Thursday, 2 January 2014

Doctors warn of oestrogen in meat as Henan girl develops puberty at 4 years of age

by Michael Woodhead
Doctors in Henan says the precocious puberty reported in a 4-year-old girl may have been caused by her mother's use of oestrogen-like drugs while breatfeeding or by her intake of foods such as chicken that were high in added hormones.
The girl from  Pingdangshan is reported to have developed breasts and started menstruating at the age of four. She is now undergoing treatment at the local hospital but her family say they cannot afford the 2000 RMB cost of monthly injections that she will need until the age of 12 to counter the condition, according to a report from Xinhua.
The girl comes from a poor farming family in the mountainous and deprived Ruzhou country. Her parents say the puberty effects first started to appear when she was two years old. Her family took her to the local hospital but it was only a very basic clinic and the doctor there did not have the expertise to examine or diagnose a hormonal condition in a small child. She was only diagnosed properly when they took her too the city of Zhengzhou. Even at that early age, doctors said her skeleton resembled one of an 8 or 9 year old. The Zhengzhou hospital clinicians worked out a long term treatment plan for the young girl who was already showing signs of breast development and menstruation. However, her family struggled to find the 30,000 RMB needed to pay for monitoring tests and hormonal treatment.
A doctor involved in the case siad the girl was showing body changes at 3-4 years of age that would normally only start at 8-9 years of age at the very earliest. He feared that f the girl did not get proper inhibitory treatment she would suffer physiological damage and show premature ageing.
As to the cause of the condition, he said it appeared to be due to external factors rather than an inherited or innate disease. he speculated that the premature puberty might have been caused by early exposure of the girl to high levels of sex hormones such as oestrogen. This might have occurred as she was breast fed and her mother had used medicines that contained the hormone. In addition, the precocious puberty may also have been made more likely due to hormones in the food she and her mother consumed.
"We advise families that food such as chicken, beef, soya milk and egg white can all contain high levels of oestrogen and should be eaten in only small amounts by daughters in particular."

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