Hello and welcome to the Early Menopause: Women’s Experiences digital resource! This site has been developed for you by our research team in collaboration with the women we interviewed and the project Reference Group.
On this unique site you can read, watch and listen to stories of 30 women aged between 28 and 51 years, from diverse socio-cultural backgrounds living in Victoria, Australia, who have shared what it is like to experience early menopause (EM).
Women talked about being diagnosed with spontaneous early menopause, premature ovarian insufficiency (POI), medically-induced early menopause, or menopausal symptoms as a result of cancer and/or other medical treatments.
Stories about diagnosis, symptoms, long-term health effects, treatments, experiences with health services and health practitioners, and the impact of early menopause on their personal lives and relationships are just some of the many aspects of the experience of early menopause you can find on this site.
You will also find links to a comprehensive range of resources, including a Question Prompt List that you can use when speaking with your doctor. We hope you find the stories, information, and resources here engaging, informative and useful.
Introduction by Merran, So Brave Ambassador
(diagnosed with medically-induced early menopause)
Introduction by Lorena
(diagnosed with spontaneous early menopause)
How to find your way around
You can start by watching a preview of some of the interview video clips below. Or, you can go straight to the ‘Talking Points’ on the left (summaries of the main themes in the interviews, illustrated by interview clips) or explore ‘Women’s Profiles’ to learn more about the women we spoke to.
On our Resources & Information page (and at the end of each Talking Point) you can find information about and links to many different services and organisations relevant to women with EM. You might also like to look at the Early Menopause: Health Practitioners’ perspectives digital resource to hear from health practitioners from different specialities who care for women with EM.
Preview of interview clips
A note about language and links
Early menopause (menopause before age 45) or premature ovarian insufficiency (loss of ovarian function before age 40 years) are complex health conditions with many different causes, both known and unknown. We use the term premature ovarian insufficiency in preference to premature ovarian failure or premature menopause as suggested in recent international guidelines (www.eshre.eu).
For simplicity, across this digital resource we use the term ‘spontaneous early menopause’ to refer to spontaneous premature ovarian insufficiency (POI), including conditions such as Turner Syndrome.
Under the label ‘medically-induced early menopause’ we include early menopause caused by medical treatments (e.g. chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgical removal of the ovaries) which may be used as part of cancer therapy or for non-cancer conditions such as endometriosis. Women undergoing ovarian suppression therapy using gonadotrophin releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists such as goserelin, who experience menopausal symptoms are also included in this group.
Although health practitioners are moving towards using the term ‘Menopausal Hormone Therapy’ for oestrogen and progesterone-based medications for menopause, we use the term ‘Hormone Replacement Therapy’ (HRT) on this resource as HRT continues to be more widely used.
Throughout this digital resource, there are hyperlinks to definitions or more information about medical or other technical terms used. Where possible we have linked to Australian sources; where links are to international sources, please be aware that practice and terminology may be different.