The ultimate introduction into womanhood, when a girl first gets her visit from Aunt Flow. It is a terrifying and confusing time for most young girls, this is depending on the age you get your first period. Some young girls get it at the super early age of 9 and 10 years old, some girls wait all through middle school and do get their first visit until they are 15 years old. There are a lot of biological factors that go into the reason why and when you get your first period. But this timing also says a lot about your personality, future health indicators and many other things.
Your First Time
The first time you get your period actually has a technical term, it is called your "menarche". A lot more catchy than "the most stressful and confusing moment of your life, omg what are tampons and how do I use them, this is crazy." This word - pronounced MEN-ar-kee - originates from the Greek words for "month" and "beginning", which was then translated into modern Latin as "menarche".
Becoming A Woman
A young ladies first menarche, while scary and intimidating, is often celebrated in lavish ceremonies in many countries around the world, like Sri Lanka and Ghana. It symbolizes the you entrance into womanhood and is a coming of age moment.
Orthodox Jewish Ceremonies
One of the more unusual ceremonies, traditionally performed by the Orthodox Jews during a young ladies first menarche is that the mother of the young girl is then slapped across the face when she first begins to bleed, a symbol of the most pain she will ever endure.
DNA And Our Period
There are up to 100 genes in our body which play a role in affecting at what age we are likely to get our period and how that period will affect us as we grow older, that means that no two people will have the exact same experience and everyone is unique.
Centuries Of Change
The age that women first get their period has changed over centuries to be lower and lower, from 17 years old to 13 years old being the average age today, this has a lot to do with our current health and nutrition playing a large factor in young girls becoming an age for bearing earlier in life.
An Unsettled Childhood
Getting your period at an early age could be an indicator of an unsettled childhood, if you experienced lower levels of support and parental care, sensitivity and emotional insecurity, your body transitions earlier into puberty, as revealed by scientific research.
Like Mother, Like Grandmother
There is a large connection between when girls first get their period and a link between when their female relative also started their menarche. This is due to a strong connection in heritage and upbringing that plays a role in affecting this timing.
Early Menarche's And Evolution
If a young girl has a very unsettled childhood and feels as though she has been cast aside by her family, her body goes into self preservation mode, throwing it into puberty in hopes that she could find a mate and start a family and protective tribe all her own.
How Your Race Affects Your Period
There is a direct genetic connection between race and how it affects a young girls period. The average age for a girl of African decent is almost a full year younger than a girl whose background is primarily white, a latino girl falls somewhere in the middle of the two.
The Difference Is In Our Genes
The racial difference between age and a girls first period had nothing to do with socioeconomic differences between women, but due to certain protein called IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor) Which African girls produced more of in their body.
Heart Disease Risks And Your Period
If you have certain factors that contribute to your first period landing way outside the normal age range (before the age of 9 and after 17) your body could then be at serious risk for developing heart disease later on in life, up to 27% greater risk.
Early Periods And Breast Cancer
Another possible issue with young women getting their periods before the age of 12 years old is that they are 20% more likely to develop breast cancer at some point in their adult life and should be screened regularly for this.
The More Periods, The Not So Better
The reason there are so many problems associated with young period starters is the exposure to hormones, the more of your life you are exposed to the hormones the more at risk you are at developing hormone related cancers.
Early Periods And Behavior Problems
Getting your period at an early age means that you are being thrown into puberty younger than your peers. When a girl is developing and being pumped full of hormones at 12 years old she is more likely to have behavioral issues and lash out.
Growing Up Early
When you are thrown into puberty at an early age, a young girl may be blossoming but she is also at a higher risk for bullying and depression. It's not easy for a girl to grow up especially when she is growing up faster than the other girls her age, be kind and sensitive to these mature young women.
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