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Precocious Puberty in Girls- Another Modern Medical Issue
Are you causing your baby to grow up too fast?
Have you heard about Precocious Puberty?
I was listening to a podcast today and the hosts were talking about Precocious Puberty. I had heard about this before but never to the extent that I did today and I thought I should share what I have learned.
Precocious Puberty occurs when a child begins experiencing puberty at an early age. I will be talking more about girls, but this does also occur in boys. Girls who have this condition can be as young as six years old! Can you imagine having to go through the process of puberty in first grade?
So I began reading articles about the causes of this and I wasn't too surprised when I read that food sources can be a trigger to an early onset of puberty. Our diets have been heavily infiltrated with estrogen mimickers, also called endocrine disrupters. The ones that doctors are most concerned about are carbon chlorines, used in many pesticides; phthalates, widely used in the plastics industry to soften PVC; and dioxin, a byproduct of paper processing and herbicides. I'll focus more on BPA since most people are already familiar with this one.
Bisphenol-A, or BPA, has been in our food products since the 1940's. It is in plastics, although now you can find many BPA-free bottles in the store, and it lines the inside of cans to prolong the shelf life. They use it in PVC pipes and any plastic package material for products, including those used for electronics.
I'm sure some people say, "Big deal. So what if our kids are hitting puberty early. What harm could that possibly do." In this case ignorance is not bliss and what you don't know can really hurt you and your children.
Imagine being the only girl in your grade to have this condition, remember it's only first grade. By normal standards an "early bloomer" would begin puberty in 5th or 6th grade so this poor child would be years ahead of her peers. Do you remember how that one kid who was different was treated when you were in grade school? Enter the world of bullying and being singled out.
So now you have a child who's body has grown up before they have. They are not emotionally ready for the changes they are undergoing AND they are probably being teased by their classmates.
Aside from the emotional and mental problems they will face, these children will also face a tough road in the physical realm. Girls who have their first menstruation before the age of 12 increase their risk of breast cancer by 50% compared to girls who have their first menstruation at age 16. They also may wind up attracting the wrong type of attention simply because they are maturing at an early age.
I will admit to not being a expert and that there is more reading that I will need to do, but this is a start. I think that we all need to be more aware about what we are putting into our bodies and our children's bodies.
Avoid things that are not marked BPA-free.
Always choose fresh fruit and vegetables instead of canned.
Do not microwave food or liquids in plastic containers.
There aren't too many books on this topic. This seems to be the only one that isn't an expensive text book.