Studies reveals that the age a girl experiences puberty has before now been linked to when her mother started menstruating, same for goes for boys.
The Research observed about 16,000 youth in Denmark about their development through puberty every six months from age 11 years old and until they fully mature or 18. They also surveyed mothers during pregnancy about their age when they first began menstruation.
The study found that when compared to mothers who started late, those who started menstruating earlier were most like to have sons with earlier genital and pubic hair development, including earlier voice changes, facial hair growth, acne and first ejaculation.
Girls born of women who developed early mostly started menstruating and developing breasts much younger and were more likely to have early acne and pubic hair growth.
Dr. Nis Brix of Aarhus University in Denmark, the study’s co-author said “A mother that had early puberty is more likely to turn ‘genes for early puberty’ over to her children,”.
Brix said by email “Because these ‘genes for early puberty’ affect both boys and girls, both sons and daughters will on average be expected to go through puberty earlier, “That’s the most likely explanation.”
The study exposed that children who go through early puberty might be shorter than normal adults because after their early growth spurt, their bones possibly will stop growing at a younger age, and they have high risk of obesity as adults. All through adolescence, they might experience an high risk of social and emotional problems and earlier sexual knowledges.
Increased risk of diseases in later adult life, such as breast and testicular cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease has been linked younger age at puberty.
Some recent research points to puberty onset becoming earlier in general, especially for girls in developed countries. Environmental factors like diet, obesity and chemicals that mimic human hormones have all been suspected of playing a role.
The recent study offers some proof to propose genetics is not the only contribution to puberty timing for girls, and environment is also a factor.
Researchers noted that this is as a result of the timing of girls’ menstruation and breast development which is greatly related to mothers’ own development timeline than other facets of female development like pubic hair or acne.
Drawn from mothers’ replies about when they started menstruating, the researchers realized that half of the women were 13 years, 3 months or older. The study team considered maternal menstruation starting from age 12 or younger like age 15 years or older, as “late.”
They discovered that breast development, for example, started up to six months earlier in girls whose mothers had early menstruation than for their peers, or up to four months later when compared to peers in girls whose mothers had started later.
Similarly, breaking of voice takes place a little over two months earlier than peers in boys whose mothers had an early puberty, and underarm hair advanced three months earlier.
This study wasn’t planned to prove whether or how mothers’ puberty timing influenced development in their children. One other limitation is that it relied on surveys instead of medical records or exams to detect the participants’ timeline for development.
Qiguo Lian said at a researcher at the Shanghai Institute of Planned Parenthood Research and Fudan University in China said the study improves to mounting evidence signifying that mothers’ puberty timing and genes may affect the timeline of development for both sons and daughters.
Lian said by email “Many factors can influence timing of puberty,” “A child may start puberty earlier because she/he is obese or just her/his mother (started menstruation) earlier.”
Jane Mendle, a human development researcher at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York,said Early puberty might not necessarily lead to physical or mental health problems, but parents should be aware of this possibility.
Mendle said“Certainly, not every child who goes through puberty early will have a rough time later in life,”. “But it’s important to recognize that this transition can be a pivotal one in people’s lives.”