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Delayed puberty

Delayed or arrested puberty could be caused by a brain tumour. It's important to remember that brain tumours are rare, but if you're concerned, you should visit your GP.

What are the normal signs of puberty?

The age at which a girl or boy goes through puberty is likely to be influenced by when their mum or dad went through puberty. For example, a girl is likely to have delayed puberty if her mother had delayed puberty.

Puberty normally starts with breast development in girls and is recognised as being complete when periods have started.

In boys, puberty normally begins with testicular enlargement and is complete when the voice has broken and they need to shave.

What is delayed or arrested puberty?

The time when a child begins puberty can vary greatly between individuals. Some teenagers may feel worried if their development is behind or ahead of their friends' and classmates' development. Usually any difference is a normal variation and is not something to worry about.

Delayed puberty

For girls, puberty is said to be delayed if there are no signs of puberty by the age of 13 or if a girl hasn't started her periods by the age of 16.

If a boy has no symptoms of puberty by age 14, this would be considered delayed.

Arrested puberty

Arrested or suspended puberty is when puberty has started normally, but has not continued. In girls, this includes if periods have started and then stopped again.

What should you do if you are concerned about delayed or arrested puberty?

Teenagers who have arrested or delayed puberty due to a brain tumour are likely to have other symptoms, so you should look for these carefully.

If you're a teenager and you're worried about your symptoms, you should make an appointment to get checked out by your doctor. Puberty can seem like an embarrassing or awkward thing to talk about, but your GP will be understanding.

If you're concerned about your child having delayed or arrested puberty, talk to them, explaining that you think they should see their GP and offer to make an appointment for them. Your teenager may wish to go alone or to have you there for support.

If your child shows one symptom, you should book an appointment with your GP as soon as possible. If they're experiencing two or more symptoms, you should request an urgent referral to a consultant.

If symptoms are severe or occur suddenly, you should take your child to an emergency department or call 999.

I think my child has a brain tumour, what should I do?

Brain tumours are rare, however, if you're worried, if a symptom persists or if your child has more than one of these symptoms then:

  • Talk to your doctor
    GP appointments are usually quite short, find out how to best prepare for your appointment
  • Get an eye test
    If your child's symptoms are limited to changes in vision and/or headaches, get their eyes tested by an optician before seeing your GP.