Professionals believe that the normal age of first menstruation have declined of late. Could environmental factors be the reason? More recently, a study conducted by the University of Michigan School of Public Health (U-MSPH) scientists has revealed that early menstruation could be due to low vitamin D in young girls and is supposedly a gateway for a host of health problems in the future.
As part of the study, 242 girls in the age-group 5 to 12 from Bogota and Colombia participated who were followed for a period of 30 months. The investigators found that girls with low vitamin D proportions apparently faced a doubled chance of having their cycles then those with adequate vitamin D.
“We know relatively little about what triggers puberty from an environmental perspective. If we learn what is causing the decline in age of first menstruation, we may be able to develop interventions” to prevent premature menarche,” commented epidemiologist Eduardo Villamor, associate professor in the U-M SPH.
Early menstruation is presumed to have many health complications relating to behavioral and psychosocial attributes in teenage girls. It has also been linked to cardiometabolic conditions and cancer, specifically breast cancer like adults. This study initially examined the link between vitamin D status of girls and the time of menarche. Also, analyses have suggested that girls inhabiting equatorial regions reach puberty later in life as compared to those living in the northern regions. Also girls in this side are known to possess high rates of vitamin D deficiency during the winter season owing to less exposure to sunlight.
As per the outcomes of the study, around 57% of them in the vitamin D-deficient group reached puberty during the study. While nearly 23% in the group with suitable vitamin D proportions, reached menarche. With respect to age, girls in the former group were around 11.8 years old while the latter group constituted girls of almost 12.6 years of age. As Villamor puts it, though a 10 month difference may not be that huge, girls may experience an array of changes during this time.
Though this implication has been considered, the team has not developed a causal relationship. Further analyses will reveal if alteration in vitamin D amounts will subsequently change menarche age.