Menopause is something that women can typically expect to go through between the ages of 45 and 55, maybe 40, if they're diagnosed with premature menopause.
Shockingly, a little girl on the New South Wales’ Central Coast is, as her family put it, a teenager before her time. This is because five-year-old Emily Dover, who weighs in at 45kg and stands at 138cm tall, has been menstruating since she was four.
“By two years of age, Emily had breast buds and body odour, and a rash on her skin since birth that was now being diagnosed as cystic acne,” Tam wrote on a GoFundMe page.
“At 2 years of age...”
Emily was then referred to Wyong Hospital’s Pediatric Acute Care Unit where tests revealed that her hormone levels were comparable to that of a pregnant woman.
At three years of age, Tam says her youngest daughter, who was born the smallest of Tam’s three children, had developed breasts, body hair, acne and “strega on her legs”.
“Emily’s body since birth was growing at such a rate that she was in constant pain from the growth alone,” Tam continues, adding that Emily now has reduced mobility due to her conditions.
“Emily has Addison’s disease, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, central precocious puberty, autism spectrum disorder, sensory processing disorder and anxiety disorder.”
“Currently, at five years old, Emily is the 99th percentile for eight-year-olds, and has already started menstruating.”
Now, in order to ease the pain and discomfort of Emily’s conditions, the only option is forcing her body into menopause with three-monthly hormone replacement injections that cost almost $1500 per dose.
The financial struggle aside, Emily will also experience all those menopause same side effects that women experience when they go through it themselves.
As reported by KidSpot, even though Tam is so worried for Emily’s mental and physical welfare, she says she’s become “numb” to it all.
“I’ve become numb because I don’t want to react and upset [Emily] and make her feel any less normal than she already does,” Tam says.
“She’s only five and she’s so body conscious already.”
“How can I tell her this is what women go through when she hasn’t even had a chance to be a girl yet?”
“It’s shattering that it has impeded so much on her childhood.”
If you would like to learn more about Emily’s already-tough journey, visit the Dover family’s GoFundMe page for more information.