The healthy development of teenage girls
Around the ages of 12 to 13 years old a girl’s body begins to undertake a number of important physical changes. These include the commencement of menstruation, the development of breasts, changes in the shape of the body and voice, etc.
In Chinese medicine these changes are attributed to the functioning of two main organs, the Kidneys and Liver. The Kidneys have the major function of dominating and supporting the sexual growth and development in a female’s body. The Kidneys originate in the lower back. They strengthen the lower back area and ensure an adequate flow of energy (Qi) to the reproductive organs, including the ovaries and uterus. The Kidneys also produce the energy to create menstrual blood.
The Liver organ and channel assist in the development of a girl’s breasts. The Liver channel flows to the breast area and should provide good circulation to the area to promote the growth of breast tissue.
To assist and support a girl’s body development at this important time, Chinese medicine recommends the following:
Eating food that is good for the Liver and Kidneys, such as milk, eggs, lamb and other meats, soya products (especially at the commencement of menstruation), vegetables with colour, seaweed, fish and prawns.
Vitamin B and Vitamin E can assist with breast development.
Avoiding or limit the intake of foods such as processed food, greasy food, hot and spicy food as these can affect the function of the Liver and Kidneys. For example, too much hot and spicy food can cause the Liver to become too hot or the Kidneys to become depleted in Yin or fluids of the body.
Around the start of each period avoid cold food such as ice cream and cold drinks as they decrease the blood circulation to the uterus and period, causing painful periods and clots in the period.
Around the start of each period ensure adequate rest and not too much strenuous exercise to help the period flow smoothly.
Ensure regular exercise to assist the energy to flow smoothly in the body.
Limit stress and aim for balanced emotions to support the Liver and breast development.
If, after a year from the commencement of menstruation, the period is irregular, painful, heavy or abnormal in any way you should consult a practitioner to find out if there are any problems or imbalances in the organs that need treatment. Treatment will often involve using natural herbs to assist balancing the body.