Updated: Oct 10
As a mother of two daughters I am concerned about my girls developing too early. We live in an increasingly toxic and stressful world and early onset menarche is associated with poorer health outcomes later in life. Statistics show girls are getting their periods earlier than ever. The start of menarche, or the age of when a girl first gets her period, has declined from 17 years old on average in the 19th century to 13 years of age in the 1950's (Lucaccioni L). Some girls are getting their periods as early as 9 years of age! Not only is this a sign of metabolic dysfunction and probable environmental exposure but also increases the stress on these girls having to deal with a period this early on. The good news is there are a TON of things we can do about this new trend in the wrong direction :)
Why it is important to balance hormones early on and why this can a clue to overall health later in life?
Studies have shown that early onset of menarche is associated with an increased risk of glucose metabolism disorders i.e. diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The strongest reduction in risk of having glucose disorders is the start of menarche at age 14.5 years (Ren, Y). So what has caused this change from the 19th century to today? Some of the factors that influence our menstural cycles are inflammation, insulin resistance, obesity, nutrition, gut microbial balance, stress, environmental toxins and thyroid disease. And all these causes interplay with each other!
Environmental Toxins as a cause:
Environmental toxins are playing a huge role in hormonal imbalance! We are all subject to xenoestrogens, bisphenol A, phalates (plastics), fuels, pesticides, dioxin, hormones in livestock, cosmetic and personal care additives, and teflon on a daily basis. Combine this with a standard american diet, that is nutrient deficient at its best, a disrupted gut microbiome, with symptoms of constipation, diarrhea, and/or bloat, and increased stress, our ability to detox from these toxins is nothing short of impaired.
What can you do?
In my previous post on How to Regulate your Hormones Naturally I outlined a good starting point....Diet. The standard american diet (SAD) is nutrient deficient at best and exposes us to things like MSG, hormones in livestock, phalates (plastics), BPA (plastic water bottles), and is high in inflammatory foods (sugars, sugar substitutes, simple carbohydrates). It is also important, to avoid toxins and hormone disrupters in everyday household cleaning products and personal care products. Read more about suggestions on how to clean up your living space from toxins.
Instead of a SAD diet...
Choose organic, non-GMO meats, veggies and fruits when able. Fill your plate with good quality, grass-fed protein, veggies and a complex carbohydrate at every meal. Eat adequate, anti-inflammatory fats, eat lots of color from fruits and vegetables, get in plenty of fiber, get adequate sleep, exercise and sunshine, de-stress and avoid toxins in everyday household and personal care products.
If you, your daughter or son struggle with gut dysfunction (constipation, bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain, food intolerance), ADHD, acne, or mood swings a comprehensive stool analysis is a great starting point. Leaky gut increases inflammation throughout the body which affects your adrenals and stress response which affects your thyroid function and downstream hormone production. It all starts in the gut! Early intervention is key to prevention.
For more information on how we can help regulate your hormones and prevent future disease occurrence schedule a FREE 15 minute consultation today.
Lucaccioni L, Trevisani V, Marrozzini L, Bertoncelli N, Predieri B, Lugli L, Berardi A, Iughetti L. Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals and Their Effects during Female Puberty: A Review of Current Evidence. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Mar 18;21(6):2078. doi: 10.3390/ijms21062078. PMID: 32197344; PMCID: PMC7139481.
Ren Y, Zou H, Zhang D, Han C, Hu D. Relationship between age at menarche and risk of glucose metabolism disorder: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis. Menopause. 2020 Jul;27(7):818-826. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001529. PMID: 32217891.