Why are young American women having earlier and more irregular periods than before?

Young women have earlier and more irregular periods than previous generations, reveals a study published on May 29 in the scientific journal Jama Network Open.

The latter, which covers 71,341 American women born between 1950 and 2005, reveals that the average age of first menstruation has fallen to “11.9 years for women born between 2000 and 2005”, against “12.5 years for those born between 1950 and 1969”, notes the American daily The Washington Post.

Young women are also more likely to have their periods before the age of 11, or even from the age of 9. Young non-white girls would be more concerned than others by this precocity.

Health risk

In addition to being earlier, the study shows that menstrual cycles are also more erratic, and that the time between “first periods” and the “regularity of the cycle” has also become longer – the study puts it at around three years, decrypted Stat. So many indicators of a “deterioration of overall reproductive health and population health”, underlines this site specializing in the health sector.

In fact, previous studies have already established a link between early menstruation and an increased risk of health problems later in life, such as menstruation. cardiovascular illnesses And cancers.

The fact that young women also take longer to have a regular cycle exposes them to “increased risks of irregular cycles” for the rest of their lives, which can “be a cause of infertility”, continues Stat.

How to explain this change in menstruation? Further studies are needed, but Stat advances multifactorial causes, linked to “food”, “physical activity”, or “exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals”.

In addition, thanks to the body mass index, provided by approximately 10,000 participants, the study was able to estimate that “46% of this reduction in the age of first menstruation could be attributed to a higher BMI”, especially because puberty has “needs some accumulation of fat mass to trigger”.

Origin and socio-economic status

Participants who identified themselves as “Asian, black, Hispanic or multiracial”, but also those belonging to a “lower socio-economic status, have “systematically declared an earlier average age of first period than white and/or wealthier participants”, notes the New York site NBC News.

If researchers claim that “this data is important”, to the extent that the study is “one of the first to examine early menstruation in the context of race and socioeconomic status,” these results “are not generalizable to all American women”, affirms the Washington Post.

This study, inventory of a “new worrying trend”, has the merit of recognizing “the value of menstruation data as a health indicator”, concludes Stat.

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