Stress and indiscriminate use of sanitisers are causing early puberty in children, according to experts.


Stress and indiscriminate use of sanitisers are causing early puberty in children, according to experts

During the Covid-19 epidemic, children are physically maturing too quickly. The early beginning of puberty, also known as precocious puberty, has been documented in children, according to experts at Jehangir Hospital in Pune.

Puberty is the period of life when our bodies begin to mature physically, and it normally occurs between the ages of 8 and 14. Precocious puberty occurs when puberty begins too early, usually before the age of eight in girls and nine in boys. This condition may necessitate medical attention.

Early puberty in children is becoming more common, which has been connected to Covid-19 lockdown, pandemic-related stress, and indiscriminate sanitiser usage.

Referrals to Jehangir Hospital for 'precocious puberty' jumped 3.6 times during the pandemic, according to a study, with children as young as 8-9 years old showing indications of maturity, including early menstruation. The results of the study were published in the Journal of Paediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism recently.

Other countries, such as Turkey, China, and Italy, have seen similar patterns. During the Covid shutdown in 2020, for example, Italian research found a 108 per cent increase in referrals for suspected premature puberty.

Precocious puberty is becoming more common among females

155 kids (146 girls and nine boys) were referred for precocious puberty during the lockdown period, according to Dr Vaman Khadilkar of Jehangir Hospital's growth and paediatric endocrinology unit (spanning March 1, 2020, and September 30, 2021).

Referrals during the pre-Covid period were significantly lower. From September 1, 2018, to February 29, 2020, only 59 patients (54 girls and five boys) were referred for early puberty.

During the lockdown, girls made up a major portion of the patients with precocious puberty, according to the statistics.

Doctors advise avoiding using sanitisers excessively

Excessive use of sanitisers and weight gain due to increased indoor time, according to Dr Anuradha Khadilkar, are likely to blame for the rise in incidences of early puberty among females.

In an interview with the newspaper, she warned that triclosan, an endocrine-disrupting chemical commonly found in hand sanitisers and soaps, has been linked to a younger menstrual age.

According to the study, increased screen time, consumption of high-calorie foods, and binge eating are all plausible reasons for early puberty.

Stress, increased use of electronic devices, and lack of sleep, according to Dr Vaman, can result in lower night-time melatonin levels, which can trigger the early onset of puberty.

Increased indoor time during the lockdown, he argued, certainly exacerbated vitamin D insufficiency in children, making them more susceptible to early puberty.

What's more worrying is that the researchers are observing a similar number of cases of early puberty, implying that the trend is continuing.

Early puberty presents a number of challenges

Children who experience early puberty may face a number of emotional and social difficulties, including:

·       When puberty ends, bone growth may come to a halt.

·       They may stop growing too soon and never reach their full potential height.

·       Because their breasts develop too early and they begin having periods much earlier than their peers, girls who suffer premature puberty may face taunting and body shaming. They may become irritated and cranky as well.

·       Boys can become aggressive when they reach puberty early.

·       Children who reach puberty early may also have a stronger sex drive than their classmates.

Puberty that occurs at a young age may necessitate treatment. To halt or stop puberty, treatment focuses on lowering sex hormone levels.

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