Some get it when they’re 9, others still haven’t had it and are already 14 years old. A number of things can influence why some girls start menstruating at a very early age. Not just your genes, but also your environment and lifestyle decide when your menstruation starts. Period! gives three other reasons why some girls get their periods at an earlier age than others.
Body weight Research shows that big girls get their periods earlier than skinny girls. Overweight girls with high levels of body fat reach puberty earlier, says Aviva Must, researcher at the University School of Medicine in Boston.
Diet A British study, published in Public Health Nutrition, claims that girls who eat meat menstruate at an earlier age than girls who don’t. Paediatrician Hanneke Wennink is specialised in research of children who reach puberty before the age of 8. She indicates that this acceleration can indeed be caused by a change in diet. Wennink: ‘Nowadays we eat more eggs, beans and meat, which means our protein intake is higher.’
Brothers An Australian study points out the influence of other family members: if a girl has older brothers, then the menstruation onset is delayed by almost a year. It isn’t entirely clear how older brothers influence a girl’s development. It could be related to the older brothers taking up more of the parents’ time and attention, which could slow down the girl’s maturation. Having younger brothers could cause a girl to take on more of a nurturing role.