Precocious puberty. Body changes associated with puberty may occur at an abnormally young age in some kids if the pituitary hormones that stimulate the gonads to produce sex hormones rise prematurely. An injectable medication is available that can suppress the secretion of these pituitary hormones (gonadotropins) and arrest the progression of sexual development in most of these children.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a disorder in which too much melatonin is produced, especially during long winter nights, causing profound depression, oversleeping, weight gain, tiredness, and sadness. Treatment consists of exposure to bright lights for several hours each day to inhibit melatonin production. It has also been found that melatonin levels drop 75% suddenly just before puberty, suggesting the involvement of melatonin in the regulation of the onset of puberty. Studies have been done on blind girls, which showed that these girls tended to have higher levels of melatonin for a longer time, resulting in a delay in the onset of puberty. Some older people, who don’t make very much melatonin, thus don’t sleep well, might benefit from a melatonin supplement.