Acne, body odor, underarm hair, pubic hair, first real bra, and awkwardness—puberty can be a tough time for us girls. But things can get even more difficult when your monthly dalaw starts at an exceptionally young age.
I had mine when I was 9 years old. The fact that you’re reading this probably means you had yours at an early age, too. And like me, your first period is likely a distant memory.
Science, however, tells us that early menarche can be an indicator of many things about our lives, and even our future health. Read on.
Before Age 10: High Risk for Heart Disease
A 2014 study found out that women who had their menarche early had the lowest risk for heart disease, as well as high blood pressure and stroke. The bad news is that menstruating at an earlier age, say before age 10, is an indicator of a nasty possibility in adulthood: heart disease. To be more precise, “early birds” have a 27% risk of getting heart disease, 20% risk for high blood, and 16% risk for stroke.
Before Age 12: High Risk for Diabetes
Women who had their first mens at an early age, particularly before the age 12, have a higher risk for diabetes than those who had it at 13 and beyond. This is according to a survey of about 4,600 women, which was published in the journal, Diabetic Medicine. According to the researchers, early menarche increases the risk for diabetes by increasing insulin resistance.
Before Age 12: High Risk for Preeclampsia and Stroke
Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication marked by high blood pressure and protein in the urine. It then becomes a risk factor for stroke afterward.
If you had your period before the age 12, your risk of developing this condition while pregnant is 28% higher than if your menstruation started at 13 and beyond.
Before Age 12: High Risk for Breast Cancer
If your menarche came before you turn 12 years old, it’s highly recommended that you get regularly tested for breast cancer. An early menarche is linked to a 20% higher risk for breast cancer at some point later in life.
The general rule is that for every year a woman experiences menarche earlier than 12 years old, you can add 5% to their risk of the dreaded disease.
Early Menarche in General: High Risk for Thyroid Cancer
The hits just keep on coming. A body of research studied 600 young women diagnosed with thyroid cancer. The researchers found that women who got their first period early may have a higher risk of getting the disease.
Got your period at an early age? Better set an appointment with your doctor for a regular health check. While all of these are potential health risks (and may not hold true for all women who got their periods early), it still pays to keep tabs on your health.
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Dyan is a 25-year-old writer with a sense of humor of a prepubescent male. On weekends, she hibernates.