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Is Puberty For Girls Before 10 Years Old The New Normal?

Mon, April 2, 2012 10:54am EDT by HL Intern 3 Comments
Early Puberty Girls

Is your 8- or 9-year-old starting to develop symptoms of puberty? She’s not alone. Read this!

Girls starting puberty in elementary school is not exactly “normal” for parents to hear from a doctor, but they might not be the only one! Elizabeth Weil, author of No Cheating, No Dying, talked with Katie Couric on Good Morning America on April 2 regarding her research in The New York Times article about the possible culprits of puberty and ways to slowdown the big event.

Early development can be caused by obesity, processed foods and plastics. Not so shocking, but packing lunch and tampons for your 9-year-old can be jaw-dropping for some moms.

Three events sum up puberty in girls: The growth of breasts, the growth of pubic hair and a first period. According to researchers, the process takes about two years.  The percentage of girls experiencing puberty at a young age have increased since the late ’80s.

“We still have a lot to learn about how early puberty affects girls psychologically,” said Paul Kaplowitz, Chief of Endocrinology at Children’s National Medical Center. “We do know that some girls who start maturing by age 8 progress rapidly and have their first period before age 10, and many parents prefer that we use medications to slow things down. However, many girls do fine if they are simply monitored and their parents are reassured that they will get through it without major problems.”

Doctors don’t know exactly why early-development happens, but there are factors that contribute to the issue and ways to prevent them.  Girls should stay physically active, maintain a healthy weight for her age and height, avoid chemically enhanced milk and meat with hormones and avoid stress.

“The concept of a new normal is not just brushoff but an encouragement to support a girl who is vunerable,” Weil adds.

Be prepared and patient for your daughters — All you can do is support them and let them know they are not alone!

—Giovanna Pagliarulo

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