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Bone age x-ray: an x-ray of the non-dominant wrist and hand that helps evaluate how a child’s skeleton is maturing. This is typically done to help doctors diagnose conditions that delay or accelerate growth
Central precocious puberty (CPP for short): a condition in which children begin puberty at an abnormally early age (before age 8 in girls and before age 9 in boys). It’s caused by the early release of hormones by the pituitary gland near the base of the brain
Chronological age: a person’s actual age, expressed in years and months
CPP: see Central precocious puberty
Estrogen: a "female" sex hormone that causes the development of female sexual characteristics and affects the reproductive cycle in women
Fertility: the ability to produce offspring
FSH: see Follicle-stimulating hormone
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH): a hormone that stimulates the growth of follicles in the ovary and produces sperm in the testes
FSH: see Follicle-stimulating hormone
Genitals: reproductive or sexual organs
GnRH: see Gonadotropin-releasing hormone
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH for short): a hormone made by the hypothalamus (part of the brain) that causes the pituitary gland to produce two hormones, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
Growth chart: a standardized chart used to measure a child’s growth rate in comparison to other children of the same age and sex
Growth rate: the rate of increase in growth for a set amount of time
Hormone: a substance produced by the body that travels through the blood to affect another part of the body. Hormones can influence a range of effects. For example, they can make the heart beat faster, change your mood, or tell your body to grow
Hypothalamus: a small area at the base of the brain. Produces hormones that travel to the pituitary gland to regulate basic functions necessary for life, including body temperature, hunger, moods, sleep, and the production of sex hormones
LH: see Luteinizing hormone
Luteinizing hormone (LH for short): a hormone that controls the female menstrual cycle, including the production of both estrogen and progesterone. In males, it stimulates the testes to produce androgen
Ovaries: the pair of reproductive glands in women. They are located on each side of the uterus. Ovaries produce eggs (ovum) and female hormones
Pediatric endocrinologist: a specialist that treats a wide range of hormonal conditions in children
Peripheral precocious puberty (PPP): a condition where children begin puberty at an abnormally early age (before age 8 in girls and before age 9 in boys). It’s caused by the induction of sex steroids from abnormal sources, such as a tumor or a reaction to certain medicines
Pituitary gland: also known as the "Master Gland," it is a pea-sized endocrine gland located at the base of the brain. It’s the gland that helps control the release of all hormones
Polycystic ovary syndrome: a hormone imbalance that can cause changes in the menstrual cycle, skin changes, small cysts on the ovaries, and trouble getting pregnant
PPP: see Peripheral precocious puberty
Precocious: unusually advanced or early in development
Puberty: the period of time when children rapidly change biologically, physically, and psychologically. The signs and symptoms of puberty are growth spurts, pubic hair, acne, breast development in girls, or a voice change in boys
Screening: a test or check of a certain area of the body
Sex hormone: a hormone, such as estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, and androgen, that affects the growth or function of the reproductive organs and sex behavior
Reference: 1. Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary. 32nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier; 2011.