My story: going through menopause at the age of 14

premature ovarian insufficiency

My early menopause story.

premature ovarian insufficiencyCan you imagine being told that you’d gone through the menopause at the age of just 14 years old? It sounds like a nightmare. But for me, it was a living nightmare.

The day I was told will be etched on my memory forever. My mum crying. Me consoling her – because I didn’t really understand what was going on.

My periods had started when I was 12, but they stopped after a year. I was experiencing all kinds of symptoms, hot sweats at night, struggling to focus at school. My mum took me to the doctor and I was referred for a blood test and ultrasound.

Two weeks later I got the results. I’d gone through menopause and needed to start taking HRT.

My HRT experience

I have been quite underwhelmed by the care I was given. That was the only time I saw a consultant – 25 years ago. I wasn’t given any follow up appointments, aftercare, nothing. Just Prempak C and left to get on with it. Even when this was discontinued it was my pharmacist, not doctor, who told me.

I called my GP who changed my brand. This was horrendous though, my symptoms returned and my bleeds were very painful. I was changed again, this time onto Femoston, which I have no problems with. Thankfully. I do still have a monthly bleed, to keep my womb lining working. This was in case I wanted IVF. But I’ve decided not to go down that route. I can’t bear the thought of a grieving process if it didn’t work.

Feeling lost

After my diagnosis, there was very little information out there. Even now, there isn’t much for teenagers going through menopause. I wish there was more available. For years, I felt lost. I hated seeing myself in the mirror, and felt I’d failed as a woman.

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Speaking out

I learned to cope, but was very insecure. Relationships were really difficult, as I knew I’d have to explain what had happened. Even friends didn’t really understand. One even accused me of making it up. Not something I think anyone would do.

Finally, I’ve decided to speak out and share my story. I want this to be recognised more, and for people like me to get the help and support they need.

Early menopause is classed as when a woman’s periods stop before the age of 45. If this happens before the age of 40, it’s known as Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI) which affects about 1% of women. The Daisy Network offers support to women with POI.