You remember the “early bloomers” in your 5th grade class. These girls had the first curves, the first bras that EVERYONE noticed….especially the boys.
Today, however, things are different. Yesterday’s early bloomers are today’s average girl beginning puberty. The American Society of Pediatrics has recently estimated that approximately 15% of girls are starting their periods at an earlier age and beginning the first state of puberty as early as age 7. There are also studies that suggest early signs such as breast development are happening one year sooner than they did ten years ago.
But why? How can this be?
- Obesity – With the rate of obesity doubling over the past 30 years, girls with excess weight are experiencing puberty earlier. Fat cells actually create estrogen in the body. So it is no wonder that with rising obesity in the world that experts are seeing younger girls start puberty.
- Exposure to Chemicals – As you may have heard, our world is full of endocrine disruptors. The list of endocrine disruptors includes bisphenol A (BPA), pesticides and phthalates. These chemicals can mimic estrogen when they enter the body. BPA exists in almost every type of hard plastic and inside the lining of most canned food. Creams and lotions are often the source of phthalates. Non-organic fruits and vegetables are notorious for being covered in pesticides.
- Family Stress – Experts have noted that girls that grow up without a father or experience intense stress in early childhood enter puberty earlier than others.
According to a recent article in Scientific American, “identifying the triggers that push individual girls into early puberty remains a challenge that leaves parents short of a simple action plan. As Marcia E. Herman-Giddens, lead author of the watershed 1997 early puberty paper, says, “People always want to know the reason, but I don't think people will ever be able to sort out the reason or the fix. It's a lot of things interacting together, and they have different effects on different individuals.’ ”
If you are here because you have an early bloomer, don’t panic. We are here to help! We started Bleuet to help girls (whether on the young side or late bloomer) and their families on this journey through puberty. Our daughter was an early bloomer and bleuetgirl.com is what we wished that we had back then.
Puberty Before 10: A New Normal, The New York Times