The story dates back to 1939 when a baby girl by the name Lina Medina gave birth to a healthy boy. Lina was just five when she gave birth and that is how she became the youngest mother in the world. Here, we will tell you all about this intriguing story that seems next to impossible even in our imaginations.
During the Spring season of 1939, a family from Peruvian village was anxious about the health condition of their young daughter. They took her to the doctor in the faraway city of Lima. The problem was that Lina’s belly was constantly growing big, and her family was suspecting a dangerous tumor.
The family was super shocked to learn that little Lina was already seven months pregnant and was due soon. Just after six weeks, Lina Medina gave birth to a healthy baby boy and became the youngest mother in the world.
Doctors and the public are still speculating the cause of this surprising incident, and no one knows the name of the child’s father. Moreover, Lina Medina’s family was humble and kept away from all types of publicity. They even kept themselves behind the doors most of the time to maintain the media away.
It was the original story of Lina Medina, the world’s youngest mother, and it cooked an absolute rage in the history of Biology and Medical science. It is an extraordinary incident that went all against the conventional rules of Biology.
What is precocious puberty?
Now that you have some idea of Lina Medina, the youngest mother in the world, you must know the probable reason behind the unusual event. We all know that a child does not have sexual hormones developed adequately until a certain age. Then how could pregnancy happen? It happened due to a condition called precocious puberty.
Precocious puberty is when the body of a child starts developing sooner than required. If girls hit puberty before eight years and boys before nine years, it is a particular case of precocious puberty.
The term puberty means fast development of muscles and bones and other changes in the shapes and sizes of the body. It also refers to a child’s ability to reproduce. The actual cause of precocious puberty is still under research. However, scientists and experts have come out with several probable reasons for precocious puberty.
Some of the probable causes of precocious puberty are infections, injuries, or abnormalities in the brain, tumors, and other hormonal problems. Moreover, there is no such guaranteed treatment for precocious puberty. However, there are prescribed medicines to control abnormally rapid hormonal and physical development.
Symptoms of precocious puberty
We know the minimum age at which a child, boy, or girl should hit puberty. However, if you experience any behavioral changes in a child, you must be careful. Check out some of the symptoms of precocious puberty:
- If girls have abnormally early breast development and periods
- If boys grow testicles enlarged in comparison to the standard size at that age. The other symptoms include rapid growth of facial hair and change in voice.
- Underarm or pubic hair
- Body odor that comes out from an adult’s body
- Abnormally rapid growth
You must not ignore even the slightest of symptoms and see a doctor if you suspect anything. Make an early appointment with a good doctor as soon as you find the minor changes in your child’s physical development.
Causes of precocious puberty
Before you read about the origins of precocious puberty, you must know what causes puberty at first. The process of youth starts when the production of a hormone that is called gonadotropin-releasing hormone or GnRH. As soon as this hormone goes up and touches the pituitary gland, there is the creation of more hormone in a boy or girl. We are talking about the production of hormones in the male testicles and female estrogen. The pituitary gland, on the other hand, is a small gland at the base of the brain that looks like a bean.
The estrogen hormone is the main reason for the development of original features in females. At the same time, Testosterone is the primary hormone that helps in the event of sexual traits in males. The reason behind the timing of the development of such characteristics mainly depends on whether the child is experiencing precocious peripheral puberty or peripheral puberty.
What is Central precocious puberty?
When you read about the youngest mother in the world, Lina Medina, experts say that the specific reasons for a central precocious puberty are still unknown. However, we know that the timing of puberty usually identifies this condition. It means that a child going through a central precocious puberty starts developing too soon. The timing and pattern of the other steps are healthy otherwise. For most of the children who face precocious puberty, there is no hidden medical problem or particular reason for the disorder.
There are probable cases of central precocious puberty which include:
- A tumor in the nervous system, for example, the spinal cord or the brain
- The condition of Hypothyroidism in which the thyroid glands are unable to produce proper levels of hormones.
- A birth disorder, such as hamartoma or hydrocephalus, can be a probable reason. The first one refers to a non-cancerous tumor. The second one refers to the buildup of excessive fluid.
- The condition of congenital adrenal hyperplasia refers to a collective genetic syndrome that includes abnormal production of hormones by the adrenal glands.
- Radiation to the spinal cord or brain
- The McCune Albright syndrome is an infrequent genetic problem that includes an abnormality in the bones and skin color and other hormonal issues.
- An injury to the brain or the spinal cord.
What is Peripheral precocious puberty?
A peripheral precocious puberty is a result of Testosterone or estrogen in a child’s body. It is the less common puberty type that occurs even without the presence of the GnRH hormone in the brain. As you already know, the GnRH hormone initiates puberty in a child.
