Information for children, teenagers and families


Delayed puberty

Many children with long term conditions have delayed puberty this is not solely a problem in CF. This problem is now less common due to the improvements in the health of children with CF that we have seen over the last few decades. Delay tends to be more significant in teenagers with more severe lung disease and/or poor nutrition, but it can also occur in those with milder CF. Because delayed puberty means a delay in the normal pubertal growth spurt, these children may be shorter that their peers during teenage years. Final adult height is still within the normal range for most people - this is because teenagers with delayed puberty carry on growing after other children with earlier puberty have stopped.

Delayed pubertal development can cause significant psychological problems as those affected feel different from friends and other peers (as well as often being shorter). Delayed puberty can also affect bone strength since bone density reaches its maximum during puberty due to sex hormones released in the body.

Treatment for delayed puberty

Treatment, as with so many things in CF, includes ensuring as good lung and nutritional health as possible. Sex steroids can be given (under the care of a paediatric endocrinologist) to those that are significantly delayed this usually means no signs of puberty at around the age of 13 in girls and 14 in boys.