Being a mother to two beautiful angels, “Puberty” is a term which sends jitters right through my veins. Being aware of the fact that I will have to encounter many queries and concerns regarding puberty, I am on the constant quest for answers too - How To Delay Early Puberty In Girls - Causes & Consequences.
She was scared stiff. There was blood oozing out of her and she thought she had done something wrong. She was scared to tell her mother about it. So, she suffered in silence and hoped it would go away. But it didn’t. It was there to stay. Period, it is.
This is the truth for many young girls today. They are simply not ready for puberty, yet. Puberty makes itself seen and felt at a very early age today. While girls in 1860 got her first period around 16, in 1920 she got it around 14 years of age. But today, she is likely to get it around 12 years of age or even earlier in many cases.
Mothers are often seen ruing the fact that their daughters have ‘got it too soon’. While puberty is a sign of fertility and can be a reason to rejoice that everything is normal on that front, the pains of puberty are real too.
What is “Puberty”?
Simply put, Puberty is a natural stage of growth in both boys and girls, when they become sexually mature. The signs of puberty are different in boys and girls. It is a process which usually happens in girls between the ages 8 and 13 and boys between the ages 10 and 16.
Any signs of puberty prior to this age is considered as early puberty or scientifically termed as “precocious puberty”. Girls are more prone to attain precocious puberty than boys do.
It’s a difficult period. Puberty is.
Classic signs of puberty are the periods (or menstruation or monthly cycle), enlarging of breasts and pubic hair. When little girls see these changes in their bodies, they are alarmed. They want to hide away from this apparently unpleasant stuff, but they can’t. No one can do anything about it; so, girls shy away from wearing certain clothes, slouch so that no one notices the breasts; bear the spasms of menstruation with a sadness they cannot show; and in addition to this, withdraw into a shell despite themselves. All because ‘it’ happened too early. The mothers are not unaffected and go about trying to make their girls feel better, so that the girl goes with the flow and remains normal.
Things are not the same however especially because early puberty is becoming quite the norm, making mothers and daughters wish they could make puberty wait.
How do I know that my daughter has entered 'puberty' stage?
The signs indicating the onset of Puberty are development of breasts, growth of pubic hair in the groin area or armpits area and body odor. Other emotional/psychological changes could be visible like changes in mood swings, affirmativeness in voice/thoughts or sudden spurt in height too. She might also develop slim waistline and wider hips.
What are the signs of puberty in boys?
The signs of puberty in boys are growth of testicles, growth of pubic hair and faster growth of arms, legs, hands and feet, when compared to other parts of the body.
What are the long-term effects of early puberty?
In most of the cases, there is nothing serious to worry about as there are no proven health effects on kids. She/he might be little ahead of the normal kids; and this might make him/her feel a little awkward socially, but that would settle down gradually. The child might be taller than others, but a sudden spurt in growth might leave her/him shorter than an average adult.
Can you stop early puberty? How to delay early puberty in girls?
Mothers and their girls are keen to know how to prolong puberty. And there is hope. Here are some ways of prolonging puberty. But first, let’s look at the causes of early puberty.
Primary Causes Of Early Puberty
How To Delay Early Puberty In Girls - Causes & Consequences
- Fat in excess: Unhealthy eating habits are contributors to early puberty. Junk food, fatty food, food high in sugar all lead to the generation of substances like leptin and estrogen, which further cause early puberty and also lead to a further build-up of fatty tissue.
- Social and psychological stresses: In the current day and age, children are seen to be subjected to trauma and stresses caused by social and psychological factors such as poor family relationships, or trauma born out of natural incidents or due to cultural and social compulsions. These stresses act as silent attackers to hormonal balance and create red flag situations like early puberty.
- Increased exposure to unwanted chemicals: This leads to hormonal imbalances that stem the natural hormonal journey. Girls and boys are both exposed to fearful levels of unwanted chemicals (close to 800 such chemicals) in their daily lives, which can adversely impact the natural growth of hormones. This is found to be one of the important causes of early puberty.
There are a host of factors which could trigger the early onset of puberty, they are:-
Five foods that are strictly to be consumed in continence are -
1. Caffeine and aspartame present in sweetened beverages and cold drinks.
2. Sugar sweetened beverages
or also fruit juices for that matter
3. Fast foods and junk foods, items featuring in this list would seem endless
4. High salt intake
5. Highly spicy-flavored foods
How can you control early period?
Stop girls from eating the wrong/unhealthy foods:
Junk food such as burgers, pizzas, chocolate, doughnuts are criminals and destroy the health and hormone balance. For preventing early puberty, it is therefore important to pay close attention to and monitor the food consumed by young girls. Read how:
Stay away from eating plastic:
We are never aware of how killer-plastic can be found, seen and inadvertently consumed. Did you know for example, that canned foods are often lined with harmful plastic chemicals and BPA? Did you know that cooking in Teflon or microwaving food in plastic containers and bowls or plates can be dangerous to health? Did you know that even storing water or beverages in plastic bottles particularly with PVC or polycarbonate is not good? The trouble with all of these is that they are silent and hidden killers of health. And most certainly disrupt hormonal balance. So, avoid them like the plague and go for glass or stainless-steel containers for food storage and heating. You don’t want your girl to suffer, do you?
