Just like your first kiss, it’s very hard to forget the first day of your first period. And no matter how much you try to black out the memory of the panic attacks you got, it’s best not to forget your first period. Or at least the age at which you first got it.
Turns out the age of your first period has a lot to say about your health and how it can influence it down the road. Here are 5 things it can reveal about your future health!
1. It Affects Your Weight
When you get your menstruation for the first time, the process of it is known as ‘menarche’ (1). Now most girls usually get their first period between the ages of 11 and 14. However, if you get it earlier than that, chances are, you might gain weight in early adulthood and even suffer from obesity later on, according to researchers (2). Scientists believe that the early onset of the first period is linked to a higher BMI in childhood. Besides, children who are obese are likely to remain obese even after they achieve adulthood.
2. It Can Mess Up Your Heart Health
Probably one of the worst things the age of your menarche can do is mess with your heart health! Researchers found out that whether you have an early menarche or a rather late one, your heart health can suffer in the future (3). If you get your first case of Aunt Flo at 10 or 17 (both of which can be considered as extreme ages), you are at high risk of suffering from heart disease, high blood pressure, and even a stroke. This research was carried out on 1.2 million women in the UK and it also revealed that women who had their periods at the age of 13 for the first time were the least likely to have any heart problems.
3. It Can Increase Your Risk Of Diabetes
Getting periods at an early age can spell a lot of trouble for you. Apart from heart disease and weight gain, an early menarche also puts you at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes (4). This happens due to the fact that an early menarche can increase your BMI, which is one of the biggest risk factors of the silent killer, type 2 diabetes. Moreover, when you hit puberty early, you also go through certain hormonal changes, one of which is heightened insulin resistance, thereby increasing your chances of getting the dreaded ‘D disease.’
4. It May Have An Impact On Your Pregnancy
Let’s just say, early periods are a real bad news. If your menarche happens sooner than it ideally should, you could suffer from pregnancy complications later on in your life. You could get preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication in which your blood pressure increases and puts you and your baby’s life at risk (5). You could also develop pelvic girdle syndrome if your periods come knocking on your door at a very young age (6). Pelvic girdle syndrome is a type of pain in the pelvic region that takes place in the 30th week of gestation.
5. It Can Put You At Risk Of Breast Cancer
Another major problem of getting your periods at a very tender age is that your chances of getting breast cancer can dramatically increase. If you get yours before your turn 12, your chances of getting breast cancer later on in your life increase by 20% (7).
Now, early periods may have been presented in a really bad light here but it’s not your fault if the onset of your menarche takes place at a fairly younger age. So, don’t beat yourself up over it. There’s no way you could you could have changed that.
Plus, getting your periods early does not necessarily mean that you will end up with all of the above conditions, disorders or diseases. It simply means that there might be a higher chance of you developing them – which can also happen if you’ve got your first period at the right age but lead a poor lifestyle.
So, what you really need is not to enter into panic mode but to make sure that you lead a healthy lifestyle. This means not being a couch potato and munching on piles of junk food or being a chain-smoker. Instead, you need to ensure that you exercise regularly, stay fit, eat healthy, and do not indulge in deadly habits such as smoking or the use of any other addictive substances.
Stress is another thing you should try to avoid as much as possible as it is a major contributing risk factor to most of the conditions mentioned above. As long as you stay healthy and fit, you’ll be as far from these diseases as possible!