Ever imagine a one-year-old with fully developed sexual organs of a grown man? Well, a one-year Indian toddler known only as Akash, was found to have the testosterone level of a 25-year-old. Meaning he has an adult-sized genitalia, facial and body hair and his voice was starting to break.
His parents said they noticed the disturbing physical changes when he was six months old. Not only was he taller than other children his age, his genitals too had started growing abnormally. His mother said:
“We thought maybe he was just a big baby, so we did not take him to the doctor. But by the time he was one, it was apparent there was something wrong. My mother-in-law, who has taken care of several children in the family, also said that his growth seemed unnatural. That is when we took him to the doctor.”
When taken to a doctor at 18 months old, he was 95cm tall, 10-15cm taller than children his age, and had already started getting facial and body hair. His voice had also started breaking, and he had fully developed sexual organs.
The doctors diagnosed him with a rare hormonal condition, known as precocious puberty – defined as any child who goes through puberty before the age of seven or eight.
Dr Vaishakhi Rustagi, explained that
“His testosterone levels were exceptionally high, as high as that of a 25-year-old, because of which he had started experiencing physical changes. Since he was so young, he was not able to understand what was happening. He would experience sexual urges too.”
“It is a rare case that happens once in 10 odd years. Precocious puberty is traumatic for a child of his age. The baby can’t express his feelings or understand what his happening to him, while his parents are left confused.“If such children are not treated, they will become violent. The physical changes will not be suitable for their age. They will also stop growing after a few years and remain about 3-4ft tall.”
The doctors have carried further tests on baby Akash which has revealed that there was no underlying cause for the increased levels of hormones and thus, the doctors put him on hormone therapy. He needs to take injections that help in blocking the effect of the hormones once a month. Later, the dose will be reduced to once in three months till he is 10-11 years old and is ready to accept the changes in his body.
Precocious puberty is a very rare condition, especially at such a young age. According to Dr Rustagi, only one in 100,000 have this condition, with the incidence increasing to one to two in 100,000 in boys aged eight to 10.
The youngest mother on record, Lina Medina, gave birth at the age of five years and seven months in Peru in 1939, and became an international celebrity at the time.