wilted flowerThere are two stages in a child's life that strike fear in parents' hearts like none other -- toddlerhood and puberty. Both happening simultaneously sounds like a nightmare, but it's the heartbreaking reality for one family as their 2-year-old is reportedly going through early puberty.

According to People's Daily Online, a toddler in China, identified only as Dandan, is being treated for what's technically known as "precocious puberty." When she was 8 months old she began developing breasts, and shortly after her first birthday she began menstruating. It's difficult to imagine how baffled and frightened her parents must have been.

Of course, the question is why, and is this something that we're going to be seeing more of?  It's reported that the girl had been fed formula exclusively, and with all of the problems China has had with its formula, you have to wonder if that didn't have something to do with it. Also, according to the publication, it may be caused by a cyst on her right ovary. If that's the case, hopefully it can be treated.

While this case is exceptionally young, in recent years we have heard more heartbreaking stories of girls going through puberty at younger and younger ages. Not only is it emotionally challenging but there are plenty of health risks that go along with precocious puberty as well. From an increased risk of breast cancer to a higher risk for things like eating disorders and depression, it's more than just embarrassing or a nuisance.

Two is startlingly young and hopefully an anomaly, but so was 7 or 8 until recent years. Hopefully, we can soon figure what is going on to make this happen -- in this case and in others -- and find ways to prevent it and save our girls from such a frightening fate.

Can you imagine having your toddler go through puberty?

 

Image via Robert/Flickr