It’s no secret that puberty can be a difficult time for both parents and children. Girls who start puberty at an early age often face unique challenges that their peers don’t have to deal with. This can be especially true for a young girl, who hasn’t even touched 10 years of age yet.
If you’re a parent of a young child who is starting to show signs of precocious puberty, you might be wondering what you can do to help her through this challenging time.
Luckily, there a few things you can do. Ayurveda offers effective natural solutions to prevent or slow down early puberty in girls.
Challenges of Early Puberty in girls
Puberty is the process of sexual development and maturation. The average age of puberty onset is around 10 years in girls and 12 years in boys.
But some girls start puberty as early as age 8, and some boys start as early as age 9. This is called “early pubertal onset or central precocious puberty.
Although early puberty is typical, it is also a risk factor for a number of degenerative disorders throughout adulthood, such as early menopause, hormonal imbalance, hormone induced breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, metabolic syndrome, earlier fertility loss, and a shorter life span.
In addition, early puberty can lead to physical and emotional problems, and it can also interfere with a girl’s schooling and social life.
One of the physical complications of early puberty is stunted growth. The girl develops so fast that her bones mature and stop growing without having grown long enough yet.
Early puberty can be emotionally tough for girls. They may feel like they’re “different” from their friends who haven’t started to develop the secondary sexual characteristic. This can affect their mental health, leading to low self-esteem and depression.
Early onset of puberty can interfere with a girl’s schooling. She may miss school because she’s sick (from having her period, for example), or she may be teased by other kids.
Early puberty can make it hard for a girl to socialize with her peers. She may feel self-conscious about her body, or she may be interested in things that her friends aren’t interested in yet (like dating).
Signs of Early Onset of Puberty in Girls
So, what do you expect to see in precocious puberty? Well, you see the exact same things as you see in normal puberty.
The only difference is that the processes start earlier. However, the timing and intervals between stages are all normal. So, for a girl that has begun puberty, you will notice the following:
1. Breast Development
This is the first, earliest sign of puberty. It is the forerunner. But again, in precocious puberty, it comes earlier.
When your little girl starts developing breast tissue (breast buds), then she is getting into puberty.
2. Pubic hair growth
Girls are usually very mindful of their appearance. So, if your girl is looking for razors to shave hair from her legs, thighs, armpit, or pubic area, puberty is knocking. You can blame all that hair on testosterone, one of the hormones involved in the whole process.
3. Increase in height
A girl undergoing puberty will also experience a rapid increase in height. There will actually be a growth spurt overall. She can grow to be bigger than her peers.
All that growth is due to increased levels of reproductive hormones, like estrogen for example.
4. Her hips become broader and her waist becomes thinner
As a woman, what makes you have that figure that distinguishes you from a man is estrogen.
Sex hormone such as Estrogen increases greatly in puberty. It causes fat to be stored in the hips, in the breast, laps, etc. So, the girl starts approaching the figure of a full-grown woman. The wide hips and pelvis are to help in easing childbirth.
5. Sweaty and smelly
Smelly doesn’t necessarily mean stinking. The thing is just that at puberty, your girl sweats more. This sweat will actually have an adult-like odor.
The presence of acne can also be detected in this case. Acne outbreaks can be seen on the face, mostly. Sometimes, it’s not an outbreak. Rather, you will only find a pimple here or there. In either case, that is puberty.
7. Vaginal discharge and Early Menarche (Onset of Menstruation)
Of course, when most people hear ‘puberty’ in girls, they think ‘menstruation.’
A menstrual cycle kicks off about 2-3 years after the development of the breast buds. For a young girl experiencing precocious puberty, this could mean that she begins menstruating at about 8-10 years of age.
On attaining menarche, young girls often have irregular periods for about 6 months – 2 years since the ovaries do not release egg regularly. Eventually, her periods become regular and normal menstrual flow is attained.
What causes Early Puberty in Girls?
Early puberty in girls is often caused by a hormone imbalance. The most common cause of this is excess estrogen in the body. This can be caused by exposure to chemicals and pollutants, or it can be a result of certain medical conditions.
