Precocious Puberty – Bodies Developing Before Emotions

Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my blog!

Little girls with breasts, pubic hair and menstruation? Little boys with enlarged testicles and penises, facial hair and deepening voices? A Sci-Fi movie? No. A real life phenomenon? Yes.  In recent years, puberty has begun at increasingly younger ages for American children. Scientists are somewhat baffled. They can point to a number of factors  but not one cause. Childhood obesity, pollutants and hormones in food, water, home environment and stress factors are the likely culprits. Brain tumors, inflammations or injuries only account for a tiny percentage. Some of these can be controlled, some cannot.

Let’s take a look at the statistics. Precocious puberty  (early maturation) is ten times more likely to appear in girls rather than boys, but the numbers for boys are rapidly increasing.  Dayton’s Children’s Medical Center website lists the percentage of pubescent girls at 10% for whites, 20-30% for blacks and an intermediate percentage for Hispanics before 8 years of age, with some as young as 3 years old. I did not find any information on the percentages for boys, but Forbes Oct. 20, 2012 lists the precocious ages for boys at 10 for whites and Hispanics and 9 for blacks.

According to Newsweek’s  Jan. 26, 2015 article, “Puberty Comes Earlier For Girls” by Susan South, cites plastic compounds, in particular phthalates (pronounced thal-ates), man-made chemicals found in plastic food and beverage containers, carpeting, shampoos, insect repellents, vinyl flooring, shower curtains, plastic toys and steering wheels and dashboards of most cars.”  (Additional research revealed their presence in perfume, fragrance in cosmetics, and the non-recyclable PVC found in vinyls, lunch boxes  and folders.)

The Newsweek article goes on to say, “Also, exposure to certain compounds known as endocrine disruptors ex. pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls and bisphenol, mimic the effects of estrogen in the body and could partially stimulate breast growth. Usually menstruation begins 2-3 years after breast growth.”  (Additional research revealed exposure to hormonal creams, medications and supplements as a possible contributing factor.)

To summarize an article in the Queens issue of Natural Awakenings October, 2015,  “Early Puberty – The New Normal?” by Kathleen Barnes emphasis is placed on “BMI Body Mass Index as the predominant factor in early puberty for girls – more important than race or ethnicity. Fat tissue  produces hormones, including estrogen that can accelerate the process of puberty, especially early breast development. Burgers, fries and soda are to blame. Endocrine disruptors increase estrogen production, ex. chemicals found in children’s clothing and antibiotics found in meat and dairy may create a greater danger than added hormones by disrupting the digestive tract which can lead to obesity and may influence puberty. Also, stressors such as sexual or child abuse, stressful family relationships, low emotional investment on the part of parents or a depressed mother can raise levels of cortisol which is associated with obesity. Experts agree that a clean diet is one of the most powerful strategies to protect young girls. Eat organic wherever possible.

Complications from precocious puberty? Not only are most children not emotionally and psychologically ready to deal with the changes in their bodies, they are often victims of teasing, socially outcast, depressed, prone to obesity, drug and alcohol abusers, cigarette smokers and prone to eating disorders. The girls in particular get unwanted sexual attention from older boys and men.  (Let me take this opportunity to recommend your kids cell phones be limited to flip phones only without Internet, so they cannot fall prey to cyber sexual predators.) It is believed the incidence of cardiovascular problems such as heart attack and stroke, diabetes, higher blood pressure and breast cancer is higher for this group.

Medications are available that will slow down this early maturation process, which parents may or may not want to utilize. This decision should not be taken lightly. Think five times before doing this.

It’s obvious that hormones and toxins in our water systems and food supply adversely affect our children now and our future generations. Where does the medicine go when we throw it down the drain or flush it down the toilet? Are the fatted calf and big-breasted chicken pumped with hormones? Is the grass and feed contaminated by toxic run-off?

There’s so much to be concerned about in our modern world. Industry advances its products without concern for the impact on people or the environment. Sales oriented, they ignore the dangers and monopolize the market with what is essentially poisonous  and detrimental to health. Don’t get me started on drug companies. They foster drugs whose side effects are worse than the disease itself. Just watch the TV ads. Scientists must curtail “advances” that destroy our planet and the people in it. They have a responsibility, as doctors do, to do no harm and it should be taken seriously.

It’s time for us to demand more from government regulators, but also from captains of industry who must put our health before profits. We have the right to expect safer products. People friendly. Nature friendly. Environmentally friendly.

Our children are noticeably paying the price for this unnatural world in which we live. What will we see in twenty years?

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you.

Next week’s blog post: Kids Off The Hook? Maybe It’s Stress

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