New Study Shows Black Girls Are Getting Their Period Earlier

By Staff Reporter

While the ideal age for girls in their first period ranges from 10 and 15 years old, a new study has found that girls of colour, particularly Black girls, are beginning their menstrual cycles at younger ages than their peers, HealthTimes has learnt.

The study titled “Menarche and Time to Cycle Regularity Among Individuals Born Between 1950 and 2005 in the US” was conducted by Professor Zifan Wang et al and examined the menstrual trends in girls to explore some of the factors leading to an early period in girls. Menarche is the culmination of a complex sequence of events involving the maturation of the reproductive axis.

Even though the exact reasons for this phenomenon remain unclear, some experts suggest environmental chemicals and pollutants may contribute, and highly processed foods can accelerate ageing and adversely affect health.

The mean (SD) age at menarche decreased from 12.5 (1.6) years in 1950 to 1969 to 11.9 (1.5) years in 2000 to 2005. The number of individuals experiencing early menarche increased from 449 (8.6%) to 1223 (15.5%), the number of individuals experiencing very early menarche increased from 31 (0.6%) to 110 (1.4%), and the number of individuals experiencing late menarche decreased from 286 (5.5%) to 137 (1.7%),” reads part of the study.

According to the study, Chronic stress could also play a role in early periods, according to the study, which may come as a surprise to some. Despite the disparity, the study suggests that body mass index (BMI) and race do not necessarily play a significant role in these health outcomes. Instead, prolonged exposure to stress and environmental toxins is more critical, highlighting the need for comprehensive health approaches that go beyond race or BMI considerations. The study also shows just how important period education will continue to be as more and more young people get their periods earlier.

A total 71 341 female individuals were analysed. For 61 932 participants with reported time to regularity, the number reaching regularity within 2 years decreased from 3463 (76.3%) to 4075 (56.0%), and the number not yet in regular cycles increased from 153 (3.4%) to 1375 (18.9%).

“In this cohort study of 71 341 individuals in the US, as birth year increased, mean age at menarche decreased and time to regularity increased. The trends were stronger among racial and ethnic minority groups and individuals of low self-rated socioeconomic status. These trends may contribute to the increase in adverse health outcomes and disparities in the US.”

Early menarche is associated with an increased risk of adverse health outcomes, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, spontaneous abortion, and premature death, 3-9 whereas late menarche is associated with increased risk of fractures.

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