Thursday, June 13, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Puberty And The Needs Of Girls And their Parents 

GP and women’s health expert Associate Professor Magda Simonis has warned early onset menstruation in Australia is occurring as early as Grade 2 or 3, 8–11 years old, for some girls, and this can be a shock to them and their parents as often it hasn’t been discussed by that age. Usually, education at schools is provided in Years 5 and 6.

“A delay in education could leave many girls unprepared for the physical and emotional changes of puberty, potentially exacerbating feelings of confusion and distress,” Associate Professor Simonis said.

Unfortunately, there is still a stigma and embarrassment around talking with children around these normal bodily functions leasing Gotham seeking the information from often dubious sources such as social media, equally ignorant friends etc. 

The comments follow a Harvard University study which found early or very early menstruation for girls has nearly doubled over five decades in the US. Likely it is similar here in Australia. The cause is likely due to the increase in body mass index or childhood obesity due to dietary choices and sedentary lives compared to decades ago. This is a societal issue with overweight and obesity in adults around 65%. So, blaming parents or the child is not helpful. 

GPs, can play a vital role in supporting young patients and their families with early onset or normal pubertal changes and earlier with children who are overweight or obese, which can be hard for parents to realise as they often don’t take their children in for check-ups past the pre prep immunisation years of 4 to 5 years old. 

Yours in good Health 

Dr Mags  

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