Monday, November 10, 2008
Medical Reports: Premature Periods
Most girls start puberty in sixth or seventh grade, but imagine dealing with it in first or second grade? It's something more and more parents are having to face. Seven's Lynn Martinez talks with doctors about these Premature Periods.
WSVN -- Dolls, coloring, dancing, this is how little girls are supposed to enjoy their younger years, but some of those little girl years are going by way too fast.
Lynn: "Most people, if they didn't know how old she was, have always assumed she was at least two years older."
Lynn's daughter, whose identity we're protecting, started developing at age 7.
Lynn: "I looked at her, and it appeared that she was developing breast buds."
By second grade, she was already wearing a bra.
Lynn: "Some of the girls would tease me, and they really had no clue because they don't know what it's like yet."
It made her feel like an outsider.
Lynn: "Unlike everybody else, different."
Her mom thought she had years before she had to explain the facts of life to her daughter, but that wasn't the case.
Lynn: "Being a third grader and having her period, we just did not feel was an option for our child."
And this little girl is not alone. Specialists at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital say more and more girls are developing early.
Dr. Manuela Almaguer, Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital: "That would be breasts, sexual hair and morphological changes or changes in their body."
Many parents are left wondering how this could happen? One explanation for this early development might be what we feed our children.
Sonia Angel, Nutritionist, Memorial Hospital Pembroke: "Certain additives in foods, especially hormones in meats and milk products may have a link to early development in girls."
And it's not just what's in our food, it may be products we put on our bodies everyday. The Centers for Disease Control has done studies showing exposure to Phthalates found in products like lotions, perfumes, cosmetics and hair products can result in early development.
So what's a parent to do? Well, if you have a daughter under the age of eight, you should look for these changes: any kind of mood changes, any kind of sudden growth, body odor and acne. If you notice any of these things, see your doctor.
Dr. Manuela Almaguer: "There are different treatments for early puberty."
Lynn's daughter is getting a hormone shot once a month. The hormones can delay early puberty for years.
Lynn: "Had we not started the drugs, I shudder to think where we would be today."
And now, her daughter is back to playing with dolls like the rest of her 9-year-old friends.
Lynn: "Now I don't really have to worry about going through anything that I shouldn't have to go through."
Lynn's daughter will take the medication for about a year until the age of 10, then puberty should begin at about 12, considered the normal age for most girls.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital
Dr. Manuela Almaguer
1150 North 35th Ave., Suite 520
Hollywood, FL 33021