Early menarche - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 07-20-2010, 12:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Based on all her symptoms/growth, I suspect my almost 10yo will start menstruation within the next year. I don't think I started until 12 or 13.

I know there is a lot of talk about early menarche and possible links to our diet, environment, etc.

I have a hard time believing any of these things apply to her. She had a natural birth, nursed for 4 yrs, hardly ever had soy anything, we eat organic dairy, meat fruits & veggies, etc. She is very lean and very active so no overweight issues whatsoever.

But I did give birth to her at age 39 and my estrogen was high at the time as I was perimenopausal (but I've never taken hormones, bcp, etc.). Do you think it's possible that conceiving her while I was perimenopausal could affect her hormones to such a degree that she will have an erly menarche? Another thing--she is a night owl...always has been. Do you think it's possible staying up late (and getting natural sunlight) affected her circadia rhythm to the degree that her pituitary gland sent signals that she's ready to start puberty?

I'm curious about those things. What do you think?
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#2 of 17 Old 07-20-2010, 12:59 AM
 
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I guess because I started at 10, and my sister started at 11, and my mother started at 10 - well, 10 or 11 doesn't seem that young to me. I was the first of my female friends at that age to start - but not by a whole lot. I don't really think there's anything that "causes" it.
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#3 of 17 Old 07-20-2010, 01:02 AM
 
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As my mother and her mother did, I started mine at 10.5 years old. For me, it was genetics that determined it. Perhaps your DD's father's mother had early menarche as well? I don't know if it's only on the mother's side.

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#4 of 17 Old 07-20-2010, 01:05 AM
 
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I started on my 11th birthday. I'm not sure that that is necessarily young nor do I have any thoughts or answers on your questions.

I DO remember though being confused over the blood but not scared even though I had no idea what it was (I KNEW I would be starting at some point and all about it... it just didn't cross my mind that that is what it was. my mom blanked on it too... took awhile to realize haha) AND being excited and telling all my birthday guests when they arrived.
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#5 of 17 Old 07-20-2010, 01:25 AM
 
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Genetics and body type play a larger role then what you feed your kids, etc.

If you start on the early end of the scale, your daughter will be more likely to as well. Once a certain ratio of body fat is achieved, then menarche will happen in a pubescent girl. So girls who are in a position of regular meals (healthy or otherwise) start earlier than girls who don't have that luxury.

As for starting earlier... That depends on how far back you go. In the 1800's, the average age appears to have been around 15 or 16 years old. Data from further back in human history, however tends to show that the average age of menarche went up in the 19th century. In fact historical data indicated the average age in Ancient Rome was 13 year old. At the same time, even today, there is a huge variation in average ages. In rural parts of poorer countries the average age can be as high as 18 years. And in the past two generations, there hasn't been nearly as much of a change as some people would have you believe. Almost like, we did well enough for the age of menarche to be at the biologically normal age, until the 19th century when certain events changed the overall ability to bare children at the biological normal age resulting in an increase in age and now we are back to being where we were originally.

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#6 of 17 Old 07-20-2010, 02:04 AM
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I was 11. My mother was ten. My childhood best friend was ten or 11, and my cousin was 11.

From what I've read, nutrition plays a part, but so does climate.
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#7 of 17 Old 07-20-2010, 02:24 AM
 
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I recall always being taught, from the first time I remember seeing a show on the reproductive cycle on Discovery Channel, through all the sex ed and health classes in school, that the average starting age ranged from as young as 9 to as late as 16.

It's been my experience that body type is the biggest factor really. I am a small person, only 5'2" and tend to fluctuate between 95 and 105lbs when not pg. I started just a month shy of 16. My middle sister on the other hand tends towards the more curvy end of the spectrum-not quite overweight, but more "full." She started just before she turned 12. My other sister is more athletic than either of us, so her actual weight number is somewhat skewed from how she looks, due to muscle mass...and she started at 14. My oldest daughter is 14 and tends towards the higher end of what's considered a normal weight range for her age and height, and she started when she was 11. My mom I know started at 12, but I am not sure where she fell on the weight/body type spectrum.

I don't think 10 or 11 is outside of normal or indicates that there is anything "wrong" or that could have been changed to make it later. I don't think it's any indication of a weight problem, or of an issue of a mother being older at the time of birth or any of that. Just that her body was ready at the young end of the normal range, which is ok.
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#8 of 17 Old 07-20-2010, 01:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
From what I've read, nutrition plays a part, but so does climate.
Climate? I haven't heard that one. So moving from a place that has more than 300 sunny days a year to an area that has like 10 mos of rain & clouds--would that qualify?

AFA nutrition and body type: DD is a twig but eats pretty healthful foods. She's 4'8" tall, barely 70 lbs and very athletic. DH is 6' tall, average weight; I'm 5'1" and around 105lbs.
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#9 of 17 Old 07-20-2010, 01:36 PM
 
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My dd started at 10 and was definitely approaching puberty at 9. She has never been chunky and made it all the way through puberty and through the couple of years after without going through the thick phase.
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#10 of 17 Old 07-20-2010, 02:34 PM
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I've been reading about this sort of thing b/c of questions I have about my own children. I'll try to be cohesive. . And it could tie in the climate connection.


I got my menarche when I was 9. My mother got hers at around 10-11. that sort of fit, in the whole girls are like their moms POV.

I also, as a child, had a big problem falling asleep at the socialy expected time. I was put to bed at 7:30 (at say 9 years old) and lay there awake until 11:30.