There can be many different reasons for these hormone imbalances, but some of the most common include:
- Environmental factors such as exposure to certain chemicals or pollutants
- Poor diet and nutrition
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Chronic stress
- Lack of exercise
- Genetics and Hereditary factors
- Injury or radiation to the brain/spinal cord
- Hypothyroidism or under active thyroid gland
- Being overweight, which creates high estrogen levels in the body
- An abnormal pituitary gland or hypothalamus may cause precocious puberty
- Problems with the endocrine glands that produce the puberty hormones e.g. congenital adrenal hyperplasia
What to do about early puberty?
Can you do anything about early puberty?
A good number of times, you don’t need to do anything. But sometimes you might need to intervene. It depends on why puberty started early in the first place.
- Medications as hormone therapy might be prescribed by a physician to suppress the hormones causing puberty. Thus, puberty is delayed. However, this approach can have serious side effects, and it does not address the underlying cause of the problem.
- Ensure you get a test to rule out underlying medical conditions.
- Keep your child away from exposure to external hormones, particularly estrogen.
- Ensure your child maintains a healthy weight.
- Educate her on her new stage of life. Make her understand the importance of hygiene, exercise, a healthy diet, etc. Also, help her feel comfortable with her own body.
Ayurveda for Early Puberty in Girls
The Ayurvedic perspective of early puberty is that it is often caused by imbalances in the body. These imbalances can be caused by a number of factors, including diet, stress, and toxins.
There are several Ayurvedic tips to help prevent and slow down early puberty. These include balancing the hormones with a healthy diet, detoxifying the body, and reducing stress.
Ayurvedic detoxification therapy is particularly helpful to prevent early puberty. This will help clear off all excess weight and ama (toxin buildup) that could vitiate the vata dosha and Kapha dosha. This can be done through a simple detox diet or by taking cleansing herbs such as triphala under the guidance of an Ayurvedic doctor.
Healthy Diet to Manage Early Puberty
A healthy diet is important for all kids, but it’s especially important for girls who are going through puberty. They need plenty of calcium and iron, for example, to help their bodies cope with the changes.
Balanced nutrition through a healthy diet can also help to prevent or slow down early puberty in girls.
- Provide your child with ample of probiotics, as they help to reduce the effect of hormone disrupting chemicals. Yogurt, cheese, sour pickle all contain probiotics.
- Herbal teas can also be beneficial. Chamomile, lavender, and other soothing herbs can help to relax the body and mind. Hibiscus tea is also a good option as it contains phytoestrogens, which can help to regulate hormone levels.
- Support hormonal balance with a healthy diet: A healthy diet is crucial for balanced hormones. Include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy and protein in your daughter’s diet.
- Vegetables and Fruits: banana, orange, apples, grapes, pomegranate, cabbage, spinach, carrots, beetroot, fenugreek, broccoli, curry leaves, drumstick leaves and pods etc
- Beans, lentils and grains e.g. oats, millets, mung beans, black gram, sprouts, lentils etc
- Dry fruits, nuts, and seeds e.g. almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashew nuts, pistachios etc
- Include milk and milk products such as curd to get sufficient proteins and calcium in the diet.
Foods to Avoid
- Eliminate or minimize processed foods and snacks from your child’s diet. These foods lack sufficient nutrition for the girls. In addition, they contain Estrogen like chemicals that promote hormonal imbalance and obesity.
- Stop soda, packed juices, soft drinks.
- Remove junk foods like fried snacks, pizza, burger and fries etc.
- Limit her intake of caffeine and sugary drinks. Instead, focus on providing her with plenty of fluids like water, coconut water, and fresh lime water. These will help keep her hydrated and promote good health.
Lifestyle Guidelines for Early Onset Puberty in Girls
Making healthier lifestyle changes can help to prevent or slow down early puberty, and allow girls to reach their full potential.
- Stress can cause hormone imbalances, so it’s important to find ways to relax and de-stress. Yoga, meditation, and spending time in nature are all great ways to reduce stress.
- Studies have shown that little girls that do not get enough vitamin D are two times more likely to have early puberty. Get some vitamin D through direct exposure of sunlight.
- Make sure your daughter is getting enough sleep. A lack of sleep can cause all sorts of hormonal imbalance, including early puberty. Make sure she’s getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night.
- Exercise is also important for preventing early puberty. Encourage your daughter to get regular exercise and make it fun by doing it together. Taking a brisk walk or going for a bike ride are great options.
