Early bloomers and late bloomers alike, read on for some (potentially) bad news. Shape reports that, according to a recent study from the University of Oxford, women whose first period happened before age 10 or after 17 are more likely to develop issues related to heart health and certain types of cancer.
Those who start menstruating at a younger age are at risk because childhood obesity and hormone surges can be the cause of earlier periods. Both of these are factors in high blood pressure, poor cardiovascular health, and breast and ovarian cancer. Researchers admitted that, although there is a relatively clear health trajectory from childhood to adulthood for women who get their period before age 10, much less is known about why late bloomers might go on to experience the same health problems.
Of course, the instant you "become a woman" is not the key to understanding your health as an adult. It also doesn't occur solely as a result of your weight or hormonal fluctuations. Other factors — like your level of activity and your environment — have a role to play in both your initial menstrual cycle and your health as an adult.