2-year-old boy develops signs of puberty after father freezes to death


  • Testosterone is a so-called androgenic hormone that is present in larger amounts in men.
  • Testosterone gel is prescribed to men suffering from insufficient secretion of the hormone.
  • 20 similar cases have been identified in the United States.

At two years old he was twice his age. Between 12 and 18 months, he was putting on almost 900 grams of muscle mass per month. Barnaby Brownsell, a two-year-old English boy, has grown very rapidly, but what really worried his mother, Erica, was the pubic hair that began to grow around his penis, which had also grown. “I knew it wasn’t normal.” she says insider. “He had large, lasting erections, and his height and weight were off the charts..”

An abnormally high level of testosterone in the blood

Erica Brownsell decided to consult a pediatric endocrinologist, Dr. Tony Hulse, to consult. Blood tests revealed that the child had abnormally high levels of testosterone, similar to that of an adult male. His bone density was also too high for his age: it was almost that of a 4 or 5-year-old child. Medical professionals recommended various tests to identify the cause of these abnormal readings: all were ruled out. Barnaby does not have a birth defect or a tumor that could affect these adrenal glands. “it was very scary says his mother. Nobody seemed to know what was going on.”

A product that can be left on the skin’s surface

A hypothesis is then put forward by the endocrinologist’s entourage: the two-year-old child may have been exposed to a testosterone-based treatment prescribed to an adult. This trace is confirmed by the mother of the child. “My husband has been using testosterone gel for several years.”, explains Erica Brownsell. The man was born with testicular disease, and this gel was intended to treat them. This product compensates for a lack of testosterone and should be applied to the upper arms or shoulders. “There is always some testosterone left on the skinexplains Dr. Benjamin Udoka Nwosu, director of the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New York insider. Even several hours after application. Family members or others in close contact with the male patient are at risk of direct exposure.”

Temporary Consequences

According to this health professional, if exposure to testosterone is sustained for a long period of time, it can be dangerous, especially for children as it speeds up their onset of puberty. The main symptoms are acne, pubic and armpit hair, and age-related oversized reproductive organs. It is recommended to use gloves to apply these products. For Barnaby, the consequences should only be temporary. “The boy’s testosterone levels will return to normal.”, the doctors who followed him believe, and he should stop growing so fast. Since then, his father has stopped using these gels, preferring testosterone injections so as not to transfer any product to his son. His mother wants to make the public aware of the risks associated with these skin treatments. She advocates that testosterone gels come with a warning label on their packaging and that the instructions warn of these risks to children.

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