A toddler began puberty when she was just a baby, experiencing her first period at nine months old due to a rare condition.
Birdie Regan, who is now almost three, was diagnosed with precocious puberty after her mum Sarah Regan discovered her nappy was full of blood.
Precocious puberty is a rare condition where a child’s body starts to develop too early.
Personal assistant Sarah, from Sydney, Australia, says that the toddler was a perfectly healthy baby until she discovered that the tot had bled while she was changing her nappy in 2020 and rushed her to hospital.
Doctors carried out ultrasounds, hormone tests and an x-ray on her wrist where they found her bones were advanced for 18 months and she was diagnosed with precocious puberty.
Mum-of-three Sarah said: “She was nine months old. She woke one morning so I went to check her nappy and it was full of blood, not just a little bit. It was a heavy bleed. I was worried she might have a kidney infection.
“I changed her and took her straight to the emergency room.
“After ruling out any other causes, they did a bone scan and found that her bones were advanced for her age. They diagnosed her with precocious puberty that night.
“That was her first period. I didn’t know what to think, we didn’t know much about it and we’d never heard of it before. She wasn’t walking or talking.
“It’s hard to tell if she has other symptoms like mood swings or aches and pains because she’s so little. She doesn’t have pubic hair or breasts, which some children with the condition can get.”
Sarah, who has two other children, Zachary, ten, and Elsie, one, hates how she has to explain the condition to Birdie’s teachers so they don’t become concerned about finding blood in her underwear.
Sarah said: “When she goes to day care I felt like I had to explain that if they find blood in her nappy that’s why and we have a doctor’s note to ensure no one becomes concerned about it. That’s our biggest hurdle with her.
“As she grows up, I hate that’s always something we have to explain. When she starts primary school, I’ll have to explain to her teachers but it’s important for people to know about it.
“I also don’t want people to become complacent. If blood is found in an infant’s underwear it has to be investigated.
“My son googled the youngest person to have a baby, it came up as a five-year-old who had been abused and he said that meant that Birdie broke the record of someone old enough to have a baby.
“In a way it’s right but it’s disturbing. It’s a horrible thing to think about.”
Sarah says after the initial bleeding Birdie has suffered random spotting and has a hormone test, ultrasound and x-ray every six months to check on her development.
She says if Birdie’s development advances quickly, she’ll consider hormone injections to slow it down and stall going through other elements of puberty too early.
Sarah said: “She’s had spotting since the full bleed. It hasn’t been monthly. It’s stretched itself out, it’s not regular.
“It makes it really hard to track. We’re trying to make sure it doesn’t affect her physically.
“It can affect your growth and appearance so that’s what we’re monitoring and if it does look like that’s happening at any stage, we’ll start a hormone treatment with injections of hormones to stall puberty until she’s at an age where it’s appropriate for her to go through that.
“It’s slowed down a little bit and she’s doing really well. We caught it so early in her and we keep checking her every six months so she’ll have a good prognosis because we’re on top of it.”
Sarah says Birdie was a perfectly healthy baby until she was diagnosed with the condition, which her other children don’t have.
Sarah said: “As her mum I hope it doesn’t affect her appearance and growth more than any other child her age. I just want her to have a normal childhood. If we need hormone therapy then we’ll do it, I just don’t want it to make her different.
“She was a perfect happy baby, there were no problems whatsoever. She was my second baby so it’s not like I was a new mum who didn’t know what I was doing.
“She’s a normal girl, she’s almost three, she’s having tantrums. Appearance wise you wouldn’t know the difference because we’re on top of it.”
Early puberty, also called precocious puberty, is when girls have signs of puberty before eight years of age and boys have signs of puberty before nine years of age.
Some girls and boys may develop certain signs of puberty at a young age, but not others. For example, girls may start period before the age of eight but have no breast development.