Physiology Premed

Faculty Advisor

Ferraro, James S.


Menarche is the onset of menses and this age this occurs differs with every girl. There are many factors that can influence this age or result from it. Menses is a crucial step in the process of pubertal maturation. This study conducted a survey to women of the Carbondale, IL area ranging from 12.5 to 74.42 years old. The survey inquired basic characteristics such as height, weight, and age of menarche. Factors such as body mass index (BMI), plastic use due to estrogen-like endocrine disrupting chemicals, the maternal age at childbirth and population size were also determined. The average age of menarche was 12.65 years old. Data analysis concluded few significant results. As BMI increased at menarche, the age of menarche decreased. Therefore, the girls who have a higher BMI are likely to start menses earlier. Also, the population size affected the age of menarche. As the population size increased, the age of menarche decreased. This is contrary to other studies in which girls living in a rural setting tend to start later than girls living in urban settings. There were many aspects in this study that did not have significance, such as a significant trend in age of menarche overtime. There was not a significant trend in age of menarche over time because the sample size was too small. Since there was a very weak correlation, it could be that this is the leveling off of age of menarche due to optimal nutritional level. Maternal age at childbirth did not seem to affect the daughter’s age of menarche. The mother and father’s health and family history would need to play a role also. Birth order was not seen to have an affect on age of menarche but possibly the number or types or gender of siblings could reach significance. Plastic use was not significantly affecting age of menarche due to survey clarification. Other studies have shown that the chemicals are affecting the reproductive system and this study did not show any change. Since chemicals in plastics are leaked into the environment more easily when heated, the question of microwave use and what type of cookware was inquired. There was no significance due to clarification on the survey. There are also many other ways to prepare food so asking just specifically one type is hard to see really what each participant does. It is difficult to compartmentalize household habits. Further research can find out more about these factors although there is significance of factors influencing the age of menarche.