Here’s how you can prepare your daughter for early menarche
Updated on:27 May 2021, 15:11pm IST
As the age of puberty and periods is rapidly reducing—with some girls getting their first period at 6—here’s what mothers need to keep in mind.
Dr Madhavi Reddy
A girl goes through a lot of changes throughout her life. These changes can be physical as well as mental. When a girl hits puberty or reaches adolescence everything changes. She develops her own choices and tries to judge the choices correctly. When a girl is around 12 or 13 years of age, she experiences her first period.
Although these days with the fast-paced life and so many changes in the society, the age at which girls are seeing their first period is rapidly reducing. We see a lot of girls around the age of six onwards seeing their first period. Although menstruation is a natural process getting periods at the age of 6-8 years is very early and mothers need to know how to deal with it.
Signs of adolescence in young girls
The most common signs of a girl reaching adolescence or puberty are the growth of body and or facial hair, acne of the body and the face, a growth spurt (increase in height), development of breasts, and change in body shape. A girl who is around the age of 11 or 12 might understand the changes in her body as she might have been made aware by her mother or sex education classes at school.
Girls must know what periods or menstruation are and that it is a normal thing that happens to every girl around their age.
Reasons for early menarche
According to statistics, earlier girls used to hit puberty or adolescence when they were in their late teens—around 17 or 18 years. However, over time due to the drastic changes in lifestyle the menarche age had come down to 12-14 years of age. Here are a few reasons why the age of menarche is reducing quickly.
Maybe because one has a disrupted hypothalamus or pituitary gland
Being obese or overweight may be a significant reason
Pollutants in the food—like BPA in plastic. This BPA infuses with the food in the container
Change in lifestyle, like leading a sedentary life.
There is a release in this hormone called gonadotropin (GnRH).
Increased intake of animal proteins
Heightened toxins in the environment. Injecting animals with hormones to reproduce more and then ultimately consuming the animal, hence consuming additional hormones (unknowingly)
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.
How to prepare your daughter for an early menarche
Now, we come to the issue of extremely young girls getting their periods. For this, the mother needs to be prepared and ready to explain to her daughter that bleeding is absolutely natural and a normal process. It shows that she is growing up. It is natural for a mother to be concerned about her child reaching menarche at a young age and in some ways, it is okay for them to worry, as early menarche does have some implication on their health, such as:
Statistics say that girls who have their period early might have marginally higher chances of developing breast cancer
Most importantly girls at the age of 7,8,9 or even 10 are not psychologically mature. They need support from their mother as it is very early in life to get their period.
Having a shorter stature or height, compared to what they could have been because once periods start body partially stops growing in height. This is because the body matures quickly, and the bones do not get as much time to develop.
Tips for parents on 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.
If you feel she needs some assistance, she can get some professional help from a child psychologist.
You should avoid giving your child any supplementary oestrogen 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.
If you want to prevent early menarche for your daughter, you can inculcate some good eating habits from the very beginning, as this is totally a parental responsibility. Increase whole plant food and whole fibre foods.
Reduce animal proteins
Avoid eating in plastic containers or even storage of 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.