Early Puberty In Girls These Days – Why?
We notice early puberty in girls these days which in many ways is jeopardizing their happiness and peace of mind. Puberty usually occurs between ages 8-13, when girls develop into women and boys transform into men.Most of us remember puberty, the signs of it which embarrassed us. There is a certain fear with acne erupting all over the face and a sudden hair growth in places you never expected. There was a time when girls entered puberty late in their teens but today the cards have changed. Children are reaching puberty earlier than ever before — a trend that has both health experts and parents alarmed.
The ‘type’ of Puberty
Children nowadays mature faster and that’s the primary cause of precocious puberty (earlier than normal) and it seems to happen more regularly these days, particularly in girls (precocious puberty is about 10 times more common in girls than in boys). Hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) — which stimulate the ovaries to produce estrogen. The release of this sex hormone leads to breast growth, body hair, acne, adult body odor and a girl’s first menstrual period.
In most cases of precocious puberty, the hypothalamus releases its hormone too early. This is called central precocious puberty. In other cases, a problem with the ovaries or adrenal glands leads to too much estrogen production. This is called peripheral precocious puberty.In a landmark 1997 study of more than 17,000 girls, researchers discovered that nearly 15 percent of Caucasian girls and almost 50 percent of African-American girls had already started showing signs of puberty by age 8 (source: Herman-Giddens et al.)
Puberty now occurs at the age of 7-Is it alarming?
Is it really “normal” for girls to mature at such a young age? Usually the growth in breasts and growth of pubic hair are the signs of girls entering into menstruation. These signs are now becoming extremely common among 7-, 8- and 9-year-old girls, to the extent that many health care providers, rather than labeling these children with a diagnosis that something is wrong, have simply changed the definition of what’s normal. There are many scenarios to questions on precocious puberty but girls are developing earlier than they have even 10, 20 or 30 years ago.
Is it a sign of concern?
Well, it would be inappropriate to term this as abnormal but it’s a sign of concern. Let’s look into some factors which causes early puberty in girls;
- Early puberty can set the stage for emotional and behavioral problems
- It can result in lower self-esteem, depression, eating disorders, alcohol use, earlier loss of virginity and more sexual partners and increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases
- Evidence suggests these girls are at increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases, as well as cancer, later in life.
New researches by scientists have brought forth a number of potential explanations for the rising rates of early puberty, but one that deserves special attention is environmental chemicals, and particularly estrogen-mimicking, “gender-bending” chemicals that easily leach out of the products that contain them, contaminating everything they touch, including food and beverages. Buying and eating organic produce and free-range, organic meats reduce one’s exposure to added hormones, pesticides and fertilizers. It’s advisable to consume raw & fresh foods. Processed, prepackaged foods (of all kinds) are a major source of soy and chemicals such as BPA and phthalates which ideally should be avoided when one is growing and in the early development years.
Hope this post on early puberty in girls has been useful!
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