 or menstrual periods do not begin by age 16.


In most cases of delayed puberty, growth changes just begin later than usual, sometimes called a late bloomer. Once puberty begins, it progresses normally. This pattern runs in families. This is the most common cause of late maturity.

  • Another common cause of delayed puberty in girls is lack of body fat. Being too thin can disrupt the normal process of puberty. This can occur in girls who:
  • Are very active in sports, such as swimmers, runners, or dancers
  • Have an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia
  • Are undernourished

Delayed puberty also may occur when the ovaries produce too little or no hormones. This is called hypogonadism. This can occur when the ovaries are damaged or are not developing as they should.

Certain medical conditions or treatments can lead to hypogonadism, including: Liver and kidney problems, Turner Syndrome, pituitary gland tumors etc.


Girls begin puberty between ages 8 and 15. With delayed puberty, your child may have one or more of these symptoms:

  • Breasts do not develop by age 13
  • No pubic hair
  • Menstruation does not start by age 16
  • Short height and a slower rate of growth
  • The uterus does not develop
  • Bone age is less than your child’s age

There may be other symptoms, depending on what causes delayed puberty.

Notice that delayed onset of menses is a component of delayed puberty. For most girls and their mothers, like the case of Serah, its scary. Well, then we ought to understand our bodies. If you are faced with such, it’s important to seek advice from a qualified health care provider. We will like to know how you felt on your first menses. Do feel free to share with us. Meanwhile, tell a girl to tell a girl first periods are good and if you did not get yours between the ages of 12-15 seek advice. You may want to also read my article on Menstruation and First Periods.


By Fozao Mbi Vanessa.

Want to read more on this? We sourced the following article for our content:

  1. Precocious Puberty by Mayo Clinic
  2. Delayed Puberty by Medline Plus
My first period experience

Make sure to follow-up our Social Media campaign this May and share menstruation your stories with us using the hashtag: #MyPeriodDrama

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