Does height increase after periods?
First period is a real nightmare in a woman’s life by affecting her mood and body height. Young GrowTaller.blog readers often complain about stopping growth after periods. I decided to better describe its impact on girls’ final body height.
Of course, all the figures in the article are approximate and may vary from person to person. A person experiences rapid bone growth as an infant or young child. The second such surge is more gradual, with changes throughout the body beginning anew in pubescent teens.
Menarche – the first period
The first menstrual cycle in girls signals proper health, maturation of the body and the beginning of reproductive capacity. 98% of girls get their period before the age of 15, with an average age of 12-13. The appearance of menarche too early, too late or not at all is worrisome, as it can carry negative consequences. Menarche is considered early if it occurs before age 10, and late if it occurs at age 15 and above. Menarche is considered late if more than three years pass between the onset of THELARCHE (puberty of the mammary glands) and the first period.
Thelarche – > PHV -> 6 months -> Menarche
(2-3 years break)
Growth before and after menstruation
Peak growth velocity (PHV) is simply the fastest moment of bone growth during the teenage years. After the first year of life, a child grows more slowly, with the exception of peak growth moment (PHV). In boys, this usually happens between 13-15 years of age.
Girls grow the most between 11-13 years of age, and usually this speed peaks 6-12 months before the first period. The rate then slows down and stops within a year after the first menstruation. After the puberty stage, girls usually stop growing around age 16.
As an example, there was a 1993 study of 95 fourth-grade elementary school girls in Taiwan. Height gain peaked a year before first menstruation and slowed down during the year after .
What causes first menstruation
The age at which a woman experiences her first monthly bleeding is variable, with genetic and environmental factors such as socioeconomic status, family life, race, exercise and diet, and overall health playing a role.
A daughter may genetically inherit a tendency to have an early period. In addition, if the mother has grown significantly after the onset of menstruation, the daughter also has a good chance. In several studies, ethnic-racial differences affected the onset of first menarche. For example, black girls experienced their first menstruation three months earlier than white girls. In addition to the female reproductive organs (ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus and vagina), the female affliction is influenced by complex hormonal interactions in the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and ovaries. The adrenal glands, thyroid and pancreas have also been proven to influence the onset of the first cycle.
Early first menstruation
- The earliest period was noticed in girls raised in a stressful family environment: foster families and the presence of a stepfather. Women raised in urban areas experienced their period earlier than rural residents.
- Girls from families with high socioeconomic status experience menarche earlier than girls from families with lower socioeconomic status.
- Girls who consumed more animal protein and less plant protein between the ages of 3-5 experienced their first menstruation earlier.
- Girls who are overweight or obese may go through their first period at a younger age.
- According to the researchers, artificial feeding in early childhood was responsible for early first menstruation.
An early first period can lead to premature fusion of epiphyseal cartilage and the formation of compact bone, which accelerates the final body height – lower than the potential genetic height.
In a study of 1148 Korean women, 256 girls (22.3%) had an early first menstrual cycle. The prevalence of low height and obesity was higher in women with menarche compared to those with later periods. The final body height of girls was influenced by the age of first menstruation. In Europe and the U.S., women with an earlier first period reached a lower height compared to women who had their first menstruation at a later age. Compared to the mothers of girls in the second group, the mothers of the girls surveyed with an early period experienced it at a similar – early – time. Women with an early period had a 10.5% greater chance of being short in adulthood, a 2.6-fold increase compared to women with a later first menstruation. The chance of obesity in women with an early period was 1.73 times higher. According to the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study, based on 286205 women from nine European countries, women grew about 0.35 cm taller when menarche occurred a year later. Depending on the country, the results ranged between 0.13-0.50 cm. In the United States, slowing the menstrual cycle by a year, resulted in women growing 0.76, 0.41 and 0.35 cm taller.
First period doesn’t always mean you’ll stop growing soon
Another study by the Fels Longitudinal Study, on the other hand, showed that girls who start menstruating at age 10 grew more than those whose menstruation is delayed until age 15. It was noted that girls, starting puberty at around 6-8 years of age, do not end up as short adults. The key here is the longer interval between earlier telarche and menarche. Conversely, a shorter interval between thelarche and menarche resulted in less growth after menstruation in girls with delayed puberty. Attempts to pharmacologically delay puberty have been ineffective in increasing their final height .
The study authors suggest possible causes and solutions to the problem of premature periods. Earlier fusion of the epiphyseal cartilages, which inhibits bone formation, is a result of estrogen in the ovaries. Low-dose estrogen causes IGF-1 stimulation and a growth spike in early puberty. Delaying the first menstrual cycle allows for further development of long bones before the epiphyseal cartilages fuse, which ultimately helps one to be taller. In girls with precocious puberty, treatment with a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRHa) analogue can have this effect. The effect of therapy depends on the age of onset of puberty and the timing of treatment .
- First bleeding may be delayed in adolescent girls with very low body weight due to starvation, poor absorption or eating disorders
- On average, periods occur later in athletes than in the general population. Intense physical exertion (a minimum of 2 hours a day) delays puberty and thus menstruation.
- Additional studies have shown that the presence of older sisters at home is associated with a later onset of the first cycle.
In the study, a delayed first menstrual cycle resulted in decreased mineral density in the forearm and spine, congenital thigh underdevelopment; osteoporosis and increased risk of fractures in later life .
The age of first menstruation depends on genetics and environment, including socioeconomic status, family life, race, exercise and diet, and overall health. An early first period may result in an eventual rise below genetic potential. A longer interval between thelarche and menarche can reduce the negative impact on body height. If you have concerns about the absence or timing of menarche, contact your gynecologist.
1) Chang SH, Tzeng SJ, Cheng JY, Chie WC. „Height and weight change across menarche of schoolgirls with early menarche”. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2000 Sep;154(9):880-4. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.154.9.880. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10980790/
2) Lacroix AE, Gondal H, Shumway KR, et al. „Physiology, Menarche”. [Updated 2022 Mar 17]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470216/
3) Nakamoto JM. „Myths and variations in normal pubertal development”. West J Med. 2000 Mar;172(3):182-5. doi: 10.1136/ewjm.172.3.182. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1070801/
4) Kang S, Kim YM, Lee JA, Kim DH, Lim JS. Early Menarche is a Risk Factor for Short Stature in Young Korean Females: An Epidemiologic Study. J Clin Res Pediatr Endocrinol. 2019 Sep 3;11(3):234-239. doi: 10.4274/jcrpe.galenos.2018.2018.0274. Epub 2019 Jan 3. Erratum in: J Clin Res Pediatr Endocrinol. 2019 Nov 22;11(4):451-451. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6745461/