What' Ailing You: Early puberty
This week's "What's Ailing You" looks at the increasing incidence of girls hitting puberty at a very young age.
Doctors say that just a couple of decades ago, girls were maturing between the ages of 12 and 16.
Now, they say more and more girls are beginning puberty as young as 10 and 11.
Some health experts point to obesity as a trigger of early puberty. They say that an increase in fat cells causes the body to increase estrogen production.
Nurse practitioner Heidi Nelson, of 203 Urgent Care in Norwalk, says while obesity appears to be the main reason for early cases of puberty, it's widely believed that there are other contributing factors.
Nelson says studies show BPA, the chemical found in the lining of some cans and plastics, can disrupt young people's endocrine systems, causing them to release more hormones. She also recommends avoiding foods containing antibiotics and hormones, which have also been linked to causing hormonal problems.
Such chemicals can also lead to anxiety and depression in young people, she says.
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