Who We Are
Sarah Weller, BSc serves as the editor and writer of EarlyMenopause.com. She attended UCL — a constituent of the University of London and a global hub for medical research. Writing and education are her joint passions and she campaigns to raise awareness of early menopause / premature ovarian failure (POF) in the wider community.
Our supporting cast includes a brilliant web team; contributing writers; and a network of forum members who together, make EarlyMenopause.com a special place for learning and mutual support. From our staff to our members and all in between, everyone involved with EarlyMenopause.com has an equally valued role to play in fostering this important and caring online community.
EarlyMenopause.com was founded in 1999 by Kathryn Petras, author of the excellent “The Premature Menopause Book”. Please note: Ms. Petras has no ongoing involvement with the site in any capacity. However, her original work and writing laid the foundations for today’s community.
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Why EarlyMenopause.com Began: A Personal Experience
Like most women, I knew about menopause, of course. It was something that usually happened to women in their 50s. It meant hot flashes, no more periods, an end to your reproductive years. It was a natural part of a woman’s life that was far in the future.
And it didn’t have anything to do with me, since I was still much too young. That’s what I thought — but I was wrong.
At the age of 38, I learned I was going through menopause. In fact, I was well into menopause and had been experiencing ovarian failure for many years. Menopause — the cycle in a woman’s life when her ovaries stop producing eggs, when her periods begin to stop, when her hormone levels shift. Menopause — something that typically happens at about age 51.
But menopause can and does happen to millions of women well before the “normal” age. Actually, I was one of the older women who has gone through this. Many women experience early menopause — or premature ovarian failure — in their 20s, even in their teens.
According to research, approximately eight out of every 100 American women of childbearing years — about 3.9 million women — go through natural menopause before the age of 40. A similarly high number enter menopause early due to surgery (removal of the uterus and/or ovaries) or due to chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer.
Early or premature menopause, then, isn’t nearly as rare as you might think. All things considered, it’s a relatively common condition… but one with uncommon consequences. There is more information on the different causes — and on what exactly early menopause can be on this site — in What Is Early Menopause? and the Causes of Early Menopause.
But regardless of the cause, the effect on your life is immense: You’re in your 20s or 30s — still a young woman by age standards — or even in your teens… and you’re facing something that usually would have happened decades down the road.
You’re dealing with the physical and emotional effects of menopause — hot flashes, mood swings, anxiety — and you’re dealing with the psychological effects of entering menopause so many years earlier than normal — feeling out of synch with your peers, coping with the depression that comes when you realize your reproductive years are over before you ever dreamed.
It’s a double whammy: your body is going through immense changes and your psyche, your self-image, is rocked. And unlike older women who go through menopause at the “normal” time, you’re completely unprepared. Early menopause usually comes completely out of the blue.
This website is designed to help you cope with this unexpected change.
Written by Kathryn Petras. Photographs depict models.
What We Do
Our goal is to create a pleasant and supportive environment in which women can learn, seek reassurance and meet like-minded individuals with whom they can share their experience going through early menopause. Whilst the knowledge of medical professionals and the help of family are invaluable – we set out to offer a resource that helps you better understand the changes going on in your body, and to give you the opportunity to interact with your peers. We also try to equip you with the knowledge to make positive changes and gain further insight into the causes, symptoms and range of treatments available.
As well as supporting women going through early menopause / premature ovarian failure (POF) we also aim to help raise awareness in wider society of a condition that is both surprisingly common and potentially devastating to the individuals afflicted.
The information contained on our website, however, is not designed to be diagnostic, nor is it to be used to make treatment decisions. Only a qualified health professional can properly assess your health as an individual. We urge our readers to seek out a doctor and to attend regular checkups. Always consult your doctor before embarking on or changing a course of treatment.