Puberty, development, and menopause – most parents have found that explaining these concepts to kids, though entirely natural and unavoidable, comes with a certain degree of discomfort. In girls in particular, the body’s reproductive system will go through so much change, development, and stress, that the body spreads the process out over the course of a lifetime.
You can imagine the surprise Australian native Tam Dover felt when her daughter had her first period at age 4. Now, only one year later, Emily Dover is about to undergo menopause, and her mother is speaking out.
At first unusual, Emily Dover was an enigma to doctors who could not pinpoint a reason for her accelerated growth. By just four months old, Emily was the size of the average one-year-old; by two years old, she had already developed the breasts, body odor, and cystic acne characteristic of a young teenager. Still, no diagnosis was made.
It was not until Emily’s first period at four years old that pediatricians at the Wyong Hospital’s Acute Care Unit ran tests on her condition, determining that Emily’s hormone level was indistinguishable from that of a pregnant woman’s.
Emily was diagnosed with an extremely rare chronic disorder, a combination of Central Precocious Puberty -early onset puberty found in both genders before the age of eight- and Addison’s Disease -an endocrine disorder classified by the adrenal glands hormonal underproduction.
Due to constant pain in her chest, back, and joints, Tam has decided to put her daughter on hormone replacement therapy, a shot taken every three months that aims to abate the painful effects. “There are so many aspects of her life that, thankfully, she is too young to be completely aware of that are going to impact her,” said Dover, in an interview with The Mirror. “That impact will be when she starts school next year, and will have to face being the kid that is so different to others. Yet, Emily is the strongest, most caring girl I know. Despite everything, she is so happy.”