I think enough has been said and written and voiced about how sugar is responsible for the exponential obesity index of the world population. Now, it is also proven that sugar can lead to earlier periods. This is how. When sugar is consumed on a high scale, insulin levels in the blood peak alarmingly. This can lead to a dangerously high concentration of the sex hormones, which in turn is related to early periods. The best thing to do is strictly control the sugar intake of your girl.
Cook at home, cook the old-fashioned way
It’s best to cook the old-fashioned way and at home by using clean, organic ingredients and going in for freshly cooked food. This helps primarily to control the intake of processed, packaged food which is unhealthy in many ways especially for its high content of sugars and salts and preservatives. Also, avoid cooking in advance and storing cooked food in the refrigerator for days. Freshly cooked food is the healthiest food.
Eat fresh- eat fruits and vegetables a lot
Eating whole fruit and vegetables is on the wane in the current times; however, to ensure that girls get enough roughage from fibre in their diet, make sure you include enough portions of raw fruit and veggies washed clean. Fibre is known to prevent early menstruation in girls. But don’t wait for organic; simply go ahead and include whole fruits and vegetables in the diet; with the right kind of cleaning, you should be able to limit the exposure to pesticides.
Buy local. Go to the farmers’ market
There are enough farmers’ markets going around and you must plan a weekly visit to these markets if you want to source clean, local, fresh and sometimes, organic produce. One trip to the farmers’ market and you will come away with bulging bags full of fresh and healthy produce. You could also try your hand at having a small terrace or kitchen garden where you grow your own cherry tomatoes or brinjal (egg plant) and other veggies and fruit. It’s quite doable and pleasurable too.
Go for low-fat dairy products
If you cannot go without dairy products and love your milk and yoghurt, make sure you go for low-fat ones. Low-fat food intake prevents early periods, as we have mentioned earlier in this article.
Eat less meat and eat organic meat
Meat intake should be limited as it leads to better health. However, even for your limited intake, make sure the meat is clean, organic and antibiotic free. Animals who are injected with antibiotics to prevent illness or other harmful drugs to fatten them up, can be trouble makers to your health when consumed. Be careful from where you buy your meat.
Stay away from the following plastic killers.
Canned foods often come with a bad plastic chemical lining. Avoid those.
Don’t microwave or store food in plastic
Use glass or stainless steel.
Avoid cooking in Teflon.
Choose non-toxic personal and household products:
What’s this got to do with hormones? If you ask us, a lot! Yes! If you ask us - "How To Delay Early Puberty In Girls" -Personal products like perfumes, toothpastes, soaps, deodorants may have triclosan and triclocarbon, aluminium chlorohydrate which are hormone disruptors. Even tea-tree and lavender oil are culprits. Best is to avoid them, if you want your hormones to progress naturally and avoid early puberty. Also go for natural pesticides, natural material-based mattresses and other items in the house.
If you read the above carefully, you will know what to avoid and what to use. The focus should be on using natural, organic materials in all that you eat, use and do and adopting a naturally healthy lifestyle. All these together may increase your chances of avoiding early puberty in girls.
While we can say that there are ways of delaying puberty, there is no guarantee. It is therefore best to prepare your girls earlier than you think is right, for puberty. She needs your support at all times so that your little girl does not prematurely grow up and retains her chirpy, bubbly, carefree self.
How to keep the Early Onset of Puberty at bay?
Puberty is a natural phenomenon; and any abnormality could cause distress or discomfort to the child as well as the parents. Imagine dealing with a 8 year old having to deal with menstruation and enlarged breasts at such a tender age? It is definitely an uncomfortable situation to deal with. Here are a few suggested practices which could help you cruise through the path and help you achieve a normal puberty:-
- Eat less meat, choose antibiotic-free and organic meat.
- Keep indoor air healthy.
- Choose mattresses and linen made of natural material like coir, cotton, wool and natural latex.
- Build a healthy atmosphere at home; maintaining good familial relationships.
- Being positive and spreading positivity to the kids will help them a great deal to tackle their problems and concerns in a more responsible manner. Thus, making them physically and psychologically strong.
- Do not put excessive pressure on your kids to excel or perform ; as stress also causes excessive release of estrogen hormone, responsible for the onset of signs of puberty.
- Fitness is the key to keep early puberty at bay. Daily exercise of about 30-60 minutes helps to maintain the hormone levels and acts as a stress-buster too.
- Practicing yoga which emphasizes on service, asanas, meditation and pranayama. This has proven to delay the onset of puberty.
- Educate the kids on puberty, menstruation and sexual development too. Make a cautious approach in choosing the words; as they might make an everlasting impact in the young minds.
- Maintain healthy levels of hygiene; washing your hands before and after every meal
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Kanchan is a doting mom to two angels and is passionate about writing. With over 3 years of experience in the content space, she strives to push boundaries and balance her personal & professional life well.