Is it normal for a nine-year-old to have pubic hair? 

Monday May 10 2021
health04pix
By Dr Vincent Karuhanga

My nine-year-old daughter has developed pubic hair which I found because she had wet her pants. I have used several home remedies and even shaved the hair but it still grows back. Is it normal for pubic hair to come before one gets breasts or her period? Alfafa

Dear Alfafa,

Puberty is when a child’s body starts developing into that of an adult and for girls, this normally begins between eight and 12 years of age, with the earliest sign in most girls being the development of one or both breasts. 

Although thin brown hair on the pubis may grow next (in some girls may grow before their period starts), it takes some time for the hair to become thick and coarse.

That said, timelines vary in girls but within two to three years after the development of breasts, girls usually grow fast in height and in about six months, they get their first period. Some may produce a white vaginal discharge from about six to12 months before their first period, a normal response to growing amounts of the oestrogen hormone in the body.

Pubarche, the first appearance of pubic hair at puberty, is considered normal when occurring around or at eight years of age in girls. However, if it happens much earlier, it may indicate premature pubarche, resulting from the premature release of a male hormone from the adrenal gland.

Advertisement

Much as they may be alarming to parents, adrenal-related changes can happen even in infants in the absence of “true” puberty. The changes are usually harmless, especially if not followed by other puberty changes such as genital enlargement and body growth. However, you still need to visit a paediatrician who will further examine your daughter.

Advertisement