My eldest child is exactly like me. Even as a baby, he had trouble falling asleep when he *should* have, but passed out easily 2 hours later. While we were receptive to his needs to not be forced to stay in bed, we also felt, as parents, that he *needed* more sleep, it had me quite worried. I feel sleep is so important to health, recovery, growth, stress. by age 8 he was so upset at his struggles to sleep, and asked if he could take anything for it. We'd already tried herbs/vitamins years before, but he's one of the 4% who have the opposite effect of calming herbs; he gets wired. I've been taking melatonin as a sleep aid for a decade (though never during my pregs) and he asked about it. I researched it, talked to others/naturopaths, etc. And he started taking a small 1/4 tab. It worked fabulously. He was sleep in minutes whenever he took it, awake for hours without it. We never wanted him on it forever, but it gave him peace and we figured we'd just use it for now.

A year later he was still using it, and I wanted to research it more. I learned about delayed sleep onset disorder, which basicaly means some of us are wired to fall asleep 2-3 hours later than our social expectation. They do not know the cause, just that it exists and can be hereditary. That was me! I've always been a night owl as an adult, nd it fit my son as well.

So then I read more about melatonin, as the one thing I knew about it that worried me was that in rat studies who were given melatonin, it retarded puberty, delaying the process. And I worried that my son was approaching the 'early puberty window age of 10' and I didn't want the melatonin to be messing with his natural development. (he has since chosen to stop taking it and is right back to being the 11:30 pm night owl he always was. but he's okay with it now.)


I learned that melatonin levels drop in children sharply, at around age 10 (but it can be earlier) and his sudden drop in melatonin levels is what signals puberty to begin. Ergo, too much melatonin can delay puberty and mess with your cycles. Too little, and you have early puberty. This is why the Inuit, who live in times of permanent darkness in the North, have big fertility issues in their long dark winters.

It frustrates me that the media focusses so much on the sensationalisable aspect of hormones in our food (I agree, that's not healthy) and stears clear of the less-drama-or-scare-tactics melatonin connection.


So this fit even better with what I know of myself. I had trouble falling asleep consistently, for my entire life (lack of melatonin?) and I got my period earlier than most (drop in or lack of melatonin).


this could fit for your daughter as well. That it is not what you *didn't* do or did do in her parenting/health, it is simply who she is. I was vaginally birthed and bfed too, and had my experience as a kid. My son was vag birth, org food, no meat, bfed for 4 years, no-vax, co-slept, you name it and still has trouble sleeping early and may experience early puberty like me. His Dad experienced it very late, and has never had trouble sleeping in his life. And that reminds me again that while we often say 'daughters will follow their mothers' they also get that second X chromosome from their fathers, so who knows how it will all play out. Maybe my son will be like me and y daughters like their father.

I hope that helped, and wasn't clear as mud.

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#11 of 17 Old 07-20-2010, 02:47 PM
 
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I'm another that started shortly after my 10th birthday. It was a HUGE shock (to me at least) My mother was 14 or so (I think) it was a shock to her too...

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#12 of 17 Old 07-21-2010, 12:04 AM
 
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My daughter just started her period (at sleepaway summer camp no less!) just about a month shy of her 11th bday, (a few weeks ago.) She is 5'2" and weighs 85 lbs. I knew it was coming in the next year or two, as she has started to have telltale signs(pubic hair, breast buds, discharge, etc.,) but I have to say it took me by surprise. She has always gone to bed early by her friend's standards, has a very slim frame, is very active and I did not have my first period until I was 14. We also, like the OP, eat very well, organic when possible, she usually only eats meats while at her father's house because I am vegetarian.

One thing I did read is that girls who have a non-related male in their household tend to mentruate earlier than girls who live with just their biological fathers. Since my husband is my daughter's stepfather, I wonder if this had any impact.

ETA: I put the sad face in because I wasn't there for her during her first time, not because I was sad she got it. She did fine, but was wishing she was with me.

Mama to A born 8/7/99
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#13 of 17 Old 07-21-2010, 01:38 AM
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Climate? I haven't heard that one. So moving from a place that has more than 300 sunny days a year to an area that has like 10 mos of rain & clouds--would that qualify?
I don't know, and I also don't know whether any effect would be immediate or take a generation or two. I just remember reading somewhere that females who live in hot climates tend to menstruate earlier than those who live in cooler climates.
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#14 of 17 Old 07-21-2010, 01:46 AM
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I don't know, and I also don't know whether any effect would be immediate or take a generation or two. I just remember reading somewhere that females who live in hot climates tend to menstruate earlier than those who live in cooler climates.
Did you get a chance to read my post above? A hotter climate will have more sun/less dark hours, so it ties into melatonin again.

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#15 of 17 Old 07-21-2010, 01:52 AM
 
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Could hormones in the water have anything to do with it? I've read/heard that males in America are starting to have more feminine features or bodies (breasts) and a possible link is birth control hormones in our water.

OP, I started at 10. I knew vaguely what a period was. However, I was expecting red blood and it was quite dark. Might be worth mentioning to your dd that the color could range from brown to red. It was days before I realized I'd started.

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#16 of 17 Old 07-21-2010, 04:04 PM
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I thought my dd was going to start at 10 or 11 but she didn't actually start until 13. So you never really know for sure.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#17 of 17 Old 07-21-2010, 04:47 PM
 
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I don't believe there is any one cause to why girls are getting their periods earlier. I suspect it's a little of everything.... hormones in foods, the increase in childhood obesity (and girls just having higher body fat than they used to even if they aren't obese,) media exposure to sex, more girls being raised with non-relative men in the house, ect. There are tons of theories out there and like in most cases, there is probably a bit of truth in it all with some girls being more sensitive to certain factors than others. We do know two girls who were starting to develop early but parents were able to reverse by going hormone free. Obviously, those 2 girls were built more sensitive to those factors. It does go against evolution when you think about it. Women are having babies later and later... our daughters really shouldn't be starting their periods earlier lol.

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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