Here is Why The Age Of Your First Period Is Reflected On The Rest Of Your Life
A young girl’s first period has long been considered a rite of passage by most cultures. The first period, known as menarche, signals the transition from girlhood to womanhood. Over the past 200 years, the average age of girls at menarche has declined significantly. In the 1800s, most girls would experience their first period around age 17. The latest studies show that today’s girls experience menarche around the age of 12, and the average continues to decline. In fact, approximately 30 percent of females begin showing some signs of puberty as early as age eight.The onset of puberty is controlled by a complex set of hormonal and neurological factors. Some experts even believe that environmental toxins may be contributing to the declining age for menarche.
Regardless of the cause, the increasing prevalence of early puberty is a source of concern. For example, early menarche increases a girl’s risk for certain health conditions and psychological problems. Diet may play a vital role in the rise of early menarche. Obesity rates are on the rise. Studies show that being overweight can affect hormone levels in the body which can trigger the onset of puberty. Diets today are also higher in animal fat and processed foods than in previous generations. These foods can alter the endocrine balance and overall development leading to early menarche.
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Beginning puberty at a young age can have significant psychological and emotional consequences for a young girl. Girls are typically not mentally prepared at the age of seven or eight for the physical changes associated with puberty. This can lead to a higher incidence of psychological problems during adolescence. For example, girls experiencing early menarche frequently have higher rates of eating disorders, depression, and anxiety. Some studies even suggest that girls who mature physically at a young age more likely to engage in substance abuse and other risky behaviors.
Early menarche also exposes girls to a lifetime of ovarian hormones which increases the risk of breast and other types of hormone-related cancers. Early puberty may also raise the risk of other health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and preeclampsia.
Parents can prepare their daughters emotionally for menarche by talking to them about puberty as soon as they start to observe the first physical signs. A healthy lifestyle including a balanced diet, exercise, and regular medical checkups can help offset the health risks associated with early menarche.