When a girl hits puberty she goes through a lot of changes. During puberty, she not only goes through changes physically but mentally and emotionally as well. Her body develops, the way she thinks about the world and forms her own opinion also changes and enhances. Generally, girls get their period when they are around 11-13 years of age. However, nowadays we see many girls develop earlier, which is around 10 years of age.
With time, the age of girls reaching puberty has decreased. Mothers need to know how to deal with this and how to be there for support for her child. And therefore we spoke to Dr. Aarthi Bharat, Consultant Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Motherhood Hospitals, Banashankari, Bangalore, who told us all about the reasons for early menarche and how parents must deal with it.
Some Signs Of Puberty
A mother should make sure that her child is aware of this situation beforehand. Girls must know what periods or menstruation(how to maintain menstrual hygiene) are and that it is a normal thing that happens to every girl around their age. Here are some signs of puberty so that you can make sure that your daughter is aware of what is ahead
- Growth of body hair
- Signs of acne
- Growth in height
- Change in the body shape/ growth of breasts
Reasons For Early Menarche
- In earlier times, females used to get their first period around the age of 16/17. With time this age has reduced and come down to 12/13. Why is this? Here are some reasons why the age of girls getting their first period has reduced.
- Increased intake of animal protein in their diet(myths about protein supplements).
- Being overweight or obese.
- Use of additional chemicals. Plus, the pollution in the environment has risen drastically.
- Increased consumption of phthalates. This has been found in high fatty foods, plastics, and various cosmetics as well. The intake of phthalates has known to change hormone levels in the body.
- The age of menarche seems to be coming down. If you have a daughter who has reached menarche at the age of 8 or 9, they surely tend to worry. In some ways, it is okay for them to worry, as early menarche does have some implications on their health, such as:
- Having a shorter stature or height, compared to what they could have been. This is because the body matures quickly, and the bones do not get as much time to develop.
- Marginally higher chances of developing breast cancer.
- Most importantly girls at the age of 7,8, or 9 are not psychologically mature.
How To Deal With Early Menarche
Generally, it is nothing to worry about, but you need to understand that you need to be there for your daughter.
- Consult A Psychologist: If you feel she needs some assistance, she can get some professional help from a child psychologist.
- Monitor The Diet: You can inculcate some good eating habits from the very beginning, as this is totally a parental responsibility. Increase whole plant food and whole fiber foods, reduce animal proteins, and lowering eating out. Avoid eating in plastic containers or even storing your food products in plastic products. You must see to it that there is a control in their diet which in turn also keeps their weight down. Weight should be controlled as being obese leads to hormonal imbalance, therefore early menarche.
- Avoid Giving Additional Estrogen: When we talk about precocious puberty, the girl attains puberty even before the age of eight. You should prevent giving your child any additional estrogen pills which may induce early menarche in your daughter. All these would go a long way in helping to reduce the chances of having early menarche.
Do reach out to us by commenting down below and do let us know how you handled your daughter’s first period. Stay tuned to Her Zindagi.