A Medical Practitioner, Dr Chioma Ofoekii, says it is normal for girls to start menstruation as early as eight years old.
Speaking with the NAN on Wednesday in Abuja, Dr Ofoekii, noted that a girl’s body can begin to change into that of an adult too soon, in what is known as precocious puberty.
Menstruation or period as commonly called – is normal vaginal bleeding that occurs as part of a woman’s monthly cycle.
Every month, the woman’s body prepares for pregnancy; if no pregnancy occurs, the uterus or womb sheds its lining, by expelling the menstrual blood, which is partly blood and partly tissue from inside the uterus.
According to the expert, precocious puberty refers to “the onset of secondary sexual characteristics” usually occurring before the age of eight in girls; and prior to the age of nine in boys.
“In girls, this will commonly manifest as breast development, menstrual bleeding, pubic and auxiliary hairs, acne, and rapid bone and muscle growth. A girl who starts menstruation at a young age is usually because the hormones responsible for puberty are being produced earlier.
“The symptoms in boys include enlarged testicles and penis; a deepening voice and facial hair, often on the upper lip,” she explained.
On the causes, she said, “At the level of the brain, include hypothalamic lesions, hydrocephalus, brain tumours, infections and trauma; while other causes may include ovarian cysts, tumours of the adrenal gland, congenital adrenal hyperplasia and obesity.”
The physician said accordingly, it is important to note that it can also be genetic, in which case it is just based on family genes.
She, however, said family history may reveal a similar early onset of puberty in the mother and other female siblings, and cited some complications that may arise from it to include short stature or dwarfism, low self-esteem and psychological stress.