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Is Precocious Puberty Becoming The New Normal And Why?
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Is Precocious Puberty Becoming the New Normal And Why?

Puberty in girls occurs in three stages and typically lasts for two years on average. The first stage is breast budding, where the development of future breast tissue leads to small, hard nodes in the chest. The second stage is the growth of hair in the armpits and the pubic region along with a thickening or darkening of the hair on the legs. The third stage is the onset of the first menstrual cycle which for most girls comes at age twelve or so. Anything before twelve was once called precocious puberty while anything after that age could be called delayed puberty. New research is showing that the first two stages of puberty are coming at earlier ages than over but cannot pinpoint a single reason why. Instead, those researchers are saying that very early onset puberty might be linked to a number of various biochemical, physical and social factors.

In 2010, researchers at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Kaiser Permanente and Mount Sinai School of Medicine published a study in the journal, Pediatrics which showed that there was an increasing number of girls who had started the first stage of puberty by the age of seven and then broke it down by race. Young, black girls had the highest rate of this early development at 23% while young, Asian girls had the lowest at two percent. The average age for the breast development over all was between seven to eight years old but the first period did not start until the girls were twelve and a half.

Researchers had two possible suggestions for this dramatic change. The first is central precocious puberty which is medically related and the other is simply early development caused by any number of factors. Some experts recommend looking at the growth plates of the hands to see if there has been a fusing of the spaces between the bones indicating an end to growth and puberty.

Some of the possible risk factors for early onset puberty described by the study included obesity, which more than doubles the risk as well as an increase in BPA exposure. It is estimated that more than ninety percent of all Americans, regardless of age have some trace of this chemical substance in their blood. Social and family stress was also listed as a possible risk factor with girls from parents where the biological dad is no longer in the picture. Maternal depression also was listed as a risk factor.


Street Talk

Interesting article.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

I had this problem growing up. I had the largest chest in my class and I began my menstrual cycle at age 8! It was hard to deal with as a child, but my mom did a great job of getting me through it. I totally can relate to this article!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

I was nearly twice as old- just 2 months before turning 16. All of those stages came very quickly- about 6 mos. It lead to the discovery of other health issues later in life. One thing I have going for me is height- I'm 5' 7" My mom is only 5'1"

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

I had the large chest problem- flat completely in fifth grade. All the other girls were coming to school and then sneaking to the restroom to show off their little lacy training bras with the little blue flower in the middle. Summer between fifth and sixth grade the angry boob fairy showed up and ba-bam....I did NOT get to wear the training bra at all. Thankfully the menstrual cycle held off until age 12.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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