Is there anything I can do to make this experience comfortable for my daughter and when do I prepare her for her period?
You are already doing the most important thing: you are talking about what is going on with your daughter. Conversation is so powerful – it makes a huge difference when girls can feel comfortable asking questions. I think every mom goes back to the most horrifying moment during puberty and vows never to let her daughter experience things the same way. Here’s hoping that with conversations about knowing and “listening” to your body, your daughter won’t have the same white-pants-in-history-class experience that you did.
Puberty is starting 1–2 years earlier for our daughters, and no one knows precisely why. It’s going to turn out to be a whole slew of things, from our environment to our food supply to the chemicals used in everyday life. Unfortunately, it’s the new normal. There’s a great new book out called The New Puberty. It is written by a woman named Louise Greenspan who trained with me when we were studying to be pediatricians – she went on to become an endocrinologist and she has led many of the puberty studies to date. I encourage you to take a peek at it to get a better understanding of all of the variables that are adding together.
As for how steroids affect puberty, this is a question for a specialist like Dr. Greenspan or your oncologist. We know that steroids affect some hormones, but that’s usually while a person is taking the steroids. In the case of a brain tumor, the question gets complicated by where the tumor was and how it affected the brain. My short answer to this part, unfortunately, is that I don’t know.
Keep talking with your daughter.
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