Anonymous: I think my 7yo daughter has started her period. I noticed some spots of blood on her underwear a few months back but this has started to become heavier and more regular. I also noticed that she is getting pubic hair and we recently bought her first bra. Should I be concerned given she is so young?
Most of us remember getting our first period and are able to recall the details with ease – when, where, what we were doing at the time. For me, it was during a school day and I was 14-years-old – so I was at the point where I felt like it was never going to happen.
Looking back, I do think I was pretty lucky to be a bit older when I started my period (a time known as menarche) as there is a small percentage of girls who are too young to remember this time clearly. Approximately 5 to10 per cent of females will undergo what is known as precocious puberty, which is where they develop breasts and pubic hair before 8 years of age, often associated with the onset of regular periods.
Interestingly, there is not a lot of data on how young this can occur. What we do know is that early onset puberty is far more common in females than males and that the vast majority of cases occur between the ages of 7 to 8 years old.
There are rare recorded cases across the world that demonstrate children of any age can develop breasts, pubic hair and commence periods – including young babies. Even though this is rare, it is important to note that the younger the child, the more likely it is that there is a serious cause for their symptoms.