The real cause of the peripheral precocious puberty is an abnormal release of Testosterone or estrogen due to issues with the testicles, ovaries, pituitary, and adrenal glands. The common causes of this type of puberty in both boys and girls are-
- A tumor present in the pituitary or adrenal glands that will release Testosterone or estrogen.
- If a child gets exposure to any external source of testosterone or estrogen in the form of ointments or creams.
- The McCune Albright syndrome is a sporadic genetic problem that includes an abnormality in the bones and skin color and other hormonal issues.
Still, if you want to differentiate the causes of Peripheral precocious puberty between boys and girls, the following will help you understand better.
- For girls, peripheral tumors and cysts can be causes
- For boys, other tumors in the Testosterone or sexual precocities may be the reason.
What are the risk factors of precocious puberty?
In the case of the youngest mother in the world, Lina Medina occurred before the development of medical sciences. However, experts and scientists have come up with probable risk factors of precocious puberty. They are:
- The fact that it is a girl child because female children are more prone to this disorder.
- The disorder of precocious puberty affects children of the Afro-American race more than the other sports.
- Treatments for leukemia, tumors, and similar conditions that involve radiation therapy can probably increase the risk of diseases such as precocious puberty.
- If a child is obese or excessively fatty, he/she is more prone to precocious puberty.
- Suffering from medical conditions such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia or a McCune Albright syndrome. Both of these disorders are associated with abnormal creation of sexual hormones that can result in precocious puberty. Cases of Hypothyroidism are also associated with the disease.
- Coming in contact with any external source of testosterone or estrogen in the form of ointment or cream can cause adverse effects. Also, if a child consumes adult dietary supplements or medication, it can cause precocious puberty.
Major complications associated with precocious puberty
The possible and probable complications in association with a precocious puberty condition are:
- Children who are suffering from the state of precocious puberty grow taller in comparison to other children of their age. It is another symptom of abnormal growth in them; however, their growth stops earlier than the rest of the children due to excessive maturity in their muscles and bones. It is the reason why they remain shorter than any other average person of their age. The best possible way is to identify the earliest symptoms of precocious puberty and seek medical attention. If that happens, you can stop all abnormalities, and the child will grow up normally.
- There are several emotional and social problems that children have to go through if they are suffering from precocious puberty. It is mainly because they are embarrassed and conscious about the physical changes they are experiencing. There are high chances that the child may go through severe depression and also take the support of harmful drugs or other addictions.
Is there a way to prevent precocious puberty?
There are some of the causes of precocious puberty, such as race and sex, that you can never avoid. However, there are ways in which you can prevent your child from experiencing an unfortunate condition such as this. You can take measures such as-
- Keeping any external sources of Testosterone or estrogen such as ointments ad creams out of the reach of children. Also, keep adult dietary supplements and other prescribed drugs away at a distance.
- Trigger the interest of participation in physical activities in your children to keep obesity at bay.
Later life of the youngest mother in the world
Lina Medina, after becoming the youngest mother in the world was a surprise to the whole world when the news came out. However, the pediatric endocrinologists were not entirely at a shock. They had assessed that it could be a condition of abnormal puberty that was still unacceptable during those times. It is a fact that one in every 10,000 children develop this disorder, and Lina Medina was one of them.
Later, reports suggested that little Lina had reached a level of Menarche just after eight months of her giving birth to the baby. Moreover, she had been experiencing menstrual cycles from as early as three years of age.
When Lina Medina was examined, doctors found out that she already had breast development that was more than her age. Also, her hips were wider than any other child of her age could have, and she also had new bone growth. On her 5th birthday, Lina’s appearance was already of a woman who was immature and petite.
Struggles by Lina Medina
Suffering from precocious puberty was just a partial justification to Lina Medina’s condition. The reason is that someone must have got her pregnant, who was certainly not a small boy, also hit by precocious puberty. Medina never confessed the name of her child’s father, although her father was once arrested on charges of child-rape. However, all charges were dropped as a result of a lack of proof.
The case of the youngest mother in the world cooked an instant storm amongst the media of several other countries apart from Peru itself. However, Medina’s family never sold the news to any newspaper against a considerable sum of money. Further, Medina always kept away from the limelight. Even today, there is a controversy about her still living or dead.
As per reports, Medina’s child grew up with the introduction of being her sibling until he was a teenager. Later Medina got married to Raul, a local man, and lived in the countryside. She also gave birth to her second child and still never came out in the public eye. No other news exists of her baby boy who was named Gerardo. Nobody has the slightest trace of where her family lives.
It was the story of the youngest mother in the world, Lina Medina, for you. Moreover, you are now aware of the term ‘precocious puberty.’ It is indeed a rare condition, but it is always good to be conscious of such dangerous issues.