Some girls started their periods early. Some were late bloomers. We all knew that growing up, and by the time we were 16 or 17 and all complaining about visits from Aunt Flo, it hardly seemed to matter who started their periods when.
But new research shows that it does matter now.
The girls who were dealing with sanitary pads while their friends were still tom-boying up trees are more likely to suffer from hot flashes and nights sweats decades later at menopause, according to a University of Queensland (Australia) study.
After analyzing data from more than 18,000 middle-aged women in the U.S., the U.K, and Australia, researchers found that women who started menstruating aged 11 or younger had a 50 percent higher risk of getting frequent hot flashes and night sweats, compared to those who started their periods at 14 or older.
No one knows why this happens. The only explanation seems to be that life isn’t fair. But you knew that, right?
“The risk of the women who menstruated early experiencing both symptoms was greater than having either hot flushes or night sweats alone,” said Dr. Hsin-Fang Chung of the University of Queensland. She said early menstruation previously had been linked to adverse health conditions later in life, including type two diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Nothing like piling on.
Adding More Weight
Sadly, being overweight makes it all worse. “Women who experienced early menstruation and were overweight or obese in midlife had a two times greater risk of frequent hot flushes and night sweats, compared with women who experienced their first period aged 14 years or older, and had normal weight,” said Gita Mishra, a leader of the project.
What this means is that women with early menstruation should make extra sure they manage their weight as adults. Or else invest in a really good AC system or maybe one of these.