A one year-old boy in Delhi is suffering from a rare condition called precocious or early puberty. He reportedly has fully grown sexual organs and desires like that of a 25-year-old man.
Doctors at Max Super Speciality Hospital in Shalimar Bagh, Delhi, said that the testosterone (male sex hormone) levels of the child were 500-600 nanogram per deciliter (ng/dl) compared to the average hormone levels of 20 ng/dl, according to the Hindustan Times.
Doctors said that precocious puberty affects only one in 100,000 children in the age group of 8 to 10 years. However, attaining puberty at the age of 1 is extremely rare, doctors say.
They said that the incidence of such cases is increasing, with 1 to 2 cases now being reported in 1000,000 boys.
"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 is happening to him, while his parents are left confused," Vaishakhi Rustagi, consulting paediatric endocrinologist at Max Super Speciality Hospital who is treating the boy, was quoted by the HT as saying.
The boy's parents observed the unusual growth patterns in his body six months after he was born. Although they ignored these changes initially, thinking their child may be a little bigger than other babies.
Gradually, the boy became not only taller, but his genitals grew abnormally.
"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," the boy's mother was quoted by the daily as saying.
His parents finally took him to a doctor when he was 18 months old. By then, he was 95 centimeters tall, 10-15 cms taller than the children of his age, had facial and body hair and his voice had also started breaking.
Rustagi said that the unusual changes in the baby's body were due to exceptionally high testosterone levels due to which he would experience sexual urges too.
"Since he was so young, he was not able to understand what was happening. He would experience sexual urges too," Rustagi said.
The doctors are now treating him with hormone block therapy under which the boy needs to be injected once every month to block the effects of testosterone. He would be treated with the therapy for the next 10 to 12 years.
"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," Rustagi told the daily.
The hormone therapy is costing the baby's parents Rs. 11,000 a month. No insurance company has agreed to support them financially, the daily reported.