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When a Girl Becomes a Woman: Menstruation Genes Found

"You're a woman, now." That sentence probably wouldn't make much sense to a young girl — sometimes as young as 7 years old — who has begun to menstruate. A new study suggests that genes, in combination with other factors, determine when a girl will reach the moment commonly referred to as the first sign of womanhood.

According to the study, genes that direct the onset of menstruation sit next to DNA controlling height and weight. This may explain why shorter and heavier girls get their periods at a younger age. In addition to the newly discovered genes, we know that factors like nutrition and exercise influence the onset of puberty.

Scientists hope that finding out what causes early menstruation will eventually improve women's health. The age of first menstruation has been dropping in the West (some girls get their first periods at the age of seven), especially among girls with higher BMIs. This is of concern to the health community, because early menstruation is associated with depression, aggression, substance abuse, low self-esteem, and a higher risk of disease as an adult.

How old were you when you got your first period? Were you thrilled, traumatized or just expecting it?


Join The Conversation
DarkAddictx DarkAddictx 8 years
I was 11. I definitely did not expect it. So, i got a pad since i knew what those were for. But didnt excatly kno how to put it XD. Kind of embarasing.
Red77 Red77 8 years
10 or 11. And even before I got my first period, I would get cramps before I ever knew what cramps were. I remember being in gym class and getting horrible cramps thinking I had an ulcer like my father did. I just kept telling my gym teacher my stomach hurt really badly and she called my mother. No one could figure it out and eventually the cramps subsided. To this day the first day or so of my period is miserable. The pill helps, but the pill has too many other negative side effects for me. One would think the pharmaceutical industry could invent a drug (that isn't birth control) that could help women with severe cramps, bloating, etc. Sign me up the second there is some trial medication.
danakscully64 danakscully64 8 years
12 and I was at cheerleading practice. I wasn't freaked out really, I was pretty neutral about the whole thing.
sarahginam sarahginam 8 years
I was 11, and i was never overweight I was about 5 feet and under 100lbs. I was sorta expecting it I remember i told my mom and she ran and got the biggest pads ever, i swear they had a snap lol . Then i hopped on my bike( bad idea) and went to soccer practice and told all the girls lol . It was exciting, it is no longer exciting anymore haha
kittyktpink kittyktpink 8 years
i was about 10 and it started at school! obviously at a primary school they didnt really expect it. i was really scared and the first in my year to go through it.. it was not nice.
EcoGirl EcoGirl 8 years
i thnk the background is disgusting
Triste3030 Triste3030 8 years
I was 8 years old and had no idea what was happening to me. I remember hiding my underwear so my Mom woulden't find it. Of course she found it!
Swissa Swissa 8 years
I was 11, about two months before my 12th birthday. I was probably like 5'4" At the least at that age and pretty skinny. I remember very well, I was in the sixth grade, it was December just a few days before Winter Holidays were going to start.
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
I think I was 12. I don't remember. I was traumatised. I still am 13 years later though !!
noodlemaine noodlemaine 8 years
Wow, I think I'm the only one here who got hers at the age of 8. I was short and a tiny bit chubby, but I skinnied out. I don't get why people would want their periods! It's a hassle! And you definitely don't get them the same age as your mom. Mine got hers at like 16 or 17, but she grew up more athletic than I did, so maybe that's why.
Soniabonya Soniabonya 8 years
12. I was overweight and short. Horrified. Sure it's a rite of freaking passage but it's a pain in butt to live with for 40+years. Ah well. At least it lets me know I'm healthy. . . though i'm doubting that now since it's been going of for the past 2 1/2 weeks. I think it has to do with the new pill I'm on :\ Irritating!
xxstardust xxstardust 8 years
I was dead last to get it at almost 16 and was utterly grateful to god that it was present - like Kimpossible I was worried that something was seriosly wrong and that I'd never have children. Periods run fairly late in my family, though not as late as that, but I also had issues with an eating disorder. I was rapidly not-as-grateful when I realized that for me, a period was 16-17 days long and insanely heavy.
Zivanod Zivanod 8 years
I was 12. Hated having it then and hate having it now.
hithatsmybike hithatsmybike 8 years
12 -- I think I was happy about it? my sister was NINE!!
Ayu Ayu 8 years
10 and I desperately wanted to hide it in front of my classmates, but they figured out :( The rest of the girls didn't get it until 2+ years later, lucky them.
sloane220 sloane220 8 years
i was 12, i hated then, and i still hate it now. i'm thinking about going on seasonale.
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 8 years
I think I was 11. It wasn't a big deal, just a little bit of bleeding. The pain nausea and heavy bleeding started two years later.
sontaikle sontaikle 8 years
I had just turned 13. My mom said "finally!" because all of the women in her family generally got it earlier than that. She was sure something was wrong with me.
deeann deeann 8 years
4th grade, not only was I the tallest girl and pretty skinny but basically the tallest person in my grade..and i had no clue as to what was happening..luckily my best friend had an older stepsister so she clued me in.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 8 years
I was 10, tall and thin. So i guess that makes me the exception to that.
Aimeelo Aimeelo 8 years
I was 10 and I had 3 days left of summer camp to go. They were not pleasant.
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