- Reduce exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals such as BPA, Fragrances and food chemicals through environment and food. These chemicals mimic the function of our hormones and excessive exposure to such chemicals may trigger early puberty in girls. Make sure to keep your child safe from hormone disrupting chemicals.
In most cases, early puberty is not usually a problem. But still, it doesn’t hurt to ensure that you know what is really going on. Especially if you are worried.
Get tests taken to check if there are other problems. Early detection means a better prognosis.
While you do everything in your means to delay and manage early puberty in your girl, you should also teach your daughter about puberty. It’s important for her to understand what’s happening to her body, and she’ll feel more in control if she knows what to expect.
Be there for your daughter!
Puberty can be a tough time for girls, so it’s important for them to have a supportive parent (or other adult) to talk to.
1. How can girls slow down puberty naturally?
The first step is to understand what is happening in the body and why. Puberty is the stage of life when the sexual organs mature and the body starts preparing for reproduction. The process is controlled by hormones, which are chemical messengers that travel through the bloodstream to tell the body what to do.
For girls, puberty usually starts around age 10 or 11, but it can sometimes start as early as age 7 or 8. There are a number of reasons why puberty may start earlier than usual, including stress, diet, and exposure to certain chemicals.
However, there are also a number of ways to slow down puberty naturally. Ayurvedic medicine has long recognized the importance of diet and lifestyle in regulating hormone levels. For girls entering puberty, recommendations include eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, avoiding processed foods and sugary drinks, getting regular exercise, and getting enough sleep. By making simple changes to their diet and lifestyle, girls can help to keep their hormone levels in balance and slow down the onset of puberty.
2. What foods prevent early puberty?
Amongst the flurry of changes that happen during puberty, one of the most significant is the development of secondary sex characteristics. This process is regulated by hormones, and in girls, it typically begins between the ages of 8 and 13. However, there is an increasing trend of girls entering puberty at younger ages, and this has been linked with a number of health problems. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to help prevent early puberty.
A healthy diet is essential, and certain foods have been shown to be particularly beneficial. For example, soybeans are a rich source of phytoestrogens, which are plant-based compounds that mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage contain compounds that help to detoxify excess hormones. Dairy products are also important, as they provide calcium and other nutrients that support bone health. By including these foods in their diet, parents can help to reduce the risk of their child experiencing early puberty.
3. Does exercise slow down puberty?
I am an Ayurvedic doctor who has been researching and working with the human body for over 40 years. In my opinion, exercise does slow down puberty. I have seen many young boys and girls who do not exercise regularly enter puberty earlier than those who do.
The reason for this is that when you exercise, your body produces more hormones. These hormones include testosterone and estrogen. These hormones are responsible for the development of secondary sex characteristics such as facial hair, deeper voice, and larger muscles.
So, when you exercise, you are essentially putting your body into a state where it is producing more of these hormones. As a result, your body takes longer to develop these characteristics. In addition, I believe that exercise helps to delay puberty because it strengthens the adrenal gland. The adrenal glands produce many of the hormones that are involved in pubertal development and menarche.
When they are strong and healthy, they are better able to regulated hormone production. As a result, puberty is delayed.
In conclusion, I believe that exercise does play a role in delaying central precocious puberty. However, there are many other factors that can influence the onset of puberty, so it is not the only thing that you need to worry about. If you are concerned about entering puberty too early, contact Medhya Herbals to schedule a consultation. We can help you to design your personalised health plan to slow down puberty, support hormonal balance and put your health back on track.
4. Does yoga help to delay puberty?
In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in the potential health benefits of yoga. Studies have shown that yoga can help to improve flexibility and overall fitness, and it has also been linked to a reduction in stress levels.
One of the more unexpected benefits of yoga is that it may help to delay puberty. In a study of girls aged six to eight years old, those who practised yoga had significantly lower levels of the hormone responsible for triggering pubertal development.
Yoga helps to reduce levels of stress and promote blood flow to reproductive organs as the uterus and the ovaries. This provides them with sufficient nutrition and supports their functioning.
As a result, yoga may provide a valuable tool for delaying puberty in girls who are not yet ready to begin the transition into womanhood.