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early puberty?

1665 Views 22 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Welei
What constitutes early puberty? Anyone know? I've read before 7, and before 9. My dd is 8, and showing some signs of puberty. Should I worry? Take her to a doctor? (My dh thinks I worry too much about health issues, which sometimes I do, but I never know what amount of worry is the right amount!)
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There's really nothing a Dr. can do. I started going through puberty at 8 (getting hair and breasts) and started my period a few days after I turned 9. I've read that there is often a correlation between body fat and early puberty. Also, all of the estrogenic chemicals in food and the environment are causing more girls to have early puberty.

My cycles were very frequent and irregular at first and when my mom took me to the Dr. he put me on birth control pills!!! They made me vomit every morning and made me feel horrible. I wouldn't recommend doing that.

I think how the parents handle it is also important. My mom and dad cried and acted like I was losing my childhood or something- but in fact I was still a child and just needed to be told it was ok and everyone matures at their own rate. I often got teased at school for having large breasts at such a young age. But had I been more confident and not felt weird for having them so early I might have handled it better.
I started getting breasts and growing hair at 9, but didn't start my periods until I was 12. It's not "too" early, and like a PP said, there's nothing a doctor can do about it.
What are the early signs you are seeing? Talk to your mom, there might be a genetic thing going on. If she is overweight she could look like she has breast development when she doesn't.
She has some pubic hair and some body odor. LoveChild, did you end up really short? That's one of my concerns. I know doctors can prescribe meds to delay puberty but of course we'd only do that if it were necessary. Also a doctor could rule out a brain tumor, etc. causing the early puberty (not that I think she has anything like that.)
I'm 5'4 but my Dr.s were predicting I would be 5'9 if I hadn't hit puberty so early.

A tumor can cause early puberty, but I think it's pretty rare- early puberty seems to be more and more common now.
I was another early developer. I started growing breasts at 7 1/2 and got menarche at 9. I am only about 1/2 inch taller than I was in 3rd grade (fortunately I was one of the tallest then. I'm 5'3" now.)

My mom took me to a GYN when I was 11 but only because of the horrid PMS symptoms (dizziness, dehydration from the GI problems, etc.).
You can have a hand x-ray done to make sure her bone development is on par with her age group. Other than that, the drugs are unneccessary usually. My dd is an early developer. After you process your shock, buy some friendly books ("The care and keeping of your body") and help her adjust to the changes in her body in a way that eases any anxiety she may be having. Importantly, try not to communicate your anxiety about her body changes.

Good Luck

Originally Posted by boomingranny
Importantly, try not to communicate your anxiety about her body changes.

Good point!
Is there really a correlation between when you start puberty and when you stop growing? Because I grew at least 5 inches taller between age 11, when I got my period, and the end of high school.
i have read that dairy and meat products that are not organic can lead to early puberty, i have also read the same things about soy foods.

Originally Posted by BelgianSheepDog
Is there really a correlation between when you start puberty and when you stop growing? Because I grew at least 5 inches taller between age 11, when I got my period, and the end of high school.
Most girls don't grow more than 4 inches after they get their period. She's 4'6" now, so that would still make her pretty short if her period starts any time soon.

Originally Posted by moonfroggy
i have read that dairy and meat products that are not organic can lead to early puberty, i have also read the same things about soy foods.
We eat very little soy, and do drink organic milk. Organic meat is hard to come by around here ( but we don't eat a lot of meat, anyway.)
Is your water fluoridated? Fluoride has been implicated in early puberty. See here, granted it is in gerbils:

Finally, F was associated with a significant acceleration of pubertal development in female gerbils using body weights, age of vaginal opening and accelerated development of the ventral gland.

We know from recent studies - and considerable press coverage - that young girls are reaching puberty earlier and earlier in the US. Luke is not saying that fluoride (or fluoridation) is the cause but her work waves a very worrying red flag. Fluoride's role in earlier puberty needs more thorough investigation. Of an interesting historical note, in the Newburgh versus Kingston fluoridation trial (1945-1955), it was found that the girls in fluoridated Newburgh were reaching menstruation, on average, five months earlier than the girls in unfluoridated Kingston, but the result was not thought to be significant at the time (Schlessinger et al, 1956).
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Well, this is the first time I have chatted on this forum and am relieved and scared that I have found it. Firstly, I've read some of your comments and am freaking out! My daughter is 8, well nearly 9 and the past few days has been complaining of dizziness and feeling weak and ill. I took her to the Dr a couple of days ago and the first thing she said is has she started menstruating! Well, I nearly had a heart attack and said she's only 8!!! We then proceeded to rule that out and got some blood tests (maybe anemia) but they have come back clear and I am thinking maybe it is puberty!! I haven't been back to the Dr yet (going today) but now thinking of previous events and reading this forum I'm thinking it is early puberty! Signs like when she was 7 she had a really bad body odour problem. Deodorant has solved that now. Also she had a few pubic hairs and more recently her nipples are very swollen. She is overweight and I just thought it was because of that! What really worries me is that if she is starting puberty - when will the menstruation start and she's just too young to cope with that!!! Also a concern that if she does start menstruating, will it stunt her growth!!! Yikes!! Any words of encouragement would be appreciated! I had a little talk with her and I think I just managed to upset her. I haven't come to terms with it so I don't think it a good idea to talk to her until I know what I'm going to say!! Help!!!
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First of all, take a deep breath. You don't want to freak her out. Second - get some books that you two can share about body changes - American Girl has a nice book "the care and keeping of your body" and I also like "It's so AMazing" - Robie Harris. Menstruation usually doesn't start until a couple of years after the first signs of puberty. It sounds to me like she's pretty normal but on the early side is all. You can have a bone xray done of her hand to make sure her growth is on par with her age group. If you remain calm (I know easier said than done! I still get freaked out!) and give her knowledge and reassurance she will be fine.

Wow! Thanks Boomingranny! Wasn't expecting such a quick response! Yes - I agree I don't want to scare her. Thanks for the book suggestions. I will see if we have them here (New Zealand) so will check the library this weekend! Will also ask Dr about the xray - good idea. Glad to know that menstruation might not be for a while. I can cope with that! She's pretty mature and I think if I keep it as natural and matter-of-fact as possible it will be fine! The books we can read together is a great idea! Thanks again for your words of encouragement!
if you dont have the books in your library or bookstore you can always order online thru amazon, ebay, etc... i really recommend 'the care and keeping of you'..
also a meeting, not necessary an exam, from the dr could be helpful... the dr could explain what to expect to you and dd or just dd alone.. etc... give some resources etc...

if new zeland is anything like the states chances are your dd already knows way more then you think she does or that you want her to know...

it may also be a good time to start talking about abstenience/morals/family values etc....
I highly recommend the book Mother/Daughter Wisdom by Christiane Northrup. She is the author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom. My dd is only 3.5 but I have learned so much from this book. She offers so much on puberty, weight, body image and spirituality. She is pretty alternative (Anti-vax) even though she is a medical doctor. I love this book.
I'm curious about the height/early puberty connection that some of the posters have mentioned. I've never heard that before. Are there studies showing that to be the case?

I'm not concerned about early puberty with my girls (they're only 7.5 and 5.5 now) and I didn't get my period until I was almost 15, so I assume that it is a ways off, but I would be interested in that info -- it can't hurt to know as much as I can as that time gets closer.
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