According to a study, early menstruation in young girls can be associated with deficiency of vitamin D, which is an invite for a range of health issues during teens as well adult life.
The study conducted by University of Michigan School of Public Health researchers involved 242 girls between the ages of 5 and12 from Bogota, Colombia. Their blood vitamin D levels were measured and they were observed for a total of 30 months.
According to epidemiologist Eduardo Villamor and associate professor in the U-M SPH, the chances of menstruation were 2 times higher in girls lacking vitamin D than in those with sufficient vitamin D.
Villamor said that this finding was vital for quite a few reasons because worldwide stats have revealed a steady decrease in the age of first menstruation, or menarche, for years together. He added that the cause could be related to the environment, as the genetics that initiate puberty in young girls have remained unchanged.
Villamor said, “We know relatively little about what triggers puberty from an environmental perspective. If we learn what is causing the decline in age of first menstruation, we may be able to develop interventions” to prevent premature menarche.
Behavioral and psychosocial problems in young teenage girls are caused by early menstruation, which presents itself as a risk factor. Adult cardiometabolic diseases and cancer, such as breast cancer, is more prevalent in girls who have an earlier menarche as they appear to have an increased risk.
The association between vitamin D status of girls and their first menstruation age was formally explored and understood by this study. According to previous research, early menstruation occurs in girls living in northern countries than in those living closer to the Equator. Inadvertently, minimal sun exposure during winter causes high rates of vitamin D deficiency in girls form northern countries.
Findings of Villamor and colleagues suggested that compared to 23% girls in the vitamin D-sufficient group, early menstruation occurred in 57% of those in the vitamin D-deficient group during the course of the study. Compared to girls in the vitamin D-sufficient group who first menstruated at the age 12.6 years, those in the vitamin D-deficient group started menstruating at11.8 years. Villamor says that although 10 months may seem like a small gap, the difference is momentous because at that age, a young girl’s body may undergo many changes rapidly.
Although the findings propose an association between menarche and vitamin D, researchers have still not been able to establish a causal relationship. More studies are required to demonstrate whether change in the age of menarche is a result of an involvement of factors that bring about a change in a girl’s vitamin D status.